“Congo in Conversation”, by Finbarr O’Reilly

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The global health crisis and the urgent need to hear African voices testifying to local realities prompted the winner of the Carmignac Photojournalism Award 11th edition, Finbarr O’Reilly, and the Carmignac team to create “Congo in Conversation”, a collaborative online report, produced in close cooperation with Congolese journalists and photographers based in various cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the dramatic, but also rich and exciting life of a great African country during the pandemic that emerges every day through photos, videos and articles published on this new dedicated website and shared on social networks.

Health, confinement, the informal economy, artistic production, businesses, difficulties of access to water, but also attacks by armed militias, human rights violations and the environment: by detailing the often cruel realities and the gigantic challenges facing the Congo, these reports sketch its present and future with concrete facts, strong images and cautious optimism.

The contributing reporters, based in several locations across this immense territory, are representatives of a new generation that yearns for change in a country that has been exploited, plundered and oppressed for so long.

More than half of the contributors are female journalists, photographers and filmmakers who document the local economy, religion, lack of electricity, insecurity, but also hairdressing salons, the stigma of menstruation or the relationship between colonization and the notion of beauty in Africa.

“Congo in Conversation” is a first in the history of the Carmignac Photojournalism Award for real-time photojournalism. This collaborative reportage gives us a diverse and nuanced picture of life in the DRC, exposed in its own way but like all of us to an unprecedented crisis.

"Congo in Conversation" contributors

  • Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro
  • Arlette Bashizi
  • Baron Nkoy
  • Bernadette Vivuya
  • Guerchom Ndebo
  • Guylain Balume 
  • Justin Makangara
  • Ley Uwera
  • Moses Sawasawa
  • Pamela Tulizo
  • Raissa Karama Rwizibuka
  • Steve Wembi

Finbarr O'Reilly

Finbarr O’Reilly lived for 12 years in West and Central Africa and has spent two decades covering conflicts in Congo, Chad, Sudan, Afghanistan, Libya, and Gaza. He is the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize exhibition photographer and a frequent contributor to The New York Times. His photography and multimedia work has earned numerous industry honors, including First Place in the Portraits category at the 2019 World Press Photo Awards. He was also winner of the World Press Photo of the Year in 2006.

© Giles Duley
“Congo in Conversation”, by Finbarr O’Reilly