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Kinshasa 2.0
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Kinshasa 2.0

Technology is helping to revolutionize politics the world over, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When prominent lawyer and politician Marie-Thérèse Nlandu was imprisoned, her supporters used the internet to quickly publicize the case, leading to her release a few months later. This film explores how the arrest affected Nlandu's family, still living in a tense, militarized city where it is extremely difficult to film. 

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Produced by the Why Democracy? project.

Purchase the DVD from STEPS International.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Why Democracy?
SIGN
Free Marie-Theresa!
TITLE
Hello Carine :)
TITLE
Hi Teboho, my aunt Marie-Thérèse has just been arrested! She is accused of trying to overthrow the government. She was a presidential candidate during the recent elections, our first elections since independence. I have started an internet campaign to spread the word.
TITLE
Ok. I will pass on the message…
TITLE
Kinshasa 2.0
TITLE
Congo River, DRC.
TEBOHO EDKINS
Carine's internet campaign seemed to have worked. After five months in Kinshasa's worst prison, Marie-Thérèse was finally released. All charges against her were dropped. She is now in Belgium getting medical treatment. I decided to go and visit Carine and her family in Kinshasa.
CARINE NGUZ [Marie-Thérèse Nlandu's niece]
My aunt's just been arrested and this, and you know we're still, what's like, one, two days afterward ... I think, I think my aunt's daughter sent the email first and then my brother. So, the whole point was to spread out the word. I wanna do something for the people who actually do something, you know. This is what can happen and, I mean, it just happened now and she just got released now, so ... I don't know if she's gonna take up ... she's gonna keep doing what she's doing, and being in the opposition.
DENNIS NLANDU [Marie-Thérèse Nlandu's sister]
My sister loves her country, but the treatment she received ... It was wrong. That's all I can say. One can't say more than that. It wasn't right. I have to restrain myself. Our father fought for this country. He crossed the Congo River by canoe, to fetch Maître Croqué, in 1959, who then negotiated independence for our country.
CARINE NGUZ
Here in Kinshasa it's strange because my aunt is not here and, because of what happened to her, everything is a bit uncertain. For example, now it's difficult for me to phone my aunt straight from a phone in Kinshasa because the lines are all tapped. So the only way we can communicate is through the internet
CARINE NGUZ
Aunt Marie-Thérèse, I hope your health is better.
MARIE-THERESE NLANDU
Thank you my dear, I am doing much better.
CARINE NGUZ
A friend of mine is here, I am helping him make a short film.
MARIE-THERESE NLANDU
I am surprised he even got permission to film.
CARINE NGUZ
Yes, but everybody feels scared to be filmed, few are willing to talk freely. There are soldiers everywhere ... we are always being watched.
VOICE 1
Some other people once tried to film here.
VOICE 2
Will you be working this evening or will someone else take your shift?
MAN 1
A thousand for each?
MAN 2
That's four thousand.
MAN 1
No, how many are there?
MAN 2
There are four.
MAN 1
That's fine.
MAN 2
How much is it in total?
BEA [member of the Marie-Thérèse Nlandu's household]
If I meet a soldier, I have to hide or run away. Because, if he catches you, he will search you. If he finds a phone, he will take it. Money, he will also take. He might rape you or even kill you. A soldier represents a danger to me. It's a danger.
CARINE NGUZ
Marie-Thérèse told me when she was arrested they had planned to kill her that evening. But a general called her to his office and then left, leaving her alone. In that time he saved her life.
LOURDS BUZANGU [owner of internet cafe]
If I speak in front of your camera, tomorrow they will arrest me. I would speak if I were in some other place. We know lots of stories, but we are stuck here. Instead of calling it a democracy, one should change the term. We aren't democratic, beginning with those that govern us. They don't have the spirit of democracy. You can't criticize them, or tell them the bad things they have done. How will we ever progress?
CARINE NGUZ
Dear Marie-Thérèse, terrible news! This evening the arrest warrant has been reissued by the state. It's not safe for you to come back, you have to remain in exile. Warrants for certain members of your household have also been reissued. They will have to go into hiding!
BEA
What do these warrants mean for us? Why are they doing this?
JEANINE [Marie-Thérèse's household staff]
I don't know.
BEA
They should let us be. Carine, you have studied well. You also have it; you have politics in your blood.
JEANINE
It's in your family.
BEA
Whether or not you'll get into politics.
TITLE
Marie-Thérèse's extended family
SINGING
Independence cha cha / We conquered it.
MAN
You know, we still aren't independent.
WOMAN
Independence in name only. After almost 50 years of independence, directed by the men, our country is actually regressing.
MAN
Is that the men's fault, or the women that give us bad advice?
WOMAN
It is because of the men. Fifty years after independence, you can't say it's a traditional problem. It's a structural problem. Congolese women are well educated, they have important positions all over the world. But what happens to them here?
CARINE NGUZ
Auntie Marie-Thérèse. Look, I brought you a video. We had a family dinner last Saturday.
MARIE-THERESE NLANDU
So good to see you all, even if only here in cyberspace. I have been receiving emails of support from the Congo. But I am really worried about the others. I wonder if things will ever get better?
TITLE
All animation was filmed in Second Life, an internet-based virtual chat platform.
TITLE
[end credits]