[i] Hello Mr. [name] , we are here at Mr. [name] in Bochum Hamme, we have an interview with him for our project of the Bochum Museum, the Zeche Hannover. We thank him very much for agreeing to participate in our project today. We greet you, Mr. [name] .

[r] Hello!

[i] Thank you very much! As I just said, we will talk a lot about our city Bochum. We will ask you what the arrival in Bochum was like? How did it happen that you landed in Bochum? Why didn’t you end up in another city?

[r] I came here to Bochum because I liked the city. That’s why I came here to live here. I followed relatives who had lived here for a long time. That’s why I live here. With the people I live with in the same part of town […] If you live in the same street with Turks, the Turks don’t have a good heart. They think that this land belongs to them. That’s why our relationship is not so good. Each person has their own projects. We don’t visit each other, we don’t even greet each other. Everybody stays in his flat. That’s how we live here in Bochum. Other relatives live a little further away, we sometimes meet at the authorities, or if you have time you can pay a visit, talk. If you have time, you can visit your relatives. There we will talk and afterwards you can come back to yourself. That’s how things are with us.

[i] Thank you very much for your answer. You said that you live here with other nationalities, with Turks. Besides the Turks, what other nationalities [are there] living near you or in your neighborhood?

In my part of town there are people, many people. We have Cameroonians, we have the […] We have people from other countries. We have whites from other countries who are new. People who came from Syria, who came. They moved into the flats that are nearby. There are people who live with us.

[i] How many years have you lived in Bochum?

[r] I’ve been living in Bochum for five years. Five years, um […]

[i] You have been in Bochum for five years, um, now, if we, when you came here, what difficulties did you have here? When we look at the offices or the visits of doctors or the visits of lawyers. What difficulties did you encounter in the city of Bochum?

[r] When I came here, I had no difficulty. I worked where I came from. When I came here, the people who received me accompanied me to the authorities so that I could be registered. [a phone rings] I should register for [_?] […] then. [the phone keeps ringing] I had to be registered at the town hall. I was registered there, they had taken the address of the acquaintance where I came from. The owner’s address, then it accepted. I have returned. Then we had to go to the job centre. Then we went to the job center. At the job centre we were asked about the pay slips. I had brought my pay slips with me. During this time I had still been working. I was then registered. I was finished with the steps from the job center. Then she gave me permission [to] look for an apartment. I searched for the apartment. I stayed for some time. Then I looked for a job in Bochum. Then I started to work. Then the work was finished, because the orders became fewer. We had to stay at home and when the orders grew again, we would be called. But unfortunately we were not called. Then the illness that I have became serious. My sugar content became higher. Sugar, high blood pressure and other diseases. I was forced to stay at home, I couldn’t work anymore. I was sent to the state doctors, where I was examined. Then I was told that I could no longer work. That’s why I stay here, just like that, I sit all the time. From the doctors’ and doctors’ side there was no problem. I go there regularly and I get good treatment. After the treatment I stay at home. There is not a single problem.

[i] You told me that you came and took [first] steps in the community. We know they speak a different language here. You are from Congo, and there are other languages spoken. How did they talk to the people who are here?

[r] I could talk to them because I was in the German language course first. I have learned and I understand some German. I spoke a little. I took someone there who speaks better German. Words, partial conversations, things I hadn’t understood, he translated for me. He had also explained to her what I had said. Sometimes he asked me if I understood what was being said. I replied that I understood it. He asked me to answer if something was missing from the answer, he had added that.

[i] Thank you! You spoke here about the language course. Can you tell us how the language course you attended was organized here? How many months or years had you attended the language course? Please try to explain this.

[r] I first took the German course in the city of Oldenburg, where I had completed level A1. I had done this for a few months, but I forgot how many months it was exactly. I graduated and I got a certificate. When I came to Bochum, I was sent back to school so that I could do level B1. I went to school to do level B1. After a few months I often became ill. In class I often had headaches. In class, when I wanted to concentrate on teaching, I often had headaches, I sweat a lot. That’s why the doctor said that I could stay at home. I can’t go on to school anymore. That’s why I stayed at home. Then they called me again to continue. That was in another school. I could continue my school there. But unfortunately there was the same reaction. I was there about […] two or three months, then I dropped out. That’s why I’ve stayed at home ever since and until now. I don’t go to school anymore and I can’t work anymore. I only follow the medical treatment, I take the medication that the doctors have prescribed for me.

[i] They talked about work here. When you were still looking for work, how did you do that to find work?

[r] I got help from the job center. Through the Jobcenter I could get work. My job supervisor had asked me if I wanted to work. Then he told me to go home. He would look for work for me. Then he wrote to me and gave me an address where I should introduce myself. I went there and I met the boss. The boss then hired me. We made all the papers. He had then sent me to the place where I was supposed to work. I worked there until the work was finished.

[i] At the work you did, how were the contacts with the staff? Were they good or bad? What countries did the people you worked with come from?

[r] The contacts were good and we had worked with Germans, Turks, whites from other countries. We only had two black people. We had a good relationship, there was no problem.

[i] You said here that you had lived in Oldenburg. Where is Oldenburg? For someone who doesn’t know Germany, how can you locate Oldenburg for him? Bochum is near Holland, but where is Oldenburg?

