Francois Matata
Jeremy Ngilaluko
Patrick Nontumpo
Nkembo Simanzondo
Feza Mukankuranga
Flora Amina
Lula Malundama

These oral testimonies were collected by researcher Joe-Yves Salankang Sa-Ngol via a Whatsapp voice note chain. Contributors were invited to speak about their experiences with and relationships to the mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

JoeYves Salankang Sa-Ngol : All the protagonists are Congolese, living in South Africa. We retained them after a voluntary call to testify. Indeed, our commitment as a volunteer within the Congolese community has enabled us to build a certain relationship of trust with an important number in our community; which allowed us to easily spot them but also to put in confidence those who accepted to testify. And for such a sensitive subject, it must be recognized that several people have admitted having things to say but prefer silence: - some because they fear that their security will be compromised; - others just because it is painful episodes that they prefer to forget rather than stir them up. In this mosaic of confidential testimonies, some are direct survivors of the landslides, others witness to the suffering and ordeal of this exploitation and still others have indirectly suffered for having lost loved ones. These testimonies also speak of the damage deliberately caused to the environment by mining companies. All the protagonists have in common the fact that they come from poor backgrounds and live with a permanent feeling of revolt to see the resources of their soil becoming a sort of curse for them. All the protagonists live with a permanent regret at having seen themselves obliged to immigrate very far from their lands, in search of a better life.

Hiroshima Aerial View



Archiving in pre-colonial Africa was participatory; a community activity staggered according to the levels and the importance of what had to be archived. If the general archives had a public character; scientific ones were of a secret character; because, they constitute one of the elements of political power. Traditional technopolitics was something sacred. It is the mastery of technology that made the rise and apogee of the pre-colonial kingdoms. It was the responsibility of the political power to protect and ensure the transmission from generation to generation of the technology of processing iron, gold, copper etc. The raw materials were processed in the kingdoms before being traded. Today, things have changed. Africa has become a mere place of extraction of raw materials which are processed away and come back in finished form. The more technology moves away, the more political power weakens. And yet, in pre-colonial Africa, the secrets of political power as well as of technology were sacred and archived by a special caste, and it is blacksmiths who enthroned the kings. Thus, traditional technopolitics is better expressed in the King-blacksmith formula.

Technologies are always compound. They are composed of diverse agents of interpretation, agents of recording, and agents for directing and multiplying relational action. These agents can be human beings or parts of human beings, other organisms in part or whole, machines of many kinds, or other sorts of entrained things made to work in the technological compound of conjoined forces. Remember also, one of the meanings of compound is “an enclosure, within which there is a residence or a factory”—or, perhaps, a prison or temple.[1]

[1]Haraway, 2008. CritterCam: Compounding Eyes in Naturecultures, Where Species Meet. Pg 250