War-Torn Congolese City Sings and Dances for Lasting Peace

A music festival in Democratic Republic of the Congo drew neighbors and sometime enemies to a celebration.

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The lingering question voiced by some is, did the Amani Festival succeed in its goal of bringing peace to the region?

Wenga is optimistic about the future and the impact of the festival. “We observe gradually a spirit of brotherhood reborn, but then it is a continuous process,” he explained. “We strongly believe unity and coming together bring peace. Through the festival, the exchanges, peace messages in music and dance, we know that sooner or later it will be different. Goma will be seen as an artistic and peaceful city. I am personally convinced that it is still possible to build a society of peace.”

Rebecca Rattner is a freelance writer and independent consultant based in East Africa whose work focuses on human rights and governance issues in the region.