Transcript: Mama Colonel | Aug 08, 2018

Logo: AndanaFilms.

Logo: 67th Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin.

Logo: Grand Prix Cinéma Du Reel.

Cinédoc Films. Mutotu productions. Lyon Capitale TV and Télé Pease present.

The name of the film reads "Mama Colonel."

A caption reads "A film by Dieudo Hamadi."

A caption reads "After 12 years in the police force in charge of child protection and the fight against sexual violence in Bukavu, Colonel Honorine is transferred to Kisangani, in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo."

Madame Colonel helps a man carry a freezer on to a boat.

Madame Colonel is in her fifties, with long curly brown hair and wears glasses and a police uniform.

She says "Slowly! You're going to damage it."

A man says "Where's the maker?"

She says "Here. Do not place them on top of each other, please! There are fragile items inside. I'm telling you, it's fragile!"


The boat sails.

Mama Colonel walks in a house and says "No electric current?"

A woman says "No."

Mama Colonel says "I'm going to look for a torch. Do you have a torch?"

A police officer says "Yes, I've got one."

The police officer uses his cellphone flashlight.

Mama Colonel looks at a fridge and says "It needs to be replaced. Bathroom?"

The woman says "On the other side."

Mama Colonel says "This needs to be replaced too."

Another woman says "Like this they'll have a big bedroom with space for their things."
A sing on a building reads "Special Police for the Protection of Children and Women."

A police officer salutes Mama Colonel and says "Missus Commanding officer, squadron for child protection and against sexual violence. Normal contingent: 19. Present in the ranks: 11. Excused: 8. Non-excused: 0. Presentation made by Deputy Commander Kalonda Aluta Benjamin."

Mama Colonel says "Many thanks for the service. Let them rest."

He says "Yes Mam. All at ease."

Mama Colonel says "Such as we are, we are a women and children protection unit. It's work, it's hard h=work. You have to be motivated to do that work. Lazy people are not allowed in this unit. Go get those who fled work, this is the task I entrust to you. Go get them. Tell them there's a new Mama Colonel who wants to talk to them. We have to increase the police ranks."

Mama Colonel says to a little girl "Where is your mother?"

A man sitting next to the girl says "Mom is dead."

Mama Colonel says "And it's your stepmother who hurts you?"

The girl nods.

Mama Colonel says "Where are your uncles?"

The girl says "I don't know."

Mama Colonel says "And you dad, where is he?"

The girl says "Dad is travelling."

Mama Colonel says "Where does she live?"

The man says "She knows."

Mama Colonel says looks at the girl's elbow and says "Who did this to you?"

The girl says "I was hit with a stick everywhere."

Mama Colonel says "Everywhere?"

Mama Colonel looks at the girl's wounds on her legs and feet.

They take the girl home.

Mama Colonel says "It's here?"

A woman in a black and white tank top says "This is her mother. I'm her aunt."

Mama Colonel says "IS she your mother?"'

The girl says "She's my father's wife."

Mama Colonel says "Her?"

A man says "Her father's wife, it's her. Her, it's her aunt. Her father is travelling, her mom is dead."

Mama Colonel says "SO because her mother is dead, she has to suffer like that? Her mother is dead and you who are supposed to take care of her, you mistreat her this way?"

She points at the girl's skull and says "Look!"

Mama Colonel says "What did she do to you to deserve that? You will pay the price for that. Even before God! Before God you will pay, mama."

Mama Colonel pushes the aunt away and stands next to the stepmother. The stepmother has short brown hair and wears a long floral skirt and a burgundy top.

Mama Colonel says "Look at this!"

The stepmother says "It's not me."

Mama Colonel takes the girl and the stepmother to the police station.


The stepmother throws herself on the floor and says "I'm innocent! God is my witness!"

A police officer says "Sit down."

The stepmother says "All of this because of this child! God is my witness."

She starts throwing kicks randomly.

She says "God will judge us all! Macé! God forgives you! Look what you make me endure. Did I do that to you?"

The girl nods.

The stepmother says "Are you sure it's not your father? It's not your father? All your father's family will come here."

Mama Colonel says "Show me how you hit her."

The stepmother says "I don't want to hit her."

Mama Colonel says "You already killed this child, she's a living dead! Show me how you hit her."

