“Assignment, 1”

Documentary ‘Enjoy poverty’


This documentary ‘Enjoy poverty” (2008) by the Dutch-Belgian artist Renzo Martens is about the democratic republic of Congo where poverty has compelled the country survives on 1.8 billion foreign aid that it receives annually. The large result of raw materials are utilized by multinational where as Congolese survive 0.20 dollar each day by working on a plantation. For the Congolese living with poverty is a routine as nothing has changed during the last decades. They don’t have a concept of “want” as they are still struggling to look for the “needs”. In spite of all the help the developing agencies aid workers are aware of the fact that they cannot bring the real structural change. Western journalist promotes the good deeds of aid workers but in reality they never unveil the hidden reasons for the undernourishments. The fathers of these undernourished children’s work day in and day out to work on the plantations and export their products to the west as cheap as possible without paying any local taxes. Enjoy poverty portrays a vicious cycle in which the west is playing a significant role. Ironically the west who’s claiming aid to Congo in reality is responsible for the daily suffering hunger and death of so many Congolese.

The humanitarian suffering of the Congolese and the corruption of their politician is the rare means of income of west. Martin has opened the Pandora’s- box by compelling the right minded westerners to see the clear exploitation of poverty. (Paul De Roo, Spring 2012)


The documentary makes us believe that Africans to some extend are also responsible for their present condition as they do not oppose their local government of corruption and the farmer for selling the raw products for low prices. The organization of UNICEF was busy branding its organization and looked more concerned about showing to the world how they were aiding Africa. The genuine concern was not the real aid but to become part of prominent headlines and gain popularity on the international media. Tagging their names on the shirt of Congolese was the least of the help they needed, what they desperately needs includes food, shelter, clothing and a permanent source of income. The carrying of death bodies looked like a accepted norm which further signifies their state of hopelessness. Photographers are aware that capturing the dark moments will create a better opportunity for their pictures to get published. The rare party lunch was like a torture for the Congolese who survived on dead animals for their sustenance. Treating of humans like animals is an open message for the world health organization and the shame on humanity in developed countries where sick are treated using advanced medical equipments, ill Congolese are left alone in darkrooms to die.

Personal response:

Most of the documentaries aim to gain popularity by spreading awareness however “Enjoy poverty” holds a mirror for the right minded westerners to realize, that to prosper their markets, they will continue murdering under develop economies.

Enjoying poverty ironically communicates a message to the western world that they will never let the Congolese to get out of their misery. Hence they are destined to live and die in a poor state until and unless the Congolese stops their exploiters to enjoy from the Congo constant state of poverty.

Word count: 545

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