[r] Oldenburg is located between Bremen and Hamburg. That’s where it is.

[i] How many years did you live there?

[r] I arrived there in 1995. When I arrived there, I stayed there until the year nineteen hundred[…] […] two thousand […] two thousand […] two thousand three. When I was recognized, I got the papers. There was no good work there. There was only field work. I didn’t want to stay there anymore, then I moved. I did everything I could to get here. So that I could continue to work. I then moved and I arrived first in Horem. I stayed in Horem [Horrem?] . I got a job in Cologne. I commuted between Horem [Horrem?] and Cologne. I worked [there] a total of about two years, then I had to leave the job. After that I came here, to Bochum. I continued the work here and later I lost it again. I was told that there wasn’t much work left. Some employees would have to take a break. I was there. The company closed our department. In the job in Cologne the company went bankrupt and it was closed. That’s the reason why I left the place and came here. Unfortunately, I had to experience the same thing here. In the end I have to stay at home.

[i] If you want to compare Oldenburg and Bochum, what is Oldenburg like compared to Bochum? Is Oldenburg bigger or smaller than Bochum?

[r] Oldenburg is smaller, Bochum is simply bigger. Oldenburg is smaller, Bochum is much bigger.

[i] The people in Oldenburg, how did they receive you there? The reception in Oldenburg and Bochum, what was better?

[r]When I was received there, we were many blacks from different countries. There were Guineans, Nigerians, Congolese, […] others, […] from countries whose names I had already forgotten. There were many blacks. When they got the papers, many left the city. Nevertheless, many still stayed there. Here the city is big and the people live far away from each other. But there, because the city is small, people live close to each other.

They talked about the papers here. This means that we Congolese often apply for asylum in Germany. We leave our country and we come here to apply for asylum. The people who are fleeing the Congo during this time, at the moment, and the people who were fleeing Mobutu during this time [second president of the Congo] , why are they fleeing [each] ? What difficulties cause their escape?

When we fled there was the problem of Mobutu and his people from the security services. During the demonstrations of the UDPS [Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social] against the Mobutu regime, against Mobutu [they demonstrated] , chased and arrested the people. They hit the people hard and also arrested them in cells. The detention took a long time and no one cared about the detainees. That’s why we took the opportunity. One possibility is to escape from the detention with the help of people. As soon as you are outside, you have to leave the country for fear of being imprisoned again and experiencing the worst again. Then you flee. And then you are searched to find out where you fled to. It is possible that you will come here and apply for asylum here. Every person who comes can choose the country that they like to go there and live there.

When the people here applied for asylum, or when you came, did the Germans receive you well? How were you received? Were they hospitable, did you get accommodation? Did they take your story seriously?

You welcomed us well. When we came, they welcomed us. When you apply for asylum, you are sent to a camp to stay there. You stay in the camp first. Then you have to be heard. The people from the Federal Office for [Migration and] Refugees want to know why you left your country, how you got here and why you came here. If you’ve explained that well, your case will be followed up well. If everything goes well, you will be recognized and you can stay here. If things don’t go well, you get a rejection. If things don’t go well, you have to leave the country and return to your homeland.

[i] Apart from the problem with asylum, were the accommodations good? Were the apartments good? Are good flats given? Was the food good and the health system good for the people who had come new?

Yes, the people were well accommodated, the treatment was good. People got vouchers to get food in the supermarkets. People got beds, blankets, new cooking pots, stoves, all things for the kitchen, so you could cook and eat. From this side there was no problem.

[i] Many people say that a serious problem at the beginning here is the language. When someone comes, he’s from a country where you speak an entirely different language. He’s come here now. There’s another language spoken here too. How, when you came, how was the communication with the authorities? How did you talk to them?

You were looking for interpreters. You invited someone who knew the language of your country. If you spoke French, these interpreters translated it into German. He had explained it from French to German to the officials. If he spoke the language of your country, for example Lingala, he was called so that he could translate from Lingala into German. That was the way to talk to the authorities. When you had an appointment, there always had to be an interpreter in order to make mutual understanding possible. After the appointment you went back home and you could wait for the letters.

If, for example, you have received a letter, they will write to you only in their language, the whole content is in German, what have you done to understand the content?

They could send letters. Fortunately, many lawyers spoke French and German. When you went to the lawyer, he read the letter. Even the people we found here, who had lived here for a long time, who knew the German language, could read the letters. We brought the letters to them and they read them for us and explained everything that was in them. Then you took the letter to your lawyer, it was read again, and an answer was sent to the responsible authorities and offices. Then you waited for an answer that would come through the lawyer.

[i] Mr [name] , you said that you were not doing quite well. We very much regret your poor health. That’s why we want to know how you communicate with your doctors? Do your doctors speak your languages or do you speak the languages the doctors speak?

The doctors talk to me in the German language. They explain to me what things are like and so am I, I explain myself with the little bit of [language] I know. We even understand each other. They tell me about my bad state of health and they recommend me to take medication. I shouldn’t just stop taking medication, even though there are a lot of them. Although I take a lot of medications, I have to continue taking them as long as there is no change. If I want to live on, I have to continue taking the many drugs. Otherwise I will die. Since I want to live on, I must continue to take the medication. I should not say that there are too many drugs. Therefore, I continue to take the medication and I still get injections against the elevated blood sugar.

