REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
(République du Congo, Congo Republic, Congo-Brazzaville)
- Location: Central Africa
- Capital: Brazzaville
- Language(s): French, Lingala, Kituba
- Population: 3,701,244
- Total Area: 342,000 sq km
- Currency: Central African CFA
- Curious Alcohol Fact: It is more likely that will be welcomed with a calabash full of frothy palm wine than a cold bottle of wine. Palm wine is very popular in the country.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 4.19 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Palm wine
The Republic of Congo (different from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC) is located in the central region of Africa. The country’s neighbors are the DRC, Cameroon, Gabon and Central African Republic (CAR). The nation is also known as Congo- Brazzaville and was colonized by France, and like many other African countries, became independent in 1960. The country is located in the equatorial region and that means a hot and wet climate throughout the year and that also supports a dense vegetation in various parts of the country. The country has 12 states and each state is further divided to districts, I arrived at the state called Pointe Noire and from there, I moved to other parts of the country.
The Republic of the Congo is a nation of amazing ethnic diversity. There are over 60 languages spoken in the country. However, more than half of the population can be classified under the Kongo group and this is further divided into subgroups like the kamba, Yombe, Bembe and Kugni. Some other ethnic groups apart from the Kongo are the Teke and Sanga. In terms of religious practices, an overwhelming proportion of the populace profess Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic denomination. But in spite of this, traditional African religion practices are quite common and deeply entrenched in various parts of the country. Most Congolese practise subsistence farming and in the coastal areas, fishing is a major occupation. The country produces cash crops such as cocoa, tobacco and cotton.
Eating in the Republic of Congo
To eat and dine in this pristine African nation is not just an exercise but also a communal activity that bonds the family together. For a nation that produces food crops in large quantities, the republic has an array of tantalizing delicacies. In many parts of the country, most of the meals are made from cassava (also called manioc) peanuts and rice. However, if you are a lover of meat, you may be disappointed as meat is scarce and can be quite expensive in many parts of the country. Fish is plentiful in the riverine areas and you can be served in many ways –smoked, boiled, fried or grilled. I always prefer the fried and crunchy type. Most of the local foods are also served with vegetables and if you are a fruit lover, this is paradise as there are different kinds of fruits at different seasons. The common ones are oranges, bananas, mangoes and pineapples.
The Republic of the Congo is largely rural and in most settlements, the farmers enjoy palm wine. This is the fresh sap (or juice) tapped from the palm tree and in many places, it is taken early in the morning or during meal times. Palm wine is quite cheap and hosts usually treat guests to kegs of the wine. If you want European beers and wines, your best bet is Brazzaville.
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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