Kinshasa, located alongside the Congo River is the capital and the largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With an estimated population of more than 12 million, it is Africa’s third-largest urban area after Cairo and Lagos. The city is the center of politics hence all politically decisions which may affect the country comes from there.
In 2010, the U.S. State Department revealed that Kinshasa and other major Congolese cities are generally safe for daytime travel, but however cautioned about robbers, especially in traffic jams.
From the N’djili international airport to the center of the town, you are welcomed into Kinshasa with busy streets of residents going about their daily life. The very first observation is that the town doesn’t look like a war torn area or a location where chaos is rife. “Prior to my visit, the thought I had of the place was that of chaos and sadness, but contrarily, I saw a peaceful city where everyone goes to work on daily basis just like in countries with no war” revealed Papa Gueye, a Russia based AFRIC observer who was in Kinshasa to observe the elections.
STOP OVERS FOR TOURISTS
If you are a tourist, a stopover at the deepest and second largest river in the world, the Congo River would make your stay even more memorable. The river separates Kinshasa and the capital of the neighboring Republic of the Congo, which can be seen just across the wide Congo River, making them the world’s second-closest capital cities after Rome and Vatican City. Border authorities informed that it takes barely 15 minutes by boat to cross over to the other country, however entry into both countries is strictly restricted by administrative procedures.
Another area you may want to explore is the ‘’Lola ya Bonobo’ ’considered as the only reserve for orphaned bonobos in the world. And of course, in downtown Kinshasa there is an ivory market for Congolese art, tribal masks, and other goods as well as dozen super markets for a shopping spree.
SOCIAL LIFE IN KINSHASA
The city is buzzing with music and dance from every corner of the street. One thing most people remark about the city is their lifestyle of dancing and enjoying music with numerous night clubs spread all around. The city is equally noted for its flourishing music scene which dates back to the 1960’s.
A walk around the area popularly known as ‘Beau Marché’ leaves you with an important discovery of bars and beer joints spread all over with loud music oozing out to attract clients. Cameroon based AFRIC observer, Saga Fuller, who had time to peruse the city especially some of the night clubs simple described the experience as ‘interesting’, to him, you are certain to have fun.
Christian Mbongo, a resident indicated that his everyday life always ends with a bottle of beer after a tiring working day. And this is almost same for most of the people. “When I leave the house in the morning, I always set aside extra cash to get a beer on my way back from work. That is how we live here. Drinking and dancing is an everyday routine, we do not have particular time set aside for that” Christian noted.
Another local resident, Eddy Mbo informed us that the atmosphere is much merrier in the neighborhood called Victoire in the Kasa Vubu district, which can also be considered the fief of some of the most popular Congolese artists like Fally Ipupa, Koffi Olomide as well as Papa Wemba. He also cited the district of Bandal as a one stop area to catch fun at a maximum with drinking spots and night club implanted at every corner of the street.
Summarily, contrary to the despicable images of a war torn country, Kinshasa is a beautiful city with residents who have an everyday life just like in other countries. Despite the fact that young robbers are found in major corners of the city, it can be explained by the growing number of inhabitants found there. However, security forces can be spotted at every distance to ensure the safety of all.
Article from AFRIC Editorial