Do the medications you take help you in your opinion?

[r] Yes! The drugs help me, they have protected me to this day.

[i] Let’s continue our conversation. We are in the city of Bochum. For example, if a Congolese here in Bochum wants to have a good time, if you want to have a good time [personally] , [if] you want fresh air, what do you do then?

[r] I just go outside. I can go to the city center. I make my rounds there, I look at the things in the shops until I get tired, then I come back home. I just sit at home. Or do I walk here on the street, I walk and take fresh air up to a certain distance. When I realize that the distance I have walked is enough, I return home.

Do you also have contacts with Congolese society? Do you have contacts with people from the Congo?

Many people, people I’ve left at home, people who have talked to me, some have already died. I don’t have any others. I have the opportunity to [keep] more contact with them. We don’t have contacts with those who stayed because they don’t have my phone number. So do I, I don’t have their number.

[i] I wanted to ask here about Bochum and also about the surroundings of Bochum. Do you have contacts with people from your home country here as well?

I have few contacts with people from my homeland, not so much. We meet with them at funerals, at parties. We also meet in our association, we talk there and simply stay together. Then I come back to myself.

And with the locals, do you also have contacts with them, I mean the Germans?

[r] Um, contacts with Germans […] There are no contacts, there are only contacts with those who live nearby. They meet us outside and we simply greet each other. That’s all. After the greeting everyone takes his way. It’s not as if we take the time to keep short and talk. We never sit together, there is no such thing, we only greet each other.

[i] We hear that foreigners are very supportive. Do you also have contacts with other foreigners? They can be Africans or people from other continents.

No, I have no contacts with these people. I don’t meet them. I don’t want to talk to them either, because if you followed them, there might always be problems. There might be misunderstanding, some would talk something about others. To avoid all such things you should stay at home. That’s why I’m not in contact with them.

But with the family, can you tell us about your family? For example, the children. Do you have contact with your family? Talk a little about your family please.

I have family and I have contacts with my family. I talk to them by phone. I call them and then we talk. They also call me sometimes for entertainment. We talk about family matters together. I have to stay in touch with them so that they know how I am and so that I know how they are. We talk together, there are no problems.

They come from Congo, Congo is a big country, it has a population where people live together. When you were there, you had contacts with the family. Now you are far away from it, are you thinking about your family or your life in the Congo? Are you homesick for your country or how?

There is homesickness, because when you live with the family, it’s something different, you talk to them […] [differently] than when you live far away from the family and for many years. They just talk through the phone without meeting her. That worries you a little. But I can’t take these worries too much to heart, because I can get health problems because of my illness. This is not possible because it has been said that I should not think much because of the illness I have. If I think a lot, it can lead to an increase in blood pressure or sugar content. And all this could lead to my death. That is why I cannot have too much worry.

[i] That’s true. They had lived in the Congo for a long time. They grew up there. You were used to a lot of things there, like the music, your language, French, Tshiluba, your tradition, your dance […] You were used to it. Now you live in Bochum. If you still want to get this [kind of] entertainment, what do you do? Don’t you miss all these things? If you want to revive your old traditions, what do you do so that you can still listen to Congo music or the language? Like other cultures in general.

I follow this, since there is now the Internet. The things are uploaded on the Internet, the music and the “Theatre de Chez nous” [theatre and film from the Congo] . With the Internet you can watch all these things, if you need that you can call it up and follow it. You can also follow the stuff from here, the broadcasts from Germany. If it’s enough, you can go to sleep when the time is right. Or you can switch on the television to follow the information from Germany.

That’s the situation today. But when you were new, the Internet wasn’t as widespread as it is today. YouTube wasn’t much. What did you do to look at things from your country? What did you do, please?

At that time there was no way to watch it. We just looked at the stuff from here. We followed the stuff from here, the stuff from Germany. Sometimes we saw Belgian shows or French sedations. We had also seen football shows on TV, how it was played. We didn’t have the chance to follow movies or music from home. If there was information, we could follow it to know what was happening in the world.

[i] Thank you! Let’s continue. Let’s talk about the population of Bochum. If you had to compare the population of Bochum with the population of the Congo, the people I mean as they are, what can you say? What is the difference between the two peoples, between the people from Bochum and the people from the Congo who live and work there?

In the Congo they meet, they talk to each other in their language and they meet again and again on the ways and they talk at the meetings. Here the meetings with the people from here are excluded. There are no long speeches, we will only greet each other on one occasion. Everyone lives at home. To avoid all things, everyone stays at home. If they meet by chance, they will only greet each other that way. One says: “Good day”, the other answers: “Good day”. Then everyone goes on his way. That is the difference we have with each other.

If someone doesn’t know Congo or hasn’t been there yet and asks you what life is like in the family in Congo, or life in Congo between friends, what will you tell him?

