To eat in peace, share well: a vision of a relational peace from the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is well known for incidences of violence, human rights violations and injustices. Indeed, ever since its formation as the Congo Free State (1885 to 1908) under King Leopold II of Belgium, the Congo has been imagined as a site of savagery, barbarity and extreme violence, embodying the primal heart of the dark continent of Africa (Dunn 2003). It is less well known that here, like elsewhere throughout Africa, a rich tradition of Búmùntù (authentic Personhood) endures – calling individuals and communities towards a relational peace (of social harmony alongside human dignity for all). Drawing from dialogues conducted in Kamina, the Haut-Lomami Province, this article explores a vision of peace arising from such a tradition. It asks the question – what might the struggle for peace look like if the challenge is understood not as a negative one of ending an “inherent” violence, but instead as a positive one of extending an existing peace?
Keywords: Búmùntù, Ubuntu, Peace, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)