Category Archives: About DRC

The Sophie A Kanza Foundation at the Forefront OF Charity Work And Critical Youth Conversations.

Sophie and Louise Kanza

Sophie and Louise Kanza

“Millennials don’t want to work”, they said; “Millennials are lazy”, they said; yet significant social and economic changes in Africa will be and are being effected by Africa’s youth who have seen the gaps and the inabilities of their governments to provide for the people’s basic needs. Congolese born and South African raised sisters Sophie and Louise Kanza started the Sophie A Kanza Foundation in order to help bring changes in the lives of orphaned and poor children around and outside South Africa. In a space of 2 years the foundation has done more than the government has done through fundraising initiatives like Fabulous Female Fashion Show that raised enough money to supply hundreds of girls with sanitary pads. #CandyCraftsDay as the Sophie A Kanza Foundation is sometimes known is interactive and engages the children in making crafts and supplying clothes and sanitary towels to the girls who have reached puberty. A huge number of charities and schools benefit immensely from the Sophie A Kanza Foundation through sanitary pads donations, clothes and food; and matric dance packages for girls who cannot afford all the expenses of a matric dance.

Being Congolese born and living in South Africa, the Kanza sisters have been deeply hurt by the Afrophobia attacks that started in Rosettenville when service delivery protests erupted against drug dealing and prostitution in the area. Although the culprits where known Nigerians; the community turned against all foreign nationals and the attacks caught on in even some parts of South Africa. This meant that the sisters were not safe even though South Africa is the only home they have known which led to them producing and directing a video titled “Singabantu” which means we are people. The video featured young immigrants from other African countries and their flights as “Foreigners” in South Africa. The video went on to win the “I Am Migrant” award at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Plural plus Festival.

It is sad that Africans do not feel safe in Africa because of the harm that we inflict on them as South Africans. The harm is not only physical but it is emotional as well, from isolation to name calling. Despite the challenges, the sisters have brought together young people from different parts of Africa to engage on matters that affect us all and bring forward solutions and ways to work together. A conversation has been started and young South African are against Afrophobia which means the older generation is the one that institutes these attacks by painting everyone with the same dirty brush. One foreign person’s sins are paid for by all the foreign people who live in SA and that is not right at all. If the young cannot change the mindsets of the old then we will need ways to protect our brothers and sisters from outside South Africa from these senseless attacks.

The good work of the foundation has not gone unnoticed, Sophie Kanza has been nominated as one of 100 Most Influential South Africans for 2017/18 and Louise Kanza was nominated for “Advocate of the Year” at the Africa Youth Awards 2017. We really need more young people like Sophie and Louise Kanza.

Check out the Singabantu video 





Threads Stitched By Standard Bank: The Business Of Fashion Accelerator Programme

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The global Fashion industry today is worth 3 trillion USD however, Sub-Sahara Africa accounts for only 1% of that.

Of all the potential obstacles to growing this market in South Africa, it seems creative talent and exposure are the least of what hinders upcoming fashion brands from thriving on the international scene, access to finance even less. There is a definite need for teaching the business of fashion – fashion entrepreneurs need to be supported in professionalizing their enterprises and running a truly profitable business.

There is real opportunity to take South Africa’s up-and-coming fashion designers and turn them into powerful fashion CEO’s. Given the appropriate support, these fashion entrepreneurs could be running profitable businesses capable of competing on the international apparel scene, creating jobs, and having an impact on the South African economy.That’s why purpose-driven marketing agency NONZēRO partnered with Standard Bank to create: the Business of Fashion accelerator programme “Threads – stitched by Standard Bank”:

What Standard Bank is looking to do is support the entrepreneurs’ creativity with the crucial business know-how, mentorship and support that’ll propel the business to the point where they’re experiencing real growth, and running like professional outfits. The partnership with Standard Bank is a key to delivering on this goal. In order to supplement the programme with an academic backbone, the team partnered with the e4 Impact Foundation, an initiative of the Universita Cattolico of Milan focussing on impact entrepreneurship. Together they created a 12-week curriculum that focuses on the business operations of a fashion enterprise: From financing and retaining employees, to lean manufacturing and eCommerce, as well as specialized procurement methods and marketing.

