Moving to South Africa
“Let me start by saying: thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the process of me coming to South Africa safely and starting this new page in my life. To prepare for my future, especially by studying. This is my short life story. I was born in a village called Lubomo in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1999 I lost my parents and my sibling. Sometimes in my life I don’t want to remember what happened in the past 20 years, because it hurts me. I was born in The Democratic Republic of Congo in 1993, but had to flee the country due to the Congo Civil War. I arrived in Tanzania, where I ended up spending 19 years as refugee.”
When I was 7 years old, I started my primary school in a Tanzanian refugee camp called Lugufu. After almost 4 years living in this camp, I was involved in a program organised by an organisation that supports refugees in Tanzania called World Vision Tanzania’. They allowed me to host Child Voice Out, a radio program that re-united families. My role was to be the topic creator and group chairman. In 2009, the UNHCR, together with The Tanzanian government, closed our camp and we moved to Nyarugusu.
After arriving in Nyarugusu I continued my fight for children’s rights and kept the program on air. On the 3rd of December 2009 I won The International Children Peace Prize for my role in this program.
After winning the prize we started the process of looking for a country which would allow me to study. Eventually we started the journey to South Africa after a fruitful collaboration between KidsRights Foundation in The Netherlands and The Chaeli Campaign in South Africa. It took us 2 years to complete the process. The main reason it took so long, was that it’s complicated for a refugee to be allowed to leave the country, especially to study. The biggest challenge was getting all the documents approved by the government
On 16 August 2017, I arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, ready to start this new step in my journey: tertiary education. This is when I also discovered that support can come from not only family members, but also those who are around you.
I am currently in South Africa to further my studies and I will continue fighting for the rights of refugees and to demonstrate the importance of inclusive engagement of refugees and citizens in the development of society. Our communities belong to us, whether we are refugees or citizens: our rights need to be identified and respected. This will bring change and progress in our lives.
As I said before, thank you to everyone who contributed at every step to make this happen. I know it was a difficult job and challenging for all, but your time and efforts play a big role in my life.