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Democratic Republic of Congo

Cultural Exploration Essay


on 5 August 2013

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Transcript of Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic
of Congo

Rise of Kongo Empire
First Europeans in Congo

Portuguese navigator Diogo Cao was the first European to visit the Congo. At this point, the Kingdom of Kongo was a highly developed state at the center of an extensive trading network. Apart from natural resources and ivory, the country manufactured and traded copperware, ferrous metal goods, raffia cloth, and pottery. The Kongo people spoke in the Kikongo language. Portuguese set up ties with the king of Kongo. During his visit, Cão left his men in Kongo while taking Kongo nobles and bringing them to Portugal. He returned with the Kongo nobles in 1485. At that point the ruling king, Nzinga a Nkuwu, converted to Christianity. A Kongo citizen returning from Portugal opened the first school.
British, Dutch, Portuguese, and French
merchants engaged in slave trade with Kongo intermediaries.
Kongo Empire
Belgium's King Leopold II Colonizes Congo
1884-1885: European powers at the
Conference of Berlin approved
Leopold’s claim to the Congo basin.
Leopold named the region the Congo
Free State, and was headed solely
by himself.
1878-87 – King Leopold II formed a
consortium of bankers to fund the
exploration and colonization of the
Congo region, and employed Stanley
to travel up the Congo and sign
favorable (and questionably
deceptive) treaties with local rulers.
450 treaties were obtained.
1870s – King Leopold II of Belgium
set out on a private venture to colonize

1874-77 – Funded by London and
New York newspapers, British explorer/
journalist Henry Mortan Stanley
explored the length of the Congo River.
The Kongo empire was centered in modern
northern Angola. The first king of the Kingdom of Kongo Dya Ntotila was Lukeni lua Nimi (circa 1280-1320). He became founder of Kongo when he conquered the kingdom of the Mwene Kabunga and made Mbanza Kongo his capital city, located just south of modern-day Matadi in DRC.
The rulers that followed Lukeni all claimed some form of relation to his kanda (lineage) and were known as the Kilukeni. The Kilukeni kanda would rule Kongo unopposed until 1567.
Slave Trade begins
1885-1908: Leopold’s Congo Free State was one of the most brutal and exploitative of all African colonial regimes.

1908 - Belgian state annexed Congo due to protests over killings and atrocities carried out on a mass scale by Leopold's agents. Roughly 10 Million of Congolese are said to have been killed or worked to death during Leopold's control of the territory.

1955 - Belgian Professor Antoin van Bilsen publishes a "30-Year Plan" for granting the Congo increased self-government
January 4, 1959 - Day of the Martyrs - Now, a national holiday, the courageous generation of young Congolese took to the street in Leopoldville (now Kinsasha) hundreds dying, to demand an end to Belgium colonialism.

This day served as a catalyst to the independence from Belgium in 1960, and gives hope for the Congolese youth today in their pursuit for true independence.

Patrice Lumumba, known as the hero of Congolese Independence
Belgian State Rule
When Belgium declared they would no longer control DR Congo in 1960 in six months, riots broke out across the newly freed country. Anarchy ensued for about 5 years, which has since been known as the Congo crisis.

1960 June - Congo becomes independent with Patrice Lumumba as prime minister and Joseph Kasavubu as president.

1960 July - Congolese army mutinies. Moise Tshombe declares Katanga independent Belgian troops sent in ostensibly to protect Belgian citizens and mining interests.
1960 September - Kasavubu dismisses Lumumba as prime minister.

1960 December - Lumumba arrested.

1961 January - Lumumba is murdered. Identity of assassins unknown.

1961 August - UN troops begin disarming Katangese soldiers.

1963 - Tshombe agrees to end Katanga's secession.

1964 - President Kasavubu appoints Tshombe prime minister.
1965 - Kasavubu and Tshombe ousted in a coup led by Joseph Mobutu.

1971 - Joseph Mobutu renames the country Zaire and himself Mobutu Sese Seko; also Katanga becomes Shaba and the river Congo becomes the river Zaire.

1973-74 - Mobutu nationalizes many foreign-owned firms and forces European investors out of the country.

1977 - Mobutu invites foreign investors back, without much success; French, Belgian and Moroccan troops help repulse attack on Katanga by Angolan-based rebels.

1989 - Zaire defaults on loans from Belgium, resulting in a cancellation of development programs and increased deterioration of the economy.
1990 - Mobutu agrees to end the ban on multiparty politics and appoints a transitional government, but retains substantial powers.

1991 - Following riots in Kinshasa by unpaid soldiers, Mobutu agrees to a coalition government with opposition leaders, but retains control of the security apparatus and important ministries.

1993 - Rival pro- and anti-Mobutu governments created.

1994 - Mobutu agrees to the appointment of Kengo Wa Dondo, an advocate of austerity and free-market reforms, as prime minister.

1996-97 - Tutsi rebels capture much of eastern Zaire while Mobutu is abroad for medical treatment.

It is alleged that Mobutu has embezzled $4bn in aid since the 1970s.
Modern History
1891-92 - Belgians conquered Katanga.

1892-94 - Eastern Congo wrested from the control of East African Arab and Swahili-speaking traders.
Post Lusaka Peace Accord - fighting continues
2000 - UN Security Council authorizes a 5,500-strong UN force to monitor the ceasefire but fighting continues between rebels and government forces, and between Rwandan and Ugandan forces.

The UN force struggles to stop rebel fighting. The diamond industry launches the ‘Kimberley Process’ aimed at stemming the trade from war zones. In December, the UN backs a certification system to track the origin of rough diamonds.

