Tandundu E. A. Bisikisi (playwright)

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Date: 1975

Region: Africa

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Theater


Artist: Tandundu E. A. Bisikisi

Confronting Bodies: Mobutu government

Dates of Action: 1975-1977

Location: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Description of Artwork: Bisikisi's most notorious plays, When Africans Clash and The Going and the Return or, The Death of the University, Criticize the corruption,and nepotism in the Mobutu government.

The Incident: Bisikisi's first play, When Africans Clash, was a success. His second play, The Going and the Return, exposed the corruption within and poor quality of the state universities. He directly condemned president Mobutu for the shortcomings of state educational institutions. The play was banned and siezed and Bisikisi's Theatre du Grands Negres was disbanded. While suspended from producing, Bisikisi re-worked When Africans Clash making it more critical of Mobutu. He portrayed Mobutu's government as an extension of slavery and colonization through arbitrary arrest and murder. In December 1977, it was also banned and siezed.

Results of Incident: Bisikisi was arrested and tortured. He was later exiled to his village and denied legal representation or deportation to France. In 1983, the version of When Africans Clash published in France was also banned in DRC.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones