COLOUR BAR

/ UNITY IN DIVERSITY

‘At the age of 12, I, Roland, and my family moved from Congo to Belgium. My white father is from Oostende (Flanders) and my black mother is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1989 in Belgium for the first time, I was confronted with my mixed race. In Africa I was considered white. In Belgium I was suddenly considered black. I soon realised that I didn’t exist, because my race wasn't recognised. I had to be either white or black. Totally confused I fought an identity crisis that lasted for 20 years. In order to find my identity I shattered a taboo by discussing this issue of race with my family and other mulattos.

 

I discovered that most mixed-race people had to deny, hide or rejected one of their roots (parents) in order to survive in their social environment. In order to have a identity, a Flemish identity, and to secure a position in Flemish society I had to rejected my Congolese roots. 

After 20 years in Belgium I realised that I achieved my goal, I became a respectable Flemish person, but lost almost every trace of the Congolese part of my identity that I had developed throughout my childhood in Congo. In Congo I used to express and live both sides of my Belgian-Congolese identity. I used to be a real chameleon.

Colour Bar describes the construction of my multi-cultural (Flemish-Congolese) identity, layer by layer, in interaction with the different social spheres (and more specifically the Flemish community). It is the story of a clash between the bicultural self-image/identity of a mixed-race man  and the identity that the outside world projects onto him. A clash between who I am and who people want me to be.

Colour Bar is a 59' documentary.

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