Unis par le sort,
Unis dans l’effort pour l’indépendance,
Dressons nos fronts, longtemps courbés
Et pour de bon prenons le plus bel élan, dans la paix,
O peuple ardent, par le labeur, nous bâtirons un pays plus beau qu’avant, dans la paix.
Citoyens, entonnez, l’hymne sacré de votre solidarité,
Fièrement, saluez, l’emblème d’or de votre souveraineté, Congo.
Don béni (Congo) des aïeux (Congo),
O pays (Congo) bien aimé (Congo),
Nous peuplerons ton sol et nous assurerons ta grandeur.
(Trente juin) O doux soleil (trente juin) du trente juin,
(Jour sacré) Sois le témoin (jour sacré) de l’immortel, serment de liberté
Que nous léguons, à notre postérité, pour toujours.
United by fate,
United in the struggle for independence,
Let us hold up our heads, so long bowed,
And now, for good, let us keep moving boldly ahead, in peace.
Oh, ardent people, by hard work we shall build,
In peace, a country more beautiful than before.
Countrymen, sing the sacred hymn of your solidarity,
Proudly salute the golden emblem of your sovereignty, Congo.
Blessed gift (Congo) of our forefathers (Congo),
Oh beloved (Congo) country,
We shall people your soil and ensure your greatness.
(30 June) Oh gentle sun (30 June) of 30 June,
(Holy day) Be witness (holy day) of the immortal oath of freedom
That we pass on to our children forever.
Note: The words in parentheses are to be sung by a choir; the rest are to be sung by soloists.
Antoine Wendo Kolosoy (April 25, 1925 – July 28, 2008), known as Papa Wendo, was a Congolese musician. He is considered the “Father” of Congolese rumba, also known as soukous, a musical style blending son cubano, beguine, waltz, tango and cha-cha.
Wendo was born in 1925 in Mushie territory, Mai-Ndombe District of western Congo, then under Belgian colonial rule. His father died when he was seven, and his mother, a singer herself, died shortly thereafter. He was taken to live in an orphanage run by the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, and remained there until he was 12 or 13, expelled when the fathers disapproved of the lyrics of his songs.Wendo began playing guitar and performing at age 11.
Kolosoy became a professional singer almost by chance after having worked also as a boxer, sailor and longshoreman in Congo, Cameroon and Senegal. From 13 Wendo traveled as a worker on the Congo River ferries, and entertained passengers on the long trips. Between 1941 and 1946 he traveled as a sometime professional boxer, as far from home as Dakar, Senegal.
His birthname was Antoine Kalosoyi (also spelled Nkolosoyi), which he eventually regularised to Kolosoy. Later he was called “Windsor” (a homage to the Duke of Windsor and a play on the British Royalty theme of his band “Victoria Kin”) which evolved into “Wendo Sor” and simply “Sor”. He is most widely known as Wendo or Papa Wendo.
“Father” of Soukous
In the mid-1940s, he began playing guitar around the capital Kinshasa (then Leopoldville) with his Cuban style band Victoria Bakolo Miziki. He had met Nicolas Jéronimidis, a Greek businessman, on a steamer returning to Leopoldville from Dakar in 1946, and in 1947 Jéronimidis agreed to record Wendo’s music for his new Leopoldville based record label Ngoma.
Victoria Kin Orchestra
Imitating the bandleader Paul Kamba, Wendo and Me Taureau Bateko created the “Victoria Kin” orchestra, which later became “Victoria Bakolo Miziki”, recording for Ngoma, but also other Congolese labels.Fronted by Wendo’s echoing and soaring vocals, the group was also famous for its dancers, called “La reine politesse” directed by Germaine Ngongolo.
Wendo and Victoria Bakolo Miziki released their first full record in 1949, “Mabele ya mama” which Wendo dedicated to his late mother.