2001 January - President Laurent Kabila is shot dead by a bodyguard. Joseph Kabila succeeds his father.

2001 February - Kabila meets Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Washington. Rwanda, Uganda and the rebels agree to a UN pull-out plan. Uganda, Rwanda begin pulling troops back from the frontline.
2001 May - US refugee agency says the war has killed 2.5 million people, directly or indirectly, since August 1998. Later, a UN panel says the warring parties are deliberately prolonging the conflict to plunder gold, diamonds, timber and coltan, used in the making of mobile phones.

2002 April - Peace talks in South Africa: Kinshasa signs a power-sharing deal with Ugandan-backed rebels, under which the MLC leader would be premier. Rwandan-backed RCD rebels reject the deal.

2002 July - Presidents of DR Congo and Rwanda sign a peace deal under which Rwanda will withdraw troops from the east and DR Congo will disarm and arrest Rwandan Hutu gunmen blamed for the killing of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

2002 September - Presidents of DR Congo and Uganda sign peace accord under which Ugandan troops will leave DR Congo.

2002 September/October - Uganda, Rwanda say they have withdrawn most of their forces from the east. UN-sponsored power-sharing talks begin in South Africa.
2002 December - Peace deal signed in South Africa between Kinshasa government and main rebel groups. Under the deal rebels and opposition members are to be given portfolios in an interim government.
Search for Peace
2002 January - Eruption of Mount Nyiragongo devastates much of the city of Goma.

2003 April - President Kabila signs a transitional constitution, under which an interim government will rule pending elections.

2003 May - Last Ugandan troops leave eastern DR Congo.

2003 June - French soldiers arrive in Bunia, spearheading a UN-mandated rapid-reaction force.
President Kabila names a transitional government to lead until elections in two years time. Leaders of main former rebel groups are sworn in as vice-presidents in July.

2003 August - Interim parliament inaugurated.

2004 March - Gunmen attack military bases in Kinshasa in an apparent coup attempt.

In Bunia, Ituri, rival militias clash French troops intervene to protect civilians. The French have to intervene again when the last Ugandan troops withdraw, however this time it is because the UN mission fails to contain violence. Renewed allegations surface of sexual exploitation of women and children by MONUC peacekeepers.

2004 May/Jun - Rebel fighting in South Kivu, Eastern DR Congo, intensifies.Widespread nationwide riots begin in protest at the UN’s failure to act. International aid agencies come under attack by angry crowds. The International Criminal Court (ICC) opens investigations on the DR Congo.

Reported coup attempt in Kinshasa is said to have been neutralized.

2004 December - Fighting in the east between the Congolese army and renegade soldiers from a former pro-Rwanda rebel group. Rwanda denies being behind the mutiny.
Preparing for Free Elections
2005 Jan/Feb - MONUC sets up an office to deal with the sexual exploitation allegations facing its peacekeepers. Nine Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers are killed in an ambush in Ituri.

2005 March - UN peacekeepers say they have killed more then 50 militia members in an offensive.

2005 May - New constitution, with text agreed by former warring factions, is adopted by parliament.

2005 September - Uganda warns that its troops may re-enter DR Congo after a group of Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels enter via Sudan.

2005 November - A first wave of soldiers from the former Zairean army returns after almost eight years of exile in the neighbouring Republic of Congo.

2005 December - Voters back a new constitution, already approved by parliament, paving the way for elections in 2006.

International Court of Justice rules that Uganda must compensate DR Congo for rights abuses and the plundering of resources in the five years up to 2003.
New Constitution - First Democratic Elections
2006 February - New constitution comes into force; new national flag is adopted.

2006 March - Warlord Thomas Lubanga becomes first war crimes suspect to face charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is accused of forcing children into active combat.

2006 May - Thousands are displaced in the north-east as the army and UN peacekeepers step up their drive to disarm irregular forces ahead of the elections.
2006 July - Presidential and parliamentary polls are held - the first free elections in four decades. With no clear winner in the presidential vote, incumbent leader Joseph Kabila and opposition candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba prepare to contest a run-off poll on 29 October. Forces loyal to the two candidates clash in the capital.

2006 November - Joseph Kabila is declared winner of October's run-off presidential election. The poll has the general approval of international monitors.

2006 December - Forces of renegade General Laurent Nkunda (who is possibly backed by Rwanda) and the UN-backed army clash in North Kivu province, prompting some 50,000 people to flee. The UN Security Council expresses concern about the fighting.
Renewed Clashes
2008 January - The government and rebel militia, including renegade Gen Nkunda, sign a peace pact aimed at ending years of conflict in the east.

2008 April - Army troops clash with Rwandan Hutu militias with whom they were formerly allied in eastern Congo, leaving thousands of people displaced.

2008 August - The January Peace Accord breaks down again and heavy clashes erupt in the east between army troops and fighters loyal to rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.

2008 October - Rebel forces capture major army base of Rumangabo; the Congolese government accuses Rwanda of backing General Nkunda, a claim Rwanda denies.
Thousands of people, including Congolese troops, flee as clashes in eastern DR Congo intensify. Chaos grips the provincial capital Goma as rebel forces advance. UN peacekeepers engage the rebels in an attempt to support Congolese troops.

2008 November - Campaign by Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda to consolidate control over east prompts new wave of refugees, sexual violence and looting.

UN Security Council approves temporary increase of troops to bolster the strained UN peacekeeping effort.

2008 December - Uganda, South Sudan and DRCongo launch joint assault on Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army bases in north-east DRCongo. Hundreds of civilians are killed in backlash attacks.
2007 Jan - More than 100 civilians are killed during military crackdown on Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) in western province.

