Since 2006 La Benevolencija has produced and broadcasted the popular radio soap opera “Kumbuka Kesho” (“Remember tomorrow” in Swahili) on 24 local radios and the National radio RTNC. This “Entertainment- Education” serial drama blends social development educational messages into an entertainment format. Kumbuka Kesho is still famous and attracts a lot of listeners, and especially the youth.
Common to all the radio soaps is that some positive characters will turn negative because of manipulation from the bad characters and vice versa. This way, La Benevolencija describes factors that enable positive and negative behaviour change with a focus on adoption of constructive and active behaviour. This is the strategy to describe the psychology of violence and to give tools to listeners to detect, counteract manipulation and to act in the service of conflict prevention.
The radio soap tells the story of a fictive city “Bugo” where various groups used to live peacefully. However through time, life conditions have worsened, inequities in power and wealth sharing among groups appeared, and frustration about history, a lack of justice, growing corruption, a balkanized army, growing insecurity and weak institutions—have led communities to turn towards each other and to blame them for the failure of their country and the worsening life conditions. These difficult life conditions constitute a favourable ground for group violence, as a means of ‘solving’ problems.
Another element of all Benevolencija soaps is that they are geared not to polarize their audiences and reach potential or actual perpetrators as well as victims. This is why Benevolencija programs never feature real life groups or locations. To symbolise the presence of different ethnical groups on the Congolese soil within “Kumbuka Kesho”, three main antagonist groups were created, the Ngoza, the Maka and the Ngwele. These do not correspond to actual groups on the ground , though they feature characteristics of many of the comabating sides and the population in the area. The conflicts between them are exacerbated by the exploitation of a mine with valuable minerals, and the manipulation of different leaders to keep or acquire power. Groups of citizens (youth, association of demobilized soldiers, unions etc) organize themselves to counteract the disastrous effects of this power struggle between their leaders.
The storyline and the design process of the soap are based on the social and political context evolution. A series of 32 messages based on participative workshops involving stakeholders, civil society and the serial drama conception team has been elaborated. In 2010, La Benevolencija DRC was awarded by the International African Youth Movement for its radio programmes.
La Benevolencija’s partner stations in Congo DRC
North Kivu: Radio Colombe Goma, Radio Colombe Masisi, Radio Sauti Ya Injili, Radio Muugano Beni, Radio Ushirika Rutshuru, Radio Moto Oicha, Radio Moto Butembo, Radio Communautaire de Tanya, Radio Communautaire de Walikale, Radio Bobanda Minova, Radio Rurale Kanyabayonga
South Kivu: Radio Mandaleo, Radio Apide à Kamituga, Radio Messager du Peuple Uvira, Radio Mitumba Uvira, Radio Kamanyola, Radio Communautaire de Baraka, Radio Mulangane, Radio Remeha
Maniema : Radio Nyota Ya Asubuhi Kalima, RTNC Kind, Radio Sauti Ya Mukaaji Kasongo
Province Oriental : Radio Canal Révélation, Radio Télevision Amani