The Democratic Republic of Congo is a country located in Central Africa. It is known to be the second largest country in Africa, with a high population and with valuable resources. Congo has large reserves of gold, gems, cobalt, copper, uranium and timber with the most valuable resource being its large reserve of diamonds (Eichstaedt 115). These natural resources have been the main cause of a variety of wars in the DRC. Due to the high population, Congo has been rated to have the highest prevalence of poverty in the world today.
The history of of Congo has been one of civil war. These wars involve various rebel groups and ethnic groups being involved in violence and fighting. According to Samset (470), the main reason for these wars is Congo’s rich natural resources especially the illegal trade of diamonds and bitter ethnic wars. The Congo’s civil war is rooted in history (Gondola 6). Before the civil war, many Congolese people were kidnapped and forced into slavery in the coast. They were used by King Leopold to extract natural resources and he oversaw the deaths of about 10 million people. King Leopold’s harsh rule and using the Congolese people as slaves for his personal gain made the people to rebel against him and taking matters in their own hands thus fueling the civil war. The first Congo war occurred from 1996 to 1997, which led to the replacement of a dictatorial leader Mobutu Sese Seko with a rebel leader Laurent Desire Kabila (Reyntjens 42). This war led to the Rwandan Genocide. The second Congo war occurred from 1998 to 2003, whereby it ended with the transitional government taking power. However, there were still the Kivu and the Ituri conflicts. The recent Civil war in Congo caused more than 3.3 million deaths. It has been very hard to reach a solution to end these wars due to so many opposition factions.
Turner asserts that, Congo has the highest incidences of poverty in the world today (56). The people of Congo have been pushed further into starvation and poverty due to ethnic conflicts and civil war between rebels and the government. Due to poor governance during the Mobutu regime, the country has experienced continuous inflation, public debts and budget deficits that have been growing over the years (Trefon 102), The sustained levels of violence has led to massive damage on the infrastructure, loss of lives and property and internal displacement and leading to many people migrating to rural areas (Prunier 104).This has made it difficult for the country to grow. Half of the people in Congo now live below the poverty line and the most affected are women and children. Congo is known to be one of the richest countries in natural resources, unfortunately, the people of Congo do not benefit from these resources due to corruption. In addition, Congo has given too much to the world starting from slaves and all its resources leaving the people in an extremely deadly poverty (Clark 76). There is no clean water, electricity, healthcare, roads and even basic food in the rural areas as it is the most affected by poverty. According to the International Monetary Fund( 8), poverty and hunger still remains endemic in Congo despite humanitarian aids interventions due to continuous conflicts and lack of mining and agriculture to meet the populations’ needs as their main engines of growth.
Viva Riva is a Congolese crime thriller film by Djo Tunda Wa Munga. Djo Tunda Wa Munga wrote and directed the film that received 12 nominations and won 6 awards in 2011. The film also was awards as the Best African Movie in 2011 MTV Movie Awards. Viva Riva is a film about a gang that ignited war in Congo over a fuel crisis. Riva is the protagonist in the film who is an operator and has a secret fuel reserve stolen from some crooks in Angola and plans to sell it in Kinshasa for huge profits. He parties around with women where he meets Nora who is the mistress of a local crime lord. Later on, Riva is pursued by the local crime lord men and some angry Angolans who want their fuel back. Everybody looks for Viva not because of his good looks but they are ready to have him dead in order to lay hands on the gasoline. There is Cesar, a ruthless sharply dressed foreigner in Kinshasa, the army, the church and other people too. Riva’s great nemesis was a crime boss who was portrayed as brutal and decadent named Azor but Djo Tunda’s star Riva was able to get his girlfriend Nora and also to attempt selling the gasoline before the fearsome Azor even made a deal for it.
In conclusion, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a country that has been affected by wars which led to high rates of poverty in the country. There has been continuous confrontation between rebel groups and ethnic groups over natural resources. This has led to poverty around the country forcing the people to drift to rural areas. Due to this war over natural resources, Djo Tunda Wa Munga directed a film named Viva Riva which is about a fight over fuel which is one of the resources in Congo. This film was highly viewed and received a number of awards as it dealt with what was happening in their country at that time. Congo was a wealthy country with a lot of natural resources but due to continuous wars and corruption, the resources are not helping anymore as poverty is rampant in the country.
Eichstaedt, Peter. Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World’s Deadliest Place. Barnes and Noble, 2011. Print.
Trefon, Theodore. Congo Masquerade: The Political Culture of Aid Inefficiency and Reform Failure. Barnes and Noble, 2011. Print.
Samset, Ingrid. ‘Conflict of Interests or Interests in Conflict? Diamonds & War in the DRC.’ Review of African Political Economy 93 (2002): 463-480. Print.
Gondola, Didier. The History of Congo. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2002. Print.
Reyntjens, Filip. The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. Print.
Clark, John F. The African Stakes in the Congo War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. Print.
Prunier, Gerard. Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
Turner, Thomas. "The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth, and Reality" New York: Zed Books, 2007. Print.
Viva Riva. Dir. Djo Tunda Wa Munga. Perf. Patsha Bay, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna, Fabrice Kwizera, Marlene Longage, Alex Herabo, Diplôme Amekindra. Netherlands, 2012 DVD.
International Monetary Fund, "Democratic Republic of Congo: Poverty Reduction Paper – Progress Report", IMF Country Report October 2010: 7-11. Print.