Africa Direct

Diggers and Merchants: A Congolese copper digger

Josué Mukeba, a copper digger in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, stands up for diggers’ rights.

Diggers and Merchants, by filmmaker Nelson Makengo, immerses us in a life of exhausting physical labour and brutal conditions.

Josué Mukeba has worked in the copper quarries in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for years. Now he wants a stake in the new order. With a new mining code requiring contractors to be Congolese nationals, he stands up for himself and the other local diggers. They do not see themselves as victims; they just want a fair chance and some respect.

Nelson Makengo is a Congolese director, visual artist and producer based in Kinshasa. His short films have won many leading international awards and have been screened worldwide, including at IDFA and Sundance. He recently won the bronze award for his short film Nuit Debout (Up at Night) at FESPACO. He is a Sundance Documentary Film Institute grantee.