On Sunday, he hopes to witness another milestone: a presidential election meant to lead to Democratic Republic of Congo’s first democratic transfer of power. But like many, he’s keeping his expectations in check.
Ndaywel has lived in hiding since last year because of his work with a Catholic group that has organised protests against President Joseph Kabila, who is stepping aside after nearly 18 years in power.
For many of Congo’s 80million citizens, half of whom are registered to vote, the election offers a chance to draw a line under decades of conflict and economic stagnation.
Repeated crises have left the country mired in poverty and 15million in need of food aid. The vote to replace Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father in 2001, was first scheduled for 2016 but repeatedly delayed.