South Kasai

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South Kasai
État minier du Sud-Kasaï
État Autonome du Sud-Kasaï
Unrecognized state

Flag Coat of arms
1961 territorial control in Congo. South Kasai shown in yellow.
Capital Bakwanga
Government Monarchy
Mulopwe ("King")a Albert Kalonji
Historical era Cold War
 -  Congolese independenceb June 30, 1960
 -  Secession August 8, 1960
 -  Monarchy proclaimed April 12, 1961
 -  Defeated December 30, 1961
a. Prior title was "Supreme Chief of the Muluba People and Protector of the Associated Tribes".
b. Katangan secession on July 11, 1960.

South Kasai was a secessionist region in the area of south central Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville) during the early 1960s. The region sought independence in similar circumstances to neighboring State of Katanga during the political turmoil arising from the decolonization of Belgian Congo. Ethnic conflicts and political tensions between leaders of the central government and local leaders plagued the diamond-rich region.


On 14 June 1960, days before the colony was to become independent, officials declared the independence of Kasai (not of Congo) and proclaimed the Federal State of South Kasai. On 8 August 1960, the autonomous Mining State of South Kasai was proclaimed with its capital at Bakwanga (present-day Mbuji-Mayi). Albert Kalonji was named president of South Kasai and Joseph Ngalula was appointed head of government.

An assembly of notables invested Kalonji's father with the imperial title of Mulopwe on 12 April 1961. The new emperor immediately abdicated in favor of his son, who thereafter ruled South Kasai as Mulopwe (Emperor or King) Albert I Kalonji. On 16 July, Kalonji rejected royalty status, but retained the title of Mulopwe and changed his name to Albert I Kalonji Ditunga.


After a bloody four month military campaign during which thousands of civilians were massacred, Armée Nationale Congolaise central government troops re-conquered the region and arrested Kalonji on 30 December 1961, thus ending the South Kasai secession.

Kalonji attempted to set up a new government following an escape from prison on 7 September 1962, but it was terminated less than a month later.

Under the subsequent regime of Joseph Mobutu (Mobutu Sese Seko), the former South Kasai was divided to discourage separatist sentiment or activity.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Ludo de Witte, 'The Assassination of Lumumba', Verso, London/New York, 2001, ISBN 1 85984 618 1

External links[edit]