2007 Feb - Renegade leader Nkunda begins to integrate his troops into the national army.

2007 Mar - Fighting in Kinshasa between government troops and armed loyal to pposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba.

2007 April - DRCongo, Rwanda and Burundi relaunch the regional economic bloc Great lakes Countries Economic Community, known under its French acronym CEPGL.

Bemba leaves for Portugal, ending a three-week political stalemate in Kinshasa, during which he sheltered in the South African embassy.
2007 May - The UN investigates allegations of gold and arms trafficking by UN peacekeepers in Ituri region.

In South Kivu a massacre by the Hutu-dominated Rwandan rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), takes place.

2007 June - War could break out again in the east, warns the Archbishop of Bukavu, Monsignor Francois-Xavier Maroy.

2007 June - Radio Okapi broadcaster Serge Maheshe is shot dead in Bukavu, the third journalist killed in the country since 2005.

2007 August - Uganda and DRCongo agree to try defuse a border dispute.

Nkunda turns against government forces again.
Aid agencies report a big increase in refugees fleeing instability in North Kivu which is blamed on dissident general Nkunda.

2007 September - Major outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.
2009 January - Launch of joint DRCongo-Rwandan military operation against Tutsi rebels led by Laurent Nkunda. Campaign lasts five weeks.

Nkunda is ousted by Bosco Ntaganda as head of the CNDP. Nkunda is arrested in Rwanda. Ntaganda agrees to stop the four-year insurgency and reintegrate into the army.

2009 February - An earlier Rwanda-Congo offensive ends. Rwandan troops begin withdrawal.

Medecins San Frontiers accuses UN peacekeepers of failing to protect civilians from LRA rebels.

2009 April - Hutu militia re-emerge after end of joint DRCongo-Rwanda campaign in east, prompting thousands to flee.
American-based Human Rights Watch accuses the Congolese army of war crimes against civilians in North Kivu. The government rejects the charges as “lies”.

2009 May - Kabila approves law giving amnesty to armed groups as part of deal meant to end fighting in east.

2009 June - The UNHCR appeals for $38m in emergency aid for one million people displaced following anti-FDLR operations.
International Criminal Court orders ex-vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba to stand trial on charges of war crimes for his troops' actions in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.

Series of mutinies by soldiers in the east complaining they haven't been paid.

2009 July - Swiss court rules that frozen assets of ex-president Mobutu Sese Seko be returned to his family.
2009 August - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Goma, promises $17 million aid for victims of sexual violence.

Head of MONUC Alan Doss declares five months of joint army-UN operations against Rwandan rebels - "Kimia 2" - to have been "largely positive".

2009 November - Germany arrests two alleged FDLR leaders on suspicion of war crimes in eastern DR Congo.

2009 December - UN extends mandate of MONUC for shortened five months, as a step to full withdrawal by mid-2010.

2010 May - The government increases the pressure for UN peacekeepers to quit before the 2011 elections. Meanwhile, UN humanitarian official John Holmes warns against this.

2010 June - Prominent human rights advocate Floribert Chebeya found dead a day after being summoned to meet the chief of police.

Celebrations mark 50 years of independence.

2010 July - $8 billion debt relief deal approved by World Bank and IMF.

New electoral commission launched to prepare for 2011 elections.

2010 August - A UN human rights team has confirmed that members of two armed groups in the volatile east of DR Congo raped more than 150 women during an attack on a village in North Kivu province last month. UN envoy Margot Wallstrom blames both rebels and army.

Operation Rwenzori against Ugandan ADF-NALU rebels prompts 90,000 to flee in North Kivu province.

2010 September - Forensic experts examine mass graves in DR Congo to seek further evidence of a Tutsi-led genocide. The UNHCR and DR Congo government launch vast distribution of identity cards to refugees aimed at strengthening their rights.

A diplomatic row rages over a draft UN report leaked to the press that accuses Rwandan President Kagame’s troops of massacring Hutu refugees who had fled to the DR Congo following 1994’s genocide in Rwanda. The Rwandan government reacts furiously and threatens to withdraw troops out of UN peacekeeping duties in protest.

2010 October - The UN report into killing of Hutus in DR Congo between 1993 and 2003 says they may constitute "crimes of genocide". It implicates Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Angola.

2010 November - UN agencies report widespread rapes during mass expulsion of illigal migrants from Angola to DRCongo.

UN report accuses networks within army of promoting violence in east to profit from mining, smuggling and poaching.

Ex-DRCongo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba goes on trial at International Criminal Court accused of letting his troops rape and kill in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.

Paris Club of creditor countries scrap half of DRCongo's debt.
2011 January - Constitution changed, which some say boost President Kabila's election chances.

2011 February - Court sentences Lt-Col Kibibi Mutware to 20 years in jail in a mass rape case in eastern Congo. This is the first conviction of a commanding officer for rape in eastern DR Congo.

19 killed in coup bid against president, police say.

2011May - Rwandan Hutu rebel Ignace Murwanashyaka goes on trial in Germany for alleged crimes against humanity in DR Congo.

2011 June - Gunmen carry out mass rape of 170 women near the eastern town of Fizi, North Kivu province, according to UN.
Second Democratic Elections

2011 July - Col Nyiragire Kulimushi, who is accused of ordering the mass rape of women in eastern DR Congo, surrenders to authorities.

2011 July - Voter registration for November elections marred by demonstrations by opposition supporters alleging irregularities.

2011 September - Mai Mai militia leader Gideon Kyungu Mutanga escapes during a mass prison break-out by almost 1,000 inmates.

2011 November - Presidential and parliamentary elections. Mr Kabila gains another term. The vote is criticised abroad and the opposition disputes the result.
2012 July - Rebel forces advance towards main eastern city of Goma. Nearby Rwanda has denied UN accusations of training the rebels.