The programme is open to all fashion entrepreneurs with existing business operating in South Africa, and is taught simultaneously from four regional classroom hubs: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The programme takes place two evenings per week for a 12-week duration. The participants will also be taken on action learning field trips across South Africa designed to showcase best practices’ across the country in various fields.

Working together with the Standard Bank Incubator and a strong eco-system of partners in business (including Mercedes-Benz), government and civil society, the programme calls upon the expertise of some of South Africa’s top business minds and thought leaders as programme teachers. The programme uses real-life case studies and experiential learning exercises to reinforce the academic learnership of the programme with practical industry insights.

At the end of the programme, the participants will be invited to present their new business model in a business case presentation to a panel of judges, and the winning participant will be taken on an international trade trip to Europe. The key focus of this trade trip is a meeting with a high-impact private distribution network enabling the participant to liaise with and present their business/products to wholesale buyers and retailers, as well as attending trade fairs.

The winning participant will receive an SME start-up pack courtesy of Standard Bank, will become a Mercedes Benz brand ambassador and drive the brand new vehicle for a 12 month period, as well as benefit from continued mentorship by the Threads team.

To participate in the Threads programme, interested entrepreneurs can apply online, via Threads website, (Open to entrepreneurs with an existing business in operation in South Africa for at least one year). The application process opens on 11th September, 2017 for a one-month period, ending on 11 October, 2017.


African Cultures By Young Africans: Bashi Tribe

Photocred: Patricia Lokwa

Photocred: Patricia Lokwa


Written By Eddy Mihigo

I am from the Bashi tribe in the South Kivu province, one of three provincial groups (the others being Maniema and North Kivu) that make up the Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa’s Second Largest country and is one of the most populated in Africa. The capital is Kinshasa, which is situated in the Central Western part of the country. The country is Surrounded by 11 countries, which the most neighbours any country has in Africa.  A lot is already known about the riches of the country, and the wars that plague it.

Geographically, the Kivu province is made up of three provinces that run along the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania (along the Lake Tanganyika).  This area is unique in the DRC because of its climatic and geological conditions. The eastern Maniema Province is located in the Plateau and core basin areas. Height reaches approximately 500 metres and the equatorial forest is an important portion of the area. The climate here is hot and the region has a very short dry season. Height rises towards the east, reaching 1500 to 2000 metres with peaks of 5000 metres in the mountainous and plateau area. This area, the North and South Kivu, is called the “Mountainous” Kivu. It is the Congolese portion of the large range of mountains and tectonic deeps that crosses from Northern to Southern Africa from the Red Sea to the Zambezi River. This specific area conditions the hydrographic net, because of the lakes that are situated here.  From north to south there is Lakes Albert, George, Edward, Kivu and Tanganyika. This system splits up two huge hydrographic basins of the Congo and the Nile rivers.

Brief History of Traditional Authorities

Administratively, most tribes in the Kivu are organized around collectivities, with each based on a specific lineage. These in turn are divided in sub-groups and villages. Various collectives are mono-ethic, but tribes often have blood ties with neighboring collectivities. The tribes’ traditional boundaries loosely became the basis of modern administrative boundaries.

The collectivity, and any lower administrative level is headed by a Mwami (Chief), who is also part of the modern administration. The same tribe can have several Bwami (plural) at the same traditional level. Their ranks are however differentiated by the (modern) administration (Collectivity>subgroup>village). Historically, the major responsibility of the Mwami centered around the allocation of land among members of his tribe. Today, the Mwami’s major role is to conserve customs and traditions. The Bwami retain spiritual influence over their people and continue to play a role in mobilizing people, as they had done since pre-colonialism.Each tribe has a council of elders to assist the Mwami in managing local affairs. The council is often made up of lower Bwami, and may also include men of competence. The Bwami also have responsibility over lower courts to deal with local disputes about matters relating to land use, divorce, bride price and rape. They are assisted in these functions by local judges who are selected by the Mwami himself according to competence. The next higher Mwami (if there is one) must confirm the selection.

