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Copyright © 2008 by Artem Publishing House Elmwood Close, Termon Abbey, Drogheda, County Louth, Eire. This work is distributed for free and cannot be sold. To obtain a free copy, contact the Publisher. Permission is given to make photocopies of this book provided it is for non-commercial use. Any modification is prohibited without the authorization of the Publisher. All rights reserved. The biblical quotations are extracted from the New King James version copyright ©1982. Photography Copyright © 2005 Marcus Bleasdale, Human Rights Watch, permissions following the conditions of Creative Commons (http://creativecommons. org/licenses). Page layout and cover design by: Patricia Mulenga for PM Designs, Inc. First part: Global outline of the situation written by Evelyne Tshabola for Artem Publishing House. Note from the Publisher: the choice to write satan in lower case is deliberate. To contact us: - Artem Publishing House Email: email@example.com www.artempublishing.com - Pastor C. Mukenyi Ndeka Group SILOE, P.0. Box: 77430 69347 Lyon cedex 07, France Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Patricia Mulenga PM Designs, Inc Email: email@example.com
Ephesians 4:31 - 32: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”.
In order to destroy a nation, the strategy of satan is to attack the core on which are rooted the values of society, the family. He (satan) begins by dismantling the unity of the family, its values, as well as the greatest commandment that Jesus Christ has taught us, love. This inevitably results in the receding of society, as advanced as this one can appear to be. The actual state of the Congolese society with the «shégués» phenomenon can only make you realise up to what point the core of the family has been hit by the enemy. What we notice today with these thousands of children wandering in the streets is one of the direct consequences of the damage caused to the family. After having read several articles and having heard many comments related to the shégués, here is a piece of reading that should bring some elements of clarification to the tragedy that the Democratic Republic of Congo is going through. Indeed, seldom are the books, which directly challenge the Congolese people, regarding this phenomenon. The following work was put together in order to rally all Congolese to this issue and in particular God’s people. Our brother, Pastor Clotaire Mukenyi, touched by this human drama that strikes his country, received from the Lord this revelation that he put in written form in 2006. It is following this letter addressed to the Congolese people that this booklet was designed. More than a sound of alarm, this manuscript is a call to brotherly love and to unity in Jesus Christ who Alone is the solution to all our problems.
6 If you wish to have a clearer idea regarding this plague, take the time to read this work!
André Kadima Artem Publishing House
1Timothy 5:8: “But if someone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever”.
7 Part 1: GLOBAL outline of the situation
Ever since they arrived, they have been a problem. However, no one can blame them for fighting for their survival in such a hostile environment. Their peculiar mode of expression (violence, bullying) causes them to live in the margin of society, creating a group, a social stratum, governed by its own laws. They are commonly called SHÉGUÉS (or chégués).This word has an origin not clearly proven, might have been based on Che Guevara ; it refers to street children, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Origins of the problem
With time, writing on shégués has become very common, a topic like another among the numerous facts related by the press in the daily newspaper. Yet, to keep silent, would be to overlook their increasing violence. They come from the various layers of the population, these young children, teenagers, girls and boys, who found themselves in the streets; for some, following a sad event such as divorce, death of a relative and for others, simply a choice; a choice to flee the daily life stamped with the seal of poverty, abuses, rejection, the ill treatments in foster families, accusations (whether justified or unjustified) of witchcraft.
8 A whole sequence of reasons could explain the existence of this phenomenon: • The Decline of the economy which has plunged most of the citizens into an ever growing misery, leading to unemployment, a halt in taking responsibility for the children’s schooling, their health and even of their nourishment by completely disabled parents. The latter finding themselves in the incapacity to deal with the minimum of their responsibilities, lacking any other choices than to abandon their kids to their sad and improbable fate in the streets. • To this can be added the collateral damage of the civil war with its procession of orphans and children separated from their families, women separated from their husbands, the destruction of entire villages, erratic displacements of populations in the areas of conflicts, as well as inside the country where one can observe entire families flooding the “capital” in search of a better life. Most of them are very young; some of them still children, aged between 3 and 25. Toughened by the streets, they have learned quite early how to live up to their name shégué or phaseur (because of their tendency to sleep during the day in the streets on cardboard, wooden plank or simply the floor itself). Vulnerable, without protection, they are the prey for any predators, victims of abuse even coming from the police and military forces. The difference from previous years lies in the fact that they live in organized and hierarchical groups that defend their territory and impose their laws. The oldest have grown, and have formed families of their own who live like them in the streets; they recruit other young people at their service. Their procedure also has evolved; from minor thefts, intimidations, they have moved on to raw violence, the use of knives, even firearms, thanks to the help of shady politicians. The danger lies in the fact that from delinquency to organized crime, there is a thin line.
