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DRC's Zero Polémik comedy festival promotes peace

The 3-day event that took place in the eastern part of the DR of Congo (Aug. 25-27) brought together fans of stand-up, improv' and farcical comedy among other genres.   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

Comedy festival 'Zéro Polémik' or Zero controversy returned to Bukavu for a 6th edition.

The 3-day event taking place in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo brought together fans of stand-up, improv' and farcical comedy among other genres.

The event's organizer Joyeux Bin Kabojdo says it aims to promote and consolidate peace and social cohesion within local communities in the DRC and the Great Lakes region at large.

"The festival exists for greater social cohesion that advocates education through entertainment, in other words, we think it's possible to educate through laughter and that's why every year for the past 6 years, we've been getting together around laughter with the public here in Bukavu. Humour remains today one of the components to development itself, and above all a foundation of social cohesion.

DR Congo's east has been for decades the battlefield of rebel groups and regional armies.

Bukavu is located near the border with Rwanda

Évelyne Mulashe, a young comedian at the school of humour, share how her art contributes to fostering peaceful coexistence.

"Humour allows us to tackle some of life's most pertinent subjects, to get a message across. Of course, when delivering and hearing the message we laugh at first, but it still people then need to stop to think about it. I believe that somewhere a show, depending on its message, really helps to raise people awareness on certain issues."

Ivorian comedian Kouamé Gilles Romuald goes by the stage name Boukary. For him, making people laugh is is not merely a job, it's a mission.

"Throuhg my work as a comedian, I promote joy. You know that joy that comes with peace. When I'm on stage, those in the public don't ask each other where their political affiliations lies or which side they support."

"Everyone is here, attending Bukary's show. We laugh together, fall on each other laughing; never knowing who supports which political party. What matters to me is promoting peace," he concluded.

The Zéro Polémik festival ended on August 27. Comedians headlining this year's edition included Ivory Coast's very own Michel Gohou and Clémentine Papouet.

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