Congolese (Zairians)

views updated

Congolese (Zairians)

ALTERNATE NAMES: Congo-Kinshasans
LOCATION: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC—the former Zaire)
POPULATION: 66 million
LANGUAGE: Lingala; Swahili; Ciluba; Kikongo; French (language of government)
RELIGION: Christianity (Catholicism, Protestantism, African Christianity)
RELATED ARTICLES: Vol. 1: Azande; Bakongo; Efe and Mbuti


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC—the former Zaire) is Africa's third-largest country roughly equal in size to the United States east of the Mississippi River. Its boundaries were drawn arbitrarily at the Conference of Berlin in 1884–85. More than 300 ethnic groups, who speak between 300–600 dialects and languages live within those boundaries.

Archeological evidence from the Shaba, Kasai, and the Lower Congo regions indicates that this part of the world is one of the oldest cradles of human habitation. Prior to European colonization, the peoples of the DRC were part of empires, kingdoms, and small forest village communities. Perhaps the most renowned kingdom was the Kongo, established as early as the 15th century. This Christian kingdom had diplomatic relations with Portugal, Spain, and the Vatican. To the east, the emperor of the Lunda Empire maintained relations with the Portuguese and traded with Arabs on the coast of the Indian Ocean. The legendary prosperity of the Kongo Kingdom and the Luba Empire was cut short by slave trafficking, which eventually caused them to collapse.

The DRC has gone through several name changes, from “The Independent State of the Congo,” to “The Belgian Congo,” to “The Democratic Republic of the Congo” in 1960, to “Zaire” in 1971, and back to “The Democratic Republic of the Congo” in 1997. At the Berlin Conference, the European powers gave King Leopold II of Belgium sole proprietorship of the territory. Leopold ruled it as his personal fief through ruthless agents, who coerced local populations to meet quotas for red rubber and ivory. Those failing to meet quotas had their hands chopped off. Forced labor killed some 10 million Congolese between 1880 and 1910. When these atrocities became public, the Belgian state took over the colony to avoid further embarrassment. However, oppression and exploitation continued.

In the 1960s and 1970s, rebellions and secessions threatened the sovereignty of the country, but were beaten back with the assistance of the United Nations and foreign troops. Imminent revolt forced the Belgians to grant independence to the territory in 1960. Prime Minister Lumumba, who had socialist tendencies, was killed in February 1961. CIA and Belgian involvement brought Mobutu to power in 1965. Mobutu Sese Seko, whose name means “the one who will last forever,” plundered the country's resources and impoverished his fellow citizens. His fortune, once estimated at over $8 billion, made him one of the richest men in the world. Mobutu had been Africa's longest-ruling leader when he was forced into exile in May 1997. He died in Morocco in September 1997.

In April 1997, with the backing of Rwanda and Uganda, rebel forces under Laurent Kabila marched on and captured Kinshasa, the capital. Laurent Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 and succeeded by his son, Joseph, who headed a transitional government in 2003, and was elected president in 2006. An elected national assembly was installed in September 2006, and provincial assemblies in early 2007, which in turn elected senators as well as provincial governors.


The DRC extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains (the “Mountains of the Moon”) in the east. Straddling the equator, the DROC shares borders with nine states: the Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Angola. The mostly highland plateau is broken up by hilly and mountainous terrain, and a vast central basin drains into the Congo River. A chain of deep-water lakes formed by the Great Rift Valley fault line lie on the eastern border. Moving away from the equator, a rainy and a dry season begin to alternate. In the drier highlands, temperatures can drop to 5°C (40°F) at night.

The DRC claims the second-largest remaining rain forest in the world, and some of the world's largest deposits of minerals and precious metals. It is rich in copper, tin, manganese, coltan, and cobalt. Industrial diamonds abound in the Kasai Regions. Gold deposits have been identified in Orientale Province. The Inga Dam on the lower Congo River harnesses energy from the world's second-largest flowing volume of water. However, commercial logging threatens fragile ecosystems in the central basin and along the fertile eastern corridor.

