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Kinshasa’s Theatre of Power
The DRC’s capital is set to become Africa’s largest city, but struggles to assert its authority over a profoundly fractured state as it expands in chaotic fashion. Dilapidated infrastructure and a disintegrating formal economy have not extinguished Kinshasa’s extraordinary cultural vitality, or its role as a centre of political opposition.
Africa’s Leaky Giant
Recent analysis of Congo’s plight has foregrounded notions of local agency and impenetrable complexity, excluding structural analysis. In a landmark rebuttal, Joe Trapido argues that it is just as implausible to deny the agency of powerful outsiders as that of powerful Africans. Dynamics of a primitive accumulation that never results in sustained development, its gains still leaking overseas.
Colonialism and the Predatory State in the Congo
At independence, the Congo had only two graduates, and such fabulous riches that the country inevitably became a magnet for rapacious foreign companies and for the Western intelligence services. Kinshasa, as the capital Leopoldville was renamed, swelled with worldly businessmen not averse to secret deals. Once Lumumba was out of . . . read more
Zaire at the End of a Reign
President Mobutu Sese Seko’s triumphal return in December to his capital Kinshasa, a place he had avoided for many years, proved only a nine days’ wonder. After just three weeks, and despite his parlous physical condition, he was off to Morocco and Egypt in search of military aid, and to . . . read more
Che Guevera and the Congo
It’s Che Guevara time again in the pleasure gardens of the West, as publishers and television companies gear themselves up for the thirtieth anniversary of the guerrilla leader’s death in 1997. We’ve already had the early motorcycle diaries, published all over Europe in 1995, and no less than four new . . . read more