Written by SmithSTAND
Omékongo Dibinga performed on February 26, 2011 at Smith College. Omékongo is a slam poet/hip-hop artist. There was a large audience consisting of mainly students. This performance was the last event in SmithSTAND’s Congo Week to inform Smith students, faculty, and staff about the conflict-free campus initiative. Omékongo started his performance with a poem about the portrayal of Africa as one country consumed by poverty, HIV/AIDS and underdevelopment which is not the case for all of Africa.
Immediately, with this poem, the audience could feel the immense energy and passion behind his words. There was also this collaboration between Omékongo and the audience that helped to create the intense atmosphere strengthening his poetry. One poem after another Omékongo kept touching on our emotions and inspired the audience to want to take action. Like he said at one point during the event, his performance wasn’t meant to depress people and make them feel hopeless about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His performance was to inspire hope for change and show that everybody can do something to help.
After his performance, Omékongo opened the event up for questions. There were great questions about how someone can help, what resources are available, what organizations to trust, and Omékongo’s personal connection to the Congo. The audience left the auditorium feeling inspired rather than heartbroken. There was a great deal of interest in what SmithSTAND is working on and what we do as an organization. It was a great event that brought awareness of many prominent issues in the Congo and how we can help stop them.
To learn more about what you can do for the Congo, check out STAND’s Conflict Free Mineral’s Campaign.