The Ethnic and native Tribes of Kivu

With over 30 native tribes, the Kivu is one of the most organized provinces in the country, with each tribe having a well-defined hierarchy.  I will concentrate on the tribes I am directly connected to.

A brief history of the relationship between the Banyabungo (Bahavu – Sibula Dynasty) and the Bashi (Ngweshe/Kabare – BushiDinasty). The mother of Nsibula I yaNyibungawasNyibungawaKamome and was the daughter of King of the Bushi,NnabushiKamome. At the time Bushi was one and the capital was in Kabare in Cirunga. She was kidnapped at the time of the invasion in Bushi by the Mwami of Rwanda Nsoro 1stSamukondo. She would later be remitted to her father by the Rwandan king himself. Her father then sent her to live with his younger brother, her uncle, Chief Chifundangombe, who impregnated her. Ashamed of this, and to avoid any scandals. Her father then married her to the king of Bunyabungo (Buhavu) LukaraRwaNsibula, the son of Mbebaerimanza. Lukara then became the adopted father of the child that was born, who took the name of Nsibula, and became known later as Nsibula I yaNyibunga.

The Bushi people, who were a powerful kingdom that extended from Kabare in the North, along the Lake Kivu to the south in Walungu, were constantly plagued by invasion and infighting. This caused a rift in the tribe and today, they are scattered across the land, each with its own Mwami.

IJWI(IDJWI):  An island on the Kivu Lake in South Kivu, which was annexed by Rwanda at the end of the 19th century and ceded by the Germans to Congo in 1910. The Belgians made Ijwi a vassal of Buhavu in 1921, a cause of instability until 1940. The capital is Rambo. Ijwi was split in two in 1943 by the Belgians with Rubenga in the North, and Idjwi in the south.



Head of Family: The Mwami of Ijwi

Name: Roger NtambukaBalekageMihigo II (in Exile)


Sons of MwamiMwendanga:

  1. MwamiKabego
  2. Balikage, Sultani of Rubenga


MwamiMwendanga, +c1870. Son of Kabwika (heir and oldest son of BihakoBamanyirwe, Mwami of Buhavu) and father of:

MwamiKabego c1870-…, +c1889. Father of:

MwamiMihigo I Ndogosa c1878-deposed 1889, restored 1896-deposed…, exiled,  +1928

MwamiNtambukaBarhakana 1928-194 and restored around 1960-72. Half-brother of:

Chief Mahamiriza 1943-1960,

MwamiMihigo I, +c1998

Roger NtambukaBalekageMihigo II, Mwami of Ijwi

NGWESHE: A state in the Walungu District of South Kivu on the Kivu Lake, the junior line of the Bashi Dynasty who pushed the senior line north to the present territory of Kabare, also known as Bushi.


Baluzi: Princes

Bami: plural of Mwami

Bashi: People of Bushi

Bwami: Kingdom

Mwami: King

MwamiKazi: Queen Mother



Head of the family: The Mwami of Ngweshe

Name: Ngweshe XV Weza III Pierre J.M.J. NdatabayeMuhigirwa, Mwami of Ngweshe since before 1979, Senator, jailed in Kinshasa around 1998 (Exiled)


MwamiNgweshe XIV Muhigirwa 1936 – … Father of

Ngweshe XV Weza III Pierre J.M.J. NdatabayeMuhigirwa, Mwami of Ngweshec1979-…



Burinyi (Burhinyi): A Bashi Chiefdom in the Mwenga District of South Kivu, a part of which split to form the Chiefdom of Kabare.

Head of family: MwugandaBas(h)engezi, Mwami of Burinyi, c1997

Kalonge: A Bashi Chiefdom in the Kalehe District, South Kivu Province.

Head of family: NakalongeMpagama II, Mwami of Kalonge c1997 (jailed in Kinshasa in 1998)

Kaziba: A Bashi Chiefdom in the Walungu District of the Province of South Kivu (formerly known as Bafulero).

