KINSHASA - Redhorse Reporter Roel Nollet goes to Kinshasa, Congo to meet former professional boxer, Champion Ndangi. Champion doesn't only train the new generation of boxers, but also a new batch of video journalists. "The link between boxing and the press," he says, "is 'combat". "They pulled out my hair. Tied me up as a thief. But I don't think I should abandon the ring."
Meanwhile hundreds of people take to the streets to demand fair elections. The police reacts merciless. There are deaths. Activists arrested. Cameras destroyed. In Makala - the most notorious prison of the country - Roel meets Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala, two young activists who are locked up for planning peaceful demonstrations. They become figureheads for LUCHA RDCongo, a movement of youngsters that strive for a better Congo and take action to change the country themselves.
"If citizens are afraid to say what they think, and journalists are afraid to report about what is happening here, who is going to change something?" Fred asks. Outside the prison walls, the demonstrations continue.
"It's okay to be afraid," says Champion, "but after that you need to concentrate, and look your opponent in the eye.”
Back home Roel gathers camera equipment and sends them to Congo. That way, together with Champion and the youngsters of La Lucha he documents their struggle for freedom.
VUURKAMPIOEN/ FIRE CHAMP - LE MÊME COMBATSaturday 3rd of March 20h05 on Canvas, Belgium
Realised with the support of the Flanders Connects Continents program of Journalismfund.eu.
A cooperation between Roel Nollet Champion Ndangi and Michael Kalamo.
Fire Champ - Vranckx (Canvas) (BE), 3 March 2018
Verhaal van een ex-bokskampioen en de jongeren van La Lucha - MO* Magazine, 3 March 2018
Opboksen tegen repressie in Congo - NPO radio 1, 7 March 2018