The DRC's population is growing at about 3.2% yearly. By the year 2020, it is expected to reach 90 million people. Population density varies greatly from extremely dense urban centers to the sparsely populated central basin. The rural eastern corridor, bordering on Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi contains about 29 persons per sq km (76 persons per sq mi). Six ethnic groups account for more than 69% of the population, but no single group dominates the others numerically or politically. The Luba make up 18%; the Kongo, 16%; the Mongo, 13.5%; Rwandese, 10%; Azande, 6%; and Bangi and Ngale, 6%.


In spite of the many dialects spoken throughout the DRC, four national languages predominate. Foremost among these is Lingala, which is spoken in the equatorial region, in the capital, and along the Congo River. Lingala is the main lingua franca (common language) thanks in part to former President Mobutu, who made speeches in Lingala and popularized it in the civil service. It also became the language of preference in the army and in Congolese music.

Swahili is the second lingua franca, spoken throughout the northeast, eastern, and southeast parts of the country. Tshiluba is spoken in the two Kasai regions, and Kikongo is spoken in Bas-Congo. French is officially used in government, and in education at university and high school levels. In public elementary schools, French is often taught as a second language. It is common to find people speaking a national language at the market, French in school, and their mother tongue at home.


Folklore is communicated in many ways, including literature, art, music, and dance. It is a means of carrying on tradition from generation to generation. Each ethnic group has its own legends and folk tales, though similarities exist. Animals figure importantly in these. For example, the rabbit is identified with intelligence and cunning, while the crocodile is associated with something bad, such as an unforgiving traffic cop, or an overzealous ticket-taker on the bus.

A deep appreciation for Congo's rich past is seen through a former popular television figure, Grandpère (grandfather), who told folk tales in a village setting, recalling former times when this tradition took place around an evening fire. Since the purpose of the tales was to teach while entertaining, Grandp è re frequently expounded on the morals of these stories and of their application to daily life. Children, as well as adults, now watch a similar program in four of the national languages. In Swahili the program is called, “Hadisi Njo,” and in Lingala “Lisapo Nge.” These titles are actually the way storytelling begins with the storyteller saying “Lisapo Nge!” and the audience replying “Onge!” Children considered it a great honor to appear on the Grandpère show.


Nearly half of all Congolese practice Catholicism, and another third are Protestant, yet Christian and traditional beliefs are blended together. For example, at holy Mass, protection of the ancestors is often implored. People also dance in the liturgy and offer in-kind gifts, including goat, cassava, fish, fruits, and vegetables. In 1921, Simon Kimbangu, claiming to be a prophet of Jesus Christ, led a religious revival against colonialism. Some 17% of the population now profess a form of African Christianity. In recent years Protestant sects led by charismatic preachers have gained large followings in towns and cities. The popularity of these churches is based in part on the hope they hold out to their parishioners, for whom survival has become a daily challenge. It also reflects the failure of institutionalized churches to respond to people's everyday needs.

Traditional belief holds that all things have life and deserve respect, even inanimate objects like rocks. Life never ends, and no separation exists between the living and the dead. Offering the ancestors a drink by pouring some beer on the ground is symbolic of this belief. Nzambe, assisted by the spirits of ancestors, is the supreme being from whom all things derive. The Nganga-Nzambe, the “doctor of God,” is called upon in times of need to intercede with sacrifices and prayers. When evil befalls someone, it is assumed that a person or a bad spirit is responsible. It is up to the Nganga to find the cause and appease the person or spirit who is displeased.


The increasingly difficult political and economic climate in the DRC has dampened popular celebrations of secular holidays. June 30, Independence Day, is celebrated in the capital with speeches, parades and folk dancing, but political holidays such as May 20, the day that Mobutu's Popular Revolutionary Movement Party (MPR) was founded, have been taken off the calendar. Christmas, New Year's Day, and Easter are festive occasions for family visiting, and if means permit, are celebrated with roast goat or cow.

Parent's Day, August 1, is a unique holiday. In the morning Congolese celebrate the dead, and in the afternoon, the living. Residents of Kinshasa, for example, go to the cemeteries early to clear and spruce up family graves. Fires are set to burn away the tall weeds and elephant grass, which at the end of the rainy season are very dry but so thick as to be impenetrable. As the grasses burn, tomb stones, grave markers, and crosses appear through the smoke and flames. Visitors dodge these uncontrolled fires to sweep off their ancestors' graves and perhaps enjoy a meal at the site with them. Adults then return home to eat again together with the children.