Warlord Thomas Lubanga becomes first person convicted by the International Criminal Court since it was set up 10 years ago. He is sentenced to 14 years in jail for using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003.
History References:
Kongo Empire
King Leopold II
Henry Mortan Stanley
Leopold's Congo
Civil War - Africa's First World War
1997 May - Tutsi and other anti-Mobutu rebels, aided principally by Rwanda, capture the capital, Kinshasa. Laurent-Desire Kabila installed as president; Zaire is renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo.

1998 August - Rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda rise up against Kabila because of his purge of Tutsi's from the government and advance on Kinshasa. Zimbabwe, Namibia send troops to repel them. Angolan troops also side with Kabila. The rebels take control of much of the east of DR Congo.
1999 - Rifts emerge between Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) rebels supported by Uganda and Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) rebels backed by Rwanda.

1999 July - The six African countries involved in the war sign a ceasefire accord in Lusaka. The following month the MLC and RCD rebel groups sign the accord.

The Democratic Republic of Congo

French is the official language
Major Cities in DR Congo
Essay Section 3
There are also 4 nationally recognized languages in the Constitution:

There are 11 provinces in DR Congo
Kinshasa is both a province, and a city. It is the largest city in DRC
and is the capital city of the country.
Once a site of fishing villages, Kinshasa is now an urban area with a population of 9-10 million.
Kinshasa is the second largest city in sub-Saharan Africa and the third largest in the whole continent after Lagos and Cairo.
Kinshasa is the second largest French speaking city in the world after Paris.
Kinshasa was founded as a trading post by Henry M Stanley, a European, in 1881 and named it Léopoldville in honor of King Leopold II of Belgium.
French is spoken in government, schools, newspapers, public services and high-end
commerce in the city, while Lingala is used in the street.

Belgians founded the city in 1910 and named it Elizabethville after their Queen Elizabeth.

Lubumbashi is a copper-mining city and is the hub of the southeastern part of the country.

It is the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The population today is estimated around 1.5 million.
Lubumbashi is the second largest city in DRC and is the capital
of the Katanga Province.
Mbuji - Mayi

The name comes from the local language, Tshiluba, and means

Diamonds were found in the area in 1905. MIBA was established, with strict development planning that divided the community into labor camps, mining areas and living quarters. Fearing theft of the diamonds, MIBA monitored who came in and out of the area.

Population grew rapidly after Congo Independance in the 1960, with many Luba immigrating into the area around the country.

Today, the exact population isn't known. Estimates range from 1.5 to 3.5 million.
Mbuji-Mayi is the third largest city in DRC and is the capital of
Goma lies 13 to 18 km south of the crater of the active Nyiragongo Volcano.

15% of the city's buildings were destroyed when the Nyiragongo volcano erupted in 2004, killing around 147 and leaving about 120,000 people homeless.

Goma served as an encampment for nearly a million refugees from the civil war in Rwanda. The aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, which in turn fueled the First and Second Congo Wars, is still having effects on the city today.
Goma is the capital
of North Kivu

Public holidays in DRC have gone through changes based on the various regimes in power. The holidays listed here are current 2012 public holidays.

What is a Typical Family Like in Congo?

The Congolese family "lies at the heart of the community". However, the family is interpreted in a much broader sense than in
the West. Families are often very large and consist of many relatives, such as moms, dads, kids, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, and nieces. These large extended families are normal, and they usually live under the same roof or in a tight group of homes. Urban families tend to include fewer relatives in the extended family. The average woman bears five children, although in rural areas the number is often twice that high. Mothers are usually in charge of child-rearing, housekeeping, and painting, while fathers are usually the ones providing for the family through paid employment. The full extended family is responsible for sick, handicapped, and elderly members. Any care that is needed is distributed throughout the entire family system.

Family structures vary greatly among the different ethnic groups, but overall much emphasis is placed on group family goals and overall family welfare. Power in african culture is sacred. In the western region of the DRC, many families are matrilineal, which means the oldest uncle on the mother's side is considered the most important male and sometimes has more influence over a child's life
than does the father. This uncle can be responsible for the child's education, employment, and marriage selection. Cousins on the mother's side are considered siblings. In other areas of the country, patriarchal and polygamous families, as well as combinations of these are common.
The first born of the family (boy or girl) has the first power in the family especially if the father dies - this is the same in both matrileneal and patriarchal families.

Traditionally, marriage is a family affair and is at least partly arranged by parents. Among matrilineal families, the preferred marriage partner is a cousin - one of the mother's brothers' children. However, that pattern is slowly changing, especially in urban areas.




Essay Section 11
Most likely reasons a child from the DRC would be institutionalized
Essay Section 12
What child might have experienced in future if not adopted, including aging out of institution
Essay Section 13. Currency exchange rate $1 = and other monetary requirements and customs

$1.00 US Dollar = 904 Congolese Franc
1 Congolese Franc = 1/10th of a US Penny

Essay Section 14. Average yearly income

The average yearly income in DRC is $160
compared to a US average income of $41,400
Jan 1 - New Year's Day
People in the Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrate the start of the new year on January 1st with parties
Reference: http://www.democratic-republic-of-the-congo.world-guides.com/democratic_congo_events.html
Jan 4 - Day of the Martyrs
This holiday remembers the death of the hundreds of Congolese killed on January 4, 1959 when they demonstrated for their independence from Belgium.