His first international hit, in 1948, was “Marie-Louise”, co-written with guitarist Henri Bowane. Through the publicity of “Radio Congolia”, along with the controversy which followed the song (a back-and-forth between Wendo and Henri over Wendo’s pursuit of a girl, thwarted by Henri’s wealth, with salacious undertones), the song became a success throughout West Africa. With its success came trouble: the song had “satanic” powers attributed to it by Catholic religious leaders. Stories from the time even claimed that the song, if played at midnight, could raise the dead. The furor drove Wendo out of Kinshasa, and resulted in a brief imprisonment by the Belgian authorities in Stanleyville and his excommunication from the Catholic Church. The combination of African lyrics and vocals with Afro-Cuban rhythms and instrumentation (particularly son cubano) spawned one of the most successful African musical genres: soukous, popularly known as “Congolese rumba”. Wendo’s time on the ferries also contributed to his success as one of the first “national” artists of the DRC: he learned the music of the ethnic groups up and down the river, and later sang not only in his native tongue of Kikongo, but also in fluent Lingala and Swahili.
Congolese popular music
Cover of the 1996 re-issue of Ngoma records early singles, including “Marie-Louise”. Wendo is pictured, c. 1950, in the center, in front of the Ngoma Records touring van.
Wendo’s success rested upon the burgeoning radio stations and record industry of late colonial Leopoldville, which often piped music over loudspeakers into the African quarters, called the “Cite”. A handful of African clubs (closing early with a 9:30PM curfew for non-Europeans) like “Congo Bar” provided venues, along with occasional gigs at the upscale white clubs of the European quarter, “La ville”. The importation of European and American 78 rpm records into Africa in the 1930s and 1940s (called G.V. Series records) featured much Cuban music, a style that was enjoyed by cosmopolitan Europeans and Africans alike. One writer has argued that this music, sophisticated, based on Africa music, and not produced by white colonialists especially appealed to Africans in general, and newly urban Congolese in particular.Greek and Lebanese merchants, a fixture in colonial Francophone Africa were amongst the first to bring recording and record pressing equipment to tropical Africa. Jéronimidis’ “Ngoma” company was one of the first and most successful, and Wendo was his star artist. Jéronimidis, Wendo, and other musicians, barnstormed around Belgian Congo in a brightly painted Ngoma van, performing and selling records. The music culture this created not only propelled Congolese rumba to fame, but began to develop a national culture for the first time.
In 1955, Wendo, along with two other singer/guitarists (Antoine Bukasa and Manuel D’Oliveira) formed an all-star orchestra known as the “Trio Bow”, recording new variations on the rumba and other dance musics for Ngoma, with hits such as “Sango ya bana Ngoma”, “Victoria apiki dalapo”, “Bibi wangu Madeleine”, “Yoka biso ban’Angola”, and “Landa bango”.Although he never achieved comparable international success similar to that of Papa Wemba or Zaiko Langa Langa, he played throughout Africa, Europe and the USA and is recognized as one of the fathers of modern African music and an elder statesman of Congolese Soukous. In reviewing the recent film on Wendo, a writer in the Kinshasa daily Le Potentiel wrote that “One cannot speak of modern music without evoking the name of Wendo Kolosoy.” Soukous musicians who have come after him have referred to the 1940s and 1950s as “Tango ya ba Wendo” (“The Era of Wendo” in Lingala).
50 year hiatus
At the height of his fame, Wendo developed friendships with some of the DRC’s future independence leaders, most notably Patrice Lumumba. The murder of Prime Minister Lumumba in 1961, followed by the 1965 seizure of power by Lieutenant General Mobutu Sese Seko, soured Wendo on politics, music, and public life. He decided to stop performing, citing use of music by politicians as his reason.
“Because political men at the time wanted to use musicians like stepping stones. That is to say, they wanted musicians to sing their favors. Me, I did not want to do that. That’s why I decided it was best for me, Wendo, to pull myself out of the music scene, and stay home.”
When Laurent-Désiré Kabila returned to power in 1997, he (and later his son Joseph Kabila) supported Wendo in restarting his recording and touring career. Performing with old members of his Victoria Bakolo Miziki band and his “Dancing Grannies” backup dancers, Wendo toured across the Africa and Europe, recapturing audiences in a fashion similar to the Buena Vista Social Club and Orchestra Baobab. Original members of Victoria Bakolo Miziki who returned to Wendo’s reformed big band included Antoine Moundanda (thumb piano), Joseph Munange (saxophone), Mukubuele Nzoku (guitar), and Alphonse Biolo Batilangandi (trumpet).
