Beliefs and attitudes towards male domestic violence in South Kivu
par Ndabuli Theophile Mugisho
University of KwaZulu Natal - Master 2011
South Kivu is one of the eleven DRC's provinces; it is located in the eastern part of the DRC. In 1986, During Mobutu's era, Kivu was the province and it comprised 3 sub regions (in French, Sous Régions) that were North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema. But later, these sub regions became considered as full provinces. The capital city of South Kivu is Bukavu where the local government that manages the province is based. South Kivu is one of the richest provinces of the country, its land is very rich for cultivation and mostly, it engorges a lot of minerals. The latter are very envied by neighbouring countries that have always invaded this part of the DRC under the pretext that they are hunting down the Interahamwe, the Rwandan militia who committed the 1994 genocide.
As for its size, South Kivu has a total area of 65 070 Km2 (25
120 sq mi). Its population,
and Tanganyika Lake to the South East; North Kivu to the North, Maniema to the West and Katanga to the South. It shares its borders with the countries of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania in the East. It is composed of seven territories that are Fizi, Kabare, Kalehe, Mwenga, Shabunda, Uvira and Walungu.
Map 1: Map of South Kivu province (Source: The world facts book, 2007)
The DRC got its independence from Belgium in 1960. After independence, the country experienced vast political and social troubles under President Joseph Kasa Vubu. This situation pushed the young Colonel Joseph Désiré Mobutu to overthrow him in November 1965. As Mobutu became president, he decided to make different changes in the country and one of them was to change names inherited from the colonizer. In this context, the Country became Zaire and the names of the provinces changed as well. Thus, South Kivu originates from Kivu, one of the 9 provinces that the country was composed of. The Capital city Costermasville changed into Bukavu. In 1986, Mobutu decided to make more provinces and so they became 11, of which there is South Kivu.
The history of this province is particular to the DRC. Since Mobutu took power, the country was attacked three times and all the combats were launched from South Kivu. It is in this context that in 1964, the first invasion of the country was lead by a former minister of education, Pierre Mulele. Three years later, that is 1967, another group of rebels among whom was Laurent Désiré Kabila had hired the French mercenary, Jean Schramme to combat Mobutu's administration but they were defeated. Mobutu enjoyed presidency for 32 years and in May 1996, Laurent Désiré Kabila toppled him and his regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Kabila came to power but had a lot of contentions with his former allies from Rwanda and Uganda. Finally, in 1991, he was assassinated in his office by his own body guard. This situation lead his son Joseph Kabila to become president but his regime also knew a lot of troubles and different rebellions were created and the turning point again was South Kivu.
Regrettably these different wars, mostly lead by men combatants and based in mineral areas, were the origins of violence and rape of women and girls in South Kivu. Kabila's death and the takeover by his son did not result in the regulation of GBV. On the contrary, men's violence in the province worsened. Accordingly, raped women and girls contaminated HIV/AIDS, others died of vaginal wounds and many more were repudiated by their husbands as they were considered as social shame and cast in South Kivu (Amnesty International, 2007).