19 June 2020: Blue Shoes Productions: In November 2018, we had the pleasure of meeting Jenny Dakosta Van Mputu. At the time, we didn’t know that we would be meeting someone with a story as incredible as his, one that is as inspiring as it is heartrending.
Throughout his life, Jenny has been an activist for human rights, and a protester against the abuses of the dictatorships in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As an activist, Jenny founded an organisation, No Impunity for the Congolese State (NICS), to help combat the human rights abuses in the DRC.
After one particular protest in 2006, Jenny was forced to flee from his homeland as the police were hunting down protesters. If Jenny had remained in the Congo, due to his high profile as an activist, he would have been tortured and killed by the regime. Since arriving in the UK almost fourteen years ago, Jenny’s life has not been made much easier. Though he often talks about how grateful and proud he is to live in the UK, his asylum case is still on-going and his future in this country is far from certain.
In the years that he has been here, he has continued to organise and mobilise protests in his native country, collecting testimonies and information from fellow protesters in order to form a case against the Congolese regime for their human rights violations. Jenny has been continuing his fight for a better DRC in spite of the difficult situation he has found himself in, as a homeless asylum seeker who does not have the right to live or work in the UK yet.
Over the last year of getting to know Jenny, we have been following his story in our latest documentary, Congo’s Activist in Exile. We hope to draw attention to Jenny’s fascinating story, and his continued struggle to survive in the UK, whilst fighting oppression at home.
As a society, we have a responsibility to protect and support our most vulnerable people. Refugees and asylum seekers often make up a significant proportion of this group, and it is essential that we do not lose our compassion and empathy for other people, especially when times are at their most difficult.
Jenny’s story is not yet finished, but it has taught us an incredible amount about the power of the human spirit to endure, without losing sight of your principles. His story is one that reminds us of why we must give a platform to the underrepresented.
We will soon be submitting our film for consideration to a number of film festivals, but in the meantime you can watch our trailer here. See Blue Shoe Production: https://blueshoesproductions.com/2020/06/19/congos-activist-in-exile/