A political demonstration organized in Léopoldville (today's Kinshasa) by ABAKO, the Alliance des Bakongo - a cultural and political organization spearheading ethnic nationalism - got out of hand and the colonial capital was in heavy riot over anti-Belgian activity calling for immediate independence. It took the authorities several days to restore order.
Belgium had constructed a 30-year plan for independence, but ABAKO's manifesto stated "Rather than postponing emancipation for another thirty years, we should be granted self-government today."
The eruption of violence on January 4 sent a shock wave through the DRC and Belgium. On 13 January, king Baudouin solemnly declared in a radio address "without undue procrastination, but without fatal haste, to lead the Congolese forward to independence in prosperity and peace."

Reference: http://www.newsaboutcongo.com/2011/01/day-of-the-martyrs-of-independence.html

Jan 16 - Hero's Day
Anniversary of the assassination of Laurent Kabila

Laurent-Désiré Kabila (November 27, 1939 – January 18, 2001) was President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from May 17, 1997, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko, until his assassination by one of his bodyguards on January 18, 2001. He was succeeded by his son Joseph Kabila eight days later, who is still the President today.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurent_Kabila

Jan 17 - Hero's Day
Anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba
Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only twelve weeks later, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis. He was subsequently imprisoned and executed by firing squad, an act that was committed with the assistance of the government of Belgium, for which the Belgian government officially apologized in 2002.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrice_Lumumba
May 1 - Labor Day
Most countries celebrate Labour Day in May. It is celebrated to the workers of economic and social achievements. This day is also known as International Workers' Day or May Day and is celebrated with parades and speeches, as well as political rallies.
Reference: http://www.marktheday.com/nationholidaydates/cog_laborday.aspx

May 17 - Liberation Day
Laurent-Désiré Kabila became the first President of the newly liberated country. People organize events to celebrate Liberation Day throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Reference: http://www.whichday.com/articles/index.php?article=411
On May 16 1997, Mobutu fled the country, and the rebels captured Kinshasa. The country was renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

May 25 - Kimbanguist Christmas Celebrations
Followers of the Kimbanguist church gather in Kinshasa on this day, since they strongly believe that Christ was born in May and not December
Reference: http://www.democratic-republic-of-the-congo.world-guides.com/democratic_congo_events.html

Jun 30 - Independence Day
Parliamentary elections in 1960 produced Patrice Lumumba as prime minister and Joseph Kasavubu as president of the renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Today, to celebrate independence, the national flag is raised and events are held throughout the country.
DR Congo gained its independence on June 30, 1960
from Belgium.
Aug 1 - Parent's Day
On the 1st of August every year children choose to honor their parents through hand-crafted gifts, songs and special events and activities.
Reference: http://blog.africaimports.com/wordpress/2010/07/celebrating-parents-day-in-congo-august-1st-2/
In Congo, there is no Mothers Day or Fathers Day, but they do celebrate Parents Day!
Oct 14 - Youth Day
A national holiday dedicated for youth only.
On this day different organizations of Congo will conduct various sporting events for the youth.
Reference: http://www.marktheday.com/nationholidaydates/cog_youthday.aspx

Dec 25 - Christmas Day
Essay Section 7 Holidays in Democratic Republic of Congo
November 17 - Army Day
Essay Section 9
Typical Family Structures, values, and discipline methods

Solidarity of the community is important throughout Congo and instilling respect for elders is practiced within all ethnic groups. Children are seen as the responsibility of the whole community and all adults in the community are expected to discipline children. Children are taught not to make direct eye contact with elders or to initiate handshakes, but to bow or kneel to greet elders. Discipline is usually strict and slapping and raised voices is a norm. However, communication through eye contact is also used frequently as a disciplinary tool. Non-verbal communication can convey many different messages throughout Congo and what seem like simple gestures can easily be misunderstood between Westerners and Congolese.

Traditional family values include providing both moral and material needs to their family, and bringing up their children well. People are proud to be viewed as part of a ‘good family', and being from a 'good family' can improve marriage prospects.

Most women will opt to give birth at a hospital. Caesarean births are frequently viewed by the community as a failure on the part of the mother and will be avoided. After birth in Congo the new mother is given extensive support from her own family for up to 3 months and she is expected to rest. Babies are usually breastfed in Congo, and will transition to a staple diet that includes cassava, plantains, maize, groundnuts, fish and rice. At three months Congolese children are usually brought to church to undergo a celebration.

All male Congolese babies are circumcised, usually at 0-3 weeks of age. Only 5% of females in Congo are circumcised, and those that are usually have a Type II circumcision which involves the removal of the clitoris with the partial or complete removal of the labia minora.

Naming a baby is extremely important in Congolese culture, and in one ethnic group (Kongo) a baby will not truly be considered a person until they are named. A child's name will often be chosen to reflect an event surrounding the birth or a family story. Boys will often be named by a maternal uncle, and girls will often be named by a maternal aunt. During Mobutu's rule Congolese were ordered to abandon Christian or foreign names and change to Congolese names. Since Mobutu's rule, many Congolese have reverted back to using Christian names while also retaining Congolese names. The present tradition for naming involves a first name - often Christian - followed
by two traditional Congolese names. The person themselves will choose which of these names they will ordinarily use (so it is important to ask Congolese how they would like to be addressed).




Reference: http://students.cua.edu/92dikinza/Democratic%20Republic%20of%20Congo.pdf

There is an orphan crisis in Congo, with 15% of the country's children under 18 orphaned. Children are orphaned due to poverty, for example if a father dies and a mother cannot provide for her children. Disease is also rampant, and children may be orphaned due to parent's death. The conflict in eastern DRC has displaced thousands of families, children may be orphaned due to death surrounding the conflict. Children of young mothers not prepared to care for her children may be orphaned.

