Penguin: Bandi Mbubi at TED – Demand a Fair Trade Cell Phone

02 Diplomacy, 05 Civil War, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, 11 Society, Civil Society, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Corruption, Government, IO Deeds of War, Liberation Technology
Who, Me?

Your mobile phone, computer and game console have a bloody past — tied to tantalum mining, which funds the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drawing on his personal story, activist and refugee Bandi Mbubi gives a stirring call to action. (Filmed at TEDxExeter.)  Bandi Mbubi would like to make sure that you are using a fair trade cell phone.

Bandi Mbubi grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire, experiencing first hand the political unrest and oppression which have since worsened there. As a student activist, Bandi suffered persecution and fled the country, seeking political asylum in the U.K. But Mbubi has kept his home country on his radar, noting how the mining of tantalum — a mineral used in cell phones and computers — has fueled the ongoing war there in which 5 million have died.

While Mbubi sees the cell phone as an instrument of oppression for this reason, he knows that phones can also bring great freedom. And so he has formed CongoCalling.org, a campaign to inspire both the public and companies that make electronics to pay attention to how tantalum used in consumer electronics is mined and traded.

Mbubi is also the Director of the Manna Society, a center for the homeless in South London, and a Trustee of Church Action on Poverty.

TED Video (9:22)