Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 11.56.36 AM

I am CLAUDE MAOMBI. My name on the scene is BLACKMAN BAUSI. I was born in Goma May 6, 1991 into the Bausi family. I grew up in Goma, DRC during war. I lived with my maternal grandmother; she raised me. That is why I am also known as MTOTO WA TATE (child of my grandma).

I did not have the privilege of growing up and living with my parents. I thought my mother was my sister. So, at the age of 12, I asked my grandmother: where is my father?

My grandmother told me that I was the fruit of violence. I was born from rape. I cursed the day I was born and wept hard when I realized how much pain I had brought upon my mother. I saw that other children were a blessing to their families, but that I was a burden to my mother, left to live with my grandmother. I lived without vision and without purpose. The only thing I waited for was death.

I didn’t know how to process the pain, so I expressed it through music. My passion for music pushed me to enter a talent competition hosted by a local organization. I was 20 years old at that time. This competition changed the direction of my life. From that moment on, I began experience a new way to live.

After the competition (which I won), I completed leadership training and the Rising of the Sons of Congo curriculum, a program to teach positive masculinity and identity.

Thankfully, I understood one thing… that I had a choice: “You can’t change what happens to you, but you have a choice in how you face what happens to you.” Previously, I sang just to sing and to become famous. But, through my life experiences, leadership training and lessons learned from Pastor Camille and Pastor Andre (two of my mentors), I realized that I was not like everyone else, I had a specific mission in life. One mentor told me: “What makes you angry can determine what you are called to solve.”

The ongoing war, rape and tears of the innocent has made me incredibly angry; this is the reason why I have become THE VOICE OF THE VOICELESS. This became my motivation. I decided to use the same things that make me mad, but in a positive way.

In many parts of the world music is used to simply promote obscene dancing. For me, I use music to defend my people. If music can be used to promote certain goods or to persuade people to vote for corrupt leaders, it can also be used to promote education, peace respect for women and give hope to a desperate generation. This is how I am working to be a cultural ambassador of peace; using music to reach out to the world around me. Many people in my country can’t read but they love music, this is the key to reach them. But the question is this: What kind of music are they listening to?

My country is at war, My region is known as the “rape capital of the world.” The battle we are up against now is our thinking. Much of the music that people listen to here is about alcohol and objectifying women. I want to change that.

Finally, I don’t want to focus on who has rejected me, but on who and what has picked me. My “misfortune” has given me a testimony. I want to use it. I want to share it!