Anthropologist Pierre Van Leynseele invited in 1970 to photograph the people he studied, the Libinza, on the islands in the marshlands of the Ngiri River, between the Congo River and the Ubangi River, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then called Zaïre). I spent three weeks with the Libinza in October 1970, first visiting various islands, then staying for about 2 weeks at one island in the village Liketa. Each village consists of several islands. The photographs are from various villages and various islands.
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Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was assassinated on 17 January, 1961. This heinous crime was a culmination of two inter-related assassination plots by American and Belgian governments, which used Congolese accomplices and a Belgian execution squad to carry out the deed.
For 126 years, the US and Belgium have played key roles in shaping Congo's destiny. In April 1884, seven months before the Berlin Congress, the US became the first country in the world to recognise the claims of King Leopold II of the Belgians to the territories of the Congo Basin.
When the atrocities related to brutal economic exploitation in Leopold's Congo Free State resulted in millions of fatalities, the US joined other world powers to force Belgium to take over the country as a regular colony. And it was during the colonial period that the US acquired a strategic stake in the enormous natural wealth of the Congo,
following its use of the uranium from Congolese mines to manufacture the first atomic weapons, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.
With the outbreak of the cold war, it was inevitable that the US and its western allies would not be prepared to let Africans have effective control over strategic raw materials, lest these fall in the hands of their enemies in the Soviet camp. It is in this regard that Patrice Lumumba's determination to achieve genuine independence and to have full control over Congo's resources in order to utilise them to improve the living conditions of our people was perceived as a threat to western interests. To fight him, the US and Belgium used all the tools and resources at their disposal, including the United Nations secretariat, under Dag Hammarskjöld and Ralph Bunche, to buy the support of Lumumba's Congolese rivals , and hired killers.
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Founder member of seminal Afro Disco group M’Bamina, JM Bolangassa comes through with 3 tracks of raw and unadulterated percussion, pairing virtuoso playing with complex drum machine arrangements and sparse synths that sit on the fault line between traditional Congolese rhythms and modern electronic music.
Judges in France will investigate 14 French soldiers accused of abusing children in the Central African Republic (CAR). Have the “protectors” ended up defiling those they were supposed to be protecting, and were the UN and the French government trying to cover it up?
Of all those caught up in a warzone, it is children who are most vulnerable to exploitation. When the French intervened in the civil war in the CAR 18 months ago, they called it “Operation Sangaris.”
Like the butterfly that goes by the same name, it was supposed to be a short, sharp intervention to protect the tens of thousands displaced by the fighting. But the legacy of that operation may live long after the military action.
For 14 French soldiers have now been placed under investigation after six African children aged between nine and 13 alleged that some were abused by the peacekeepers between December 2013 and June 2014. They claimed they were offered sweets in return for sexual activity with the soldiers.
This case is a matter of huge embarrassment to President Hollande, who has been keen to demonstrate France’s “positive” influence in the continent with interventions in Mali, and regular summits with African leaders.
But now both French and UN authorities are being accused of a cover-up for only admitting this scandal had occurred when a UN official blew the whistle. The CAR government is furious because it, too, was kept in the dark, and has now launched its own legal action against the soldiers.
According to the latest Mobile Phone Tracker report from the International Data Corp, smartphones shipment to Africa are seen rising to 155 million units percent in 2015, after jumping 66 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, with 47 percent of cellphones sold in the quarter being smartphones.
This is the market a technology startup, VMK, base in the Democratic Republic of Congo is seeking to capitalize on.
He may have sold fewer records than Prince, but he probably swung more hips.
Papa Wemba was known abroad for bringing Congo’s lilting rumbas into the global arena after blending them with frenetic guitar riffs and his own hauntingly high tenor. At home he was much more than a singer. Among other things he was the original “mikilist”. Mokili means “the world” in Lingala — which for its lyrical expressiveness is the Italian of African languages. Mikili means Europe or the west. And mikilists were the Congolese who had “arrived”, so to speak, in Paris, Brussels or London. There is a utopian element to the concept that has driven millions of young Congolese abroad in search of greener pastures and earnings to remit home. For much of the time that Papa Wemba was strutting the stage, almost anywhere could seem a greener pasture than Zaire, as Congo was formerly called.
His band, Viva la Musica, was the first to tour Europe in the early 1980s, when Zaire was on the brink of a long-drawn-out implosion that rumbles on like so many tropical thunderclouds to this day. He had made it in Kinshasa in the 1970s with his original formation, Zaiko Langa Langa. This took the languid, Cuban-inspired rumbas of the 1960s, stripped out the wind section and speeded up the rhythm, and with it the way people danced. Thus he pioneered soukous. Paris became a base and he began to make it in Europe — the king of mikilists.
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