Kolosoy gave his last public appearance in Kinshasa, DR Congo in 2004. The last known recording from that time, the album Banaya Papa Wendo was released on the IglooMondo label in 2007. A compilation called The very best of Congolese Rumba – The Kinshasa-Abidjan Sessions was released in 2007 with Papa Wendo and two other soukous/rumba legends; Antoine Moundanda and the Rumbanella Band. In 2008, prior to his death, French filmmaker Jacques Sarasin released a biographical documentary about Wemba’s life, entitled On the Rumba River.
He took ill in 2005, and ceased performing publicly. At the time he returned to his disgust with politicians, claiming that the Kabila family, who had resuscitated his career in 1997, had abandoned him financially.Wendo Kolosoy died on July 28, 2008, in Ngaliema Clinic in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
2 bunches of fresh sweet potato leaves or 500g of frozen
2 Tablespoons of palm oil, vegetable or olive oil
200g Smoked fish
1 Large onion
2 Maggi Shrimp stock cubes
Salt to taste
Remove the leaves from the stems, leaving some stalks, wash thoroughly in plenty of water to remove any grit, cut into 1/2cm strips.
In a pan, fry the onion in palm oil until tender, smoked fish, shrimp stock cubes, and the cut leaves. Stir and cover on a low heat until the liquid is reduced and the vegetable is cooked. Serve with fufu, rice or plantain.
This recipe is best made with fresh sweep potato leaves. They are widely found in African shops.
2 bunches of fresh Ngai-Ngai or 500g frozen
1 Tin of chopped plum tomatoes
1 Large onion
3 Tablespoons of palm oil
2 Maggi Shrimps stock cubes
200g Smoked fish
Salt to taste
For fresh Ngai-Ngai leaves, remove each leaf from the stems. Wash in cold water, drain a little, cut in small strips and place in a pan and steam by stirring the leaves until they wither and shrink in size. If the leaves appear to be hard, use a wooden spatula to break the leaves. Failing this, place the withered leaves in a food processor and use the pulse setting to cut them further. (It should like ground spinach).
In another pan, fry the onion in the palm oil until soft. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, stock cubes and smoked fish. Once this sauce is cooked, like the sauce for spaghetti, add the steamed fresh vegetables or a packet of frozen one, stir occasionally and simmer gently for 30. Add a little water if it is too thick.
This vegetable is used as a side dish that can be served with fried fish, meat stew and fufu.
Joseph Kabila Kabange (known commonly as Joseph Kabila, born 4 June 1971) is a Congolese politician who has been President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since January 2001.
He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila. He was elected as President in 2006. In 2011, he was re-elected for a second term.
Early life and education
Joseph Kabila Kabange was born on 4 June 1971 at Hewabora, a small village in the Fizi territory of the South Kivu province, in eastern Congo. He is the son of long time rebel, former AFDL leader and president of the Congo Laurent-Désiré Kabila and Sifa Mahanya.
Guerrilla and army years
Following high school, Joseph Kabila followed a military curriculum in Tanzania, then at Makerere University in Uganda. In October 1996, Laurent-Désiré Kabila launched the campaign in Zaire to oust the Mobutu regime. Joseph became the commander of the infamous army of “kadogos” (child soldiers) and played a key role in major battles on the road to Kinshasa. The liberation army received logistical and military support from regional armies from Rwanda, Uganda, Angola and Zimbabwe. Following the AFDL’s victory, and Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s rise to the presidency, Joseph Kabila went on to get further training at the PLA National Defense University, in Beijing, China. When he returned from China, Kabila was awarded the rank of Major-General, and appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1998. He was later, in 2000, appointed Chief of Staff of the Land Forces, a position he held until the elder President Kabila’s assassination in January 2001. As chief of staff, he was one of the main military leaders in charge of Government troops during the time of the Second Congo War (1998–2003).
Kabila in 2002, with Thabo Mbeki, George W. Bush, and Paul Kagame.
