January 20, 2007

Shegue,Kinshasa street children.

Filed under: Documentary, Photo, Reportage — pix4notes @ 4:29 pm

The Congo is a supposed to be one of the most beautiful and the richest countries in the world.
It languished under the Belgian occupiers and a brutal, C.I.A. backed dictator.


Today systems for the health care, education, criminal justice and social support are either non-existent or about to collapse. The international community has largely ignored the country’s demise.



Children living and working on the streets, outside of the care and protection of their parents, are a relatively new phenomenon in the DRC, as in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.






Police no longer systematically arrested children for vagrancy, and government institutions to care for them fell into disrepair and disuse.

Around the same time, a declining Congolese economy coupled with a rise in unemployment
made schooling unaffordable to many poor Congolese parents.






An estimated 30,000 children live on the streets in Kinshasa, and tens of thousands more in other urban areas.


The large number of street children and adults in cities throughout the country comprise a growing urban subclass, with their own adult leaders who tightly control large and sometimes competing groups of street people, and their own language, with terms and vocabulary used uniquely among them.





Since at least the mid-1990s, street children in the DRC have been known as “shegue”, a term that was popularized by Congolese musician Papa Wemba in his song, “Kokokorobo”, and has largely replaced previous names used to refer to street children.


“Shegue” was described as an abbreviation of the name Che Guevara, in reference to the independent spirit and toughness of street youth.


Other names for street children are “mayibob” or “tsheill”, often used in reference to girls who alsp engage in prostitution.
Some street men and women, having grown up on the streets, are having children of their own, raising a second, and in Kinshasa sometimes a third, generation of children who know nothing of life but the streets.



In a report the UN Children’s Fund noted that more children under the age of five die in DRC each year than in China, which has 23 times the population.



Leaders of political parties have enlisted street children to create public disorder in mass demonstrations. In many cases, the security forces have responded to these protests with excessive use of force, leading to the death and injury of dozens of children.



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  1. Good site of photo journalisme. The Congo pictures on children is wonderfull.I do have a question: even, if I reconize some of the pictures being from Enrico D. there is no crédits..Who made thoses pictures? Are you making a web-photo magazine? Are you showing different portofollios from different photographers? Maybe it could be interresting to know how those photojournalists fell when they go on those difficult assignments? En tout cas BRAVO! Continuez! Je fais suivre.A;M Barthelemy

    Comment by Anne-Marie Barthelemy — January 28, 2007 @ 8:54 am

  2. “Shegues Children Of Congo”

    Artem Publishing House has recently published a book under the title of: « Shegues Children of Congo », the following being entirely devoted to a very present crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    The conclusion that my team and myself have drawn is that the war that has recently crippled our country, the DRC, has brought along with itself, a trail of tragedies (orphans, poverty, homelessness, broken families, insecurity, and displaced populations). The entire country has yet to recover from this disaster. However, looking at the problem only from such an angle would be incomplete in itself, because this phenomenon also has spiritual implications. In addition, to blame, as is usually the case, men who claim themselves to be Pastors of existing « revival churches » (whose behaviour is in total contradiction to Biblical teaching), would be missing the target.
    Nowadays, in the DRC, there exist men and women, christians as well non-christians who do a remarkable work on the ground to help these children and we have to focus our attention towards them by supporting their efforts, each one of us according to its own means and time.
    This is the reason why Artem Publishing House has just given its contribution with the book “Shegues, Children of the Congo”.
    You can obtain a free copy of the book by contacting the editor at the following address: admin@artempublishing.com or you can download it from the following links:

    God bless the DRC

    Andre Kadima
    MD, Artem Publishing House

    Comment by Artem Publishing House — November 6, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  3. wow this photos make me fear,,,,

    Comment by thomas santos — June 8, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  4. This gives shame to a country like the DRC. Why can’t we all think about this and see in which context each of us can help as they can. This is shameful in a country where a deputy is earning around 6 000 US dollars but fails to support children.

    Comment by Mugisho Ndabuli — December 1, 2011 @ 9:54 am

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