If someone wants to know something about life there, life there is quite good, but it depends on the place you’re in. It depends on where you are, the people you are going to meet, and the way you are going to talk to them. If you come to a bad place, you will see Congo as a bad country. If you come to a good place, you will notice that you will be well received. People will show you the country by showing you different sights. They will also show you different places in the country. What are the different places like? What are the different places of interest? Until the end of your trip or visit.

[i] It is said that Kinshasa is a city where people are hospitable. I’m sure it may be the same in other cities in the Congo, and [also?] where you lived. The foreigners are well received. What does this hospitality look like? How are Congolese people received, in comparison with the reception in Europe?

The Congolese, in the capital [Kinshas[r] are Congolese from different regions of the country, from different areas of the Congo. There are the Baluba, the Bakongo, the Baswaili, the people from Kisangani, the people from Mbandaka and so on. The fact is that the mentality is not the same. Every people has its mentality. If you meet people who are good, they can receive you well. There you can spend a good stay and do all things well. But if you meet people who are bad, they will not show you good things there. They will cheat you. Because there are people who may have a bad idea, for example, to cheat you. The things you have to take and flee with. When you arrive at a good man, he will accompany you well until the end of your journey and afterwards you can calmly take your plane and travel back.

We keep hearing that Congo is a country with many natural riches. But if you look at it closely, the people who flee, many of them come from the Congo. Now [there] is all this wealth in Congo, why don’t the Congolese benefit from it? They are leaving their country, some are applying for political asylum here in Europe. Can you talk about why the Congolese don’t benefit from this wealth and where it goes? Do you have an idea?

The problem is that the country’s leaders are stealing this wealth. They clearly benefit from it. They put the money from these natural riches into their own pockets. If the people want to profit from it, they are killed, arrested and imprisoned. That is why they cannot profit from it. In addition, the countries where we are benefit from these riches. The riches are all brought here. How can the people of the country then benefit? They cannot profit from it. We must hope that a good government will come, that work will be created for the population, that all things will go well. People could benefit from that. But if there is no change, there will always be suffering. Because of this suffering people flee the country and also because of the bad treatment they have to experience there. If you have done something bad, then if you demonstrate against it, you will be beaten and killed. People flee because they are beaten and killed. That is why they flee and come here.

[i] Mr [name] , you have experienced a lot through the Congo regime. Let’s take the regime of Mobutu, the regime of Kabila, the regime of Kabila’s son, and now we are in the regime of Tshisekedi.

The regime of Kabila […]

[i] If you should say something about these regimes, give an assessment about all regimes, what could you say? How did these regimes run?

For all regimes I can say it this way: Mobutu was a bit good, he was a dictator. Then Kabila came. When he came I wasn’t there anymore. I was already here during the Mobutu regime. With the [regime of] Kabila’s father, his regime was a bit good, but he didn’t stay in power long, he was killed. Then another came, he was a great dictator. He had killed a lot of people. He had brought a lot of disorder. There was no work in his time. He had only given work to the Chinese. He gave work to the people of other countries, but the locals could not profit from a single job to earn some money. Now Tshisekedi has taken power. We observe him first how he will lead the country, whether he will lead the country well or whether it will be the same as with the leaders who were there before him. Since there are still people of the Kabila regime with him, they are still firmly in power, so we are still seeing what can happen. Whether there will be a change or not.

[i] If you should give advice to our politicians, it can be the President of the Republic, Tshisekedi, it can also be a minister, what kind of advice can you give them, compared to how the country is led until today?

They will not follow anyone’s advice. You cannot take advice from anyone. Where will you meet them to advise them? There is no way to meet them to give them advice. They are always proud. They cannot obey anyone. Much depends on the president who has taken power. He is the one who can bring a change to the country. These people still have the mentality they had with Kabila. They still have that mentality there. Since he wants to change the administration of the country, perhaps it can go well. Maybe things will get better over time.

Let’s go back to Germany now. You came to Germany, then to the city of Bochum. If we can [may] ask, who helped you in the city of Bochum, who helped you? Any help, that can be any help. That can be the escort to the offices or something else than you were new in the city.

I was often helped by Mbombo Clemence, um, by Mbombo Clemence. She welcomed me. We went to the offices together. I was reported to her address so I could find my own address. Then I got this apartment later and then I could live here. I live here with myself now. She is the one who helped me with many things.

[i] What was the living situation like? Not only from Bochum, but when you arrived in Germany, the accommodation situation, how was it? The housing situation when you arrived completely new?

When I arrived I was assigned to a place where I had lived in a camp. There we had had a man, he was German, he had worked there in offices of big [_?] , of […] , in Oldenburg. He was the one who had helped us with […] ‘s things. He had read letters for us, he had explained all things to us, his child had said, […] Since his child spoke good German when he [the fathe[r] had read the letters, he explained them to him. Then the child explained to us everything he had discussed with his father.

[i] How had the accommodation changed? Did the housing situation improve? Did you leave the camp to go to another place? Can you explain a bit what the change was like?

We were in Oldenburg, where the camp was. Then we left Oldenburg, we were assigned [to a certain place?] . With the assignment everyone was sent to a certain place. Some who were with us were sent with me to the town of Vin [?] [acoustically unclea[r] . When we arrived there, we were distributed in different buildings. Everyone had his apartment, some lived in a room with two people. We had lived there all those years we stayed there until we got the papers. Then everyone chose the place where they wanted to live.

