Kinshasa

Kinshasa
Ville de Kinshasa
Ville-province (city-province)
Kinshasa with Congo river in background
Kinshasa with Congo river in background
Flag of Kinshasa
Flag
Official seal of Kinshasa
Seal
Nickname(s): Kin la belle
(English: Kin the beautiful)
DRC, highlighting the city-province of Kinshasa
DRC, highlighting the city-province of Kinshasa
Kinshasa is located in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kinshasa
Kinshasa
DRC, highlighting the city-province of Kinshasa
Coordinates: 4°19′30″S 15°19′20″E / 4.32500°S 15.32222°E / -4.32500; 15.32222Coordinates: 4°19′30″S 15°19′20″E / 4.32500°S 15.32222°E / -4.32500; 15.32222
Country  Democratic Republic of the Congo
Province Kinshasa
Founded 1881
Administrative HQ La Gombe
Communes
Government
 • Governor André Kimbuta
Area[1]
 • City-province 9,965 km2 (3,848 sq mi)
 • Urban[2] 583 km2 (225 sq mi)
Elevation 240 m (790 ft)
Population (2012)[2]
 • City-province 9,046,000
 • Density 910/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
 • Urban[2] 9,046,000
 • Urban density 16,000/km2 (40,000/sq mi)
 • Language French
Area code(s) 243 + 9
Website www.kinshasa.cd

Kinshasa (formerly French Léopoldville, and Dutch About this sound Leopoldstad ) is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located on the Congo River.

Once a site of fishing villages, Kinshasa is now an urban area with a 2013 population of over 9 million.[2] It faces the capital of the neighbouring Republic of Congo, Brazzaville, which can be seen in the distance across the wide Congo River. The city of Kinshasa is also one of the DRC's 11 provinces. Because the administrative boundaries of the city-province cover a vast area, over 90% of the city-province's land is rural in nature, and the urban area only occupies a small section in the far western end of the city-province.[1]

Kinshasa is the third largest urban area in Africa after Cairo and Lagos.[2] It is also the second largest "francophone" urban area in the world after Paris, French being the language of government, schools, newspapers, public services and high-end commerce in the city, while Lingala is used as a lingua franca in the street.[3] If current demographic trends continue, Kinshasa should surpass Paris in population around 2020.[4] Kinshasa hosted the 14th Francophonie Summit in October 2012.[5]

Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois (in French and sometimes in English) or Kinshasans (English).

HistoryEdit

View of Léopoldville station and port (1884)
The La Gombe district, off the Boulevard du 30 Juin in Kinshasa

The city was founded as a trading post by Henry Morton Stanley in 1881 and named Léopoldville in honor of King Leopold II of Belgium, who controlled the vast territory that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not as a colony but as a private property. The post flourished as the first navigable port on the Congo River above Livingstone Falls, a series of rapids over 300 kilometres (190 mi) below Leopoldville. At first, all goods arriving by sea or being sent by sea had to be carried by porters between Léopoldville and Matadi, the port below the rapids and 150 km (93 mi) from the coast. The completion of the Matadi-Kinshasa portage railway in 1898 provided an alternative route around the rapids and sparked the rapid development of Léopoldville. By 1920, the city was elevated to capital of the Belgian Congo, replacing the town of Boma in the Congo estuary.

In 1965, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu seized power in the Congo in his second coup and initiated a policy of "Africanizing" the names of people and places in the country. In 1966, Léopoldville was renamed Kinshasa for a village named Kinchassa that once stood near the site. The city grew rapidly under Mobutu, drawing people from across the country who came in search of their fortunes or to escape ethnic strife elsewhere. This inevitably brought a change to the city's ethnic and linguistic composition as well. Although it is situated in territory that traditionally belongs to the Bateke and Bahumbu people, the lingua franca among African languages in Kinshasa today is Lingala while the administrative and main written language is French (see further Languages of the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

In 1974 Kinshasa hosted 'The Rumble in the Jungle' boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, in which Ali defeated Foreman to regain the World Heavyweight title.

Kinshasa suffered greatly due to Mobutu's excesses, mass corruption, nepotism and the civil war that led to his downfall. Nevertheless, it is still a major cultural and intellectual center for Central Africa, with a flourishing community of musicians and artists. It is also the country's major industrial center, processing many of the natural products brought from the interior. The city has recently had to fend off rioting soldiers who were protesting the government's failure to pay them.

AdministrationEdit

Kinshasa is both a city (ville in French) and a province (province in French), one of the 11 provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its status is thus similar to Paris which is both a city and one of the 101 departments of France.

