Georgette Kat Kawal


Sometime in the late 90’s Georgette met my younger brother Gavin when they were both were attending a function in London receiving awards for poetry. Georgette, who is from Kinshasa in the Congo, had evidently asked Gavin if he knew anyone who could sponsor her further studies in London University where she already had a degree in English Literature. So she wrote to us for sponsorship to do her Ph.D. I replied that while so many young people lacked the means for secondary or even elementary education, it was out of the question for us to sponsor students beyond their Masters. Nonetheless, we were impressed with Georgette’s poise and professionalism. At length we agreed to put her on our list and in eventually sufficient money became available, not all that was required, but enough to qualify for funding from other sources.

She obtained her PhD and sent us publications of her poetry. In 2003 she wrote from South Africa saying that she was applying for teaching jobs there. She sent us a copy of a public letter she had composed to Mr Joseph Kabila, President of the Congo, in which she made a blistering attack on his corruption, morality and abuse of human rights and accused him of prolonging the civil war in Kinshasa for his own gain. Nonetheless, the letter was delivered in a familiar, humorous way, in the faultless prose of a graduate of applied linguistics. Georgette had this denunciation published in the press and encouraged all her contacts to do likewise. She has thereby made it impossible for herself ever to return to the Congo so long as the present regime lasts. If there were more people like Georgette , Africa would be a very different place.