If you were to compare the life of here, what you live here, with the life in the Congo, what would you say?

Life here and there is different. Here they have everything. They have a good medical treatment. There is no good medical treatment in the Congo. It’s hard to make money there. It’s hard to afford food. If you were to stay without everything until […] Because I have so many diseases, if I were in the Congo, I would have died a long time ago. I would have died a long time ago. Because there’s good medical treatment here and all things are going well, I’m still [alive?] […] . There’s no way to compare that, life from here and from the Congo, it’s not the same, there’s a big difference.

Why is there no good medical treatment in the Congo? What’s missing, hospitals, medications, doctors’ self-confidence, or what?

There are no drugs, the doctors are not well paid. It would be better if they were paid better. They have to treat the people with the bad pay. Here, when you are sick, you will treat first. But in Congo, if you’re sick and you go to a hospital, you have to pay money first, then you get treated. If there is no money, you will not be treated, you will die [soone[r] . They’ll say they’re waiting for the money to treat you.

But I know that when we were children and grew up, the hospitals were good. How did this change come about?

The hospitals were good in the time of the government of Kasa Vubu [first president] and Mobutu [second president] when he came to power. In those days the treatment was good. People were treated well without any problems. The change came when Kabila took power. He did not pay the doctors. He did nothing at all. Do the doctors and the nurses have to treat the people without money? That is why life became difficult. They had to buy drugs to treat people better, but the drugs were not bought. They took the money and put it in their pockets so they could fill their pockets.

It’s bad because then, I remember, civil servants had cards for treatment. They didn’t have to pay the money themselves in the hospital. You can still do this today.

All employees of the state had cards. If you were ill, you went to the state hospital and there you got treatment. If you were sick as a child, your parents took you to the hospital and you were treated with this card. But now such things can no longer be done. That’s why I said that we should watch the new president to see if he can bring such a thing back to the country, if it will be feasible. Let him work first, we should wait. We will see if he has already worked for a year or two, then we can see whether there is a change. Since he is only three months in power, three months is not enough to detect a change.

[i] Why is it difficult to [establish] general contacts with people here? Because you said that you had few contacts, both with Congolese and Africans, or with Germans. Why is that difficult?

It’s not hard, it’s just to avoid problems. There are stories like: “He did it this way, see what they do”. See how we have the Turks who live on this street, they have an evil heart for people. When they see you pass, they tell [whisper?] a lot, when you sit, they tell a lot. They want other people [not?] . They just want them [alone] to be here, they think the land belongs to them. But the locals aren’t like that. They live well with the people, they like to greet us. They can ask you something and you can answer them and that’s all, then you can continue your way. But the Turks are not like that, they think that this is their homeland.

Is the relationship the same only in this part of Bochum, or is it the same in other parts?

It’s in the part of town where I live. In other parts of the city I don’t know how their mentality is there. They are always the same, they don’t change. They are the same everywhere.

Maybe they are many in this part of town compared to other foreigners, maybe that’s why you behave this way?

[r] Yes! There are a bit many of them.

Do you have any contacts with Congolese society in Bochum or not so much?

I have contact with the Congolese society in Bochum.

What is this contact like?

If there are meetings, we go there, we sit together. We talk about the situation of the country, how things are going, how we live here. If someone has a problem, we will visit him, we will help him or her. These are the things we do and this is the way we speak. There is no problem.

Do you also have contacts with your region or your tribute [?] , with those you grew up with, in the Congo, or with those you went to school with as a young adult? Do you have any contacts with them?

No, I have no contacts with them, they have stayed for 25 years. Some have already died, others I know nothing about. Those who went to school with me, I don’t know in which places or countries they are now. But here in Europe or in Germany I don’t see any. I have no possibility to be in contact with them.

[i] Let’s talk about the family again. Do your children have contact with you, do they call you, do they visit you? Do they [the children] think of their father? Or have they forgotten their father?

The children cannot forget their father. I talk to my children. Some are in South Africa, some are in Kinshasa and one child is in Mbuji Mayi. We talk on the phone, we talk together. They ask about my health, how I feel, whether I am already free of the disease or whether the disease is still with me and they disturb me every day. I told them that I was slowly getting better. Since I can get up, since I can walk, it’s good. It’s just that one day the disease becomes severe. When I go to the doctor, I get treated. He can change the medication that I have been taking for a long time. Then sugar will go down. There will be little left.

[i] Do you [the children] also think about visiting you here or that you are going to visit them?

They want me to go to them to meet them. How can I meet them now? Because I’m supposed to work first […] I can’t work now. How can I get money and buy a plane ticket? Then travel and travel back. I still have to buy some things for them that I can give them. Now I have no job, how can I travel there, how can I buy things for them? How can I buy a return ticket? All this is also a problem.

[i] We would like to talk a little about childhood. You were born in Mbuji Mayi, weren’t you?

I was born in Kananga.

Can you tell us about the city of Kananga, because we only hear about this city on the news. We only see pictures. Maybe you can say something about this city so we can get an idea.

