republic of republic of congo brazzaville

Difference between Congo, Bakongo and Kongo...

[This is obviously directed at those who write in English when talking about the two Congos and the Bakongo.]

Congo: 

  • The term Congo can refer to the Congo river and also Congo rain forest
  • The term also refers to two different countries:

1) The Republic of the Congo (aka ROC, Congo-Brazzaville) previously known as French Congo and The People’s Republic of the Congo  

2) The Democratic Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Kinshasa DR Congo, DRC, RDC, Zaïre - yes some people still call it Zaïre even Congolese people) previously known as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville), Republic of Zaire 

[These two countries are not the same, we were never one. Just because we share a pre colonial history, a few ethnic groups and cultures doesn’t mean we’re the same. We also share those things with Angola, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia etc as well, so saying we’re the same just because of those things doesn’t make sense. My ethnic groups has more in common with people from Tanzania and Zambia than ROC, because we share a lot of cultural similarities and history with ethnic groups from those two countries]

Congolese

  • People who are Congolese are those either from the Democratic Republic of Congo or Republic of Congo.  

[As I said, some people from the Democratic Republic of Congo still refer to the country as Zaïre and themselves as Zarian or Zaïroise/Zaïrois. I still get called Zaïroise by other Congolese people and other Africans because I was born before the country changed its name to DRC]

Kongo:

  • The term refers to the pre colonial kingdom (Kongo Kingdom) in what is now northern Angola, Cabinda (which is a province of Angola but located between DRC and ROC), southern  Republic of the Congo, western  Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Kongo also refers to the Kongo aka Bakongo and Kongolese. This is not a tribe (learn the difference between tribe and ethnic group) Bakongo are an ethnic group and there are tribes who are part of the Bakongo for example the Vili, Yombe or Lumbo etc 
  • Kongo can also refer to the language of the Bakongo aka Kikongo and also Kituba
  • It can also refer to the two modern day countries, depends in which language you write in 

Few facts:

  • Kongo/Bakongo means fighters (or warriors)
  • The Kongo Kingdom was the first pre colonial Christian (specifically Catholic) Kingdom in Central Africa. Not the whole of African, because the was other pre colonial Christian African Kingdoms
  • A new movement of Catholicism was created within the kingdom by prophetess Beatriz Kimpa Vita called Antonianism. Even after she was martyred and the new sect was suppressed, Antonianism is still practiced by people today particularly the Bakongo
  • Traditional Kongo (Bakongo) religion still existed in the Kingdom and its still practiced today.Kongo religion along with Kongo Catholicism has influenced Haitian Voudou, Quimbanda (an Afro-Brazilian religion) and other religions of the African diaspora
  • Many Bakongo were taken to Cuba, Haiti, the US, Brazil and others

resource: 1,2,3,4

(I might have missed a few points tell me if I did)

Will Tracing Ivory DNA Stem the Slaughter of African Elephants?

The fight against the global elephant ivory trade has just added a new tool. Researchers at the University of Washington and INTERPOL, the international policing organization, have successfully used DNA taken from ivory seizures around the world to identify elephant poaching hotspots in Africa.

The team took DNA samples from about a half-ton of ivory confiscated in Africa and Asia between 1996 and 2014. Then they matched portions of genetic material to lengths of DNA that are known to be held only by elephants in specific geographic areas. Using this method, they found that most of the ivory seized since 2006 originated in just two areas.

“Understanding that vast amounts of this major transnational trade is focused on two primary areas makes it possible to focus law enforcement on those areas and eliminate the largest amount of illegal killing,” said University of Washington biologist Samuel Wasser, who led the study published last week in the journal Science

The largely ineffectual work to counter the ivory trade has entered a critical phase. One estimate puts the number of African elephants killed in 2013 at more than 50,000. With a population of less than 450,000 on the continent, that puts one year’s killing spree at more than 11 percent of all African elephants left on earth. The slaughter led Nature in 2014 to conclude that the elephant population is collapsing, and most animals could be wiped out within the next decade. Learn more and see infographics and a video below.

Keep reading

ibtimes.co.uk
DR Congo: 5 questions to understand 'Africa's World War'
DR Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since WW2.

1. Where is Congo?

Congo, which is one-fourth the size of the United States, shares borders with Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Its border with Rwanda is one of the most volatile and deadly in the world.

2. Why is the conflict in DR Congo nicknamed ‘Africa’s World War’?

With up to six million dead and over two million displaced between 1998 and 2003, DR Congo was home to the deadliest conflict since World War II. At the height of the conflict, nine countries were fighting each other on Congolese soil. Millions more have been driven to the brink by starvation in the country that is the size of Western Europe.

