Gwenn Dubourthoumieu photographs showing the abandoned ruins of former Congolese president Mobutu Sese Seko.
In Mobutu, the former billionaire dictator, Joseph Mobutu remains Maréchal Mobutu Sesse Seko, the ‘everlasting’.
In 1967, two years after his coup d’état, he transformed the small villages where he was raised into a city with great infrastructure. A dam, a hydroelectric factory, an airport and three opulent palaces all rose from the African bush.
Fourteen years after the President’s departure, nothing remains of these developments.
Destroyed by weather, overwhelmed by vegetation and devastated by robberies, the palaces of the supreme leader are little more than mere skeletons of their former selves, wholly devoid of their former splendor for the eyes of visitors.
BBC 4 presenting a special on the history of the Congo. The population was cut in half during the late 19th century and early 20th century by the tyranny of the King of Belgium. Imperialism at it’s worst.
Dimanche à Brazzaville (Sunday in Brazzaville) - Trailer
A young radio talk host, Carlos La Menace, unveils in his weekend show three figures of Congo’s capital, Brazzaville. The Sapeur Yves Saint Laurent, surrounded by extreme poverty, chooses elegance as a way of life. Cheriff Bakala is not a usual rapper. Mixes hip hop with Congolese folk, and uses local instruments, such as drums made up with water cans. He’s about to record his first album in a country with almost no producers. Finally, Palmas Yaya, Brazzaville’s wrestling champion is relying on voodoo to defend its throne in a crucial moment of his life…
“Although this independence of the Congo is being proclaimed today by agreement with Belgium, an amicable country, with which we are on equal terms, no Congolese will ever forget that independence was won in struggle, a persevering and inspired struggle carried on from day to day, a struggle, in which we were undaunted by privation or suffering and stinted neither strength nor blood.
It was filled with tears, fire and blood. We are deeply proud of our struggle, because it was just and noble and indispensable in putting an end to the humiliating bondage forced upon us.”