“Journalism is my calling, the print media is my struggle and independence is my motto,” says 42-year-old Solange Lusiku Nsimire, a Congolese editor and mother of six.
Lusiku Nsimire, who last week won a Courage in Journalism award from the International Women’s Media Foundation, has defied death threats and attacks on her family to publish articles about government corruption, injustices against women and international aid abuses.
Since becoming editor-in-chief of Le Souverain, an independent newspaper based in Bukavu in Eastern Congo, in 2007, Lusiku Nsimire’s coverage has sent her in and out of hiding.
In 2008, armed men showed up at her house in the middle of the night, tied up her husband and children and stole the family’s savings. But nothing has stopped her from what she calls her mission to be “a journalist who is a fighter.”
It’s hard to imagine a more difficult place to be a journalist than the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). At least a dozen journalists have been killed since 1992 and there were 90 attacks on journalists in 2012 alone.
It’s also a dangerous place to be a woman: rape, domestic violence and senseless killings are part of the daily norm in many parts of the country. Despite significant mineral resources, the DRC is one of the least developed countries in the world, held back by decades of conflict that have resulted in the deaths of an estimated 5.4 million people since 1988.
Goats and Soda spoke with Lusiku Nsimire about the IWMF award, her experiences as a journalist and her hopes for the future of her country.
“Through this award, I want for the entire world to understand that women in Congo are accomplished. Women in Congo are heroines and they are survivors. They have survived rape, insecurity, injustice that the world has brought to them. Women in Congo fight night and day to create a new world, a new order where rights are encouraged for all and there is equality. I want the rest of the world to stop looking at the Congo from the point of view of violence. We no longer want to be victimized, especially as women. We want the world to see us as strong and determined, because we are,” says Lusiku Nsimere.