Panel Discussion:
Politics of the Congo, Now and Then

Thursday, 13 February 2014 6:30 - 8pm

Rivington Place

London, UK

Past event

Led by Jean-Roger Kaseki (Associate of Human Rights & Social Justice Research Institute), Filip De Boeck, Noella Musunka Coursaris, Ludo De Witte, Kassim Kayira and Ben Shepherd

Part of the exhibition


Jean-Roger Kaseki
Cllr Jean-Roger Kaseki is the first Councillor of Congolese origin elected in the United Kingdom in 2010 Council elections and he represents Tollington Ward in the London Borough of Islington. At this Local Authority, he is Vice-Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, a member of the Licensing Committee, an observer at the Voluntary and Community Sector Committee that is a sub-committee of the Council’s Executive, and a member of Islington Housing Executive which is a formal advisory body to the Council’s Executive and housing directors, advising on all key decisions regarding landlord services and housing matters that affect council tenants and homeowners. He is also a Governor at Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust (the Mental Health Trust). On wider Health Scrutiny, Cllr Kaseki is a member of the Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee for North Central London covering the following boroughs: Islington, Camden, Haringey, Barnet, and Enfield. As a human rights academic, he also works as a human rights campaigner and is currently an Associate Professor at the Human Rights & Social Justice Research Institute at London Metropolitan University.

He has campaigned and lobbied for human rights in the Congo (former Zaire) to be improved following mass violations of fundamental human rights there for many decades. When he was living in the Congo, he led campaigns, conferences, publications and meetings, which denounced the various human rights violations committed by the then Congolese Government. Since moving to the UK, he has managed to keep the same spirit about fighting and campaigning for poor human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo and kept it high on the British Government and the World Community's agenda. He said: "It is vital for human rights concerns and fears from the Congo to be raised at major international gatherings around the world".
Filip De Boeck
Anthropologist Filip De Boeck (U. of Leuven, Belgium) has conducted extensive field research in both rural and urban communities in D.R. Congo His current theoretical interests include local subjectivities of crisis, youth and the politics of culture, infrastructure and the transformation of private and public space in the urban context in Africa.
Filip De Boeck has published extensively on his research and on a wide variety of topics including processes of accumulation and expenditure in informal economies, history, memory, death, and popular urban culture.

Together with Alcinda Honwana he edited Makers and Breakers. Children and Youth in Postcolonial Africa (2005).
Other book publications include Kinshasa. Tales of the Invisible City, a joint book and exhibition project with photographer Marie-Françoise Plissart (2004), for which they won a Golden Lion at the 11 Venice architecture Biennial. With Koen Van Synghel he produced The World According to Bylex (2009), a book and DVD which documented an exhibition about the work of Congolese artist Pume Bylex , curated by De Boeck and Van Synghel for the Royal Flemish Theatre (Brussels 2008).

In 2010 De Boeck released 'Cemetery State', a 70 minute long documentary film which examines urban youth's politics of death in a Kinshasa graveyard. Filip De Boeck and Sammy Baloji are currently preparing a joint book and exhibition project on new cities throughout Africa.

Noella Musunka Coursaris
Noella is a Congolese Model, Philanthropist, Humanitarian Campaigner and Founder of the Georges Malaika Foundation which is dedicated to providing all the tools necessary for young girls and communities in the DRC to unlock their potential through education. Born in Lubumbashi and raised in Belgium and Switzerland, after achieving a degree in business management, Noella moved to London and embarked on a career in international modelling. She is a fierce activist campaigning for empowerment of African girls and women. She has spoken at the UN and in DRC Parliament.

Ludo De Witte
Ludo is a Belgian Writer known for a book on the murder of Patrice Lumumba who was the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Congo. History Book Review: "The assassination of Lumumba" which is a book revealing the appalling lies that have surrounded the assassination of one of the most inspired African leaders of our time.

Kassim Kayira
Kassim is a journalist and a commentator at BBC Africa and his focus is on the Great Lakes region of Africa (DRC, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi)

Ben Shepherd
Ben is associate fellow of the Africa programme at Chatham House. His expertise: politics of the Great Lakes region of Africa – African conflict – UK policy on Africa – Francophone Africa. Ben has a lot of experience dealing with the Great Lakes as he was researcher and co-ordinator of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes region of Africa in UK Parliament and Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s expert on the Great Lakes region of Africa (DRC, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi)

Booking information

To book, phone 0207 749 1240 or email

Directions to Rivington Place

Rivington Place

Tubes: Old Street/Liverpool Street/Shoreditch High St
Buses: 43/48/55/205241/271 stop nearby

0207 749 1240

  • Alice Seeley Harris, Three head sentries of the ABIR with a prisoner, Congo Free State, c.1904. Courtesy Anti-Slavery International / Autograph ABP
  • Rivington Place, London. Photo: Pattercutter, 2012