August 15, Congo’s Independence Day: a national holiday poorly celebrated

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Here we are today, August 15, 2020, the day of the celebration of the Congo’s independence. The historic day of the nation attached to the struggles of the founding fathers. 60 years later, what does this mean for the nation?

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For lack of being too serious, we offer you good humor always with the same mission: To make you feel at home everywhere in Africa. Let the adventure take off from Congo-Brazzaville.

Historic country, which is sometimes proud of its independence and jealous of its place as the capital of the free France of the past. A kind of ambiguity of the freed slave who implores the care of his former master.

If the capital of the other bank was renamed Kinshasa instead of Leopoldville to break with their colonial past, the capital of Congo has kept its name of Brazzaville and has even built a memorial in honor of the explorer Pierre Savorgnan De Brazza. A colonizer for me and a humanist for history makers.

August 15, 1960 — August 15, 2020, Congo is 60 years away from its independence. Please fasten your seat belt for immediate take-off. We will plunge into a passionate debate that many people avoid #HomeToCongo.

Everyone who loves the Congo is interested in its history but we won’t be doing a lecture here, the school and the books are well placed for that. Besides, I’m not a historian, even if it tempts me to want to rewrite the history of the Congo. I don’t really know it, at least not yet, except for the one tinged with blurred and unspoken words, peddled from generation to generation. But hey! We are not here to put the history of the Congo on trial, even though I think it is necessary.

60 years later, where are we?

We still remember as if it were yesterday that we celebrated with great pomp 10 years ago the festivities of our 50 years of independence. Half a century is nothing. It is the age of maturity. Now 5 becomes 6, the Congo, like all African countries, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its independence. Will we now say that it is the age of wisdom? I will not say.

Contrary to past events, this one has been deprived of its festive grandeur because of the Covid-19 pandemic which continues to threaten the economic stability of our fragile states. A celebration on the watch. Any excess exposes you to being beaten or arrested by the police. The curfew has been brought back to 20:00.

But hey! No matter how it was celebrated, the tricolor flag continues to shine with its anthem in the background to remind the Congolese that they have been standing since 1960.

As for the country, it continues to live with its beautiful landscapes and its smells, its waterfalls and its waterfalls, its arable land and its famine, its large forests and its lack of school benches. Finally, a little bit of everything to make you HeuMaleureux, a kind of enjoyment and a whirlwind of thought.

Not so fast! Let us pause and question ourselves. What do we mean by independence?

The question may seem trivial, but it’s always good to make sure you know what you’re celebrating, isn’t it?

Experience shows that the most familiar things are the ones we miss the most. If I’m wrong, give me the definition of the word “eat” and don’t hesitate to consult your dictionary to make sure you haven’t been fooling around 😅.

I don’t know if you’ve found the right one, but if you’ve taken a minute to give a sensible answer, you can admit in a commentary that you failed the exercise. 🤣

Independence is a condition for a nation, a country, a state in which the residents and the population exercise self-governance, and usually full sovereignty over the territory.

It can go like that! Am I wrong?

I admit that this is the definition of academics. Guys who post “Graduate of the Sorbonne” in front of their office door. Probably to taunt our diplomas from Ouagadougou, Brazzaville and Libreville.

I preferred to hear the imagination of the Congolese here, better from the youth, to better understand the notion of independence in the eyes of the citizen. Because imagination is more important than knowledge, as Albert Einstein said.

Questioned on the question, Emerald KOUKA believes that to understand the notion of independence, one must be interested in what, in law, a State is. A-State is a population, a territory and an instituted power.
These three elements are cumulative and confer on a State the prerogative of sovereignty. It is an absolute right of people to regulate their own affairs without owing any account to another.

Independence, a simple word to read and complicated to define

If the concept is still not clear to you, I will understand. Let’s try to move forward anyway.

For Richtel LEMVO, Autonomy and Sovereignty are the two political terms that come up when we talk about independence. Terms that would be quite meaningless, if, behind independence, the country does not have the capacity to self-determine itself politically, economically, historically, etc…

Morel NTALANI counts to him, adds that independence is the absence of submission and dependence of a State towards other States.

Far from drying up, Emerald KOUKA adds that “Beyond the formal, the official, there is the factual. A country can have the independence of law, and undergo a hegemony of fact. One is not economically emancipated when one remains insolvent when one does not have a say on the international market.

This illustration, which is far from having said everything about the economic reality of the Congo, and which a specialist would speak about better than I do, is a reflection of cultural domination. Emancipation also implies knowing one’s history, speaking one’s language, assuming one’s sociology and philosophy. However, there is a tacit injunction to minimize cultural particularities and local thought. It is a form of bewilderment. »

I hope things are getting a little clearer now!

If not independence for me, it is the ability of a country to manage itself on all levels.

After having said all that! It’s up to you to give us your definition of independence and tell us where the Congo is according to your perception. I leave you the freedom to share your opinion with us as a comment.

Before commenting, please make sure that you have never forbidden your child to speak in the local language.

In the Congo, Independence Day is a great event.

Money can run out for everything but this celebration. A military and civilian parade is often organized in the presence of the Head of State and many distinguished guests. Sometimes other African heads of state are called upon to join the celebration.