The victims died either as a direct result of fighting or due to malnutrition and disease. Additionally several million women and girls have been subjected to rape, which is used as a weapon of war. A 2011 study showed there are “1, 150 women raped every day, 48 women raped every hour, and four women raped every five minutes” in the DR Congo.

3. What started the war?

Mobutu Sésé Seko was president of the DR Congo, which was also known as Zaire for much of his reign from 1965 to 1997. Mobutu renamed the country Zaire in 1971 as part of his programme of “authenticité” to erase the last vestiges of colonialism.

While Mobutu, a dictator, was courted by the West for decades due to his staunch anti-communist stance, the seeds of DR Congo’s undoing lay in the 1994 assassination of Rwanda’s Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana.

After Habyarimana died, a Hutu extremist regime − the “gouvernement intérimaire rwandais” which promoted the Hutu Power agenda− seized power and around 800,000 Tutsis were killed in a space of 100 days in what is now known as the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The leaders armed the Interahamwe and other militia groups, which ultimately carried out genocide acts against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

A Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which was led by current president Paul Kagame, managed to drive the Hutu regime away but more than a million Hutu refugees fled into Zaire, as they feared revenge for the genocide.

As Rwanda welcomed a new Tutsi-led government, the presence of the Hutu Interahamwe and Mobutu’s support for his Hutu allies in Zaire precipitated the disaster that was to come.

The United Nations (UN) also played a large role in the conflict, as its UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) empowered the Hutu extremists as leaders of the refugee camps and gave them control of food distribution.

After Habyarimana died, a Hutu extremist regime − the “gouvernement intérimaire rwandais” which promoted the Hutu Power agenda− seized power and around 800,000 Tutsis were killed in a space of 100 days in what is now known as the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The leaders armed the Interahamwe and other militia groups, which ultimately carried out genocide acts against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

A Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which was led by current president Paul Kagame, managed to drive the Hutu regime away but more than a million Hutu refugees fled into Zaire, as they feared revenge for the genocide.

As Rwanda welcomed a new Tutsi-led government, the presence of the Hutu Interahamwe and Mobutu’s support for his Hutu allies in Zaire precipitated the disaster that was to come.

The United Nations (UN) also played a large role in the conflict, as its UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) empowered the Hutu extremists as leaders of the refugee camps and gave them control of food distribution.

No longer backed by the United States and France, Mobutu was forced to flee and the Rwandans installed Laurent-Désiré Kabila in his place in Kinshasa. Kabila reverted Zaire’s name back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 1998, Kabila and Kagame, who was then vice-president, fell out and Rwanda invaded DR Congo, again. Kabila recruited some of the former Rwandan Hutu forces, which angered Kagame and prompted the war. Angola and Zimbabwe teamed up with DR Congo, while Uganda and Burundi lined up alongside Rwanda.

4. Are Congolese still fighting?

A fragile peace deal in 2002 initiated the withdrawal of foreign armies from DR Congo, but local rebel groups tied to the Rwandan government continued to control much of the east of the country.

In 2000, Hutu extremists in eastern Congo launched a new armed group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The group counts among its number the original members of the Interahamwe that carried out the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

Under Kabila, the FDLR were used as a proxy force against the foreign armies, such as the Rwandan Patriotic Army and Rally for Congolese Democracy, backed by Rwanda.

In 2002, FDLR units moved into North and South Kivu, border regions with Rwanda that are still volatile today, where residents live in fear of death, rape or displacement. Its members are mainly former soldiers of the National Congress for the Defence of the People.

In March 2005, the FDLR announced that they were abandoning their armed struggle and returning to Rwanda as a political party. The same year, United Nations Security Council ordered the FDLR to disarm and leave the DR Congo. By 2007, however, the FDLR was still fighting against the Congolese army.

In 2008, both the DR Congo and Rwanda decided to disband the FDLR and the Rwandans entered Congo to round up FDLR fighters.

A year later, Congo mounted a joint operation with Rwandan troops to weaken Rwandan rebel Hutu militias active in eastern DR Congo. After the peace agreement was signed in 2012 in DR Congo, a group of Congolese army mutineers − mainly Tutsi survivors of the genocide and former soldiers of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) − began an offensive under the name M23 in the eastern regions.

