Since 1996, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC; Congo) has been embroiled in violence that has killed as many as 6 million people. Prior to that, the Belgians under the leadership of King Leopold II, committed atrocities in the name of the rubber trade.
What are the stakes of cultural production in a time of war? How is artistic expression prone to manipulation by the state and international humanitarian organizations? In the charged political terrain of post-genocide Rwanda, post-civil war Uganda, and recent violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Laura Edmondson explores performance through the lens of empire.
Congo is ground zero of what has been called “Africa’s First World War,” having drawn in forces from Angola, Burundi, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe. According to a study conducted by the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid organization, more than 5 million people have died in the war. Its root cause is the genocide in neighboring Rwanda, where, in 1994, Hutus killed Tutsis en masse.