‘What is the day of the night’: fulfilling the dream of reading across Africa What goes on…

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Elvis Gori Molubela was born on January 1, 1998, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Actually, his real name, or what he was given at birth, is Kabwende Nsungu Wilkins. Today he holds the nationality of Equatorial Guinea, although before that he was from Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Gabon. But these figures are anecdotal, because throughout his life he has used nine different names and seven different nationalities, always with the aim of reaching an education.

learn to read and write. Study. Learn about the history of your city. Form. going to college. Molubela’s determination to achieve these goals is extraordinary, especially considering that 121 million children worldwide have never attended school, and that in sub-Saharan African countries this exclusion is one in five under the age of 12. Affects one in and affects one in three. 12 to 14 age group, According to UNESCO,

Molubela’s story begins in Bukunga, a small town in Katanga in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and ends at the University of Rabat, where he studied law. Currently, he is studying Master’s degree in Hispanic-African relations in Spain with a scholarship. The desire to continue training has led him on a strange and bizarre path, sometimes surreal, but always true, which he described in a book published in collaboration with Casa Africa: what is the credit of day to night, and who signs with his other names: Kabwende Nsungu Gori. “The night represents my childhood”, explains the author. “I lost my mother at birth and my father blamed me for her death. I, like my friends, could not benefit from maternal love; Childhood was tormenting for me, that is the night. It is the day I left my hometown and came to Morocco. The day is freedom, the historical awareness, all that… and the night is the past, the negative part I had when I was young”, he remarks on the title of the work.

A scene of violence and carnage

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the countries in the world most devastated by violence and numerous conflicts over the decades. Located on the border with Zambia, Katanga, Molubela’s native region, is a region rich in minerals and natural resources that has also suffered from instability since colonial times. After the Belgian annexation, Moises Tshombe declared the independence of Katanga and became the president of this new territory. Between 1960 and 1963, it was the scene of another Cold War and there were several massacres of the civilian population, including the assassination of Patrick Lumumba, the then newly appointed Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

After this, there were repeated clashes and rebellions in Katanga, the result of which has come to the fore today. Molubela explains that from 2000 to 2005 the Mai-Mai (one of the armed militia groups operating during the second conflict in Congo) occupied their village and turned the lives of the residents into hell.

an incentive to get out of poverty

Molubela entered school for the first time at the age of five after the death of her father. The year is 2003 and since then, studies have been the goal that has marked his life, a desire he remembers from his childhood, when his grandmother told him the stories of Nkongolo Mwamba, a medieval warrior who fought in the twelfth century. Luba Kingdom was founded in .. Molubela wanted to be like him. “One day I asked a Jehovah’s Witness what I had to do to get what my grandmother asked for, and she told me I had to study: You will know a lot if you read. That is what gave me the spirit to break out of ignorance and live with vigor.”

He began a conversation with the principal of his town’s school: to be sent to school in exchange for a few stalks of dried cassava. At the age of nine, he took a route that took him from Bukunga to Lubumbashi, then jumped to Zambia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Algeria, until he reached Morocco in 2014 . An incredible path created by a young man whose only idea is to continue studying. “As I say in the preface, what I have written is true. The people who helped me are alive and can be asked. From my city to Morocco. I wrote the book because I made my dream come true, to study till university. So now I don’t need to lie to anyone. I don’t care whether people believe in me or not.”

Before Elvis was the blonde Molubela, he had other identities, but he admits he already has that name as his own. Chosen as a tribute to Enrique Gori Molubela, a deputy of Equatorial Guinea during independence (and Rita Bossaho’s uncle, the current Director General for Equality Treatment and Equality of Ethnic Racial Diversity of the Ministry) is the one with whom he identifies and with whom. Along with it are all documents and educational titles.

Cover of the book What the Night Owes to the Day by Elvis Gori Molubela.
Cover of the book What the Night Owes to the Day by Elvis Gori Molubela.Millennium Ed.

“The first thing I learned during these years is that not all people are bad. I always went for the good.” Despite his innate ability for languages ​​(he learned English, French, Spanish, Russian, Swahili, Ligala and Kiluba on a self-taught) and being very clear about his purpose, his path was plagued with difficulties is: he was still an only child, without resources or documents, who often had to sleep on the street, invent an identity to survive, or resort to the help and generosity of strangers or religious institutions.

With an unusual capacity for sacrifice, Elvis became a master of the four arts: truth, lies, manipulation, and deception, as he tells in various anecdotes throughout the book. “These are the arts: telling the truth. If necessary, lie down to protect yourself from a situation; Manipulate if it is impossible to lie or tell the truth, and deceive to protect the person who helped you, so that he will not have a problem because of you (…) is positive for you and will not harm anyone. Why do it if it is not necessary to lie? If the truth isn’t going to hurt you, then tell the truth”, he insisted, adding that he was not proud to lie.

Migrate to study within the continent

The data shows that the majority of migration from African countries occurs within a single continent, and only a small portion moves to Europe. according to him report for 2022 The International Organization for Migration, despite the fact that most countries that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have one in 10 million international migrants traveling to or coming from these countries as low human is classified with the development index. In 2020, more than six million people did so within that economic community.

Although when it comes to moving, most do so in search of better opportunities in life, work or to escape poverty or conflict, more and more students from sub-Saharan countries are leaving to study, or European Take advantage of agreements and scholarships with universities. specialist. According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, it is estimated that before the pandemic, African students represented more than 10% of all student mobility in the world. However, the case of Molubela is doubly shocking. On the one hand, to follow his entire migratory route as a minor and alone; On the other hand, because he knew how to manage to survive without resources and managed to reach higher education.

Molubela is clear that his life path is the fruit of all these years of effort, and he explains it this way when he affirms that he does not believe in luck, but in projects and strategy. An inquisitive reader, his greatest lessons are not found in books, but in the people he has met during this time. “It is neither intellect, nor education, nor school that allows us to achieve our dreams. They are the human relationships we have with other people. If you have a good network, it becomes easier to reach your dreams.”

Molubela is currently studying at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with a scholarship from the Spanish Agency for Cooperation and Development (AECID). Believing that telling his own story could help him continue his studies, he used part of his meager income to publish his book in Spanish and French. He is clear that his future lies in pursuing his doctorate. At the moment, although he still has several months left to finish his master’s degree, he has already completed the final project that he will have to submit to graduate. In the meantime, keep reading and studying in a learning process that has no end.

His idea is always to return. Because despite this mix of origins and nationalities that has accompanied them in recent years, the Molubela are clear that their identity is the Baluba, an ethnic group that descends from the medieval Luba kingdom and whose origins are based on mythological roots. Is.

Following his acclaimed Nkongolo Mwamba, the first Luba king, Elvis Molubela dreams of Baluba’s utopian reunification and freedom under the same identity. “In the area where we (Baluba) are very poor, there is nothing. For example, I left in 2011 and to this day nothing has changed: Grief kills the same or more than before.” “I’m going back, but I don’t know when. First of all I have to educate myself, get money and prepare myself intellectually. My idea is to stay here for about five years, do my doctorate and then come back.”

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