Deadliest Journeys – Congo: The Last Train in Katanga

Dec 13, 2023 | Environmental, People, Videos

The Swallow, a train that crosses the entire country of Katanga in more than a week, is not for the faint of heart. More than double its capacity—over two thousand passengers—squeeze into the carriages and make their way across the country. On this journey of peril, the rails are barely maintained and accidents are a common occurrence. Despite these risks, people continue to take this train for its affordable prices and convenience.

However, squeezing into the train packed with others may feel like an impossible task. Passengers have described feeling uncomfortable and overcrowded as they travel through villages. People often stand shoulder-to-shoulder for days at a time without being able to move or get out of their cramped positions. And yet, even with all these difficulties, those who embark on the Swallow continue to do so with courage for a better tomorrow–all while hoping for some comfort along the way.

This real life story of hardship and endurance is one worth witnessing firsthand—which you can now do through the documentary “The Swallow” by director Pierre Brianti. A unique visual exploration of Katanga’s culture and history, “The Swallow” follows a Katanga family as they take part in this epic journey across their home country aboard The Swallow itself. Through powerful storytelling and stunning visuals depicting life on board, it captures what life is really like on this long-distance ride—the joys as well as the struggles—and offers insight into what it means to be alive in Katanga today. So don’t miss out on your chance to experience The Swallow’s captivating story!

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David B