The Uncanny

by leonard pongo



Kenya, October 2011. Flying somewhere above Kenyan mountains on the way from Addis Ababa to Kinshasa.

Kenya, October 2011. Flying somewhere above Kenyan mountains on the way from Addis Ababa to Kinshasa.

Chapter One: A Certain Kind of Energy

This personal documentary is an immersion in the daily life of Congo DR. This series arose from  Leonard Pongo's need to see his country from a different point of view than the often-depicted crises. This story offers a vision of the country as experienced from within by focusing on daily life rather than on the country’s conflicts. 

D.R. Congo, Kananga, October 2011. A mother and her newborn son during a power cut inside the Kananga hospital.

D.R. Congo, Kananga, October 2011. A mother and her newborn son during a power cut inside the Kananga hospital.

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, October 2011. A young woman lies on her bed in the afternoon heat.

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, October 2011. A young woman lies on her bed in the afternoon heat.

 

"I tried to depict my country intimately and subjectively, not trying to deliver truth but striving to relate to a peoples’ reality and to reconstruct my own."

Leonard Pongo, 2017

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, October 2011. A man who calls himself the Batman of Africa shows off his tattoo.

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, October 2011. A man who calls himself the Batman of Africa shows off his tattoo.


D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, October 2011. Pastor Elysée Arc En Ciel posing in his office in Kinshasa Commune (Kinshasa).

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, October 2011. Pastor Elysée Arc En Ciel posing in his office in Kinshasa Commune (Kinshasa).

Chapter Two: The Necessary Evil

 

"When I decided to fly and live in my country of origins for a few months, I was hoping to find a spiritual life in Africa. I was interested in the churches of the awakening because of their popularity and theatricality. I thought that by approaching such a widely spread phenomenon I could understand the Congolese society and find a place where people could walk on their spiritual path."

- Leonard Pongo, 2017

D.R. Congo, Kananga, November 2011. Morning cult at Église Peniel Universelles in Kananga city (Eglise Péniel Universelle).

D.R. Congo, Kananga, November 2011. Morning cult at Église Peniel Universelles in Kananga city (Eglise Péniel Universelle).

 
 

 In a mostly Christian country, where 90% of the population attends weekly service, Protestant and alternative beliefs have risen in DR Congo in the past 20 years. This development has led to a constant increase of independent churches lead by self proclaimed leaders. Today the spread of these churches comes on par with the Roman Catholic and the official Protestant churches. These independent churches have known a steady growth since the 1990s in Congo DR and are usually led by pastors who claim to have received God’s powers and to have heard his will. 

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, October 2011. Exorcism during the evening cult in Barumbu commune (Kinshasa).

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, October 2011. Exorcism during the evening cult in Barumbu commune (Kinshasa).

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, December 2011. The assistant pastor preaches while Pastor Francois Mutombo (aka Voici l'homme) take a rest during the Sunday service at ACK (Assemblée Chrétienne de Kinshasa).

D.R. Congo, Kinshasa, December 2011. The assistant pastor preaches while Pastor Francois Mutombo (aka Voici l'homme) take a rest during the Sunday service at ACK (Assemblée Chrétienne de Kinshasa).

By returning to the churches for a few months I discovered a system that at time seemed rotten and exploitative, but where the believers’ faith was real. Their experience in such a space could transcend the environment, making the impact of these churches much more difficult to evaluate."


Chapter Three: The Uncanny

D.R. Congo, Lubumbashi, October 2013. A local rapper poses after a concert at the Lubumbashi French Institute.

D.R. Congo, Lubumbashi, October 2013. A local rapper poses after a concert at the Lubumbashi French Institute.

 

"A world conditioned by inner conflicts, reflected through the intimate links developed with the many who gave me access to their private life."

- Leonard Pongo, 2017

The series was conducted by collaborating with friends, family, and local TV teams in order to get a grasp of the news that is relevant at the local level, hoping to understand the events that rhythm the daily life of the city’s inhabitants.

D.R. Congo, Lubumbashi, September 2013. The police parades on the first day of the provincial government's investiture at "Bâtiment du 30 juin".

D.R. Congo, Lubumbashi, September 2013. The police parades on the first day of the provincial government's investiture at "Bâtiment du 30 juin".

D.R. Congo, Lubumbashi, October 2013. A young man kissing his girlfriend at "Bel Effort" ("nice try") bar in the Ewa Bora suburbs.

D.R. Congo, Lubumbashi, October 2013. A young man kissing his girlfriend at "Bel Effort" ("nice try") bar in the Ewa Bora suburbs.

D.R. Congo, Lubumbashi, October 2013. A street entertainer in the street of the Kenya nieghbourhood in Lubumbashi.

D.R. Congo, Lubumbashi, October 2013. A street entertainer in the street of the Kenya nieghbourhood in Lubumbashi.