9 Survival in the adversity
In order to respond to society’s rejection, Shégués are yearning to be heard in their own way. Their victims? All those who cross them at the wrong place at the wrong time. They are not loved, therefore they assert themselves through violence and the more they are violent the less they are loved; a vicious circle from which it is not easy to get out of due increased feelings of mistrust mixed with fear and hatred. However this very paradoxical cohabitation between these deviating groups and the remainder of the population often takes place without clashes. It happens that people use them for needs such as shopping and odd-jobs; in exchange of a meagre portion of food, they offer their services in the market place, to unload parcels, to clean etc. They are also good informers due to their good knowledge of their surroundings from their observation post in the streets. The girls, just as much as the boys, live of prostitution or begging when they are not simply victims of sexual abuses. A study undertaken by Mrs. Bashizi Mulangala of the Division of the Social Affairs in Lubumbashi (Katanga) and quoted in a report of Human Rights Watch  reveals that rape and sexual violence on street girls are omnipresent. From the girls that were interviewed, all had been victims of rape. Even girls as young as eight years of age have had sexual relationships with men sometimes for money, sometimes for food, or simply to ensure their protection. To others, they are used basically as a mean of receiving money for so-called social projects in need of financing. They are also recruited to inflate gatherings of politicians in need of popularity.
“Vulnerable, without protection, they are the prey of any predators…”
10 Crisis management
The management of this society issue has been neglected and sometimes nonexistent since its appearance to date. The Congolese State does not have any official and reliable statistics which currently reveals the exact number of these young people. The organizations implicated in the fight against this problem, currently estimate them to be ten thousands only in Kinshasa the capital. More and more difficult to manage, these groups function on a survival mode where all means are good as long as they find something to feed themselves, because there lays their primary need. A life “like everyone else” is for them a thought pertaining to the imaginary, even if several of them really aspire to leave the streets one day. Did the government seek to determine the problem in order to bring an adequate answer? Nothing is certain. To control them different therapies have been tried: • The political solution included sporadic actions which did not result in the desired effect. During the past years, Mr. Christophe Muzungu former Governor of the town of Kinshasa, launched the operation “Kanga vagabonds” (Arrest the vagrants) for a forced reintegration of these children, an initiative approved by certain nongovernmental organizations; General Liwanga in its capacity as governor of Kinshasa tried to stop the shégués and send them to Katanga and Kivu to work in the fields, action that the Congolese work ethics disapproves . Some were put to the use of the capital city, cleaning its streets. The outcome is that there is no existing government policy to eradicate this situation. The problem not only remains but is also becoming more extensive. • Churches known as “Revival churches” have used up all their techniques of exorcism, often condemnable, like advising families to get rid of the bad seed, the perfect scapegoat, source of all misfortunes, in order to find their spiritual serenity and even a financial breakthrough. Any difficult child or simply one of precarious health, thus regarded as a burden to its family and also as an occult source of expenditure, can be condemned of sorcery.
11 • The local music stars also invest themselves in their own way to fight against this drama; they encourage them to keep hoping against all odds. How praiseworthy it is for them to see famous Congolese artists such as Werrason setting up as a defender of the shégués through the organisation which bears its name or Papa Wemba immortalising them in his chorus she shégué chance eloko pamba (cannot be translated literally - Good luck is accessible to all) in its song Kokokorobo or Petit Gaylord, chégué ya mama (Chégué, mama’s child). Unfortunately the majority of these musicians have a contribution that is limited only to a simple acknowledgment in a song! • As for the work of Non Governmental Organisations, it proves to be colossal with regard to the actual situation on the ground. The results are rather encouraging. Published in Afriquespoir , statistics reveal that in 2002, as much as 2,964 street children including 1,261 in Kinshasa alone, and hundreds of others throughout the country were reintegrated in families; 2,008 families of street children were identified. Free access to non-formal education and to healthcare was guaranteed to more than 27,000 street children and to children accused of witchcraft. Social workers were trained in order to increase the awareness of the community for the struggle against this phenomenon. On the 69 fostering and supervisory facilities existing in the town of Kinshasa, 67 are privately owned and act within a framework of dialog joining together different Ministerial departments (Social Affairs, Interior, Justice), Churches (Catholic, Protestant, Kimbanguist) and NGOs. The latter are more and more prevalent in this fight for the protection of the children: • The Teachers Network for the Children and Young people of the Street (REEJER), a non governmental organization created in 1998. 50% of its structures have temporary lodgings for the street children, other structures work on the ground, in the streets and in alternative venues such as foster families and the villages of these children. Beyond schooling, the network also supports feeding for the children lodged in these temporary centres; tons of food from the WFP (World Food Program), from the Embassy of Italy via the Ministry of Planning, and other organizations of support.