Administrative divisionsEdit

The ville-province of Kinshasa is divided into four districts which are further divided into 24 communes (municipalities).[1]

Bandalungwa Barumbu Kisenso (Kinsenso) Kimbanseke
Bumbu Gombe (La Gombe) Lemba Maluku
Kalamu Kinshasa Limete Masina
Kasa-Vubu Kintambo Matete Ndjili (N'Djili)
Makala Lingwala Ngaba Nsele (N'Sele)
Ngiri-Ngiri Mont Ngafula
Selembao Ngaliema
The 24 communes of Kinshasa
Flag of Kinshasa
Abbreviations : Kal. (Kalamu), Kin. (Kinshasa), K.-V. (Kasa-Vubu), Ling. (Lingwala), Ng.-Ng. (Ngiri-Ngiri)

GeographyEdit

Satellite view of Malebo Pool of the Congo River with Kinshasa (south) and opposing Brazzaville to the north

Kinshasa is a city of sharp contrasts, with affluent residential and commercial areas and three universities alongside sprawling slums. It is located along the south bank of the Congo River, directly opposite the city of Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo. This is the only place in the world where two national capital cities are facing one another and in sight of each other on opposite banks of a river.

The Congo river is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile, and has the continent's greatest discharge. As a waterway it provides a means of transport for much of the Congo basin, being navigable for large river barges between Kinshasa and Kisangani, and many of its tributaries are also navigable. The river is an important source of hydroelectric power, and downstream of Kinshasa it has the potential to generate power equivalent to the usage of roughly half of Africa's population.[6]

ClimateEdit

Under the Köppen climate classification, Kinshasa has a Tropical wet and dry climate. Its lengthy rainy season spans from October through May, with a relatively short dry season, between June and September. Kinshasa lies south of the equator, so its dry season begins around its "winter" solstice, which is in June. This is in contrast to African cities further north featuring this climate where the dry season typically begins around January. Kinshasa's dry season is slightly cooler than its wet season, though temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year.

Climate data for Kinshasa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36
(97)
36
(97)
36
(97)
36
(97)
35
(95)
34
(93)
32
(90)
35
(95)
36
(97)
36
(97)
34
(93)
36
(97)
36
(97)
Average high °C (°F) 31
(88)
31
(88)
32
(90)
32
(90)
31
(88)
29
(84)
27
(81)
29
(84)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
30
(86)
30
(86)
Average low °C (°F) 21
(70)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
19
(66)
18
(64)
18
(64)
20
(68)
21
(70)
22
(72)
21
(70)
21
(70)
Record low °C (°F) 18
(64)
18
(64)
18
(64)
19
(66)
18
(64)
15
(59)
14
(57)
14
(57)
16
(61)
15
(59)
17
(63)
17
(63)
14
(57)
Rainfall mm (inches) 135
(5.31)
145
(5.71)
196
(7.72)
196
(7.72)
159
(6.26)
8
(0.31)
3
(0.12)
3
(0.12)
30
(1.18)
119
(4.69)
222
(8.74)
142
(5.59)
1,358
(53.47)
Avg. rainy days 11 11 12 16 12 1 0 1 5 11 16 15 111
Mean monthly sunshine hours 124 140 155 150 155 120 124 155 120 155 150 124 1,672
Source: BBC Weather[7]

Buildings and institutionsEdit

The People's Palace, seat of the Congolese parliament
Tower of Limete and monument to Lumumba

Major areas of the city include the Cité de l'OUA, home to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, quartier Matonge, known regionally for its nightlife, L'ONATRA, the impressive building of the Ministry of Transport and the residential area of Gombe.

Notable features of the city include the SOZACOM Building and Hotel Memling skyscrapers, the central market, the Kinshasa Museum and the Kinshasa Fine Arts Academy. The face of Kinshasa is changing as buildings are being built on the Boulvard du 30 Juin: Crown Tower (on Batetela) and Congofutur Tower. The Boulevard du 30 Juin (Boulevard of the 30 June) links the main areas of the city. Kinshasa is home to the country's national stadium, the Stade des Martyrs (Stadium of the Martyrs).

IndustriesEdit

Marsavco Sarl Biggest FMCG Manufacturing Company located in center of town (Gombe) in Kinshasa.

There are many other industries such as, Trust Merchant Bank located in the heart of the city as well as court reporting.

Social issuesEdit

CrimeEdit

In 2004, Kinshasa was rated as one of Africa's most dangerous cities in terms of crime. Since the Second Congo War, the city has been striving to recover from disorder, with many gangs hailing from Kinshasa's slums. Muggings, robberies, rape, kidnapping and gang violence are relatively common.[8] Kinshasa's homicide rate is estimated to be as high as 112 homicides per 100,000.[9]

Street childrenEdit

Street children,[10][11] often orphaned, are subject to abuse by the police and military. Of the estimated 20,000 children – up to the age of eighteen – living on Kinshasa's streets, almost a quarter are beggars, some are street vendors and about a third have some kind of employment.[12] Some are there as fallout from the times of war; others are accused of witchcraft[13] and have become outcasts.[14][15][16]

Police regularly round up street children, to an uncertain fate; there are recorded incidents of children being shot dead by police for minor misdemeanours.[17]

EducationEdit

Kinshasa is home to several higher-level education institutes, covering a wide range of specialities, from civil engineering to nursing and journalism. The city is also home to three large universities and an arts school:

MedicineEdit

There are twenty hospitals in Kinshasa, plus various medical centres and polyclinics.[19] In 1997, Dikembe Mutombo built a 300-bed hospital near his home town of Kinshasa.

