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Transcript of Today's Africa
Breaking the stereotypes of the African Continent with a focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Most people believe this:
Continent vs. Country
There is a common misconception that Africa is one country, but it is actually a continent made up of 54 individual countries. This correction in terminology is crucial when talking about Africa.
Becca, Allison,Jessalyn and Sara.
Global and Historic Studies 206
Colonial and post colonial Africa
History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
I bet if I asked you about the Holocaust you could tell me at least something about the history surrounding it; however, if I were to ask you about the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo you would be able to only tell me limited information, if you could even tell me anything at all. But what if I told you that the amount of lives lost in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is about the same as the amount of people killed during the Holocaust. Yet the average person does not know much of anything about the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Well, that's about to change.
Many people picture African countries as very poor, rural, lacking in resources, and filled with starving, underprivileged people. While these are broad and therefor inaccurate generalizations, the DRC does deal with several of these issues.
The DRC has a population of 77,433,744. Half of the country’s people now live below the poverty line and 64.8% of the country’s poor people live in rural areas. The rest of the population resides in urban areas, including the few heavily populated cities, such as Kinshasa. This is the capitol of the DRC and the largest city on the continent.
While food is a struggle for the majority of the population, the DRC is one of the largest countries, based on arable land, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. Only 1-3% of this land is being properly utilized for agriculture today. If this land was farmed successfully, it could feed a third of the population.
To say that the DRC is not facing poverty and hunger would be incorrect and irresponsible, but to say that these two pitfalls dominate the entire nation is the same way. When speaking about the hunger and rural lifestyle that citizens of the DRC may face, it is important to understand why these conditions exist, and also that these are characteristics of the country, not its definition.
DCR State of Wealth
When thinking about the music that is popular in the DCR most perceptions are that it is very tribal and like the video above but this is not always the case although this is still represented in the DCR it is not as popular as it once was is merely a stereotype.
Many Americans have the view that all Africans wear bright colored clothing, play the bongo drums, and take part in tribal rituals that involve some type of religion foreign to the west.
Religion and Language
In the DRC specifically, there are over 250 ethnic groups who speak over 200 languages. 70% of the population practices Christianity, and the remaining 30% are Islam and other African religions.
As far as clothing, there is a heavy western influence in the DRC. Women still traditionally wear the African sarong along with headscarves.
The Congolese have a very live culture that involves supporting several national teams in rugby, basketball, and football (soccer).
The DRC also has a local genre of music called musique Zairoise that is played on handmade instruments around towns and cities. The city of Goma has an annual arts festival, Skiff, where the country’s music, poetry, and films are displayed.
African World War
"A vast country with immense economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been at the center of what some observers call "Africa's world war". This has left it in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. The five-year conflict pitted government forces, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda." BBC Africa
Economy in DCR
Main exports: Diamonds, copper, coffee, cobalt, crude oil
The government in the DCR has changed a lot in the post 15 years. In 2003 there was a transitional period where they had a transition constitution where The executive branch was vested in a 60-member cabinet, headed by a President and four vice presidents. The President was also the Commander-in Chief of the armed forces. In 2006 there was another change in the form of government where the constitution of the third republic came into play.
This is a more modern video by Popular Democratic Republic of the Congo artist Fally Ipupa. This shows that the music style and video style is very similar to those of the western world. This video was put out only a year ago so it is fairly fresh and completely beats the stereotypical music as shown to the left.