12 • The Catholic International office for Childhood (BICE) is an organization for children. It promotes among other things, an unconditional respect of the child, his dignity and his rights in regard to all forms of attacks (exclusion, exploitation, violence). Created in 1948, it operates in the DRC like elsewhere in the African continent, to assist the vulnerable children. More than 18,000 children to date benefited from their projects. • The shégués also receive assistance from various organizations such as: The Organisation for follow-up, Education and Protection of the Children of the Street (OSEPER); the Organisation for Redeployment and Protection of the Children of the Street (ORPER); Kim vision; the Organisation Claudine Mbuyi who is a member of the international Red Cross (Italy section); Pekabo Center (for boys) an open space where they can take part in animations to receive care and rest managed by the Assistance to Underprivileged Childhood; the interdependent Action for the children in distress (for girls). Some of these initiatives are supported by international agencies present in the DRC of which the UNICEF.
It is obvious that it would be necessary to bring a solution to the generalized crisis which strikes the DRC, to foresee an exit to the problem of the street children. • A firm government policy, shown by concrete actions, in particular a longterm public awareness campaign on violence in all its forms perpetrated to these children, penalties to all those who hurt them so much within the family, than in the churches, the police force and the army. Repression should come as a last resort for the recalcitrant ones. • The creation of structures of socialisation and reintegration, where they will be able to go in order to learn how to read, write, and simply give a meaning to their life. It took time to get to this point and it will require much more to stop this plague.
13 To conclude this global outline of the situation of shĂŠguĂŠs, the letter which follows will serve as a tool for all Congolese to analyze this sad phenomenon from a spiritual point of view and to bring solutions in the light of the Bible.
 Icon of the Cuban revolutionary movement of the 60s.  Which future? Street Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo Report of the Human Rights Watch- April 2006  Chapter IV: Article. 133  Catholic Media - October-December 2005 Edition. www.afriquespoir.com
14 Part 2: Letter addressed to the Congolese brothers
WHAT CAN WE DO FOR OUR SHEGUES?
Letter addressed to the Congolese brothers and sisters in Christ and to all the people of good will and of common sense,
I, Clotaire Mukenyi Ndeka your brother, am writing to share this revelation in the light of the Bible, on a phenomenon currently part of the daily news: the “Shégués”… indeed, they are the subject of this letter. Before I say anything, I will draw a conclusion regarding a paradox. In the 60s, 70s and even the 80s, religions regarded as official were prevalent: Catholicism, Protestantism, Kimbanguism. The people were not converted to Christ and no one spoke about the “Spiritual Revival” movement. In those days, people had food to eat, work and the entire country was very clean. Today, we have the so-called “Spiritual Revival”! The DRC is flooded with the word of God, “Revival churches” are born each day in a manner similar to spontaneous generation and Congolese preachers travel to the four corners of the planet. In spite of that, the entire country is stagnating in a misery that has no name and our streets are filled with shégués.
Up to what limit? When is it bound to end?
