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Joséphine Nsimba Mpongo practices the cello in the Kimbanguiste neighborhood of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Joséphine Nsimba Mpongo practices the cello in the Kimbanguiste neighborhood of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. She is a member of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, Central Africa's only symphony orchestra. Photo by Andrew McConnell

Andrew McConnell is an Irish photographer who started his career in Belfast before transitioning to more in-depth social documentary work around the world. His work has been recognized by World Press Photo and the National Press Photographers Association, among others. He also has received a Sony World Photography Award and a Luis Valtueña Humanitarian Photography Award.

"Joséphine Nsimba Mpongo…lives in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is perhaps the African country with the most potential, but the least to show for it. During the day, she works in the market selling food to make ends meet. In the evenings she practices with her fellow musicians in the Kimbanguiste neighborhood of the city. To watch her there and hear the music rising through the rundown streets is one of the most uplifting experiences imaginable. Women in this part of the world often suffer huge injustices, but in those moments listening to Joséphine play I glimpsed something else: that rare instant when the human spirit is displayed before your eyes, indestructible, with all that hope, all that possibility."