Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Refugee Breaks Barriers; Congolese Man Developed Love of Languages

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Refugee Breaks Barriers; Congolese Man Developed Love of Languages

Article excerpt

Byline: Emma McBryde emma.mcbryde@capnews.com.au

ANOTHER LIFE

Between 2010 and 2011 there were 5998 Australian visas granted and 565 were for people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there were 43.7 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2010, the highest number in 15 years. Of these, 27.5 million were internally displaced persons, 15.4 million were refugees and 837,500 asylum seekers.

IN A country where many people struggle to master one language, Theophile Zawadi Mutende speaks more than 10.

The Congolese refugee developed a love of language in the most unlikely of places Co a refugee camp.

Theo was forced to flee the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo when he was only a teen.

Now 33 and living in Rockhampton, the father-of-five can still remember the last day he saw his parents and siblings in his home town of Uvira.

As he recounts the heart-wrenching story, he holds his daughter Delphine to his chest.

Theo remembers being at home alone after school while his mother was at the market and his father, an electrician, was at work. Theo said suddenly his house and neighbourhood was bombed.

In his attempts to escape the chaos, destruction and violence, the young Theo became one of many people who were cut off from their families, never to see them again.

C[pounds sterling]Our country was invaded by a lot of neighbouring countries Co Burundi, Rwanda and others,C[yen] he said. C[pounds sterling]It is so rich in mineral resources ... diamond, coltan, cobalt.C[yen]

Theo travelled with other displaced refugees to the transit refugee camp Katumba in neighbouring country Burundi.

It was there TheoCOs talent for languages led him to begin working with UN peacekeepers as a translator.

TheoCOs first language is Swahili, but he also attended a French school in Uvira and learnt Latin there.

While at the refugee camp he also learnt several tribal dialects. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.