Friday, 25 January 2013

Security boosted at DRC-Niger game

By Gael Masengi

Congolese fans
As requested by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to the Local Organising Committee, the needs of a safe and secured Africa Cup of Nations 2013 have seemingly been met. The continental football governing body, CAF had expressed worries over security at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium after two Congolese fans ran onto the pitch during a skilled group B encounter between Ghana and the DRC last Sunday.

“At the 55th minute, a Congolese spectator managed to enter the field of play,” said the confederation in a statement released this past Tuesday on its website, “The same incident was repeated at the 65th minute when another Congolese fan entered and ran in the field of play.”

CAF’s disciplinary board then decided to address a warning letter to the L.O.C in demand of a much secured Port Elisabeth based group B home turf and cautioning as well the Democratic republic of Congo following their fans’ hooliganism behaviour.

According to eye-witnesses present that day at the stadium, one told Gael-On-Media that one of the two fans who ran onto the pitch was carrying a poster bearing the face of popular Congolese politician Etienne Tshisekedi. Tshi-Tshi as commonly known by his countless supporters lost the controversial 2011 presidential election to Joseph Kabila, subsequently declared himself as the legitimate winner. 

Asked if he may know why the exciting fan did enter the pitch; “I guess he was thrilled as anybody else, from 2-null to 2-2” he said

You didn’t get to see it on TV because it clearly was censured” said another Congolese fan “on our side; we came to support the national team but also to show our frustration to the world against that man in power, the incompetent imposter you call Joseph Kabila

The law-breaking fan was escorted out of the field of play after tumbling on slippery grass and briefly detained to a nearby local police station; he is yet to appear in court.

A significant presence of orange-wearing security stewards could be observed throughout the misfortunate draw game against a not-so-easy Niger side, keeping a watchful eye on strong Congolese crowd. The DRC will face Mali on Monday in their last group match at Moses Mabhida Stadium in the coastal city of Durban.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Flag Up! For AFCON

By Gael Masengi

As the Orange Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2013 draw near, yes as you all can expect, passionate African soccer fan’s adrenaline is rushing even faster every day leading to the continental soccer showcase in Africa’s economic power-house, South Africa.

Housing diverse African nationals than anywhere within the black continent, city of Johannesburg has been transformed into a circus of various African fans cheering for their respective team. Carnivals around the streets have become a common scene you will see by turning every corner of any avenue, owing that to a larger presence of African migrants in the city of gold.

As admitted Kofi Nkwameh of Ghana “I’m happy that the African Cup of Nations is being hosted here in South Africa” said the 40 years-old wrapped in a Ghanaian flag “because we, the fans are already here in large number. The government don’t really have to fly supporters from home and I’m confident the Black Stars will win their first tough game” referring to their clash against the Leopards, Democratic Republic of Congo’s comebackers. A feeling Mohamed of Algeria also shares “This Afcon will really be an African rendezvous rather than just a soccer tournament"

An Ethiopian retail shop owner I talk to recently in downtown Johannesburg told me that, sales of soccer merchandises have skyrocketed these days and he was happy.

Unlike previous host nations where we heard reports of slow sale or nothing at all of participating nations’ soccer jerseys or flags, here things are different”, said a smiling Biruk Biniyam “In fact it is the opposite here, we have observed that other country’s soccer products are going faster than the host nation’s, specially flags are by far the most sold item, by the way your country’s [DRC] flag is the most sold around here”.

Congolese flag
Surprisingly, while the remaining national teams’ flags are being sold at average price of R25 ($2.96), the 7 years-old reinstated Congolese flag isn’t just the most sought after. It costs R10 (at about a dollar and quarter) more than others, amazed yet curious about Biruk’s unsteady prices, I asked him to know why the tri-coloured flag was a little expensive, “eish! I guess it is due to high demand…” he said “it’s not only me, you can ask in all the shops within this mall or even outside you’ll confirm what I’m saying”. I didn’t have to go around and ask. My last night tour of Johannesburg did indeed confirm what the somehow dodgy businessman claimed; the yellow and red horizontally striped blue flag could be seen hanging in large number all over Congolese nationals’ businesses from south, central to north Johannesburg.

Asked if the merchandises sold in his shop are in compliance with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) regulations, he responded, “No comments, Mr Gael

South Africa, which hosted the tournament once before in 1996 will kick-off their campaign in the opening match of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations against an unpredictable Cape Verde side at the majestic Soccer City Stadium in Soweto on January 19th.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Congo-made Canadian film gets Oscar’s nomination.

