when a diplomat finishes his mission in a country, he goes back home…
kumbu-ki-luete thumb Manasé Israelle 33 years old
Who are you ?
I’m an artist, a politician and a designer.
Should we rather talk about music or politics?
As you wish
It seems you’re not afraid of talking politics; couldn’t that bring you problems in your country?
I’m the president of the national alliance of democrats for reconstruction. The second historical opposition party in RDC, after UDPS.
How do you see yourself today?
I’m where I’m supposed to be! At home, in my country. Anyway, in the country of my late parents.
Yes, well reborn. I did indeed live a certain kind of life in Paris, but now I feel I’ve found myself and my destiny in Africa
Why did you leave Paris after so many years?
I remembered my family had a plan: Paris was not supposed to be a place we were going to live for a long time. Was born in Switzerland. My parents and I left for Paris, it was suppose only to be a transition, but it lasted longer. At that time they were diplomats, ambassadors in Switzerland. When they went into politics, against Mobutu, it became complicated to stay in Switzerland. My mother did not want to go back to RDC, so we moved to France. First, in Bretagne, then in 2006, when I won a beauty pageant contest, I decided to stay in Paris. But I realized quickly that I had to go “back”. Usually, when a diplomat finishes his mission in a country, he goes back home. So I decided to go to Congo.
But you were not a diplomat, your parents were.
Until my father died in 2007, I did have a diplomatic passport. I have principals. I flew a first time to Africa to burry my father, in 2007. Meanwhile, a lot of things happened, I matured, and decided to come back in 2014, just for 2 months. Then I came back in 2015, and never left.
How come you felt at home over there, since you didn’t know Congo, you were not raised nor ever lived there?
In Switzerland we were diplomats, my parents were ambassadors. In France we were refugees. I was reborn in the source, in Africa.
Was transition hard?
Sure; lots of people couldn’t have done it. I would lie if I said it wasn’t. It all depends on how we handle things, it depends on our mind. I have a strong mind, not afraid of crises and difficulties. I know how to deal with them. It’s like playing chess. The first year I moved 7 times, in order to find a place where I really feel at home. Finding comfort here is not easy. I could have stayed with my relatives, but as I was an entrepreneur, I chose to look around the town, learn to know it.
You were a muse for Boucles d’ebene in 2007 in Paris. Do you feel at your place now?
I started photo shoots in paris, but was on stage as from 12, as a dancer, actress etc.
Then as a singer in Paris. Being number 1 at a beauty contest gave me the energy to do other things. Dancing rumba was a strategic choice. I could have done Jazz, as I’m good in both, but Rumba brings me back to my roots. I have this in me since a long ime, so going back was a natural choice. I evolve by ruptures and by stages. That was a new stage before becoming a solo singer. The title is Rupture
We are creative according to our ideas, and even when it’s moving, even when it seems adventurous
Where can your music be heard?
It’s easy on the internet. As we say, seek and you’ll find.
What was the first album you bought?
Richard Bona, don’t remember the title.
Arriving in Africa, did you get into an association for orphans or sick kids?
I arrived as an artist. So first I had to understand how everything works here concerning arts and culture.
I did not want to get on stage with my European knowledge and standards; I wanted to get to know local ways. I attend confernces that help me understand plicies in Congolese arts and culture.
I’m invited to events as Papy Tex’s manager. I’ve always had “daddys” around me to help. I’ve been doing this since some time now, but it’s not volunteering.
I was trying to help save our Congolese inheritance, which is declining. They were huge award winning stars, but as soon as they came to Paris, things changed.It’s here in Congo that I’ve come to see where the problem came from
I understand you help a lot of people around you, but who is help you, how do you overcome issues?
It’s time that the French speaking blacks get out of
being economically exploited. I’ve spent most of my time alone, but I think that the universe sends the right people to you, as part of a plan.
You have to fight for everything, and thank Mme Theresa Olenga, minister of provincial education for her encouragement. Solidarity and sorority are part of our program, as a feminist movement.
