chiquito

The End of Innocence

In the 80s, I was 20 years old, I lived between France and Africa and I was a gay parent. In this series I tell my story, my contribution to the fights against dehumanization and my vision of the world.

Chiquito is the nickname my maternal great-grandmother gave me. I was born in a body at the crossroads of several systemic oppressions : Racism, néo-colonialism and homophobia. My artistic work and my political positioning result of this.

The death of my father, first political journalist in Congo and great advocate against colonialism, in 1983 while I was a teenager, has been the spark that ignited my activist commitment. It led me to consider civil disobedience as a duty.

However, even though I identify this as the moment when my political awareness was born, I know for sure that, while I was only a child, I already had deep inside of me this feeling of rebellion and anger regarding injustice. And this, mainly because of my gender expression and how it was impacting my daily life. And then because of my skin colour. I could feel contempt and rejection from people around me, without understanding the reason why.

I couldn’t name it but I could feel it. What I didn’t know then, was that being African, Black, gay and effeminate, all at once, was too much for one single human being. Really too much. And I didn’t know either that History had already condemned me and assigned to obedience, indignity and inferiority. 

This, I refused. On the contrary, I dedicated my whole life to fight against all injunctions to "exclusionary normality".

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"There are years ask questions, and years answers." Zora Neale Hurston
 My maternal great-grandmother was named Téréza she was born at the beginning of the 20th century, and was the daughter of a Cabinda woman and a Portuguese man. 1950
 3 generations of strong women.
My great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunt, aunt and mother. 1950
 In the middle of the picture, André-Bernard Samba, my biological father, Paris, 1962
 Brazzaville, June 1969
 My Brother & Me, Brazzaville, 1972
 Mom & general Yhombi-Opango, 1977
 In the foreground, my sister, my brother and me, Jardin d'acclimatation, Bois de Boulogne, 1978
 La Défense 1, Courbevoie, 1982
 N'sele, Kinshasa, Zaïre, 1983
 Letters from my adoptive father, Thy René Essolomwa Nkoy Ea Linganga, 1984
 In the 1990s, I became ill. I had a severe form of a systemic disease, called sarcoidosis. The side effects of the corticosteroid treatment led to a situation of disability.
 Lolita, Cotonou, 1995

My daughter died in 2002 from Burkitt's leukaemia. She died because she didn't get her visa to enter France on time, despite the fact that I was French. But, above all, she died because of the inability of a rich country like Congo to provide medical care for its population.
 I joined Act Up in June 2000, following a decision taken in 1996 after Christophe Martet's intervention at Sidaction.
 London, 2007

My body is a field of struggles, because of my multiple identities that have become discriminatory: Bakongo, Homosexual, African, French and Homoparent...