The film’s name is short and straightforward: Hatuko Watumwa, Swahili for We Are Not Slaves. It’s a half-hour fictionalization of how vulnerable villagers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo fall into slavery at mines – at what they can do to escape.
FTS and our front-line partner organizations have been screening Hatuko Watumwa in Congo’s mining regions for more than a year. Now, the film is being shown throughout Africa by the U.S. State Department, which funded its production along with Open Square.
Screenings have occurred at U.S. embassy events in Ghana, Mali, Sierra Leone and Kenya – as well as in the DRC. The film has proven to be an eye-opener for those who are unaware that modern slavery plagues Africa’s mining sector in many countries.
The film is told from the point of view of a young boy whose family is forced into debt bondage slavery because of medical bills and a road accident. The script was developed in partnership with Search for Common Ground, CREDDHO, ASSODIP and JPT, and was filmed by “Collywood RDC” director Billy Mukendi.
You can also watch or screen our four-minute companion background video, Movie Night in the Congo (online in English or French), which explains how Hatuko Watumwa was made and features footage of the world premiere screening in the town of Rubaya in 2015. This inspiring short film demonstrates the value of mobile cinema units with portable screens and projectors as community awareness tools in regions without theaters or electrical service. More than 33,000 people have seen Hatuko Watumwa to date inside the DRC.
Learn more about our work in the DRC on our Congo webpage.