The Democratic Republic of the Congo Portal
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République Démocratique du Congo), also referred to as DRC, RDC, DR Congo or formerly as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa, and formerly Zaire (or Zaïre in French), is a state in Central Africa and the second largest country on the continent. It borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan on the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania on the east, Zambia and Angola on the south, and the Republic of the Congo on the west. The country enjoys access to the sea through a narrow forty kilometre stretch, following the Congo river into the Gulf of Guinea. The name "Congo" (meaning "hunter") is coined after the Kongo ethnic group, living in the lower Congo river area.
As many as 250 ethnic groups have been distinguished and named. The most numerous people are the Kongo, Luba, and Mongo. Although 700 local languages and dialects are spoken, the linguistic variety is bridged both by the use of French and the intermediary languages Kikongo, Tshiluba, Swahili, and Lingala.
The involvement of the Belgian Congo in World War II began with the German invasion of Belgium in May 1940. Despite Belgium's surrender, the Congo remained in the conflict on the Allied side, administered by the Belgian government in exile, and provided much-needed raw materials, most notably gold and uranium, to Britain and the United States.
Congolese troops of the Force Publique fought alongside British forces in the East African Campaign, and a Congolese medical unit served in Madagascar and in the Burma Campaign. Congolese formations also acted as garrisons in Egypt, Nigeria and Palestine.
The increasing demands placed on the Congolese population by the colonial authorities during the war, however, provoked strikes, riots and other forms of resistance, particularly from the indigenous Congolese. These were repressed, often violently, by the Belgian colonial authorities. The Congo's comparative prosperity during the conflict led to a wave of post-war immigration from Belgium, bringing the white population to 100,000 by 1950, as well as a period of industrialisation that continued throughout the 1950s. The role played by Congolese uranium during the hostilities caused the country to be of interest to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. (Read more...)
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Antoine Koffi Olomide (born August 13, 1958), is a Congolese soukous singer, producer, and composer.
Born in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo to a Congolese father and Ghanaian mother, Koffi grew up in Kinshasa. He went to France to study where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Paris. While in Paris, he began playing the guitar and writing songs. On his return to Congo he was a member of Viva la Musica, Papa Wemba's band. Koffi repopularized the slower style of soukous, which had fallen out of fashion. He dubbed this style Tcha Tcho, and it gained popularity outside Congo. Koffi's music can be quite controversial, taking on current events and topics considered taboo in some conservative societies. He has also participated in the salsa music project Africando.. (continued...)
"In our African tradition...can anyone tell me that he has ever known a village that has two chiefs?"
- — Mobutu Sese Seko, explaining the dominance of his ruling party
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