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Music offers hope for Kinshasa's street children

Junior 'Des Affaires' (R) and Obed 'Banque de Sang' (L) rap in the recording studio of the Mokili na Poche cultural centre in Kinshasa on May 30, 2023   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

In DRC's capital, Kinshasa, some street children have found refuge in a small cultural centre which encourages creative talents like music.

The Mokili Na Poche cultural centre offers hope to some of the estimated 20,000 homeless children in Kinshasa's streets.

"Children come with injuries because they live on the street and therefore there are always gangs that come to assault and threaten their lives, there are always injuries" (...)

"I try to accompany especially when I see that the lyrics do not fit with the idea. He has the idea of talking about rebelling, but he goes with a text that goes against it, because he wants to talk about revolt, he wants to rebel, not rebel against people but he wants to change the way he is seen, the way he’s treated in society", said Cedrick Tshimbalanga, Director of the Mokili Na Poche Cultural Centre.

Junior Mayamba, aka "Business", is a street child, who found hope in the  recording studio of the Mokili Na Poche cultural center.

"Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always preferred to be a musician. At 5 I was already listening to the songs of Gaz Mawete, Fally Ipupa and it made me happy, it gave me courage to work hard to become like them one day.

I suppose that between street children we can give advice, to be able to change, to go to the Mokili Na Poche cultural centre to learn but some of us are only there to discourage others, they do not want to learn, But I tell them that you ruin your lives because there is no such thing as a rogue grandfather or a prostitute grandmother, you have to prepare your future when you are young", said the aspiring rapper, Junior Mayamba Ngatshwe.

Despite its vast mineral wealth, the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to the World Bank, about two thirds of the population of 100 million people live on under $2.15 a day.

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