Joseph Kabila rose to the Presidency on 26 January 2001 after the assassination of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, becoming the world’s first head of government born in the 1970s. He remained the world’s youngest head of government until Roosevelt Skerrit became Prime Minister of Dominica in January 2004. At age 30, he was considered young and inexperienced. He subsequently attempted to end the ongoing civil war by negotiating peace agreements with rebel groups who were backed by Rwanda and Uganda, the same regional armies who brought Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s rebel group to power three years before. The 2002 peace agreement signed at the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Sun City, South Africa, which nominally ended the Second Congo War, maintained Joseph Kabila as President and head of state of the Congo. An interim administration was set up under him, including the leaders of the country’s two main rebel groups as vice-presidents (two other vice-presidents were representatives of the civilian opposition and government supporters respectively). On 28 March 2003, an apparent coup attempt or mutiny around the capital Kinshasa, allegedly on the part of members of the former guard of former president Mobutu Sese Seko (who had been ousted by Kabila’s father in 1997 and died in the same year), failed. On 11 June 2004, coup plotters led by Major Eric Lenge allegedly attempted to take power and announced on state radio that the transitional government was suspended, but were defeated by loyalist troops.
The ceremonial first train on the newly reconstructed Lubumbashi-Kindu railway, 2004, bearing a portrait of Joseph Kabila.
In December 2005, a partial referendum approved a new constitution, and a presidential election was held on 30 July 2006 (having been delayed from an earlier date in June). The new constitution lowered the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 30; Kabila turned 35 shortly before the election. In March 2006, he registered as a candidate. Although Kabila registered as an independent, he is the “initiator” of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), which chose him as their candidate to the election. Although the new constitution stipulates that a debate be held between the two remaining candidates for the presidency, no debates took place and this was declared by many as unconstitutional.
According to widely disputed provisional results announced on 20 August, Kabila won 45% of the vote; his main opponent, vice-president and former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, won 20%. The irregularities surrounding the elections results prompted a run-off vote between Kabila and Bemba which was held on 29 October. On 15 November, the electoral commission announced the official results and Kabila was declared the winner, with 58.05% of the vote. These results were confirmed by the Supreme Court on 27 November 2006, and Kabila was inaugurated on 6 December 2006 as the country’s newly elected President. He named Antoine Gizenga, who placed third in the first round of the presidential election (and then backed Kabila in the second round) as prime minister on 30 December.
In December 2011, Kabila was re-elected for a second term as president. After the results were announced on 9 December, there was violent unrest in Kinshasa and Mbuji-Mayi, where official tallies showed that a strong majority had voted for the opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi.Official observers from the Carter Center reported that returns from almost 2,000 polling stations in areas where support for Tshisekedi was strong had been lost and not included in the official results. They described the election as lacking credibility. On 20 December, Kabila was sworn in for a second term, promising to invest in infrastructure and public services. However, Tshisekedi maintained that the result of the election was illegitimate and said that he intended also to “swear himself in” as president.
In January 2012, Catholic Bishops in DR Congo also condemned the elections, complaining of “treachery, lies and terror”, and calling on the election commission to correct “serious errors”.
On 19 January 2015 protests led by students at the University of Kinshasa broke out. The protests began following the announcement of a proposed law that would allow Kabila to remain in power until a national census can be conducted (elections had been planned for 2016). By Wednesday 21 January clashes between police and protesters had claimed at least 42 lives (although the government claimed only 15 people had been killed).
In 2006, Kabila responded to evidence of widespread sex crimes committed by the Congolese military by describing the acts as “simply unforgivable”. He pointed out that 300 soldiers had been convicted of sex crimes, although he added that this was not enough.
Kabila married Olive Lembe di Sita, on 1 June 2006. The wedding ceremonies took place on 17 June 2006. Kabila and his spouse have a daughter, born in 2001, named Sifa, after Kabila’s mother.
As President Kabila is Protestant and Ms Lembe di Sita is Catholic, the wedding ceremonies were ecumenical, and were therefore officiated by both the Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Frederic Etsou Bamungwabi, and Pierre Marini Bodho – Presiding Bishop of the Church of Christ in Congo, the umbrella church for most denominations in the Congo, known within the country simply as “The Protestant Church”.
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