DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
(DRC, République démocratique du Congo)
Democratic Republic of Congo Flag
- Location: Central Africa
- Capital: Kinshasa
- Language: French, Tshiluba, Kikongo, Lingula
- Population: 71,153,116
- Total Area: 2,345,409 sq km
- Currency: Congolese Franc
- Curious Alcohol Fact: There are local beers made from rice and ginger.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 3.28 liters
- Most Popular Drink: Palm wine
This Central African nation means different things to different people but one thing that you will agree with is that this is one of the most beautiful nations in the world. Located in the heart of Equatorial Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the largest nations in Africa and is named for the mighty River Congo. It is always important to stress that the DRC is quite different from the Republic of Congo with which it shares borders. The capital city is Kinshasa (for unknown reasons, I was always calling it Kinsasha but I have now mastered the pronunciation). The DRC is a typical rainforest country, as there are rains throughout the year and is always hot and wet.
The DRC is a vast country and this reflects in its demographics. Like Nigeria, the DRC has more than different 250 ethnic groups. Honestly, I find this diversity quite staggering. For a nation to have people speaking hundreds of different languages is really amazing and startling. Most of the tribes and ethnic groups in the DRC are classified under the Bantu group. These include the Rega, Buja, Ngala and the Kumu; other tribes include the Logo, Pygmies (also known as Bambuti or Babinga), Luba, Kongo and Mongo. I observed that most Congolese were involved in agriculture for food and income, and this is a pattern that is replicated all over the continent. Almost all the Congolese are Christians although there are substantial pockets of African traditional worshippers and Muslims.
Music is the very soul of the DRC and there is absolutely no way you will talk about the Congolese without talking about the music. The DRC has given the world superstars like Koffi Olomide and Papa Wemba, and is one of the most vibrant nations on the continent when it comes to rhythm and sound. I could not resist the traditional soukous and makossa songs. They were just too lively and fast-paced that I did not realize when I jumped off my chair to partake in the dancing. Five minutes later and covered in hot sweat, I was dancing away like a pop diva. If you go to the DRC, you must enjoy the seductive music of the people. It is simply heavenly.
When it comes to food, very few nations can compare to the DRC. There is a national dish called mwambe and you will not believe this: it is made from eight different ingredients! I know you will be interested in learning about these ingredients and they are chicken, bananas, rice, fish, ground pepper, manioc leaves, groundnuts and palm nuts. In some other places, vegetables are added and you will agree that this is the ultimate balanced diet.
Since the DRC is a very large country, it is a hiker’s paradise and there are many sites of attraction. These include the Congo River itself, the Garamba National Park and the Virunga National Park where you can see some mountain gorillas. I will surely visit the DRC again, as there are so many places I could not visit.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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