As far as I can remember, I’ve always lived by the Article XV, this Congolese expression which summarizes the way ex-Zairians, former and new Congolese and those of the Diaspora, like me, use their resourcefulness on a daily basis. I have two childhood memories. The rst one was when we moved into a tiny room in Woluwe Saint-Pierre, Brussels, Belgium, my father, my pregnant mother, my big sister and I. The second was when, one morning, the police came to order us to leave the Belgian territory. My parents were absent. My sister and I received the document and handled this overwhelming situation alone. This event was going to in uence the rest of my life. It is at the heart of a short lm I produced : La Lettre. Working on this short lm made me dig into a period of time buried in my memory and has been the framework for this new album.
Matonge was about the European discovering Africa. Article XV is about the African discovering Europe. Brussels August 22nd 1977, my father arrives in Belgium and will never go back. His rst night, he spent it under the stars, nobody being here to welcome him. My mother and my sister join him a few months later in Schaerbeek which he calls Selemboa (name of underprivileged district in Kinshasa )
Papa was King of the Congo; Mama’s looking for the mbongo (money in Lingala, language spoken in Congo) I was born on January 7th 1981. My father works in the Kenyan embassy and follows law courses at thesame time. My mother works as a housekeeper. In 1987, my father suffers from a stroke and loses his job. He who bene tted from a diplomatic passport, he loses simultaneously his papers and those of his family. We become « illegals ». Here starts Article XV. We live on social welfare and my mother’s undeclared work. My father goes from one administration of ce to another for us to be able to stay in Belgium ; He will succeed at the cost of his health and his dreams, while suffering from a dependence on alcohol. Through this project, I wanted to give my de nition of the Article XV based on my personal history.
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