jeudi 5 janvier 2012

The Congolese Tower of Babel.

Brazzaville (capital of the Congo) and Kinshasa (the capital of DR Congo) are separated by the Congo River. From 1971 to 1997, the river was called the Congo or Zaire as it was in Brazzaville or Kinshasa.
In their speeches, official visits (Brazzaville or Kinshasa) should remember in their writings and speeches on pain of enervating the respective governments of their countries.
Two companies that share river transport operating the route Kinshasa (and vice versa) signed an agreement limiting the number of ships, schedules, ticket prices (in CFA Francs or Zaire) and the conditions of access to boats. The Congolese boats could not carry that Congolese and Zairean boats could not carry the Zairian.
To access the boats, we had to provide proof of identity and pay the ticket in local currency: in Zaire or CFA as it was Zaire or Congo. To identify the boat, we had to look at the color of the flag under pain of being back at a truncheon. Two boats from the same country could cross the river and could not leave port at the same time. Mixed couples had to temporarily separate the time of the crossing. Except for the president of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, who was married to a Zairian.
When the boats of both countries crossed the river, insults in Lingala was coming from both sides, insults often accompanied by jets of vegetables (tomatoes, onions, carrots ...). All this against a backdrop of political ideologies as the Congo was a communist and Zaire was capitalist.
Yet during the civil war in Brazzaville between 1997 and 1999 shells fired from Brazzaville fell to Kinshasa.
And now as river Congo has Common name, the project of building a bridge linking the two capitals is facing opposition from both sides.

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