Rachel Mwanza, the incredible destiny of a street childNews
“Who, me?” She could not believe her eyes. The pleasant, unexpected surprise could be observed on the face of the Congolese actress, Rachel Mwanza, at the announcement of the results that lifted her to the top of the world. Two years ago such a scenario was unthinkable and sometimes even unrealizable. How does someone become a true film star while living as a downtrodden human being in the streets of Kinshasa where there is no hope for paradise? This kind of questions can only find their answer in the “Rachel Mwanza formula”.
Since last Saturday, Feb. 18, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has known a new star in cinema. The young actress Rachel Mwanza, aged 15, was awarded with the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival. This award was given to the Congolese actress for the best portrayal of her character as “Komona” in the movie “Rebel” by Canadian director Kim Nguyen.
Such recognition is worth its weight in gold for Rachel Mwanza who just made her film debut and whose childhood was unhappy. For the record, this girl was abandoned by her parents six years ago. Her time was divided between living on the streets and at her grandmother’s house. From the streets of Kinshasa to the backstage of a big film festival, the incredible destiny of Rachel Mwanza was revealed in her performance in a movie of the Quebecker Kim Nguyen. The Congolese actress played the role of a child (Komona) kidnapped by rebels and forcibly incorporated into the army.
Through this work, the director shed light on the civil wars in Sierra Leone, Angola and Burma. Furthermore, he condemns the situation of child soldiers. The entire shooting of the movie took place in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that has experienced, like the nations listed above, many armed conflicts.
In the view of promoting cultural values and fresh talent, the Congolese authorities will without doubt learn a lesson from Rachel Mwanza’s accomplishment. It should be noted that the girl who carried aloft the banner of the country was among those once rejected by the Congolese society, namely, street children, commonly called “shéguésé in Lingala.
Who would have thought? They say that, even in a basket of “bad apples”, the good ones will never go amiss.
Translated by Harmonie Uwizera
Original French version by Mathy Magic