By Gael Masengi, Saturday 12 January 2013

On Thursday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced the list of Oscar nominees in Los Angeles and guess what... an unknown “Made in Congo” film made the short list in line to win the Best Foreign Language Foreign category comes February 24th.

Written and directed by the Canadian Kim Nguyen, “War Witch” or Rebelle (as better known by its original French title) tells the story of Komona (portrayed by Rachel Mwanza), a young girl whose life is anything but normal. Kidnapped by African rebels at the age of 12, Komona was forced at gunpoint to slaughter her own parents and fight as a child soldier against the government in the jungles. But Komona was no ordinary soldier. Due to her ability to see gray ghosts in the trees that warn her of approaching enemies, she was deemed a sorceress and bestowed the title of War Witch by the supreme leader of the rebels, Great Tiger. War Witch exudes visceral energy and emotional power as Komona’s journey ultimately finds her in love with a fellow child soldier named Magician (Serge Kanyinda), but pregnant with another man’s child. Saddled with the reality that a life of normalcy is forever beyond her grasp, Komona must find a way to resolve the actions of her past. 

While no existing country or city is mentioned in the movie, viewers however can clearly identify the plot with the on-going situation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where the film was primarily shot in Lingala (widely spoken language of the DRC) and French with a cast of mainly Congolese actors and actresses.  With a notable recent success of another made-in-DRC film, namely Viva Riva (best director, best supporting actor and actress, best cinematography and best production design at the African Academy Awards) and first time actors such as Pasha “Bay” Mukuna and Rachel Mwanza gaining world-wide recognition for their unforgettable stellar performances, it is safe to say that the DRC is also one of Africa’s pool of talented actors and actresses but as you all will agree with me, the country’s economic situation or total unwillingness by a corrupted government  to invest in developing the motion arts industry makes it difficult to discover  such gifted individuals shouldn’t be for  foreign investment. 
Oscar statue
War Witch or Rebelle did already enjoy major success at last year’s mainstream film festivals around the world, winning best actress at the Tribeca and a Silver Bear in the same category at the Berlin Film Festival for the Congolese rising teen star, Rachel Mwanza. The film is Canada’s entry to the Oscars and will not in any way represent the Democratic Republic of Congo as many might think, it is up against Austria’s “Amour”, Chile’s “No”, Denmark’s “A Royal Affair” and Norway’s “Kon-Tiki” leaving out the much anticipated France’s “The Intouchables”.

 Amongst the remarkable big-timers at this year’s prestigious awards is The Life of Pi, a sci-fi blockbuster which comes second with eleven nominations after the American drama Lincoln scoring in twelve categories (which include best picture, best director, best actor for Daniel Day Lewis, and film editing). Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie focusses on the last four months leading to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Winners of the 85th Academy Awards will be announced on February 24th at the Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre, Seth MacFarlane, the creator of hit-comedy animation Family Guy is lined up to host the ceremony. 

                                                                                                                  War Witch synopsis by Tribeca 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Entertainment: CPJ on the trail of Koffi!

By Staff Reporters, Tuesday January 1, 2013

The New York based Committee to Protect Journalist have asked the Zambian authorities to thoroughly investigate the Congolese song-bird Koffi Olomide for allegations of assault against a freelance photojournalist on New Year’s eve concert in Lusaka.

According to eyewitnesses on the scene, the multi-award winning artist, Koffi attacked Jean Ndayisenga at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel as the 44 years-old photographer tried to snap a picture of him, Ndayisenga a Rwandan refugee in Zambia said, he was surprised that the musician of international status like Olomide could behave in such way, “He kicked me in the face and my flash even got damaged. There a lot of people and they saw what happened” explained the paparazzo. 

He was admitted to a local hospital and later reported to the nearest police station, news report said. Police confirmed that a case was opened against the 58 years-old artist but stopped short of details however the cops admitted that the matter had been transferred to Lusaka Central Prison and they were investigating. In a statement, the media watch-dog condemns the violent attack against the paparazzi.
“A photographer should not be subjected to assault while covering a musical performance,” said Tom Rhodes, CPJ East Africa consultant. “We urge authorities to investigate this reported attack and bring appropriate charges.”

Olomide who have faced similar charges back in his native, the Democratic Republic of Congo arrived in Zambia to perform three shows, two in the capital Lusaka, one in Kitwe.