TIAWO was founded by two brothers, Chandres and Offrande Zanzala who are passionate about sharing their story that saw them witness one of Brazzaville’s deadliest wars. Chandres has shared some of his experiences below.
I was born in Brazzaville, the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Congo, which also happens to be the home of some of the country’s bloodiest conflicts. While living in Brazzaville, I witnessed the true nature of war, and the harrowing sights I observed will haunt me forever. Moreover, I can vividly remember the day when war broke out, and my family and I fled the town we once called home.
With nowhere to go and only each other for comfort, we decided to follow a mass group of people into the jungle where we had no choice but to walk past the bodies of the deceased. In our two years of desperation to escape hell and find freedom, we ate rats, snakes, and anything else we could find to eat.
Throughout these years, it quickly became apparent that Congo was in the midst of one of the bloodiest civil wars in the country’s history. Devastation rippled through the country, and many families, including mine, lost relatives. There were many times throughout the war where I had to witness things nobody should ever have to experience, and this will affect me for the rest of my life. The horrifying memories of seeing my family members being taken away to be raped, abused, and shot will forever haunt me. I have also crossed paths and witnessed witchcraft.
Having survived the war, I moved to the UK, and I am now living a life that most take for granted.