The Congolese people laying down roots in Champaign

A graphic of a flag, with a golden star in the top left, and a diagonal red line with a yellow border going from the bottom left to top right. The Dialogue graphic can be seen on the diagonal red line.

The national flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

This week, host and producer Kennedy Vincent starts off our Dialogue by speaking with John Matanda, President of the Congolese Community of Champaign County organization. They discuss the resources he provides for other members of his culture, and what that support looks like for new Congolese immigrant in America.

Following this, Kennedy speaks with Lisa Wilson, the Executive Director of The Refugee Center in Champaign, about how she helps new immigrants and refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other communities.

Then, we speak with a Congolese community member, Prosper Panumpabi, who has helped open a pathway for other immigrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to come to the United States.

Lastly, we speak to Christelle Muanza, chef and owner of Les Gourmets Cuisine, located in the Broadway Food Hall in Urbana. She shares some popular dishes at the restaurant, and how Les Gourmets Cuisine has become an important part of the Congolese community in Champaign-Urbana. Throughout the episode, we feature Congolese music and artists to showcase sounds from the community. You can find a playlist of our featured songs here.


John Matanda

President of the Congolese Community of Champaign County Association

Prosper Panumpabi

Pastor and Congolese Community Member

Lisa C. Wilson

Executive Director of the Refugee Center

Christelle Muanza

Chef and Owner of Les Gourmets Cuisine