Minova, a town plagued by its once dark history of war and sexual violence, today looks to escape its past. Using coffee production to forge a path for economic success and social stability, Eba & Wally, founders of Société Maitea, hope to make a difference to the local community, as well as to demonstrate the quality of DRC (and in particular Kivu province) coffee, to the outside world.
Located to the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) provenience of South Kivu, close to the Rwandan border, Minova sits at the head of Kabuno Bay; perched at the tip of Lake Kivu. Since 1994, the town has grown considerably in size, primarily due to influxes of refugees from both the 1st and 2nd Congo wars, as well as subsequent fighting in the area: leading to for many, malnutrition and a lack of security. Sadly, the town of Minova is often associated with terrible events of the past. In 2012 Congolese soldiers entered the town after an unsuccessful conflict with M23 rebels, and carried out a horrific spree of sexual assaults. As a result, the town became known for the ‘Minova Trial’ of 2014, the largest rape tribunal in the history of the DRC. The Minova trial looked to bring those accountable to justice. However, due to suspected foul play during the trial, only a few junior officers were convicted, sparking international outrage and later resulting in the summit against rape in warfare, held in London. Now a few years later, the area of Minova and South Kivu look to move away from the image of their dark past.