Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781786991409 Published January 2018 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781786991416 Published January 2018 For sale in North and South America only

Goma

Stories of Strength and Sorrow from Eastern Congo

Theodore Trefon and Noël Kabuyaya

Goma

Theodore Trefon and Noël Kabuyaya

Distributed for Zed Books

216 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2018
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781786991409 Published January 2018 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781786991416 Published January 2018 For sale in North and South America only
A city of more than one million people caught between volcanic eruptions and armed conflict, Goma has come to embody the tragedy that is the Democratic Republic of Congo. Often portrayed by outsiders as a living hell, Goma is seen as a city of promise for many inside the country. Drawing on a rich tapestry of personal narratives, from taxi drivers to market traders, doctors to local humanitarian workers, Goma provides an engaging and unconventional portrait of an African city.

In contrast to the bleak pessimism that dominates much of the writing on Congo, Theodore Trefon and Noël Kabuyaya instead emphasize the resilience, pragmatism, and ingenuity that characterizes so much of daily life in Goma. Resigned and hardened by struggle, the protagonists of the book give the impression that life is neither beautiful nor ugly, but an unending skirmish with destiny. In doing so, they offer startling insights into the social, cultural, and political landscape of this unique African city.
Contents
Preface and acknowledgements
Glossary
Chronology of events in and around Goma
 
Introduction: A city in search of its future
 
1. The ups and downs of a businesswoman
2. The amazing wooden scooter
3. Charcoal is life
4. A stonecuttrer’s paradise
5. Goma’s public health challenges
6. A pragmatic humanitarian
7. Everybody loves beans
8. The motorbike taxi solution
9. Private security for hire
10. Gembloux-Goma return
11. Village boy makes good
12. Gilded youth in search of their future
 
Afterword
Notes
 
Review Quotes
Séverine Autesserre, author of Peaceland and The Trouble With the Congo
“In this moving and inspiring book, Trefon and Kabuyaya finally give voice to the ordinary people of eastern Congo. Reading these stories transported me back to Goma.”
Pierre Englebert, Pomona College
“Trefon and Kabuyaya’s superb research and clear-headed writing takes us into the everyday lives of Goma’s residents. In addition to hardship and resilience, it is by revealing the normalcy of their lives, and our shared humanity, that the book helps us connect with its protagonists.”
Michela Wrong, author of In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz: Living on the brink in Mobutu's Congo
“News from the DRC is often so bleak, outsiders wonder how ordinary folk survive. The answer lies in these testimonies. Trefon and Kabuyaya's protagonists negotiate militiamen, lava flows, and cholera outbreaks with humour, determination and remarkable grace.”
Kris Berwouts, author of Congo’s Violent Peace
“A fascinating dissection of Goma as told through the lives of its citizens. It reminded me why I passionately fell in love with this town.”
Patience Kabamba, author of From Charity to Parity
“One can only respect these life stories, which resonate like gunfire and silent screams with Congolese readers and come closer to revealing the true state of the DRC than the many theoretical accounts.”
Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, author of The Congo from Leopold to Kabila
“A masterpiece of urban sociology. Zed Books are to be congratulated for making this outstanding book by Theodore Trefon and Noël Kabuyaya available to English-language readers.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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