Two Brothers, One Gorgeous Congolese City

Bukavu is a city of fabled beauty, spread around finger-like peninsulas on the southern shores of Lake Kivu. Luckily for all of us, two brothers duly record the special moments in time of this marvel of eastern DR Congo …

Bukavu Explorer is what Francis Mweze, 28, calls the innovative project that his younger sibling Fabien also contributes to. Fabien was the first one to devote his life to photography, inspiring Francis to follow suit. The parents understood; their father is in video production himself.

While studying banking and finance at Hope Africa University (Bujumbura, Burundi), Francis did some graphic design on the side — just enough to realise that he didn’t really want to be a banker. Instead, he opted for the visual aspects of life. Photography and video followed naturally, supported by YouTube tutorials and brotherly sharing of tips. In 2018 he was also sent to America for a two-month civic leadership course, the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Francis has big plans for Bukavu Explorer. He would like to build it into a complete guide to the city, together with business listings and ads. “Bukavu is my home,” he says, “my base. I love its climate and its cuisine and, artistically speaking, the colour patterns on sunny days.”

But this is a step-by-step process. He is currently working on convincing Bukavu investors in hospitality, tourism and other industries about the importance of social media. “We prefer door-to-door marketing and radio adverts, those things of the youngsters are not effective,” Francis mimics the responses of old businessmen. “The young ones are more likely to get it,” he smiles.

Bukavu Explorer‘s activities go far beyond that. During the pandemic, when artists weren’t allowed to perform, the Mwezes teamed up with Bukavu Comédie Club. They made a series of humorous short videos raising awareness about how people could protect themselves and others from coronavirus. Sponsored by 3TAMIS and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, they produced 24 episodes in total.

Gorilla Highlands Experts hope to identify more people like the Mwezes, both bold and talented, from all across our region, promote them and work with them. They are the trailblazers and they need to be supported.

Would you please head to the Instagram account of the Bukavu Explorer right now, and start following their work?