Conflict, internal displacement, unemployment, poverty, disease, the prohibitive cost of education, AIDS, and suspicion of witchcraft and sorcery are all reasons why children are orphaned. Children in orphanages, or worse on the street, are very vulnerable to a troublesome street life. But, with 110,000 children now enrolled in UNICEF’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project, olunteers is to give children and adolescents direction and skills that will help them earn a living and go to school. UNICEF negotiates with schools in DR Congo to keep orphans enrolled and provides the schools with desks, exercise books and other educational materials. Similar negotiations are made with local health clinics to support healthcare needs for these children.

Family values, discipline, and common birth traditions
While most of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is now stable the east remains volatile, especially in the the Kivus.
More than 1.7 million people are internally displaced. Apart from long-standing ethnic rivalries, competition over resources and land is another main trigger of conflict. For the internally displaced in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, safety is a rare commodity. The UN refugee agency manages 13 camps set up to help the displaced regain some sense of security. In eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 100,000 internally displaced Congolese have sought safety in 13 camps run by the UN refugee agency. While the camps provide greater safety, an atmosphere of lawlessness pervades the region. In a conflict where rape has become a weapon, women are especially vulnerable; young people are easily recruited by warlords, and serious infractions are committed by armed groups as well as civilians. Anyone who ventures outside the UN refugee camps is a potential victim. Children are caught in the middle of the conflict, and many have been separated from their families or recruited into armed forces.
Essay Section 10
Common social problems, including what an adopted child may have experienced
Languages in DRC
Essay Section 2
15. Common foods

Cassava is a staple food in DRC, made into fufu and served with sauce. Fufu is a doughy substance similar to texture in sticky mashed potatoes. It can be made from cassava, plantains, or sweet potatoes. Stew, with fish or meat, is also a basic food. Rice is eaten where available. Palm oil and peanuts are used in recipes and are cooked with ground cassava leaves. Many vegetables and fruits are popular including aubergines, plantains, squash, sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, mangoes, papayas and pineapples. Coffee and tea are grown locally. Beer and palm wine are also brewed locally.

Only 2.86% of the country’s land is cultivated, and most of this is used for subsistence farming, where farmers grow most of their crops to feed their own family. Congo's farmland is the source of a wide variety of crops. These include maize, rice, cassava, sweet potato, yam, taro, plantain, tomato, pumpkin and varieties of peas and nuts.

People also gather wild fruit, mushrooms, and honey, as well as hunt, and fish. People will often sell crops and hunted meats at markets or by the roadside. Cattle breeding and the development of large-scale agricultural businesses has been hindered by the war and the poor quality of the road system. The most important crops for export are coffee and palm oil.

17. Who is the adoption authority

18. Eligibility requirements for adoptive parents and any restrictions

19. What must occur in country prior to travel
Adopting parents may be married, single, widowed or divorced. Persons in these last three groups may not adopt a child of the opposite sex unless the court grants an exemption. Gays and lesbians or same-sex couples are not permitted to adopt by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Any person who has a prior history of child abuse is not permitted to adopt. Couples should have been married for at least five years. There is no age limit for adopting parents, except that the parent(s) are at least 15 years older than the intended adoptee. This “15-year rule” may be waived if the adoptee is a biological child of one of the parents. No couple may adopt more than three children unless a subsequent prospective adoptee is the biological child of one of the parents. Parents may not already have more than two children when they adopt. No adoptive parent may marry the adopted child. There is no medical ineligibility for adoptive parents. There are no income requirements to adopt from the DRC.
First, prospective parents apply for permission to adopt by sending a letter to the Tribunal de Paix. The Judge from the Tribunal de Paix approves foreign adoptive parents for adoption. Adoptive parents may choose the adoptive child according to their own criteria (age, gender, etc.). A lawyer may represent the adoptive parents, but adoptive parents’ criteria are taken into consideration, rather than a governmental agency or social organization. With MLJ, once a referral is accepted by the adoptive parents, the child is placed into interim care where they are provided personal care, medical attention, nutritious foods, clothing, and love.

Step One: Obtaining Consent
Once a prospective child has been referred to the adoptive parents, the court will require consent to the adoption be settled before granting a judgment. The child's biological parents, or other family members if one or both parents are deceased, must give their consent. If no family members are identified, the court will step in to determine consent. For MLJ clients, social services will investigate the child’s history and generate the Proof of Abandonment documents.

Step Two: The Hearing

After obtaining the proper consent, the prospective adoptive parents or their attorney representative will request a hearing in open court at the Tribunal de Paix in the area where the child resides. Along with the request for hearing, the prospective adoptive parents must submit copies of their birth certificates, police certificates from the adoptive parents place of birth and attestations of good conduct from their city hall or local embassy or consulate, and the birth certificate of the prospective adoptee. The court will require proof that any and all interested family members of the child have been informed of the adoption and have received notice of the court hearing. The adoptive parents, or their attorney representative, and prospective adopted child (if over age 10) must appear in court before the judge. Other interested parties may attend or submit documents to the court. After the initial hearing, the court conducts an investigation to determine that all conditions for placement or final adoption have been met and that all documents are legitimate.
20. What is the expected approximate travel time and who must be present / 21. What steps must you complete while in country

22. How much time can be expected prior to finalization of adoption and (section 23.) important regulations.

24. What contact must continue with country of origin and/or embassy post-adoption
Step Three: The Judgment

Once the investigation is completed and all requirements have been satisfied, the court will issue a judgment of adoption. The date of the adoption will be retroactive to the date of the first court appearance. The adopted child’s name on the judgment will incorporate his/her original name along with the newly adopted family name. At the time of adoption, choices concerning citizenship will be made by the adoptive parent. The adoptive parents must register the judgment at the local city hall or magistrate within one month or the adoption is null and void. This is done either where the adoptive parents live (if they live within DRC) or where the child resides (if the adoptive parents do not live in the DRC). After the court process in Congo is complete, you will receive the Proof of Abandonment documents, Adoption Decree, Act of Adoption, and Birth Certificate.