In the DRC, children are a symbol of wealth, and all births are celebrated with joy. However, in the dominant patriarchal system, boys are more desired because they perpetuate the family name. Kobota elingi, the joy of giving birth, is celebrated with friends, who bring gifts, food, and drinks to the parents. They also help out with household chores and caring for the baby. The more respected the parents are, the more help they are likely to receive.

Prior to colonization, boys and girls passed to adulthood through initiation rites. Boys were circumcised and taught the elders' wisdom and the values of their culture. Girls were never circumcised, but they were brought to a secret place and taught how to succeed in marriage and to raise a family. Nowadays, male circumcision occurs soon after birth. Because of social changes in the cities, young men and women are usually taught about life and their culture by a family member such as an uncle or aunt.

Congolese believe in life after death, but death still remains a mystery, especially in the case of a child, young person, or young adult. Blame or responsibility must be assigned so that their spirits may rest. When an elderly person dies, however, it is believed that their spirits watch over family members. Funeral ceremonies, matanga, vary according to ethnic group. In the villages, the corpse is washed and kept in the house until burial. In the cities, it is taken out and laid in a bed underneath a canopy of palm branches. Mourners comfort the family by bringing gifts, and by sitting on the ground with the family and praying.


Congolese are extremely gregarious and commonly stop to greet friends, and even strangers, on the street. When socializing, they typically walk around in small groups of two or three. It is customary to shake hands when meeting people, and when taking leave of them. When greeting an older person, one waits for the elder person to offer his or her hand. If the hand is not offered, one gives a slight bow with the head. If the hand is offered, the younger person reaches out with the right hand and rests the left hand on the right arm near the wrist. Children should receive objects from adults, even from each other, with both hands.

During the Mobutu era, strangers greeted each other with the title, “Citoyen” (Citizen). They now use the French “Monsieur,” “Madame,” or “Mademoiselle.” However, a less formal and popular address is simply “Papa” or “Mama.” There are several ways to greet people depending on time of day and the nature of the relationship. In the morning a Lingala-speaker greets by asking, “Hello, is that you? (Mbote, Yo wana?), Are you awake? (Olamuki?), How did you sleep?” (Olalaki malamu?). Asking someone how they are consists of literally asking, “What news?” (Sango nini?). The typical reply would be, “No news!” (Sango te) meaning, “Fine.” It is not considered impolite to drop in on someone without giving prior notice. In fact, announcing a visit signals something important, like a marriage request, in which case the visitor brings along a sack of rice, a goat, and several cases of beer.

Congolese place great importance on family and social relations. A grandparent affectionately refers to his or her grandchild as “little husband or wife,” and the grandchild refers to the grandparent in the same way. A woman light-heartedly addresses a neighbor as “father-in-law” (bokilo) because she likes his young son, whom she calls her “little husband.” Many people call friends and even strangers “brother-in law” or “sister-in-law,” which is a way of building friendships and avoiding conflict.


The majority of Congolese find it challenging to send their children to school, pay for health care, and even to eat one or two meals a day. Many middle-class urbanites who once had dependable salaries and were people of means now eat once a day or less. Half-finished houses take years to complete. Many goods are priced in US dollars to hedge against inflation. The Human Development Index (HDI), which measures general well-being according to life expectancy, education, and standard of living rates the DRC 168 out of 177 countries.

Health care is generally available in cities and town centers, but unless patients can afford to pay for bandages, medications, and other basic supplies, they will not receive treatment. Before the outbreak of AIDS, clinics and hospitals routinely reused needles. Some 54% of the population does not have access to improved water sources, 31% of children aged 0–5 are underweight for their age, and the probability of not surviving past age 40 is about 41%.

Homes in the village are often made from mud brick, and thatch or galvanized-iron roofing. They are clean, but not mosquito-proof. People use kerosene lamps, and women and children haul water from nearby springs, rivers, or common wells. It is difficult in these conditions to avoid bacteria and children often suffer from a variety of air- and water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery. In the towns, some houses have electricity, running water, and flush toilets. However, large sections of Kinshasa that once enjoyed 24-hour electricity now receive on average six hours of power a day.

