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Posts tagged "Congo"

NEW MUSIC: Awilo Longomba - Bundelele.

The man who brought us one of the continent’s most-loved Soukous songs is back! Whilst the single was released a few months earlier, Longomba’s finally dropped the offiicial music video for his track Bundelele (meaning ‘dance’).

Staying true to the song’s title, the rythmic and pulsating video celebrates various forms of dance and features choreography from the highly talented Nigerian dancer and member of CEO dancers Ezinne Asinugo.

If Asinugo looks familiar, that’s because you may have seen her in this video as well as the most recent music video from Fuse ODG featuring Sea Paul.

Guinness Helps Brings Sapeur Culture to Life in Mini-Doc

We’ve seen them in countless pictures and photo-documentary projects, but how many times have we glimpsed actual Congolese Sapeurs present themselves in through their own words? In this 5 minute documentary put together by Guinness, we get to meet and know more about these bold, elegant, dapper and dandy gentlemen of Brazzaville.

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Tabu Ley Rochereau

Congolese artist Tabu Ley Rochereau's popular song 'Karibou ya Bintou'.

Cape Town-based Congolese artist Zemba Luzamba's series titled La Sape, focusing on the Sapeur culture in Congo where men take pride in staying immaculately dressed in “gentleman-ly attire” mainly of Western origin.

October: Highlighting African Art & African Artists

EVENT: Congo in Harlem, October 18th-27th.

Congo in Harlem is an annual series of films, panel discussions, performances and special events about the DRC that aims to entertain, educate, and engage.

From October 18th - 27th, 2013, Maysles Cinema will host the
5th Annual Congo in Harlem film and event series.

There are strong cosmic elements embedded in the work of self-taught Kinshasa-born artist Amani Bodo whose surrealist paintings explore a diverse range of themes from spirituality and sexuality, to the impact and influence of Western culture in Congolese society.

October: Highlighting African Art & African Artists


Africa | Bakutu woman. Tshuapa, Bodende, Belgian Congo (today, the Democratic Republic of Congo) | C. Lamote. ca. 1957

Goma, DR Congo.

Photo by Alissa Everett

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: The Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) becomes independent of French colonial rule - August 15th, 1960.*

The central African country often referred to as Congo-Brazzaville, in order to distinguish between neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (or Congo-Kinshasa), was formerly part of the French colony French Equatorial Africa. The name of it’s capital city is taken from the surname of Italian explorer and naturalized French citizen Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazzà, later known as Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza, who opened the way for the French to colonize the area in the 1880s. 

From wikipedia:

The most prominent Congolese politician until 1956 was Jean-Félix Tchicaya, born in Libreville on 9 November 1903 and a member of the royal family of the Kingdom of Loango. Together with Ivorian leader Félix Houphouët-Boigny and others, he formed the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA) in 1946 and, in 1947, the Parti Progressiste Africain. On 21 November 1945, Tchicaya became one of the first African leaders elected to the French parliament, giving him great prestige in his native country.

Although Tchicaya was on the left of the French political spectrum, he never strongly questioned French colonial rule. This resulted in a loss of influence as the Congo prepared for independence, influenced by nationalist anti-colonial leaders as Kwame Nkrumah from Ghana and Egyptian PresidentGamel Abdel Nasser. Only by aligning himself with his erstwhile enemy, the more radical Jacques Opangault in the parliamentary elections of March 31, 1957 could he continue to play a leading role in Congolese political life.

Prior to independence, the French establishment and Catholic Church feared Opangault’s radicalism and favored the rise of Fulbert Youlou, a former priest. The defection of Georges Yambot from the African Socialist Movement (MSA) to Youlou’s Union Démocratique pour la Défense d’Intérêts Africains (UDDIA) helped Youlou become Prime Minister in 1958. This led to the establishment of the Republic of Congo on 28 November 1958 (with Brazzaville replacing Point Noire as the country’s capital).

On 16 February 1959, a revolt organized by Opangault and his MSA erupted in clashes along tribal lines between Southerners, supporting Youlou, and people from the North, loyal to the MSA. The riots were suppressed by French army and Opangault was arrested. In total about 200 people died. Prime Minister Youlou then held the elections for which Opangault had previously asked in vain. After the May 9 arrest of several politicians, including veteran politician Simon Kikhounga Ngot, because of an alleged communist plot, parliamentary elections were convincingly won by Youlou. On 12 July 1960 France agreed to Congo becoming fully independent. On 15 August 1960, the Republic of Congo became an independent country and Fulbert Youlou became its first President.