15 No! The time has come! Let us wake up! It was during my meditation time that these things were revealed to me from the Lord. Let us therefore together examine the living word of God, the unique source of real solutions, in humility and love, with sincere, multiplied fasting and, in prayers and the solemn reading of the Scriptures. Let us bring this plague before the Eternal ALMIGHTY, who is able to operate effective miracles of deliverance in the Congo-Kinshasa. Let us not be afraid to say it, this phenomenon “shégués”, is a shame commonly shared by all Congolese; whether abroad or at home, believer or unbeliever, educated or uneducated, man or woman, rich or poor, young or old. While we, the Congolese family, go through this shared suffering, we must remain united in love, prayer and fasting in humility, to call on the grace of God, like the Hebrews in the Old Testament, when they were facing difficult situations. May God help the Congo-Kinshasa stop this shameful haemorrhage! Let us not lessen ourselves through hatred, by using scapegoats (children being accused rightly or wrongly of witchcraft or bewitchment)! Indeed, let us not forget that these shégués are our children, our own blood! Today, we drive them away because of sorcery, but who has bewitched them? They were not born sorcerers. What punishment do we hold then for the adults who initiated them to sorcery? They are the perpetrators, let us denounce them and punish them in the same way if it is so! This is a REVELATION, and it is Spiritual! The presence of Shégués in our streets is synonymous to the destruction of our cities by demonic powers. Let us not mislead ourselves, these shégués we allow to wander are thrown at the mercy of the devil, and he uses them not only to destroy us but also to destroy our cities, over and over again, this situation of overcrowding benefiting satan the destroyer. If we take the courage to examine the situation, we realize only too well that witchcraft cannot be the only motivation leading families to get rid of their children; because witchcraft is a demonic possession imposed on the victim (shégué). We close our eyes to other demonic possessions such as stealing, lying, magic, prostitution, domination, homosexuality, etc. As you can see, if we must separate
16 ourselves from these demon possessed, as well as the “shégués-witch”, we will realise that, our homes will remain empty and our streets full! What a message of desolation we would give to the world? We respect and even deify those who in Africa and elsewhere hold temporary powers and who for the majority are wizards, sorcerer’s apprentices or related to sorcery. As for, shégués, we degrade them, because of the same sorcery! It is unfair! It is time that we stop with this hypocrisy! In the middle Ages, the Western world also made its mistakes. They condemned to the fire all the people accused of witchcraft; it was during “the inquisition”. They then turned over the page definitively, due to the high instances of injustice. Let us also put to an end this unfairness, which harms us more than it helps us! I can assure you, in the name of Jesus-Christ that the DRC will come out mature, blossomed and proud, before the return of Christ! Indeed, how do we manage to sleep soundly and to wake up in the morning to go on with our daily lives, whereas at the same time, part of our blood sleeps in the open air, completely abandoned at the mercy of the adversary, meanwhile we are standing there watching peacefully, Bible in hands, in our so-called dubious “comfort”! Really, Congolese people, we have reached the peak of indifference and lack of caring! Let us open our eyes and decide to take this plague seriously, head on, with fasting in humility and prayer, to stop it, once and for all, and to turn over this dark page of our history, by the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The pitiful state of our cities with their high amount of smashed roads, mosquitoes, insalubrities… is neither a coincidence, nor is it innocent. It is deeply spiritual!!! Satanic!!! Our habit to throw babies (shégués) with bathing water in the streets equates to serving satan on a platter, this robber who only comes to steal, kill, and destroy! (John 10:10). Making use of our “children-shégués” clothed in rags, he (satan) completes the destruction of our streets, our economy, our health and our society. Let us say it, the day we will no longer have any shégués in our streets, that same day, insalubrities will disappear from our cities! Our roads will be clean and practicable once more.
17 While the international community manages to set up protective systems in favour of certain animal species threatened of extinction; I am wondering why we, the Congolese people, are unable to protect our own children, who are human beings? Please, in the name of Jesus, let us decide to stop this self-destruction! Let us fully acknowledge that to allow part of its population to sleep outside in the streets and in public places is a curse! All that in spite of our numerous Bibles and “Revival churches”! Even other countries like France understood it, since the new government has decided to put an end to homelessness over a period of 5 years. What can be said about the late «Father Pierre», who fought his entire lifetime to improve the daily living conditions of the deprived populations of France! His individual initiative was followed by well-meaning donors. May these few lines raise up similar callings in the Congo-Kinshasa, for joint actions, all for a greater national impact. I am thinking about Christians of “Revival churches” (all of them) as well as Christians of official religions. I also think of all the good willing people and people of common sense that love for their neighbours. Through these lines, I particularly make a point of blessing God, for the splendid work achieved by all his servants, on the Congolese population! Thanks to “Spiritual Revival” movement today, almost every home to the smallest of all shacks, have at least a copy of the Holy Bible. This Bible remains the inspired word of God, from which all his children, from all over the world and of all times, draw consolation, faith and solutions to all their difficulties, because the word is living, powerful, effective and efficient for man as an individual, and for society as a whole. All of the above, starting with Israel, elected people of God and going to the ends of the earth, including the nation of the DRC. As Christians, the Bible reveals to us that we do not have to fight against flesh and blood but against the dominations, the authorities, against the princes of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-20). Our weapons of warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds casting down arguments and every high things that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). We are obliged to draw the conclusion that in the light of
18 these two biblical verses, throwing children in the streets, because of witchcraft, is a monumental mistake! They are the wrong target! The enemy is delighted, benefits from it and uses it to damage our land. Beloved let us change our behaviour now! We will get there by living in God’s revealed love. Let us remember that the greatest characteristic of God is Love, and that this love triumphs over everything, even witchcraft! I send here, a solemn appeal, in the manner of Karl Marx: “Christian from the entire DRC let us unite to build the Congo-Kinshasa together”! It is possible that our capital becomes once again “Kinshasa the Beautiful” and that our cities shine again before the return of our Lord Jesus-Christ. He is coming soon to take us to the Heavenly New Jerusalem, shining with its pure gold, crystal, emerald, sapphire, chalcedony, sardonyx, chrysolithe, topaz, beryl, chrysoprase, jacinth, pearl, amethyst! Do you realise how the Wise Architect has adorned heaven! All of this to welcome us there soon. Let us adorn also our cities, our country, brothers and sisters in Christ!
