Film, colour, French spoken, English subtitles
65 min, 16:9
As the title indicates, (Pas) Mon Pays, Part I and II, is in two parts. The first talks about a colonial monument in Mechelen and my efforts to decolonize this statue with a group of Belgian citizens with Congolese roots*. The colonial monument by Lode Eyckermans in the Schuttersvest pays homage to 31 “pioneers who died for the civilization in Congo” as it is inscribed on the statue. One of them is Van Kerckhoven, who was a notoriously cruel commander during the reign of king Leopold II of Belgium. Confronted with this, I asked the sculptor Raf Vergauwen to make a scaled-down copy of the monument. This part was largely filmed and edited by Maxime Jean-Baptiste.
The second shows my visit to Congo where I was born and raised, in a house on the campus of the current University of Kinshasa (former ‘Lovanium’, the first university in the country, 1954-1971. Along with the filmmakers Paul Shemisi and Nisar Saleh from Kinshasa, I made a video report of my encounters with several people. My personal history, in the form of old photos and memories, is confronted with the actual reality and questions about the influences of colonization on today’s civilisation.
* Lieven Miguel Kandolo, Anne Wetsi Mpoma, Georgine Dibua, Jessy Ohanu, Michel Witanga, Joël Ndombe, Nadia Nsayi, Rina Rabau, Stella Okemwa, Don Pandzou, Floribert Beloko, Michel Mongambo and Sarah Bekambo.
The inscription proposed by the group:
THE COLONISATION OF CONGO
LED TO A SHOCK
IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY.
IN THE NAME OF CIVILISATION,
ATROCITIES WERE COMMITTED,
VILLAGES WERE BURNED DOWN,
THE COLONISATION CUT CONGO APART FROM ITS HISTORY,
CONTRIBUTED TO THE PROSPERITY OF BELGIUM
AND WEAKENED CONGOLESE SOCIETY.
THE WORD CIVILISATION SIGNIFIES RESPECT,
EQUALITY AND DIALOGUE,
IN RELATION TO A COMMON FUTURE.
THIS NEW INSCRIPTION
RESTORES AND PAYS HOMAGE
TO THE MILLIONS OF VICTIMS AND HEROES
OF THE COLONIAL TIME,
THOSE WHO ARE KNOWN AND LESS KNOWN.
BAKOKO NA BISO:
LUSINGA IWA NG’OMBE
PAUL PANDA FARNANA
Photos and stills Paul Shemisi, Nizar Saleh, Bie Michels, Archive Mechelen