It is not so difficult to realize the exceptionality of this event. In addition to the parade, it is one of the rare moments when the Congolese can be sure to follow it live on the country’s national channel. Can we say that this festival competes with the soccer championship and other cultural events?

In the evening, some are lulled by the dance steps of Mama Ngouli and Papa Denguès, others by the swaying hips of the girls who are candidates for the Miss Congo election. This is the only time when parents and children can watch girls in bikinis on TV together without embarrassment.

Jubilation is visible especially in the capital. Beer afloat in the bars and VIPs, the unpaid marketing agents of the big foreign brands that we call “Sappers” are also part of the party. Just take a walk on the Matsoua Avenue in Bacongo to be seduced by the show-off and the seriousness of the looks of these clothing professionals.

To invite the entire Congolese population to participate in the festival and provide the interior of the country with basic infrastructure, the festivities of August 15 have toured the twelve (12) departments of Congo. An original initiative is known as Accelerated Municipalisation. Are the results of this beautiful adventure satisfactory? This question is a debate that I let Maixent Foukou develop on his plateau. But hey! With the Congolese nothing is too sure to the point of transforming the name into Decelerated Municipalization. The little that can be said is that all Congolese, if not almost all, agree to recognize the sacredness of this day.

“This is a very important day to commemorate the memory of those who fought for the independence of our country. I can say that it is a very sacred day for all Congolese”, Tristell Mouanda said.

It remains to be seen whether we really commemorate the memory in question.

What does the day of August 15th represent for the average citizen?

Congo is at its 60th anniversary of independence. One cannot help wondering whether all Congolese people really feel concerned by this historic day, except for the fact that it is a holiday.

The Congolese are proud of their country, there can be no doubt about their attachment to their homeland. They do not fail to make it known during major events. No matter how much you have sworn not to put up with the red devils anymore, you just have to see them qualify for the CAN and you are surprised to discover a smile on their faces. You may be angry against the Congolese musicians, just listen to the song “Hymn of Peace” by Jacques Loubelo to feel proud to be Congolese.

But on the other side of this love for the Congo, the dissatisfaction of the people is obvious, you only have to listen to it to be convinced. Celebrating yes, but for “what results? “some ask. If the Congolese are unanimous on the sacredness of the day, the packaging of the festivities as presented leads to a total disinterest of a large part of the population.

Politicians take credit for the true heroes of the independence struggle as if André Matsoua never existed. These valiant fighters were only given alleyways in their name as a legacy to the collective memory. The feast that should be celebrated by all becomes a feast celebrated by some and not by others.

What about the edification of the youth on their historical heritage

No public debate in universities, let alone in think tanks. No theater shows, no movies in the cinema. Don’t get your hopes up about media content and school curricula.

Is the history of Congo’s independence limited to the succession of Presidents at the head of the Republic? This is the question I often ask myself.

The inability of the elders to communicate the trance of independence to the new generation is palpable. The day is having a hard time selling its appeal to the young. Not because it means nothing to them, but rather because the proposed content is simply hollow.

What does August 15 mean to you?

Rick ILIMBOU answers dryly NOTHING. And there! I am worried. An anxiety of hope. A hope to question the way of doing things today, and which will surely be different and better tomorrow.

How to make the day of August 15 more interesting?

Tristell MOUANDA suggests, for example, initiating conferences, dictation and poetry contests on the theme of independence. The Congolese must be taught the historical depths of August 15, 1960.

I am not surprised by this answer coming from him, Tristell is a writer.

Rick ILIMBOU always equal to himself ‘’There is nothing to make interesting. Teaching the history of this country is the thing to do before coming to celebrate this famous date’’.

Rick ILIMBOU always equal to himself ‘’There is nothing to make interesting. Teaching the history of this country is the thing to do before coming to celebrate this famous date’’.

You don’t need to make any effort to realize that he is an extremist.

What if the day of August 15 became a tourist opportunity for the Congo?

Congo is a beautiful country beyond anything that can be said to be disgusting. River in Brazza the Green, the Atlantic Ocean in Ponton the Beautiful, Congo Brazzaville is one of the most watered countries in the world. The landscape of its greenery is simply magnificent. Breathtaking sites. A cosmopolitan country and unlike the others, in Congo, the foreigner is KING.

Good news for tourists. In the Congo, you will really feel at home. That’s a guarantee for sure.

The Congolese youth does not lack the imagination to give this day the greatness it deserves.

Imagine this celebration taking on an international aura. Such an aura that foreigners want to come to Congo to celebrate with us and immortalize these moments.

Imagine a thematic August 15th, where the populations of each department will be brought to innovate on the city’s dressing by inviting foreign residents to the party.

Imagine an August 15th in Tabaski. A unique recipe throughout the entire national territory where everyone can eat at everyone’s home.

Imagine an August 15th with a carnival of the sapping of Made In Congo outfits.

Imagine an August 15th with all the ideas that cross your mind at the moment and of which you complete the list in a commentary.

Love the Congo and you will see its beauty.

Written by Elwin Gomo and curated by Prince Youlou

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