By Patou Izai Kep’na, Président de Jeunialissime, Democratic Republic of Congo and Wendy Otieno, Voice Communications Assistant
Action is change!
Action is hope!
As a way to honor and celebrate the struggle of the LGBTI+ community worldwide. Jeunialissime, one of the winners of the first edition of the NOW-Us! Awards helped organise the 2019 edition of the Hope Awards in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Other partners who contributed to the realisation of this Award were the Dutch Embassy in DRC, Mouvement Pour la Promotion du Respect et Égalité des Droits et Santé (MOPREDS) and GLIFAA.
The Hope Awards are a way in which the local LGBTI community in the DRC comes together to celebrate the actions taken between 2017 and 2018 for the benefit and inclusion of the LGBTI community.
The awards were held on June 28th, to celebrate pride month and had a lot of pomp and flair with several guests gracing the occasion. Jeunialissime chose this date as a way to remember and appreciate the fight of allies who came before them, with a specific interest in celebrating the fallen allies at Stonewall riots. Some of the guests at the awards show were Serge Tamundel from the Ministry of Justice (Ministère de la Justice) and Junior Basosila of the Movement for the Promotion of Respect and Equality of Rights and Health (Mouvement Pour la Promotion du Respect et Égalité des Droits et Santé, MOPREDS). The event was also graced with several local and international organisations working on human rights issues, various artists, and members and non-members of the LGBTI community.
During the awards, the Team Cupidon, the dance group of the Soirée Cupidon of Jeunialissime, delivered a high-level artistic show that further led the audience into questioning heteronormativity and showed the reality of the LGBTI community in the DRC.
We remain happy people;
We know the meaning of love;
We know the meaning of respect;
We remain honorable;
We are stubborn survivors;
We are beautiful resilient;
We are eternally young of spirit;
We are jeunialissime!
The highpoint of the Hope Awards ceremony was the announcement of the winners, which aimed to recognise organisations and individuals keen on being inclusive in all their actions. In DRC, most of the LGBTI activists and Human Rights defenders do not have the freedom and space to freely engage. This Award was a push for governments to do more and be supportive of the community.
The Hope Awards are organised in 3 categories:
The BUMUNTU Award (‘humanity’ in Kikongo), focused on recognising actions carried out by organisations to provide access to human rights of LGBTI community. Le Centre d’Expertise en Droits Humains et Criminologie (CEDHUC) took home this award. Other nominees for this award included: FHI360 and Gaby Kashindi Shabani.
The SHINTULULA BIENZEDI BIEBA Award (‘change your mentality’ in Tshiluba), focused on recognising actions carried out for the change of perceptions and the incentive to awareness on the question LGBTI community. This award was looking at individuals and Organisations provoking the start of conversations around homosexuality in Africa. House of Rainbow RDC was presented as the winner of this category. Other nominees for this award included: Ballete Djedje, and Dorine Mokha.
The YO PE OKOKI award (‘you’re able too’ in Lingala), focused on recognising actions carried out for the reinforcement of the capacity and personal development of the LGBTI community. Patrick Maliani took home the award. The other nominee for this award included: Dorine Mokha.