In November that year, Youlou released Opangault, Ngot and other adversaries, as part of an amnesty. In return both politicians, as well as Germain Bicoumat, joined Youlou’s government and received ministerial posts, effectively destroying any organized political opposition.

Both in his photographs and in his short films Kiripi Katembo depicts the every day life of the inhabitants of Kinshasa as well as the instable political and economical context of his country.

Thanks to the use of the mobile phone or little video cameras he manages to film as close as possible to the street, avoiding the ban on filming of the Congolese government.

His works can also be more poetic, as in the series ‘un regard’… where he photographs people and landscapes reflection in the puddle of Kinshasa.

Kiripi Katembo Siku is a Goma-born and Kinshasa-based Congolese photographer and filmmaker. His first film Voiture en Carton was made with a cellphone and was selected at the “Pocket Film” Festival in the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2008. Siku is also a co-creater of the association “YEBELA” that is made up of young directors and photographers whose work on video and photo projects depict the every day life of the of people Kinshasa.

A small crowd of supporters of Albert Kalonji whose ethnic group is not to be represented in the new parliament gather outside the Palais de la Nation, in Kinshasa, for the Independence Day ceremony on June 30th, 1960.

Albert Kalonji was the leader, or Chef Suprême du Peuple Muluba et Protecteur Incontesté des Tribus Associées à son sort (Supreme Chief of the Muluba People and Uncontested Protector of the Associated Tribes), of the short-lived secessionist state of South Kasai during the Congo Crisis.

Inspired by president of Kitanga Province Moise Tshombe’s announcement to secede from Congo due to the political turmoil at the time, declaring Katanga’s independence on July 11th, 1960, Kalonji declared the independence of diamond-rich province South Kasai on August 8th, 1960.

Despite being a member of the same political party as Lumumba, Kalonji despised Lumumba due to the slaughter of thousands of his people, the Luba, which Kalonji blamed on the Congolese central government. This is a claim made by US CIA officer Larry Devlin, who was instrumental in securing US influence on the continent, in his book Chief of Station, Congo.

Kalonji’s reign over his secessionist state was short-lived and, after a four-month military campaign by the Congolese government, he was arrested on December 30th, 1961. Kalonji managed to escape and went on to maintain a government until October 1962.

After Joseph Mobutu’s coup in 1965, South Kasai was divided into two regions to discourage any future secessionist movements.

Kalonji, born either in 1919 or 1929 is still living.

Iconic photograph taken by Robert Lebeck in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) during Belgian King Baudouin’s procession through the city on the eve of Congo’s independence, on June 29, 1960.

The man in the dark suit, Baodouin’s sword in hand, is Ambroise Boimbo. Boimbo, a bystander in the crowd, ran up to the King’s vehicle and, in an act of ultimate defiance, stole his sword right from his side, sealing his fate as a true and patriotic hero of Congo’s independence.

Boimbo was born in Monkoto in Equateur Province. After leaving his village, he joined the military and relocated to Kinshasa. There, he quit the army and became an electrician, and later worked under President Mobutu. He passed away in the 1980s and was interred at Kintambo cemetery.

In this short clip from the documentary Boyamba Belgique, documentary filmmakers Dries Engel and Bart Van Peel trace the life of Boimbo and find out what became of this brave man after this almost surreal incident. Going back to his home village of Monkoto, Engel and Van Peel meet Boimbo’s remaining family there - including his daughter - and, after showing them the above photograph, details of what became of Boimbo begin to emerge in a very emotional encounter.

The video, between the 7:00-8:00 minute mark, also shows a tradition practiced by some African communities were liquor is poured over the graves of the deceased, and then shared by those paying grieving or paying homage to them. 

The clip, which shows what is perhaps the only moving image of Boimbo, ends with efforts to preserve Boimbo’s memory within the consciousness of the Congolese people.

Happy Independence Day to everyone Democratic Republic of Congo!

After years of colonial rule by the Belgians, beginning with King Leopold II and his ruthless ambitions to secure colonial territory in Africa starting in the late 1870s, followed by the establishing of the Congo Free State from 1885-1908, which later became known as the Belgian Congo in the early 20th century, the area known today as the Democratic Republic of Congo officially became an independent nation on June 30th, 1960.

The fight for Congo’s independence was led primarily by the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba who would later be brutally assassinated after a Mobuto-led coup deposed him of his position after only three months in office. Lumumba’s assassination was carried out with involvement from British and Belgian governments, the United States (CIA), and local Congolese leaders who opposed Lumumba’s political developments.