A hero to so many, including us, Dr. Solsol (Solange) Lusiku died Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 at the age of 46 leaving behind a husband and 7 children. Solange was the fearless National Vice-President of the National Union of the Congo Press and the Editor of the Bukavu newspaper, Souverain Journal.
Given to Justin by Solange while visiting her headquarters in Bukavu, Congo with Mike, Fidel, and Amani, we have copies of several prints of her Souverain Journal here with us today.
To speak truth to power in eastern Congo, Solange risked her life daily. She received hundreds of death threats weekly editing, printing, and distributing the Souverain Journal.
To help bridge broken communities, Solange would pass out single pages of her truth newspaper (for free) to different community members. Those who read a single page always wanted to know the rest of the story, which incentivized locals to bridge their divides, communicate, and work with one another to piece it all together. Her newspaper has helped heal many communities.
Meeting Solange, listening to her story, hope, and vision, and experiencing her virtue, indomitiability, and passion for peace in DR Congo was life changing.
"I am a journalist and a Human rights defender. I spent 13 years with a local radio station here in Bukavu and then four years working with women's movements," Solange said. "During my reporting and media coverage in the fields, very often, I witnessed atrocities: sexual and gender-based violence - rape and other human rights violations including women getting buried alive."
"Sometimes I would go for media coverage in the field with two loin clothes but would come back with one, sometimes having to cover the body of a woman or a baby. Those memories are still haunting me today," Solange continued. "I am revolted by the way the world looks at rape happening in Congo. Congo was named the ‘Rape Capital of the World.’ But I find this unjust and unfair against my country. This is like praising the rapists."
"Instead, I praise the courage and resilience of Congolese women, the leaders for Congo peace. No matter the rape we stand up and move forward and life goes on."
After we spent time with Solange listening and learning at her press headquarters, she took us to see her dream.
We arrived to a small building, partially built. Inside were non functioning printing presses. She explained to us that one day, she was going to save the money to have them fixed up and begin printing her truth newspaper in Bukavu, Congo instead of paying the high cost to send her copy to France to be printed. That she could reach more people and get news out faster this way.
She then explained how many in the community thought she was crazy for having such a dream and that some would even laugh at/make fun of her whenever she came to visit the site for inspiration.
Through this experience, Socent Studios became determined to donate the money she needed through our World Game for Peace in Congo. Our time spent with Solange in the heart of her dream keeps replaying in our minds today....
Solange's fearless dedication to truth journalism and her people earned many national and international awards and an honorary Doctorate from the prestigious University of Louvain in Belgium.
Rest in peace beautiful mama.
Peace and strength to her family and to the people of Bukavu, Congo where her loss will be felt the hardest.