We were in Kananga, we were in school, we were little children. There was a war there in 1960. The inhabitants of Kananga had chased away the Baluba from Mbuji Mayi [=inhabitants of the Kasai region in the centre of the Congo] . It was the Baluba of Mbuji Mayi who were chased away. They all had to go back to their hometowns. We had left the city and returned to our hometown. We were little children. The houses that the parents had built had all remained. They had left cars with which they had driven. My father had a Ford and a VW, he had to leave both cars there. It wasn’t [just] him, but all the people, many Baluba, who lived there. They had left their things there. We just left, we fled, all the way to Mbuji Mayi. We were first in Muene Ditu. We stayed some time in Muene Ditu. Then we left Muene Ditu and went to Mbuji Mayi. There they had given us a place. They had given my father a piece of land. All the people who came were given land. They bought them and built a house. My father built his house and we lived there. We also grew up there. Everyone started their lives after that, until we grew up, until we came here. After that he died there. He died when I had already fled because of the problem when I was arrested. Then I came here. He had stayed there. I then got the news that he had died. I only organised a funeral service here.

What work did your father do? What was his job and did he do it?

He worked for the TP [Travaux Publique, the State] . He was, he fixed cars and metal sheets after an accident. [Dent work]

[i] Car mechanic was he?

[r] Yes!

Why were the Baluba chased away from Kananga by Muji Mayi? They are the same people, they are the same country, they are all Congolese. Why do the Congolese flee today to come to Europe, but in the past the people in their own country chased away their own people? For what reasons?

That was what happened: Because they [Baluba from Kanang[r] didn’t want the Baluba [from Mbuji May[i] to stay with them any longer. They chased them all away, they were supposed to go back to their home town. Forcibly chased them away, they beat people and even killed them. It was almost an ethnic war. Then the hunted went away. Are the Baluba good? When they did these things, they also came to Mbuji Mayi. But the Baluba of Mbuji Mayi had not caused any problems. But if you go to Kananga, you will come across controls. They will ask you about your stay. When you show the card, they will ask you about the tax, they will seriously disturb you, even arrest you so that you can pay money as a bribe. That’s why I told you that the people, that each tribe, has a different mentality. It’s [not] that we are Congolese, so we’re all the same. We’re not all the same. Each group has its own way of life and [its own] way of reacting to something. Since many are killed by Kabila, they have come back to us so that they can form a single group with Baluba of Mbuji Mayi.

[i] Baluba of Mbuji Mayi and Kananga are different?

We are all Baluba, we speak the same language. But they have their bad mentality, they don’t have a good mentality. How they are, if you want to do business with them, give money together to start something together, he will cheat you sometime. He would run away with the money.

Back when we were kids, there was a war between the Baluba and the Baluba, was it this war or what?

That I was the war, that had started in 1960. At that time the war started. People were killed. There was a lot of stupidity. Since they said that they had changed, that we now agree, we will see how they will administer the country.

Since you talked about the family, can I ask you how many children you grew up with in the family?

In the family, our father had three wives. My mother is the first woman who gave birth to four children. The second had no children, and the third woman had seven children. She has already died, the third woman. The second has already died, only our mother is still alive, she has become very old.

And are all the children still in Congo or do they live outside the country?

Some have already died. The second our father [our father?] has already died. He was a captain in the army, he was a pilot in the army. He died, he was sick. He died, allegedly Kabila had given them things to kill people. The one of […] the sixth was also sick, he died then. The one of the third woman, two have already died. The second and the third, they have already died. The others […] Some, I heard, went to Shaba when I came here. The first one was in Kinshasa, the others stayed in Mbuji Mayi.

Do you have a souvenir from your childhood, something that reminds you of your childhood? Any souvenirs?

[r] Souvenirs from here or?

From childhood, something you grew up with, something of your childhood, maybe a souvenir, something you sometimes think about what happened. Something that reminds you of your childhood.

I had all these things. I also had photos from my childhood. Since I escaped, all these things stayed in the country. I didn’t come here with any of it.

Do you have a friend from your childhood who you remember, with whom you grew up?

The friends I grew up with have already died, many have already died. One died in Kinshasa in the last few days.

[i] What was his name?

[r] Kabeya. The other, the other died in the last days, he had diabetes.

[i] In Kinshasa?

In Mbuji Mayi. He didn’t know he had sugar [diabetes] . When he learned that, it was too late. Then he went to the hospital and he was treated, but it didn’t work out, then he died.

[i] What was his name?

[r] Mbuyi. Another also died with sugar [diabetes] and blood pressure. His name was Tshisungu.

[i] Always in the Congo?

[r] What?

Did he die in the Congo?

In the Congo, in Mbuji Mayi. Two died in Mbuji Mayi and one died in Kinshasa.

Those who stayed don’t you know any names?

Those who have remained, the others, there are none. I have said that many people have already died. Others are scattered, like Mukadi, Fusee, who died. He who had money went to South Africa, he died there, and then his body was taken back to Kinshasa, where he was buried. But Kaninda died in Mbiyi Mayi, many people died. One stayed in Mbuji Mayi. He often calls me and asks for money. He says that life is hard, he has no possibilities. His name is Lumbala. He is still alive. I answered him that I have no money. When I get money, I will send something. At the moment I have no money.

Did the parents pray?