Head of family: Chimanye II KabonwaNnakaziba, Mwami of Kaziba c1998 (Exiled)

Luhwindja: A Bashi Chiefdom in the Menga District of South Kivu

Head of Family: Philemon MukubaNaluhwindja, Mwami of Luhwindja 1988 – 2001 (Killed) Successor unkown.

Nnindja: A Bashi chiefdom in the Kabare District, South Kivu

Head of family: NanindjaBalekembaka, Mwami of Nindja since 1989 (Exiled)

Kabare: A Bashi Chiefdom in the Kabare District, South Kivu Province, the senior line of the Bashi Dynasty that was pushed north by the Junior line (from  Ngweshe). The capital is Chirunga.

Dynasty: Mwoca

Head of Family: Desire KabareRugemanizi II, Mwami of Kabare since 1990 (Jailed in Kinshasa in 1998) (Exiled).


The culture in Kivu is a peculiar one, mostly because it allowed itself to be influenced by external forces (colonial), while it kept its core values. The constant changing local political landscape, along with the tribal conflicts have shaped the people, but have not cancelled the traditional cultural practices, which already had a strong impact on the rural environment where 80% of the people live. Almost all activities, from agricultural techniques to construction methods




#InMyCircle Music Video By Jean Daniel


After five months of internet,street and radio activations Jean Daniel releases the visuals to His “In My Circle” video,the video was shot at Faraday Taxi Rank in the Johannesburg CBD,its a paradox between the everyday ordinary life and the high fashion taste that Jean Daniel portrays with his image.

Follow Jean Daniel:

Twitter: @Jean_Daniell

Africa Reign: Sophie and Louise Kanza


Sophie and Louise founded the  Sophie A Kanza foundation, a self-funded charity organization. They came up with the concept #CandyCraftDays and rolled it out into sincere charity organizations and no fee day care centers that had little to no government funding in and around Johannesburg. They buy bulk of sweets and packaging for events  A few friends (all currently under the age of 25) collect the remainder of the goodies and they host the craft days where the kids create their own candy crafts using sweets.

Sophie and Louise were born in DRC and have lived in South Africa ever since they were toddlers. Although they are hoping to attract sponsorships , they still keep on working on their foundation. They have started collecting and distributing clothing and sanitary supplies to shelters and orphanages. Their organisation has grown so much through social media and they have volunteers from other African countries like Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon and Malawi.

The Sophie A Kanza Foundation’s goal is unity in diversity. Building friendships and learning from and about each other’s cultures. If the youth can become open minded and tolerant, it is then easier to transmit these sentiments and influence others. We also focus on the fear of foreigners (Xenophobia), in this case it is the fear of the unknown. Most of the young immigrants moved to South Africa before they could speak so they feel no concrete attachment to their home countries yet are still victimized in the country they now call home. They have no sense of belonging. But how can an African be a foreigner, in Africa?

We decided to use charity as the means to bring people together because we felt it was important for youth to know that they can make a difference, regardless of their nationality, race or financial status. We encourage the youth to go out and make a difference in people’s lives.

Many “foreigners” are accustomed to congregating among themselves to avoid victimization. We work to take them out of these comfort zones. Once we work together towards making a difference we learn that we are all the same, brothers and sisters of Africa. Not enemies or threats.

Africa reign to me means knowing who I am, where I’m from and how we are connected. Using this vast information and beautiful pictures to shine in my part of Africa and furthermore chop and change my surroundings.- Sophie

Sophie feels that there is  a lack of platforms created for dialogue and genuine interaction between locals and immigrants. The youth needs to create these platforms and work together. If the youth can become open minded and tolerant towards African brothers and sisters, the shift is possible. Also we need to create a culture of visiting other African cities to soak up culture and experiences that we can bring home to share with others. “We are all called to make a difference and contribute to the improvements of our continent”says Sophie.

 I believe Africans have an inherited entrepreneurial spirit. Even before paper money, banks, business schools etc. This inherited spirit need to be nurtured and developed to bridge the gap. Many skills have become income generators such as hairdressing, dress making e.t.c many of which are self taught.

For more on #CandyCraftDays and the Sophie A Kanza Foundation check