The most common form of transportation in the DRC is on foot. People walk everywhere, and women and girls balance huge loads on their heads—anything from wash basins full of fruit to buckets of water. The extremely poor condition of DRC's once vast road network makes it impossible to travel easily from one region to another. Air travel, which is risky and expensive, is practically the only way to travel from Kinshasa to Lumbumbashi or to Goma and Bukavu in the east. River travel is the other most dependable means of reaching the hinterlands. River boats and dug-out canoes are perhaps the best way to bring goods to market and to travel especially in the central Congo basin.


Children are a blessing, a sign of wealth and a social safety net for parents in their old age. Families of 10 or more children are not unusual though family size shrinks with education and affluence. The financial difficulties associated with paying bride prices, housing, and other costs delays marriage. Many couples now either co-habit or marry in their thirties. Polygyny is practiced, but since second wives are not recognized by church or state, men tend to keep a second wife or girlfriend (deuxième bureau—second office) at another location.

In the extended family, marriages may be seen as alliances among families, clans, and ethnic groups with similar interests, and therefore parents and older siblings will search for a suitable spouse for their children and younger brothers and sisters from among members of the same ethnic group. A couple often participates in separate traditional, civil, and religious ceremonies. The traditional ceremony consists of exchanging gifts between the two families. The bride-price, which includes money, clothing, a Coleman lantern, or cattle, has been paid long before the wedding. The bride-price creates an alliance between the two families and the couple, and it represents the wealth that women bring to African society as mothers and workers. The civil ceremony consists of exchanging wedding vows before a government representative. The official reminds the couple of their family and civic responsibilities, and also confirms that the bride-price has been accepted. The bride and groom are expected to furnish cases of beer and soft drinks for the official. Finally, at the church, the bride might wear a Western-style wedding dress. In rural areas, wedding celebrations can last weeks, punctuated with singing, dancing, and feasting.


In the DRC, people dress up in public. If they cannot afford fancy clothes, they wear washed and neatly pressed secondhand clothing. Sloppiness is not considered a virtue. In the 1970s, under Mobutu's “authenticity program,” the government banned westernized business suits for men, and replaced them with collarless suits, or abacost, meaning “down with suits.” Neckties and bow ties were also replaced by scarves and matching handkerchiefs in the front pockets.

Similarly, women were not permitted to wear wigs, Western pants, jeans, or miniskirts. Even today as those rules no longer apply, women prefer African wraparounds (pagnes), tailored in creative styles with bright, colorful African patterns. Highly trained and skilled tailors and dressmakers have made an art form of styling the pagne and blouse, and many fabrics are given names. In addition, made-to-order bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces of ivory, malachite, gold, silver, copper, and diamonds are prized. In inflationary times, quality fashionable clothing and jewelry are investments that hold value. Congolese styles have caught on elsewhere in Africa, and have given the DRC a leading reputation for African dress.


Congolese love to eat, but have increasingly had to tighten their belts because of the economy. Breakfast may be no more than sweet cafe au lait (coffee with milk) with a baguette of French bread that can be dunked in the coffee. The noon meal is the most important and requires considerable time to prepare, including a trip to the market to buy ingredients. The staples are cassava, rice, potatoes, plantains, and sweet potatoes or yams, accompanied by a sauce of greens, fish, or meat depending on the region. Typically, a family eats from the same bowl of sauce, and from a large dough-like ball of cassava flour or corn flour (fufu) or a mixture of the two. Before eating, hands are washed (a basin of warm water, a bar of soap, and a towel may be passed around). Supper consists of leftovers or tea and bread. In rural areas men and women tend to eat separately, particularly at parties and ceremonies. People eat with one hand, usually the right. Congolese would normally cook more than they can eat because one never knows when visitors might drop in. Under normal circumstances it would be extremely rude not to offer, or not to accept, food and drink.

A favorite sauce is made from cassava leaves (saka saka), which are pounded and cooked. Fish is often added to saka saka. Other traditional foods include pounded sesame seeds (wangila), squash seeds (mbika), steamed chicken or fish (maboke), shiskabobs (kamundele), and plantain dough (lituma). In some regions, people consider caterpillars, grubs, roasted crickets, and termites to be delicacies. In the Equatorial region, wild game such as elephant, monkey, hippopotamus, and crocodile are enjoyed. The DRC is perhaps best known for mwamba, a sauce made of palm-nut paste, in which chicken, meat, and fish are cooked. Mwamba is cooked over a low fire, and is eaten with rice, fufu, or chikwange (cassava prepared in banana leaves).