The stepmother grabs her head and says "I've never hit her. Ask the neighbours. And we've been chased away from the house. We are forced to leave because of the witchcraft of this child."

On the street, Mama Colonel says over the megaphone "Dear mothers, dear fathers, dear children, hello. Thank you for receiving us in your market. My name is Colonel Honorine. I come from the province of South-Kivu. My job is to protect women and children. I must say, I've very sad. Children here are really mistreated. You are abandoning them, you are accusing them of witchcraft, you are hitting them. I warn you: If I come upon someone, man or woman, they will regret what they have done. Do you understand? Concerning sexual violence now: if you meet a victim of rape, don't let her go. Bring them to the police station. She must press charges. Why? For a woman, rape is a wound that never heals. If she withdraws into herself, she may become crazy. But if she manages to express her suffering, if she finds support with a friend, her heart can find peace. If she remains isolated, she may become crazy. She may have mental disorders. If you're raped, do not go silent. The silence has to be broken. Come to see me. This is the only way to regain confidence."


A woman in a turban comes to visit Mama Colonel at the police station.

Mama Colonel says "Name?"

The woman says "Kani."

Mama Colonel says "Kani what?"

Kani says "Boyanga. My husband and I, we've been transferred from Kinshasa to Bunia. In Bunia, war between Mobutu and Kabila broke out so we ran away to here. Here, Six-Day war broke out. Before they killed my husband, they rape me in front of him."

Mama Colonel says "In front of your husband?"

Kani says "Yes. Then they killed him. We had three kids and they took my daughter. To date, I don't know what they have done to my child."

She breaks down and cries.

Mama Colonel says "Which war are you talking about?"

Kani says "The Six-Day war.

Mama Colonel says "Here in Kisangani?"

Kani says "Yes."

An older woman says "This story is too painful. My husband and I...we were happy. And this war took him from me. It was on his way back from work. My children..."

Mama Colonel says "Which war?"

The woman says "The Six-Day war when Ugandans and Rwandans came into our houses and hurt us. All my children were taken."

Another woman says "They tied us up, they raped me. Then they killed my husband. My children, they cut their throats."

The woman cries.

Mama Colonel take a group of woman to a yard and speak to them.

She says "You've had a lot of problems, it's true. But if we all hold our hands, this can be overcome. If together, we talk to each other, we share with each other, everyone can move on. I knew in Bukavu mothers like you. Working together, unifying their efforts, holding hands. They succeeded. Once their problems were overcome, they have been able to regain hope and look to the future. Your hands are on your face, you are full of sorrow, but tomorrow it will be better, won't it? Tomorrow will be a new day. Tomorrow you will find joy again. That's why I brought you here, on the police site. It will be our place to work. For those who have no roof anymore, come visit the rooms. Those who are in the street can take a room if they want to."

They walk into the facilities.

Mama Colonel says "Come to see. What are these boxes doing here?"

A man says "It's going to leave. I'll do that today."

Mama Colonel says "Did you see? This is the first bedroom. Let us see the other one."

A sign on a building reads "Kisangani Court of Appeal."

A woman with long curly brown hair says "Mama Colonel, we have witnessed a terrible war. Rwandan and Ugandan confronted each other violently for control of the city. The most difficult thing is that no one is talking about that anymore. Everybody stays silent. As if nothing had happened. I'm surprised you ask me questions about it. It's the first time it happens. At the time, there was an action against Uganda. Yes, there was a trial at the international Court of Justice. Uganda has been convicted. Rwanda has never recognized the International Court of Justice. Uganda had been convicted, but we are still waiting for it to pay."

Mama Colonel says "What can we do to put these people back in their right? Although you say that Uganda was condemned, but it's fifteen years ago. Nothing is done. What can we do to put these victims back in their right?"

A man at the table says "This is a fundamental question which deserves researches. The judgement of the International Court of Justice, by condemning Uganda, didn't specify an amount. Uganda must agree with DRC on a repair mode. It's been 15 years already, as the colleague said. Well, are the accused individually identifiable? It's a problem. If they are individually identifiable, where can we bring them to court? It's a problem of law's principle. For us, it is territorially, under Congolese law. Crimes were committed here. Our jurisdiction is competent. If we discover who had committed these acts, we could do it, but 15 years after, I don't know which action could be taken by way of summons in court, as long as we don't know who committed that. But how long it will take to identify who had raped, and which Congolese victim? That's the problem."