What about your carrier?
I’m multifaceted. Music has never been a finality. I have a brain
What are you fighting for in Congo?
I’ve accepted what my parents gave to me as an inheritance. With the ANADER. Our motto: Justice Motherland work
Making mankind our priority. His respect, his dignity, his value as an African man.
Conscientiser autant que possible sur l’Homme est la richesse quand il travaille dans le respect de ses droits. (Rien compris)
What is your priority?
I founded the international pan African school KUMBU-KI-LUTETE (EPK). Because education is my priority. The school will soon be labelled by UNESCO. Also are important for me: reconstruction, alliances, democracy, national identity… giving a constructive criticism, giving an opinion and defending causes which unit us. It’s still on our list. We’ve been serving the people for 28 years.
How do you picture yourself in 10 years?
With high responsibilities. Always.
Who is Manassé Israele today?
A woman of state. A woman politician. A political savant (???)
What does freedom mean to you?
Doing what you is in your stomach, your heart and your head (???)
What does social network represent for you?
Quick communication. Staying in touch despite distance.
What did you feel when you arrived in congo?
I do not have much space for emotions when it’s logical. But I was happy.
Does manassé scare men?
(Laughs) oh yes I think I do, and it makes me laugh
You have to deal with appearance.
Do marriages last in Congo?
Yes they do. Women are more respected. Men are considered men only when they get married. In African culture, you are incomplete when not married.
But I’ve seen lots of women suffering in silence. Marriage goes with sufferance, but that truth remains untold.
I lie to discuss with the elders to know what they think. While living the life, you bear. When you’ve lived it, you tell the truth.
When you are a strong woman, you feel that you protect yourself, and look at marriage in a different way.
The world is hypocrite: monogamous in law, but polygamous in fact.I fing it funny, but I don’t find myself in that. I’m fighting so that women have more confidence in themselves. Marriage has a real value, but women should go against « mwasi atongaka mboka te » (women do not build a country)
What is the secretg of longevity of a couple?
Communication and respect. When you begin with friendship, it should end.one has to remember that the other one is not a possession, and that he/she has rights.
Do you think that everything should be said to one another?
No, I don’t think so, but you should not take your spouse for a fool. When you are intimate, even if it’s only sexually, you share some information even without knowing. So why not just speak once and for all to avoid any issues?sometimes love lats only because one of the parties accepts not to see some things; and most of the time, that person is the wife.
What is an artist’s freedom?
Building his/hers work and realizing his/hers ideas from a to z. when it becomes commercial, freedom in creativity dies. It’s always a fight
What is the role of an artist I our society today?
An artist reveals hidden things. They put themselves in insecure and uncomfortable situations in order to reveal the true nature of things to others.
You have a lot of ongoing projects: you are an artiste, a politician, a mother, and you just opened a school. How do you deal with all of this at the same time?
I just don’t know how some people can do only one thing t a time! I don’t know how to do that. From an artiste I became a savant, revealing to myself who I really am. Doing politics it’s a way of sharing what I learn with others, to help improve human condition. Children are part of the experience.
You opened a school. Public or private?
Private. I’ve been facing the education system since my children wear born. It was the same for me when I was a child, I couldn’t adapt to the system. Because I had a quick and deep way of thinking. I’m trying to solve those problems I encountered. Our school is open to differences. We turn what looks lie weakness to strength. I mean I do hope so. Making emancipation possible by claiming one’s identity and opinion.to make it clair: building ideas
Why didn’t you make it a mixte school, with people from different backgrounds: rich and poor together, instead of a private school?
Private does not mean expensive. It means you get the right to have a choice. In congo no school is free. Anader is fighting to make primary schools free.it’s horrible and disrespectful to through children out of school because their parents do not have the means to pay. I sometimes wonder how people who do that get away with it. We all know that education is the basis of construction. I’d like the deciders to reconsider their policies, in order to give a chance to our country not to fail meeting its destiny.