As for drink, fondness for beer is legendary, but in the village, palm-wine is the favorite. This drink is fermented after being tapped from the top of the coconut palm, drawn into a gourd overnight, and collected early the next morning. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, people sit in the shade of a mango tree, consuming the milky, tangy substance. Banana-beer, sugarcane-wine, fruit wines, homemade gin, and passion fruit juice are some of the other drinks produced throughout the country. Pouring a small amount of drink on the ground for the thirsty ancestors is customary before drinking.


Education is not required by law, and many children drop out of school to work when parents are unable to pay fees, book rentals, and buy school uniforms, copybooks, pencils, and other supplies. In 2005 the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrolment ratio was 33.7%. The adult literacy rate for people aged 15 years and older was 67%.

Secondary school begins with a two-year middle school program (cycle d'orientation). The main goal is to evaluate student strengths and weaknesses, and orient students for future study and career choices. The four-year high school program includes the following general options, depending on the school: Literature, Science, Business, Nursing, and Education. A high school diploma must be earned by passing a rigorous state exam, and for many it becomes the final degree. Public university, plagued by strikes and overcrowding, closes frequently. Consequently, many private universities have opened over the past few years. Parents with means or connections send their children to private boarding schools for high school, and to university in South Africa or Europe.

Because pay is low and erratic, teaching is no longer a prestigious vocation. Teachers supplement their income by working on the side. Inability to make a living wage has also led to bribes for grades. Many public school classrooms lack basic supplies such as blackboards and chalk. In some schools, children must take their own stools. A unique Congolese institution that puts responsibility on the pupils to keep up their schools is salongo. Salongo brings the students together to spruce up school buildings, clean school yards, and remove overgrowth from school grounds and sports fields.


Congolese dance music, referred to as “Sukus” in the United States, has been popular throughout sub-Saharan Africa since the 1950s and continues to gain international popularity. It is a combination of jazz, traditional music, and Latin-influenced rhythms. The instrumentation consists of electric guitars, keyboards, trumpets, saxophones, conga drums, and Western-style drum sets. Lyrics in Lingala comment on society, give advice, make political statements, criticize behavior, or simply relate love stories. Songs typically are divided in half. They begin with a slow section, and end with a fast-paced beat. One song can last for as long as 20 minutes.

Congolese are imaginative dancers, constantly inventing new dances which come and go almost monthly. Colorful names depict the dance movements and gestures, such as dindon (the turkey), caneton (the duckling), volant (the steering wheel), and Apollo (astronauts' space-walking on the moon). Music is heard just about anywhere even on domestic flights. Drumming and dancing are part of any festive occasion, be it greeting the president at the airport, frolicking in the village under a full moon, or performing at a cultural event. The national folkloric ballet has gained an international reputation.

From ancient times, Congolese peoples have used their oral literature to carry on traditions, customs, and social values. Modern written literature has been built on this oral foundation. It varies widely from classical to popular forms and is written in French as well as in national languages. Drama is one of the most popular forms of literature today.


One of the greatest challenges facing the Congo is to create work opportunities for its citizens. Industry employs only 10% of the work force, mainly in mining, timber extraction, oil palm processing, textiles, chemicals, and food processing. Services employ about 12% of the labor force. The rest of the work force is either without work or employed in the informal sector in subsistence agriculture and petty trades. Informal work provides no regular salary, health insurance, pensions, or other benefits. Since the closure of Gecamines, the national mining company, some 20,000 skilled jobs with benefit packages have been lost. The impact of these closures on mining cities like Kolwezi has been devastating to infrastructure and the local economy. While industrial mining is beginning to return, some 2 million miners labor under harsh conditions panning for diamonds, copper, gold, and coltan, which is used in making cell phones, DVD players, and computers.


Soccer is the national pastime, played or watched virtually throughout the country. Competition with African national teams is so intense that when the national team defeated the Moroccans for the Africa Cup in the 1970s, the returning players were welcomed like royalty and given houses, cars, and large sums of money. Congolese (then Zairians) were treated to a national holiday.