On the street, a man says "Stop working. The colonel wants to talk to you. Come closer."

Mama Colonel speaks to a crowd and says "Mothers, fathers, children. If I'm here in front of you, it's to talk you about the difficulties of my work. I was in my office. Women came to see me. Six-Day war victims. I heard about this war but I didn't know the extent of the damages. These women were raped, they lost everything. Husbands, children. I told them: 'Stop crying, I'm going to help you.' My idea is for them to learn a manual job in order to take care of themselves. But I can't do everything on my own. I have no means. I stand before you with empty hands. If some of you Congolese...they are our mothers, our sisters, our compatriots. If you can contribute to help with the little you have, it will help us a lot. Anyone who has something, at least a piece of coal, he or she is welcome."

A female police officer says "Hello brothers! Our mama is coming from Bukavu with a new idea to help one another. Whoever has a small amount of money, a little something, you can contribute, here is our bag. A small amount of money for our sisters, a piece of soap...The bag is here. A little piece of coal, a banana, everything you can offer."

A man says "I have something to say. You come to the population, you ask for an amount of money to help rape victims, but what is the government doing? This war happened a long time ago. These women are still asking for help. Why?"

A woman says "The whole town of Kisangani is outdated. But we fight. Why not them? We were all victims of this war. But in life you have to manage yourself. Why continue to complain about a war everyone has already forgotten?"

At home, Mama Colonel serves dinner to women and children.

The next day, a bus arrives at the police station.

Injured people walk off the bus.

A man in a suit and hat says "Thank you for having us, Mama. We have learned you were helping women and we mobilized to warn you, Mama Colonel, there are fake and real victims. We, we are not like any other victims. After the Six-Day war, the prosecutor has commissioned an investigation. An investigation house by house, to know who were victims, who weren't. All of us here, we are recognized by this document. You have to be careful with fake victims. Casualties pretend to be victims. Trauma victims, malnourished, person without adequate housing, they pretend to be victims. To prove we are the real victims, we have court documents, we are recognized by the government. Here are our statutes signed by the governor of Oriental Province. We pray that you will help us, we the real victims, to seek compensation."

Mama Colonel gathers a group of women at the police site and says "DO you know these disabled individuals, Six-Day War victims? Do you know them?"

The women say "Yes."

Mama Colonel says "I have a question: Why don't you belong to their association?"

One of the women says "Mama, if I may say a few words, we've been raped during the war and our husbands are dead. These people are embittered because of their handicap. With them, it's always problems. We. We're still valid, we're not like them."

Mama Colonel says "I need a guarantee that you're real victims of this war. Rumour has it that you're fake victims. These disabled people came to me to tell me they are real victims of the Six-Day war. Now, that guarantees can you give me? This is getting complicated.

Another woman says "There are mutilated people and is. It's two different things. We, we were raped. Them, they were mutilated. You told is you were helping raped women. You haven't talked about mutilated people. Otherwise we would not come to see you. As you can see us now, I swear to you we are not lying. I swear, my husband really died during this war."

Mama Colonel now buys food at the market and makes dinner later at home.

A little girl hands her a ringing phone.

Mama Colonel says "Good evening. Children? Where? Where precisely? About how many? Are you sure? However, it's getting late. I can't go out at this time. But tomorrow morning...Come to the office, you'll be our scout. Thank you. Good luck."

The next day, Mama Colonel gathers her force outside the station.

Mama Colonel says "If you are gathered here, it's to prepare a field visit, in a house firmly closed. This is not a place in the middle of the farms, but it's in a house, inside a house. Don't steal a thing. Don't steal money. If you find a proof of their practice, clothes, objects, you have to seize the exhibits. Seize them. OK, everybody in vehicles."

The officers ride to the house.

A policeman says to a woman "Are you prophetess mom?"

The woman says "It's me who's praying for people."

The policemen takes her out.

Mama Colonel grabs a man and says "Take him to the station with his bible."

Another policeman says "Take the child. This one two."

A young lady cries and says "What did my mother do to you?"

They enter the house.

8 kids sit in line on the floor.

Mama Colonel says "And you, who are you?"

