Mangeurs de Cuivre (2016)
HD video, 82 minutes.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has a long history of civil wars and conflicts caused by minerals.
Mangeurs de Cuivre shows the reality of multinational mineral extraction in the south east of the country.
There are still wars going on in the east of Congo nourished by global power structures interested to keep political instability to easier access minerals. In the south east of DRC there is a 300 km long copper belt. Here we find multinational operators that controls most of the extraction industry today.
Mangeurs du Cuivre portrays stakeholders in the copper mining industry representing different interests and positions. Damien Kahambwe is a community adviser for the Chinese mining company MMG, through his daily work we witness situations where corporate social responsibility is used to gain trust among the local population.
Chief Mpala is a traditional village leader. With no formal power we follow him in his struggle to represent the local traditions in meeting with modern regulations and urban development. The local entrepreneur and businessman Eric Monga has profited from the liberation of the mining sector in DRC, he is encouraging Congolese economists to get contracts so they can do business in their own country.
Mangeurs de Cuivre (Copper eaters) is the precolonial way of melting copper. Before colonization it was performed as rituals. This activity was banned when the Belgian started to extract copper industrially. This film portrays this ceremony conducted by a group of men wanting to keep this heritage alive. The ritual is accompanied by an ancient legend about the spirits that since early days have controlled the amount of copper in the ground. Performed by Congolese actors this story works as a historical reminder of the never ending interest conflict in DRC caused by minerals.
An experimental combination of voices and landscapes, merged with local history give us access to unique micro sorties hard to discover in sub Sahara Africa. Mangeurs de Cuivre explores the global economy in the meeting with local tradition and identity, rendered into a contemporary global perspective.