Once your adoption is finalized in the DRC we can begin the submission of your I-600 form to Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. Once your I-600 form is submitted, it will take USCIS approximately 4-12 weeks to approve it. Upon approval, USCIS will send an approval letter (form 797). After receipt of your approved file and the child's passport, the US Embassy will schedule two appointments: first, your dossier drop off and second, your interview to process and investigate your Orphan Visa request. Currently appointments are scheduled 5-6 weeks from the request date.

Step Four: UA Visa Issuance - The US Embassy in Kinshasa issues orphan visas through a three step process:

1.Embassy Appointment One Document/File Submission (Congolese Staff Attorney completes this step)
2. Embassy Appointment Two - The Interview (In country. The person entering the US with the child must be present at the interview - that will be me! :-)
3. Embassy Appointment Three – Orphan Visa Pick-up
Essay Section 16. How you can specifically integrate your child’s culture into your lifestyle

1. We will eat traditional Congolese foods and prepare dishes together, including sweet potato and peanut soup with fufu, rice, and plantains.

2. We have a Sonos music system that will allow us to listen and dance to local Kinshasa radio stations.

3. I will learn how to braid her hair into local Bantu knots and traditional Congolese hair styles.

4. During my trip to DRC, I will purchase gifts to give her on her birthdays throughout her life.

5. We will celebrate American and Congolese holidays.

Mostly, I will continue learn about the Congolese culture together with her and integrate pieces of her Congolese culture into our daily lives.
The total travel time could be between 5 days to 3 months depending on how quickly the US Embassy issues the visa and how quickly Genre de Familia and DGM (DRC Immigration) issue their exit approvals.

In Country US Embassy
I will be traveling, and attending the US Embassy Interview Appointment. When the Visa has been issued, the Embassy will contact the my Staff Attorney to schedule an appointment time to pick it up.

In Country DRC Exit Approvals
Once the Visa is issued, two DRC exit approvals must be received. The first exit approval must be received from Genre de Familia. The exit approval is obtained by the staff attorney in DRC after they have obtained my child’s visa. The second exit approval must be obtained from DGM, after Genre de Familia approval, and I must appear personally at the DGM Central Office to obtain their exit approval. The staff attorney will accompany me to this appointment. Once both exit approvals are received I can travel home with my child!

The court process in Congo usually takes 3-6 months to complete. During this process, social services will investigate the child’s history and generate the Proof of Abandonment documents. After the court process in Congo is complete, you will receive the Proof of Abandonment documents, Adoption Decree, Act of Adoption, and the child's Birth Certificate. Once the court process is complete the I-600 to classify the orphan as an immediate relative is submitted to the USCIS, which will take 4-12 weeks for approval. After approval, the Embassy will schedule an appointment 5-6 weeks out. In country processes for exit approvals and visas are currently estimated at 10 days, but can take up to 3 months. Re-adoption through my home state, Colorado, must begin within 30 days of arriving home. Through the re-adoption process you are provided with an Adoption Petition, Order from the Court, and a birth certificate from your state
Essay Section 6 - History of DRC
Essay Section 4
Important Geological Features
Central African Republic
South Sudan
Essay Section 5
Description of climate, including average temperatures and seasons
The Congo River is the second longest river in Africa (after the Nile), it has the second largest flow in the world (after the Amazon River), and it is the deepest river in the world.The river flows through the Congo Rainforest, which is the second largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon Rainforest. DR Congo stretches across both North and South of the Equator. Therefore, heavy rainfall is occurring throughout the year at one side or the other. During the rainy season over 1,800,000 cu ft of water per second flow into the Atlantic Ocean, making the Congo River the most powerful river in Africa. Currently, there are about 40 hydropower plants in the Congo Basin. Scientists have calculated that the Congo Basin accounts for 13% of the world's hydro power potential. However, some fear that new hydroelectric dams could lead to the extinction of many fish species that indigenous to the river.

The lowest point of the country is at the Atlantic Ocean border at 0 feet above sea level. The highest point is Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) at 16, 765 feet.

