Speaking for Ourselves

Yolande Bukasa Mabika

Yolande Bukasa Mabika

Mira Farhat

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Yolande Bukasa Mabika


Name: Yolande Bukasa Mabika (F) 
Age: 28
Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Host Country: Brazil
Sport: Judo: 70kg 

Yolanda Bukassa Mabika’s journey to the Rio Olympic Games has been long and arduous. Orphaned from a young age as a result of unceasing fighting, she has little memory of her family, only recalling being stranded somewhere and taken in a helicopter to a children’s orphanage in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I’ve been separated from my family for many years and that made me cry a lot.”

Living in the orphanage she turned to judo in an attempt to find an outlet for her grief, “for me judo is very important in my life, it gives me a strong heart.” She persevered and competed in many competitions but at the same she was suffering continual abuse from her coach who would lock her in a cage or deprive her of food and water, even taking her passport away if she lost. 

In 2013 she escaped her abusers and sought help and  refuge Brazil where she was able to win a spot on the Olympic Refugee team and is getting help and support from Brazilian Olympic medallist Flavio Canto. Driven by dreams of better and safer life Yolande is determined to win, “I will be part of this team and I will win a medal. I am a competitive athlete, and this is an opportunity that can change my life.” 

Aside from professional ambition Yolande understands what it is to be a refugee and has set herself personal ambitions, “I hope my story will be an example for everybody, and perhaps my family will see me and we will reunite.”


For more information: 

Watch Yolande Bukasa Mabika: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJc2GDrMGoI