What can one do? Where does one begin? What means are needed?
Thanks to the Bible, living word of God, we have some possibilities to explore, as well as some solutions. It is necessary to begin with a joint awareness, so that the entire Christian society can communicate in the same language and say: “Our cities are destroyed! The destroyer is the devil”! Following the example of God’s people in the Old Testament, when they were faced with difficulties that invaded them, let us present ourselves before God, confess our sins in an attitude of fasting in humility, with tears, supplications and prayers, in the meditation and public reading of the Bible. It should be carried out without ulterior motives; without personal interest, but with a real attitude of selflessness, to allow God alone, to speak on this precise matter. It is also necessary to consider planning actions of great scale, to place all shégués
19 in shelters, meaning to shelter them in towns of refuge in order to eradicate this overcrowding that generates hatred, insecurity, fear and revenge. Some sort of quarantine setting but positive and constructive! This is why, in the Bible, God ordered that towns of refuge be built (See Numbers 35:11, etc.) where involuntary murderers and other social cases were placed. Working out a program to train them for manual labour such as joinery, masonry and all construction work, public services, agriculture, catering, mechanics… and teaching them the Gospel. For our cities to breathe a fresh and renewed atmosphere coming from God (Alleluia), it must be out of the question to see even one “shégué” wandering through our streets, dressed in rags! In order to finance this great social action, let us not rely solely on the Congolese Diaspora or on foreign donors. The reality is that our brothers and sisters of the Diaspora are confronted with financial burdens and manage only with difficulty to survive to the ends of the month! It is at the price of tremendous sacrifices that they send some money to their families. In our country, God can raise up local “Father Pierre”. If a French catholic priest helped by vocation his fellow-citizens and even beyond, let the Congolese servants of God decide with courage and a charitable heart to contribute to this struggle. I hope with all my heart that God will touch them so that they take an active and actual part in this endeavour, on every level (finance, logistic etc), without any more delay! We want a joint action of national scale. Christians, let us not allow material possessions and money to rule over us, but let that these commodities be put to our service! Let us carry out with dignity our calling until the end, having understood that riches are made of wings and fly away (Proverbs 23:5), and thus disappointing those who possess them covetously! Our kingdom is not of this world and we came in this world naked and will not be able to take anything with us. Let us change, let us return to our first love! Let us develop an attitude of selflessness towards money, as it was for the Christians of the early Church. This is the reason why, Jesus could tell this rich young man to sell all his goods and to distribute them to the poor in order to have an inexhaustible treasure in heaven and follow Him. This young man went away very sad because
20 he had a great fortune; he was a slave to material possessions (Mark 10:17 - 27). It is better to weigh the salvation of our souls on the heavenly scale, even if down here on earth, we are not worth a billion! Let us concentrate in gathering up an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, by serving God here on earth, being a disciple of Christ, in the ministry of prayer and of the Word that must bear fruit, humbly, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit! God knows perfectly his real servants who will receive from His hands the well deserved reward. Amen! This is why, we must follow the biblical law and comply with the rule of equality according to the word (2 Corinthians 8:13 - 15) and in the current circumstances of our Congo-Kinshasa, I address the Christians and I also rally to this call, every good willing person of common sense coming from what we call, civil society: “let us rebuild with what we have available”! By putting our assets to the realization of this social project, revealed by God to his servant, for the DRC, we will see the blessing of the Lord poured out on the entire country, with thousands of jobs being created for the people! The DRC will thus become liveable again, for our own good before the return of our Lord of Glory, Jesus-Christ. These thoughts were revealed to me during my long periods of meditation on my country, our country, the DRC.
God bless the Democratic Republic of Congo!
Written by your brother, the servant of God Clotaire Mukenyi Ndeka.
“Let us remember that the greatest characteristic of God is Love, and that this love triumphs over everything, even witchcraft!”
Note: This letter was summarized by the editor. You can obtain the entirety of the document by contacting the author.
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This booklet deals with the tragedy regarding street children in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the spiritual implications of the situ...