Antonio Longangi, USIU-Africa Alumnus releases his debut non-fiction novel

By Antonio Longangi

Antonio Longangi (Class of 2021) released his debut non-fiction "Amandla: Born of the First Congo War" on Saturday, June 4 at Alliance Française Nairobi. The event was graced by several members of the University community (faculty and students) and a panel of experts featuring professionals in academia and non-profits.

The book is a memoir of the First Congo War (1996-97) as experienced by a young Congolese boy in the early stages of his childhood. It extrapolates on the ramifications of such an experience on the boy now a young adult, bringing out the questions of Congolese identity and collective trauma sprouting from turbulent experiences. The book also features a Foreword by Mrs. Lucy Kung'u (Principal Counsellor, Counseling Services, USIU-Africa) and an Afterword by Marko van der Beek (Founder of a Netherland based Psyray company, ScanCoaching).

Speaking at the event, Dr. Nicodemus Minde, Lecturer, International Relations at USIU-Africa highlighted the importance of individual narrative in shaping the collective memory of events. He explained that individual experiences are essential in understanding the impact historical events have on a nation. In the same vein, Mr. Christian Rumu, Human Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International, pointed out the importance of understanding events through the eyes of those who experienced them. He argued that outsiders may bring solutions, but they often fail to realize the intrinsic needs of those affected by the various challenges they are addressing as it has been the case in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Other speakers discussed the author, Antonio Longangi, and his book which is a testament to a story of generations past and present living in conflict zones. Dr. Lax, linguistic expert and former Language lecturer at USIU-Africa shared her experience working with Longangi on editing the book. "I accepted to help because I understood how serious Longangi was about the book and the story he wanted to tell," she said.

On a more personal note, Victor Mshindi (Class of 2017) recounted his early interactions with the author and his work. "We waited so long for him to complete this work and seeing what he turned it into the wait was worth it."

The book launch was concluded by the official baptism of "Amandla: Born of the First Congo War" and the author promised more stories to be released soon. Antonio Longangi left his country, the DRC, in pursuit of a world-class education that he received at USIU-Africa and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations, Diplomacy and Foreign Policy.

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