There are 7 national parks in DR Congo: Maiko National Park, Upemba National Park, Garamba National Park, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Okapi National Park, Salonga National Park, and Virunga National Park. The last 5 listed are also listed as World Heritage Sites. All five sites are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage In Danger. The country's rainforests create great biodiversity, including many rare endemic species. The war has endangered much of this biodiversity.
Animals native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo: African Buffalo, African Bush Elephant, African Civet, African Golden Cat, African Manatee, African Palm Civet, African Striped Weasel, Banded Mongoose, Bili Ape, Black-collared Lovebird, Blue Duiker, Blue-headed Wood-dove, Bohor Reedbuck, Bongo (antelope), Bonobo, Bushbuck, Bwindi Gorilla, Cape Hyrax, Cheetah, Common Duiker, Common Eland, Congo Peafowl, Eastern Lowland Gorilla, Gallagher's free-tailed bat, Giant Eland, Giant forest hog, Giraffe, Golden Jackal, Greater Kudu, Ground Pangolin, Handsome Francolin, Hartebeest, Hippopotamus, Kob, Lechwe, Leopard, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Lion, Marsh Mongoose, Mountain Gorilla, Okapi, Oribi, Plains Zebra, Puku, Red River Hog, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Serval, Side-striped Jackal, Sitatunga, Southern Reedbuck, Spotted Hyena, Topi, Trumpeter Hornbill, Upemba Lechwe, Warthog, Waterbuck, Western Lowland Gorilla, White Rhinoceros, Yellow-backed Duiker. The Congo Basin is especially species-rich; the Ituri forest is home to okapis, chimpanzees, leopards, and elephants. Although 90 percent of the region is now untouched, logging could eliminate half the forest by midcentury.
Economic History of DRC
During Leopold's rule of Congo, Western companies built up major plantations, mining and agricultural processing industries which relied on DRC's rich natural resources and forced native into cheap labor. At independence in 1960, DRC was Africa 's most industrialized country after South Africa. One of the most important promises of independence was the elimination of forced labor. During independence, many white professionals left the country. Lumumba promised nationalism and flirted with communism, which made western business interests hostile towards him and backed Mobutu coming into power. When Mobutu came to power he treated businesses as gifts to be kept by himself and his followers; businesses were not developed as economic assets, but held as security of loyal clients to Mobutu's power. Studies in the late 1980s suggested that by that time at least half of total GDP was unrecorded. Furthermore, economic growth was negative every year Laurent Kabila was in power in the 1990s as a result of the war and military involvement in DRC and neighboring countries, and the corruption and plundering of natural resources. The UN investigated the illegal exploitation of DRC’s resources, and stated that the various parties’ continued interest in Congo’s mineral wealth was one of the main reasons for its continued conflict. By the end of the 1990s the GDP was just one third of what it was in the mid-1950s. Since taking power in January 2001, Joseph Kabila authorized many economic reform measures, which are showing signs of improvement in the formal recorded economy. The GDP registered positive growth for the first time in a decade in 2002, at 3.5%. The trend continued in 2003, with GDP growth reaching 5.6%. In 2011, the GDP growth rate was 6.9%.
Because the DR Congo straddles the Equator, seasons are reversed in the north and the south. The climate is tropically hot and humid in the lower western and central regions, with heavy rains from October through May south of the equator and from April to November in the north. It is generally hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands of the country. Along the equator itself there is only one season with average annual precipitation is 67 inches (compared to Colorado’s average 16 inches). The average annual rainfall in Kinshasa is 56 inches while in Lubumbashi it is 45 inches. The average temperature in Kinshasa ranges from 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, humidity remains high and winds are light.

http://www.climate-zone.com/climate/congo-democratic-republic/ http://www.atlapedia.com/online/countries/DemRepCongo.htm
In Kinshasa, there is a large proportion of residents have no access to education or health services. Children make up 60% of the city’s population and many of them are out on the streets every day scrounging for a living.
Poverty and conflict has lead to a lack of investment in the healthcare system and properly trained medical staff throughout the country. For patients to get access to healthcare, they often have to walk for many hours. There are high infant and maternal mortality rates across the country, and life expectancy is among the lowest in the world. With a lack of sustained vaccination strategies epidemics are common including cholera, measles, and malaria, which all take a heavy toll on the Congolese population. Malaria is the leading cause of illness and death in DRC. Since late 2010, there has been a measles epidemic in DRC, and more than 14 million children have been vaccinated. There have also been recent cholera outbreaks along the Congo River and in the capital, Kinshasa, since April 2011.

Displacement and instability have contributed to the spread of Human African trypanosomiasis—also called sleeping sickness, particularly in the Orientale Province in the northeast where the lack of roads makes accessing patients difficult. The disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected tsetse flies and is fatal if left untreated.

95 percent of women living with AIDS don’t have access to treatment that can help prevent the transmission of the disease to their unborn children. 770,000 children have been orphaned by parents who have died of HIV. In 2011, the World Bank stopped funding its HIV/AIDS programs in DRC and several other donors still work with very limited funds compared to DRC’s substantial needs.
The adoption authority in DRC is the Ministry of Justice. While the Ministry of Justice has jurisdiction over adoption, several ministries in the Congolese government participate in enforcing adoption law and policies. Individual cases are handled by the Tribunal pour Enfants in the region where a prospective adoptive child resides. The local “commune” or township and its trustee council create the Abandonment document, designate the abandoned child as a Ward of the State, and consign the child to foster care or an orphanage. The Ministry of Social Affairs is charged with the role of protection of “vulnerable children,” which can impact adoption policies. The Direction Generale d’Immigration (DGM) controls the departure of children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Within one week of the child arriving home, you are required to send photos of the child and the family in her new home. DRC also requests updated photos every 3 months for the first year. Two post placement reports are required, one at 6 months after placement and one at 12 months after placement. These reports will be conducted/completed by my home study provider.
It is estimated there are 4.2 million orphans in Congo today. Orphans and street children without a family to love and protect them are often exploited. People may employ these children as porters, vendors, cleaners, or laborers in homes and stores, but often pay them very little for long hours and physically demanding work. Some street children have said they are used by adults to work in hazardous or illegal labor, such as mining, prostitution, or selling drugs and alcohol. Street children also report that many adults, like the police, taunt them, beat them, and chase them from places where they congregate. Younger street kids say that some of the worst treatment comes from older street boys and men. Both boys and girls are survivors of rape and sexual assault perpetrated by older street boys and men, and some girls are the survivors of brutal gang rapes. Police often fail to investigate these crimes or offer protection from abusive adults.

Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa
Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans across
Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)
143,000,000 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home
Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system
Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT
Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home
Reference: http://thirdworldorphans.org/gpage39.html
Not to be confused with the neighboring Republic of the Congo (the People's Republic of the Congo).
also known as:
DR Congo
Congo - Kinshasa
formerly Zaire
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