In early 2013 the UN secured a regional agreement to end the M23 rebellion in eastern areas, and the group’s alleged founder Bosco Ntaganda surrendered to the International Criminal Court to face war-crimes charges.

The UN accused Rwanda and Uganda, which border DR Congo to the west, of having supported the M23 rebels, but Kigali and Kampala have both denied the claims.

Human rights groups also claimed M23 fighters have been responsible for widespread war crimes, including summary executions, rapes and the forced recruitment of children.

5. Is the conflict mainly political?

No. It also has an economic side, as DR Congo is potentially one of the richest countries on earth with an estimated $24 trillion (£15.5tn, €21.1tn) of untapped mineral resources.

With the world’s second-largest river flowing through it, DR Congo has limitless water and vast mineral wealth, including abundant deposits of copper, gold, diamonds, cobalt, uranium, coltan and oil. The country also boasts vast energy resources and the World Bank notes that “with a 40GW potential, Inga is the world’s largest hydropower site and its proper development can make it the African continent’s most cost-effective, renewable source of energy with an estimated generation cost of $0.03 per kilowatt hour.”

The country said it aims to double tax revenues from minerals but investors warned that an overhaul of the mining code could remove incentives to invest there.

Many neighbouring countries, such as Rwanda, have been accused of profiting from the anarchy to plunder natural resources.

Despite its resources, DR Congo is also the world’s third poorest country per capita ($700, £452, €615), just above the Central African Republic and Somalia

dailymail.co.uk
Congolese playground game 'Nzango' dances into sporting big-time
'Nzango', a fun dancing game which Congolese children love to play in the street or during school breaks, has just hit the sporting big-time with a demonstra...

An energetic mixture of gymnastics, dance, singing, jumps and choreography, Nzango is a popular pastime on both sides of the Congo river – in Congo-Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to Feconza, the Congolese Nzango Federation, the game originated from northern Democratic Republic of Congo, well before the country gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

“Nzango” literally means “foot game” in the local Lingala language.

A kind of spring-loaded variant of the rock-paper-scissors game well-known to many Western children, and former children, it was invented by girls fed up with seeing the boys have all the sporting fun. Today it is a codified sport “like all the others” but at the start, Nzango was practised mainly at school or among neighbourhood children, explained Blanche Akouala, president of Feconza, which was created last year.

Now grown women are keeping their love of the game alive into adulthood, many as a keep-fit activity, others just as a fun escape from the household chores. “I play Nzango to keep balanced. I also practise to keep rheumatism at bay. I feel I keep myself in shape,” explained Doris Mantsanga, who coaches a Nzango team in Brazzaville. Fellow player Noella Debanda indulges in Nzango “to remember my childhood”.

“If you have the technique, you can always get out and play,” she added, speaking on one of the sports grounds at Kintele, the epicentre of this year’s African Games held earlier this month, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of Brazzaville. - Olympic dream - The game of Nzango involves two teams of players, lined up and facing each other on a pitch measuring eight metres by 16 metres (26-52 feet) .

The individual team members take it in turns to do battle with their opposite number, under the watchful eyes of a referee.The players win points, also known as “feet”, by dint of the position of their feet in relation to their opponents’.

The winning team is the one that wins the most “feet” over two halves of 25 minutes each.

The teams, made up of 11 players and six reserves, attack or defend alternately to the rhythm of songs chanted by all participants with accompanied hand clapping. At the beginning of the match, the teams choose an attack foot, with one side taking the right foot and the other left.

Then the first two players step forward. The goal of the player from the attack team is to move forward on their designated attack foot at the same time as their opponent does. Such movements are invariably preceded by ever more elaborate jumps –as you can’t lose a point while both feet are in the air.

On both sides of the Congo river, Nzango lovers have formed hundreds of teams who play in friendly tournaments. Occasionally teams from the two Congos take each other on. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the game is also used to settle intercommunal conflicts, bringing divided communities together in a joyous party atmosphere.

According to Feconza officials, Nzango has also been “exported” to Gabon and Cameroon. But at the African Games exhibition there were five team from DR Congo taking part in the open-air event. The other demonstration sport at the African Games was Pharaoh Boxing, a type of martial art inspired by an ancient Egyptian martial art.

“These were just demonstrations, there were no medals to hand out,” said Bienvenu Emile Bakale, deputy director general of the African Games organising committee.“We have brought in Nzango to popularise it and encourage those who practise it,” he added. Nazaire Issie, of the Feconza federation, has greater ambitions for Nzango in the future. “Our aim is to become an Olympic sport.”

Examples of how the game looks when being played