People love playing cards, chess, checkers, and board games. A traditional board game called Mangula is played mainly in rural areas by men. One version consists of a carved wooden board with two rows of shallow pockets separated by a divider. The game begins with some small stones in each pocket. Player One moves and continues according to the number of stones he picks up. Each time he lands, he picks up his opponent's stones in the pocket opposite him across the divider, and uses these stones to continue his play. When he fails to pick up any stones, his opponent takes his turn. The first person to displace all his opponent's stones to his side of the board wins.


Most people do not have disposable income to go to cinemas, to eat out, to go to night clubs, or to pay for entertainment. Their entertainment is restricted to socializing with family and friends, watching TV (in towns and cities), and telling stories or dancing in the village square on special occasions. Video houses hooked to satellite TV have gained in popularity for watching soccer tournaments and movies. In the cities young people and adults enjoy going out on Saturday night to socialize, listen to music at outdoor pubs, dance at night clubs, and watch theatrical events.


The DRC is famous for its traditional folk arts and crafts. Artists and craftspeople produce ceramic pots, reed mats, woven baskets, woodcarvings, chess games, sand paintings, hand-made clothing, and jewelry. Children are very inventive, recycling tomato cans and metal hangers to design cars that are steerable, and airplanes with hatches that open.

In general, African art is functional, but increasingly tourist art generates income. Formerly, masks were assigned power to intercede with the divine. Some are still only brought out on very specific occasions for initiations and for solving community problems. The Bakuba people from the Kasai regions still produce wood sculptures, masks, and statuettes that may be used to enhance fertility, and to chase away evil spirits. In recent times, a distinct genre of oil paintings, found in many Zairian homes, wryly reflects the magnitude of contemporary social challenges. In these paintings, snakes or lions within striking distance of unsuspecting human prey depict impending doom.


Congolese must conquer hunger, political repression, and political and economic instability, and meet their basic daily needs. People work hard for very little. Many people resort to “Article 15” or “debrouillez-vous,” which means, “make do in whatever way possible.” Kids leave school early, girls prostitute themselves, civil servants steal, police officers extort, and military personnel loot and pillage. Enormous human losses caused by HIV/AIDS and the Ebola virus challenge Congolese to care for the sick and orphaned. A hidden tragedy is that generations of Congolese children may be growing up undernourished on a basic diet of cassava, which is extremely poor in nutrition.

Nonetheless, Congolese are learning to cope with these scourges. Compared to the United States, drug use is uncommon, and serious crimes as Americans know them are rare. For all their problems, Congolese are resilient people, who are making do with “ Article 15.”


The value of women and girls to Congolese society is recognized through the bride price (la dotte), which is payable by the groom's family to the bride's family in order for marriage to proceed, and it can be quite considerable involving both in-kind and cash payments. However, women and girls are subservient to men and boys in social, economic and political spheres of life, and under the law women do not possess the same rights as men. For example, a woman must obtain her husband's permission before opening a bank account, conducting a real estate transaction, and applying for a passport.

A woman found guilty of adultery could be sentenced up to one year in prison while a man would unlikely be subject to a penalty. Women are not permitted by law to work at night or to accept employment without their husband's consent. They typically do most of the household work, fetch water and firewood in the village, and in the public and private workplace they receive less pay for doing the same job. They rarely occupy political posts or positions of high authority and responsibility. As noted (see Social Problems ) women and girls are subjected to trafficking, forced labor, prostitution, and rape, but the government is either unable or unwilling to protect them and to provide justice for them under the law.


Diallo, Siradiou. Le Zaire Aujourd'hui. Paris: Les Editions Jeune Afrique, 1984.

Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. London: Pan Mac-Millan, 1998.

Huybrechts, A., et al. Du Congo au Zaire: 1960–1980. Bruxelles: CRISP, 1980.

Kelly, Sean. America's Tyrant: The CIA and Mobutu of Zaire. Washington, DC: The American University Press, 1993.

Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges. From Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Second Revised Edition. United Nations: Nordiska Afrikainstutet, 2004.

Stengers, Jean. Congo: Mythes et Realites: 100 Ans d'Histoire. Paris: Editions Duculot, 1989.

Wrong, Michela. In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

—revised by R. Groelsema and M. C. Groelsema