A young man says "She's the mother of three of these children."

Mama Colonel says "Take her."

Mama Colonel says to the children "Don't cry."

One of the kids says "Forgive us! We didn't do anything wrong!"

Another man says "Don't worry. We're not going to do anything to you."

Mama Colonel says "What are you doing here?"

A little girl says "Don't arrest us mummy!"

The man says "She's not going to do anything to you, tell her just why they bring you here."

A girl says "It's to cure us from witchcraft. They started to hit us. They hit us with a lash! A wire lash!"

The man says "Show us. Look at her...Here! Scars. One has to serch, Colonel, we can find this instrument."

Mama Colonel says "Why are you sitting like this?"

A boy says "They asked for it."

Mama Colonel says "Everyday?"

The boy says "We haven't eaten for four days."

One of the boys puts his hands with the palms facing up.

Mama Colonel says "Stop placing your hands like that. Why would they do that?"

The man says "It's a gesture of prayer."

A boy says "They told us to stay in this position, otherwise we would be hit!"

The officers take the adults and children to the police station.

The accused woman says "Their mother was at the hospital, seriously ill. It was found her own children tried to kill her. Their father brought them to me to release them through prayer."

An interrogator says "So they've been brought to you to be released from witchcraft?"

The woman says "Yes, they confessed themselves they wanted to kill their mother."

The interrogator says "It means that you're able to cure them from witchcraft?"

The woman says "Yes."

The interrogator says "How do you do that?"

The woman says "With prayers."

The interrogator says "How long have they been there?"

The woman says "At least two months."

Now Mama Colonel questions the accused man.

Mama Colonel says "You were in prophetess's mom's house. What were you doing out there?"

The man says "She's my sister-in-law, I came to give her a family message. I found her busy with her prophetess work. She asked me to read a verse of the Bible. It's a Swahili Bible. I was just beginning to read when you arrived. I didn't know anything about her practices. I was there for fifteen minutes and you showed up."

Now Mama Colonel questions a young man.

Mama Colonel says "How do you know that a child's a wizard?"

The man says "When we pray, God reveals them to us. God shows him to us, we ask the kid and the kid himself confesses. He starts to give details. How he caught witchcraft, what he's doing at night, how he turns into a cat, cockroach, moth..."

Mama Colonel says "And these cats, cockroaches, you managed to see them?"

The man says "He says it, and us, we simply receive the revelation. He told us it was a means to communicate with the other world."

Now the rape victims work on the police site yard.

Mama Colonel takes the children to the site.

Mama Colonel says "I bring you kids. Little wizards of the country. Diseases in this country are because of them. Poverty in this country is because of them. Some of them were thrown out on the street, others in house of prayers. I have just spent a few days with them and I haven't seen anything strange. Look at this baby. A wizard too!"

A woman says "She was sucking when she bit her mother's breast, so her mother said she was a wizard."

Mama Colonel says "You want to say something? Go on, talk."

A girl says "My father brought me to the prophetess. He told her I was a witch. The prophetess asked him to bring back a plaid, some out and money. Papa brought back everything. I've been asked to do that."

She puts her hands with her palms up and says "I had to stay like this until morning."

Another girl says "My daddy flies planes."

Mama Colonel says "He's a pilot?"

The girl says "Yes, a pilot."

Mama Colonel says "Are you sure?"

The girl says "I don't know, that's what he was saying. One day, he lost his money. He said...his money. It's me who took it to use it in the other world."

She cries and says "And I said: 'How did I get this witchcraft?"

Mama Colonel wipes off her tears.

Mama Colonel says "See for yourself all this suffering!"

Women cry.

Mama Colonel says "These children are going to live with you while waiting for me to find something better, I'm going to keep doing my job knowing you're all together here.

One of the women says "They're going to grow up fine. We're going to take care of them because we are mothers. Even if we became outdated mothers we know how to take care of them. We are still mothers."

A woman sings a children's song as the children play.

A caption reads "I dedicate this film to my companion of struggle, Kiripi Katembo Siku."

The end credits roll.

Script and direction, Dieudo Hamadi.

Producer, Christian Lelong and Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Copyright 2017, Onédoc Films. Mototu. Lyon Capitale TV. Télé Pease.

Watch: Mama Colonel