The conflict in eastern Congo may not seem obvious fodder for a cartoonist, but in his graphic novel Roza or the Courage to Choose Life Congolese artist Seraphin Kajibwami from Bukavu does a masterful job telling a powerful and uplifting story aimed at educating and inspiring youth about the many challenges that civilians – particularly women and girls such as Roza – face in eastern Congo.
Roza, which was published by the Canadian organization Development and Peace, also provides an excellent visual overview of the Congo’s history (pg. 4-5), its mineral riches (pg. 3), the importance of youth in promoting a peaceful and just Congo (pg. 6-7), and the use of rape as a weapon of war (pg. 38-39).
The graphic novel’s final pages are devoted to explaining the international supply chain for Congo’s conflict minerals that connects violence in Roza’s community to readers in the West (pg. 40-43). With vividly sketched depictions and clear prose, this compelling section illustrates and explains every crucial step minerals take on their journey from mine to mobile phone, from rebel and army controlled mines in eastern Congo, to trading houses, through neighboring transit countries Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, to refiners largely in Asia, and finally to the world’s electronics giants and consumers like us.
In line with Enough’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign, Roza provides readers with practical advice to help end this horrible connection. “We could demand that companies producing these electronics guarantee the minerals they use do not come from conflict zones,” the author writes.
Montréal-based Development and Peace is the Canadian Catholic Church's official international solidarity organization. In the Congo, the group works with church and civil society groups to empower communities like Roza’s to work together for development, justice, and human rights. In Canada, Development and Peace engages the Canadian government to help end the deadly link between our consumer electronics and violence in eastern Congo.
Watch a short video on Roza here. For more information on the novel, contact Development and Peace’s Kelly Di Domenico kelly.didomenico[at]devp.org.