NDOTO tells a story, my story that I wish to share in a country where I discover the freedom to express myself.
Born in Goma, North Kivu/DRC, I did not speak, I danced.
I extracted from my body my daily reality that I did not understand.
And the more I danced, the more my mind was freed, the better I breathed.
I soothed my tensions, my doubts, my fears, I healed my wounds and I found hope and even the joy of living.
At the age of eight, in order not to be kidnapped by militias and become a child soldier, I was lucky enough to be "hidden" in a small village far from the city.
This was not the case for many other children, my friends and cousins.
Today, sixteen years later, nothing has changed, nothing has evolved and my heart is torn for the lack of importance given to the poor and their exploitation.
This star that protected me allowed me to live for some years in permanent contact with the forest, the land of my ancestors.
I grew up in total harmony with nature and ancestral traditions. I learned the importance of the present moment, instinct, mental strength to survive in this world where economic cruelty is all-powerful and the life of a chicken is worth more than that of a child.
After my immersion and peace, I returned to Goma where I found the school benches again. I didn't always have shoes on my feet but a great determination guided my steps.
My brothers, I and other friends from the neighbourhood started a movement of young dancers demanding the rights of children and protesting against the enlistment of children in the army.
When I was fifteen years old, I regularly started my dream of being a dance activist, no drinking water, electricity, internet etc........
I started to travel to all the countries of the Great Lakes to get my message across, I got my passport too young which was not feasible in Congo during the abduction of young teenagers.
My first visa for Europe, first step out of Africa, first shock.
The European runs around looking for happiness, hmm?
They throw away chairs, carpets, worthless objects which are then sent to Africa for second hand, I had tears in my eyes when I saw my brothers and sisters dying in the street.....
I did not expect to see this reality and even less to live it in Milan, Italy.
I was placing my order at the counter of a snack bar, when the person in charge asked me to leave and refused to serve me. I took out a 10 euro note from my pocket but I couldn't digest my meal.
For him I was a Black man and a Black man can only be an illegal refugee, a beggar thief, like all those lying in the station. For me, whether they are Senegalese, Ivorians, Sudanese, Congolese or Rwandans, they are above all human beings who deserve to live with dignity. I discovered a different kind of misery in Europe than in Goma.
Here, as at home, dance is still my breath and may be a bridge between two realities of two worlds.....