Prince Jourdain is the perfect marriage of an artist and an activist. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Prince moved to Buffalo at age 12. In 2013, he moved back to the DRC for a year not only to visit family, but to build sustainable housing for the locals. Now, he owns his own consulting firm, Prince Jourdain Inc, where he consults locals who want to invest in African agriculture.
I met Jourdain through his effort to help Darryl Lewis, an American citizen from Atlanta, GA, who was working as a security adviser to opposition leader Moise Katumbi. Lewis was illegally held prisoner without charge in a prison located in Kinshasa, the largest city of the DRC.
He was held in a prison with no food or health facilities.
“The food comes from relatives. The first thing that went through my mind is ‘who is feeding him,'” Jourdain said.
Naturally, Jourdain wanted to inform the American public of the occurrence. He went to different law offices and news outlets in Buffalo, however he left unsatisfied, as he was told there was nothing that could be done.
“I got shut down from door to door. I went to various law groups and they told me nothing can be done. We just celebrated Memorial Day when I started the campaign, and I couldn’t believe the lack of interest by people,” he said.
Jourdain continued his pursuit to the little Italian Market on Grant St, Guercio & Sons. He wanted to do a local, grassroots effort to make an impact. Guercio & Sons agreed to send a box of food to the American Embassy in Kinshasa. There, he did not digress. He went to P.S. 45, an international school with refugee students from several countries, including the DRC, to draw American Flag postcards to ship with the food.
The day after I met Jourdain, Lewis was released.
“The real hero in this story is Guercio. They were the only ones who didn’t hesitate to take action. They should be recognized for this humanitarian gesture,” he said.
Aside from being a persistent activist, Jourdain is also an artist. He went to SUNY Buffalo, and later SUNY Albany for Art History. Presently, he is attending the Buffalo Center of Art and Technology for Pharmaceutical Technology.
“I want to become involved in the distribution of generic medicine throughout the developing world. I spoke to pharmaceutical representatives and most of them are domestic, they’re not looking at the international market,” he said.
“My main influence comes from the Neo-plasticism school of the 1930s. A school of thought founded by Piet Mondrian. My work is a melange of ‘Africanism and Neo-plasticism,'” he said.
Jourdain plans on returning to the DRC to develop more sustainable housing at an affordable price. He strives to spread awareness about the war in the DRC and inform locals on what they can do to help.