[r] Yes! They prayed to the Catholic Church. Every Sunday at six o’clock they got up, dressed well, then they went to church. After the service they came back and sat in their special place and they had made certain drinks and drunk. When the drink was ready and when they had finished talking, everyone returned to their house to rest.

And you, had you prayed with them, or had you had any other faith?

They went to the service at six o’clock, then they came back. We were in the service of […] in the third service. You could go to the third service around nine o’clock, we left, we attended, and we came out around ten or eleven o’clock. Then we came back home.

[i] How was the church organized there?

The Catholic Church is just as organized there as it is here in Europe. It is good. We went there, we took part in the service, we sat on the benches, we prayed and then the service was over. You could also make a donation. If you had a franc, you could donate. At the end […] you could also get communion. Then, at the end, we went out and we went back home.

Do you have contacts with the church here as well?

I don’t go to church here. I went to church in the city where I arrived. That was in Oldenburg. There I went to church, I was the treasurer there. Since I moved out there and moved in here, I stopped going to church.

[i] Was the church a free Protestant church or a Catholic church? No, it wasn’t a Catholic church, it was a free Protestant church. We prayed together with the Germans. In the morning we prayed with the Germans and in the afternoon we only met with the blacks. We prayed, then we went out. They even gave us a bus to drive the believers. They were picked up from their homes because they had a long way to go to church. So that we could bring them to the church and so that we could have many people in the church. After the service on Sunday we brought them back to their homes. Those who had their own cars had come alone with their family.

But why did you break off contact with the church? Because it was a good thing, if we look at it carefully?

But the church stayed there, there is no church here. The church stayed in the city where I had lived. When I came here, the pastor who was with us had asked me if I would stay at home without going to church. I had answered him that I would stay at home, that I would not go to church. He had advised me to go to Baudouen to pray. I replied that I could not go to Baudouen because he did not behave well. I heard things about his church, so I can’t go there to pray. I had explained that to him and he said, because it is so, I can stay at home. He asked if there is no church of blacks here. I had answered him that there is a Congolese church only of him. There are some, but from people from other countries. They preach in English.

We come to the end, there are still seventeen minutes left. In Mbuji Mayi, where did you go to school? And in which city did you go to primary school and secondary school?

I did all my schools in Mbuji Mayi. I did primary school and after graduation I got a certificate. Then I went to secondary school. In secondary school I did mechanics. I did that for about three years. After three years I was hired in a state workshop to do mechanics. We were first tested whether we knew the work or not. They had seen that it was good and they said that I should stay there so that I could work there. I replied that I couldn’t work there because the pay wasn’t high enough. They tried to convince me, but I refused. They followed me all the way home to [convince me?] to work there [?] They said that I knew the work well. Nevertheless, I continued to refuse. Then I did my own things. I won money [earned?] , then I bought cars and worked as a taxi entrepreneur. If they [the cars] broke down, I fixed them myself. I repaired them and the car continued to be used for the work it was supposed to do. When I was travelling, I went for other things, like looking for diamonds in the woods, or buying elephant bone [ivory?] , then I came back. When I came back, I had cars that were broken. I repaired them and they were still in use. Then came the problems that caused me to come here. When I came here, the cars that had stayed there were sold. There were two of them. That was a 504 for seven people and and […] 504, 504 for five people and 404 for seven people.

[i] Thank you very much! They have a big family. Why didn’t the family continue this work of the taxi company?

The person I showed the work to died. He died when I was still in Africa. He got sick because he had drunk a lot of alcohol. I took him to the doctor. He was then examined. It was found that his liver was not good. Liquid had been found there. There was a lot of fluid there that had formed. They had forbidden him to drink alcohol and he should not eat chili anymore. When things got better, and since he had a car to drive, he was often secretly drinking alcohol. So often he had drunk alcohol in secret. Then the illness came back. The doctor had told him that if he would drink alcohol again and if the illness would come back, he would die. What the doctor said also happened. When the cars remained, the father saw that no person who could have worked with them was there. One of my oldest brothers, when I was away, the cars were still in use. He dismantled the radiator of a car and sold it. He left the car just like that. That’s why the father saw it that it was better to sell the cars. He therefore looked for customers and sold the cars. Then he took the money.

They say Kasai, Mbuji Mayi or Kananga are the cities of diamonds. You were in these cities, you grew up there, can you tell us about the diamonds?

The region Kasai Occidental [West Kasa[i] has diamonds in the area of the city Tshikapa. And in the villages around Tshikapa, as in Kamonia and other small villages surrounding Tshikapa. Mbuji Mayi also has many diamonds. In Mbuji Mayi first, in the village of Tshimona, if you cross the river Krash [indistinctly] . In many areas around Mbuji Mayi there are diamonds, for example in Miabi, in Kabeya Kamuanga. There are diamonds everywhere, in many places. Also in Natshitenge. Diamonds were found inside people’s houses, then soldiers came, they arrested people and destroyed the houses. There are many cities that have diamonds. You can go to different cities to buy diamonds. Now, with the politicians, the camps have gone bad. Diamonds are hard to get now.

[i] How are diamonds won?

