“I’m from Africa’s trigger, you don’t know the expression ?” In front of my dead silence, Al’Mata, press cartoonist, explains: “If this country prosper, then all of Africa will thrive through the ore”. If we still wait for the prophecy to be fulfilled, the Democratic Republic of the Congo would still have the benefit to have sharpen Al’Mata’s pen, here in France, for the past 20 years.
Still a student in Kinshasa in the 2000s, the cartoonist already drew Mobutu and his opponents in the famous daily news Palmarès - in the 90s, cartoons were often seen in the last pages of Canards paper news and were famous in the state. But a few drops of inked tears on the state leader’s cheek, born from Al’Mata’s pen, at the death of King Baudouin, results in raid of the paper news and Al’Mata’s on the run. From now on, he will still draw, but under a pseudonym, “I would draw Mobutu and Kabila the way Hergé draw Tintin and Captain Haddock”. And at the time, it’s Kabila, ex-president, that holds Al’Mata’s hope : “We wanted change”. But the special units of the army got involved. After coming to Angoulême for the comic festival held here, where he was presenting his comic Kadogo (child soldiers in swahili), he’s arrested when going back to his country. Called a rebel, being the brother of an ancient soldier and friend with an old rebelion chief, he will endure intense interrogations. Sad concomitance or founding experience ? Today, the one called “the frenzied” still has a keen eye and a nimble hand - he joined Guiti News and hasn’t layed his last stroke.
Written by Leila Amar