'Che in Congo' is a large-scale multimedia project by photographer Jan-Joseph Stok, filmmaker Ben Crowe and book designer Teun van der Heijden. With the information they gathered in Cuba, the team travelled the route that Che made from the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam to eastern Congo, in search of the traces that the revolutionary left behind in the country. Over six years, they made several trips to eastern DRC, Tanzania and Cuba to explore the legacy of revolution and to speak with the inheritors of this tangled history. The end result is a multimedia project including a documentary and a photo book, of which we will show some parts. An evening about storytelling and the need to share untold stories.
With amongst others:
Photographer Jan-Joseph Stok has been working in Congo extensively for over 10 years. After covering the different conflicts and its consequences for several years, he thought it was time to document the country in a different way by using a story that is unknown to many. The secret mission of Che Guevara in Congo will form the base of this project. The diary of Che, in which his secret mission was revealed, proved to be the perfect story. He formed a team with filmmaker Ben Crowe and book designer Teun van der Heijden to explore this unrevealed chapter of Che’s life through film and photography, touching on many of the issues that the people of Congo face today in their daily lives and their dreams for a better future.
Their trips through Cuba, Tanzania, DR Congo and Belgium resulted in different outcomes: a photo series, a documentary and a photo book (among others). The photos documents the different people they met on the way and gives an impression of the different locations. Jan-Joseph collected and photographed, with the agreement of the interviewed persons, personal images made by some of the old combatants who were fighting alongside Che Guevara. By counterposing the contemporary work with the photos from the past, the viewer is brought back to the past and can compare it with the present, and draw their own conclusions. The photos are being compiled in a photo book, launched coming months. What story do they hope to share with their project? And how did the creative process go?
In 1965, Che Guevara left Cuba on a secret journey to Eastern Congo. His mission was to support the Congolese revolutionary insurgency against the imperialist forces that overthrew Patrice Lumumba. Che and his men ( over a hundred Cuban fighters) fought for six months in the forests and hills of South Kivu and Katanga provinces. The mission was a disaster. Follow the project via www.cheincongo.com.
- Marie-Cakupewa Fundiko is Executive Secretary at DRCongo à la Carte Foundation (DRCC). With their NGO, they are involved in technical support at the Université du Cinquantenaire de Lwiro, in South-Kivu. They work together with grassroots NGOs in rural areas in South-Kivu for the implementation of the UN Res. 1325 on Women Peace and Security in post-conflict zones. Education and vocational training are important tools they use for the empowerment of youth and women.
- Jan-Joseph Stok, photographer and one of the initiators of the multimedia project Che in Congo.
- Marie-Louise Balagizi is the founder of Synergy of Women for peace and reconciliation of the peoples of the great lakes of Africa (SPR) with its headquarters in Bukavu, South Kivu, DR Congo. She is also founder of an other foundation called Stichting Umoja ni Nguvu with its headquarters in The Hague.