To win diamonds, you have to dig holes, like […] It’s like these … They go and test them. They dig holes, up to seven meters or up to ten meters deep, even five meters deep. They’ll find gravel down there, they’ll put that gravel in sacks and bring the sacks up. They then take the sacks into the river where they have to sift the stones. Often holes are made near the river. As I said, they will sieve the stones. Then diamonds are taken out and if they continue to sieve, then you will see how small stones and black stones, how coal comes out. Inside the small stones are diamonds. If you seven, take at the same time the diamonds that are mixed with small stones. Throw the big red stones back into the water. You will only leave the black stones and the diamonds with you. If you sieve that in the water, they will lift up the sieve from time to time, then you will see the diamonds inside the stones. [Then they see] where they are.

Is that a private person doing that? And then when they get them, they sell them, or how’s that going?

If they have money, they take people for it, these people, that can be ten, or seven, or even eight, they have to give them money so that they can leave it in their family, for the nutrition of their wife and children. Then they go with them to the place where they have to dig. They must also give them money so that they can buy food that they will eat at work. In the forest they still have to find accommodation for them, where they will sleep during the whole time of work. Then, every morning, they will go to work early until evening. They will put the extracted diamonds in a cup. Someone will sit there to take the diamonds and put them in the cup. When you are finished, the diamonds will be weighed. Then you know the weight of the diamonds that are in each cup. Then the cups are well sealed with tape, like a package. The package is given to the person in charge of the group or to his representative. He will keep it. Tomorrow they will come back and repeat the same work. When all the stones are ready, they will leave with their diamonds. Then they will jointly evaluate the value of the diamonds. The group can be like this: the boss who hired the people, the man who controlled the workers and the workers themselves. Then they will sort out the diamonds: the black [diamonds] , the white [diamonds] , the ones of sorting, the ones of Cri[_?] [indistinct] After sorting they are weighed. The value is determined in carats. Then the boss will take all the diamonds. He will together with the whole group determine the amounts for which the diamonds will be sold. All prices are determined and noted together. The boss, after evaluating the diamonds, will propose to the workers an amount for their work. Next [More?] will determine the weight in carats and the corresponding prices. Then the boss will calculate the reward for the whole group. If he has enough money, he will pay the people immediately. If the money is not enough to pay the people of the group, he will pay half, then the rest after the sale of the diamonds. He can bring the diamonds to Kinshasa and sell them there. After the sale he will return to his place and pay the rest of the money to his group. Then he stays with his profit. If the works are continued, if they got a new place, the group can continue to work with him. That’s how it works.

[i] To finish you can tell us, here in Bochum, how do the authorities receive the people in the offices? How do you judge how people have received you when you have something to do at the office? Are you satisfied with the reception in the various offices or not?

If they receive you, it depends on the letter you received. How you will go there, and how they will pursue your cause, what it is like. And they will ask you a question. They will tell you what to do or what to do. We need these things or go and do it. We want you to look for work. It’s as their laws require. That’s how it is done here. They receive people well, they don’t cause problems. If you don’t fulfill the conditions they demand, you say they are bad. But they are not bad. They do their work to improve their country.

[i] Many people say that the Germans are racists, that some officials scold the customers.

They are not racists. If they were racists, they would not accept people in their country. If they were racists, they would have sent us back home when we arrived. They would say, “Go back to your countries.” But now they’ve taken in people, would you say they’re racists?

Are you satisfied with your life in Bochum as they received you? Is there anything you noticed about the authority in Bochum?

Since I came here, I have been well received. When they told me to work, I worked. The diseases then disturbed me. I don’t see any bad things. But I’ve been told in the last few days that I’m sick, so I should go to the state doctor. I was with him, he had examined me and told me that I was ill and that I shouldn’t continue working at first. I can’t go on living with the work of the Arge [Arbeitsamt] , I have to go back to the Sozialamt. My benefit comes from the Arge and the Sozialamt. My money comes from the consortium. But now the benefits will come from the Social Welfare Office and the Arge. With it I get paid and also my rent. Then at the end they told me that I had to get the papers they asked for. I have to hand in the papers there. So that the people from the social welfare office can process my file. They will decide together how they will pay this money. What kind of amount they will send to the job center.

[i] Many people are now coming to Germany, many Africans too. If you have an advice to give to them, in relation to the changes between the time today and the time when you were new, what can you tell them? What can you say to the people who have come new, especially the Africans?

The people who have come new, each person has his own problems that he has brought here to Europe. What problem has brought him to Europe here? You have to know how this thing works, what it does [cause?] because many people don’t hear advice. You can give him advice, but he will do it in his own way or [react in his own way] . That’s why they can’t get any further. If you explain to him with your experience that this thing is like that, do it like that, it goes like that, follow this path, but he will refuse to follow what you said. You can’t help him with coercion either, you can only watch him. You can only see what he is doing. Whether that will work or not. If that won’t work, that’s his business. The locals will know how to deal with him. Many don’t [listen] , few hear what they’re told. People who listen also follow what you say to them. They follow what you tell them. The others find it hard to hear.

[i] I think we’ve come to the end. We thank you for your availability and for the time you took to answer our questions, to talk about your life, here and in your home country. We wish you good health and then courage, but above all thank you very much.