Since 1991, Monkole Hospital is operating as a non-profit health institution collaborating with the Health Department as district hospital in Kinshasa. Directed by Pr Léon Tshilolo, paediatrician and haematologist, Monkole Hospital opened a 150-bed building in 2012 with improved clinical services as laboratory, diagnostic radiology, intensive care, neonatal unit, family medicine, emergencies unit and a larger surgical area.

MediaEdit

Office of the Agence Congolaise de Presse (ACP)

Kinshasa is home to a large number of media outlets, including multiple radio and television stations that broadcast to nearly the entire country, including state-run Radio-Television Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) and privately run Digital Congo and Raga TV. The private channel RTGA is also based in Kinshasa.

Several national radio stations, including La Voix du Congo, which is operated by RTNC, MONUC-backed Radio Okapi and Raga FM are based in Kinshasa, as well as numerous local stations. The BBC is also available in Kinshasa on 92.6 FM.[20]

The state-controlled Agence Congolaise de Presse news agency is based in Kinshasa, as well as several daily and weekly newspapers and news websites, including L'Observateur- daily, L'Avenir- daily, Phare, Le Potentiel and Le Soft.[21]

Most of the media uses French and Lingala to a large extent; very few use the other national languages.

LanguageEdit

The official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of which Kinshasa is the capital, is French (See: Kinshasa French vocabulary). Kinshasa is the second largest officially Francophone city in the world[22][23] although Lingala is widely used as a spoken language. French is the language of street signs, posters, newspapers, government documents, schools; it dominates plays, television, and the press, and it is used in vertical relationships among people of uneven rank; people of equal rank, however, speak the Congolese languages (Kikongo, Lingala, Tshiluba or Swahili) among themselves.[24] Thus, while the culture is dominated by the Francophonie, a complex multilingualism is present in Kinshasa.

TransportEdit

The Boulevard du 30 Juin, in downtown Kinshasa

Several private companies whose Urban Transport Company (STUC) and the Public City train (12 cars in 2002[citation needed]) serves the city. The bus lines are:

  • Gare centrale – Kingasani (municipality of Kimbanseke, reopened in September 2005);
  • Kingasani – Marché central
  • Matete – Royale (reopened in June 2006);
  • Matete – UPN (reopened in June 2006);
  • Rond-point Ngaba – UPN (reopened in June 2006).
  • Rond-point Victoire – clinique Ngliema (opened in March 2007)

Other companies also provide public transport: Urbaco, Tshatu Trans, Socogetra, Gesac and MB Sprl. The city bus carries up to 67,000 passengers per day. Several companies operate taxis and taxi-buses. The majority (95.8%) of transport is provided by individuals.

During the early years of the 21st century, the city's planners considered creating a tramway in collaboration with public transport in Brussels (STIB), whose work would start in 2009. That work has not moved beyond the planning stage, partly due to lack of a sufficient electrical supply.[25][26]

AirEdit

Several airlines serve the country, including Kenya Airways, Air Gabon, Cameroon Airlines, Bravo Air Congo, Air Zimbabwe, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Air France and Turkish Airlines.

Kinshasa (Ndjili) International Airport (FIH) in Kinshasa is the country's major airport. Other airports include Lubumbashi airport in Lubumbashi, Bangoka airport in Kisangani and Goma airport.

Long-awaited Congolese airline startup, Korongo Airlines, launched operations on 16 April 2012. The airline is partly owned by Brussels Airlines and began operations with a single Boeing 737-300 and a BAe 146. The airline had been in preparations for a couple of years but had had various difficulties in getting the necessary government approvals from DRC. Korongo Airlines is based in Lumbumbashi where maintenance is performed by Brussels Airlines. Other domestic airlines include Congo Airlines and CAA.

RailEdit

ONATRA operates three lines of urban railways linking the town centre, which goes to Bas-Congo.[27]

  • The main line linking the Central Station to the N'djili Airport has 9 stations: Central Station, Ndolo, Amicongo, Uzam, Masina / Petro-Congo, Masina wireless Masina / Mapela, Masina / Neighborhood III, Masina / Siforco Camp Badara and Ndjili airport.
  • The second line connects the Central Station in Kasangulu in Bas-Congo, through Matete, Riflart and Kimwenza.
  • The third line at the Central Station Kinsuka-pumping in the town of Ngaliema.

In 2007 Belgium assisted in a renovation of the country's internal rail network.[28] This improved service to Kintambo, Ndolo, Limete, Lemba, Kasangulu, Gombe, Ndjili and Masina.

External transportEdit

N'djili Airport is the international airport of the city

Kinshasa is the major river port of the Congo. The port, called 'Le Beach Ngobila' extends for about 7 km (4 mi) along the river, comprising scores of quays and jetties with hundreds of boats and barges tied up. Ferries cross the river to Brazzaville, a distance of about 4 km (2 mi). River transport also connects to dozens of ports upstream, such as Kisangani and Bangui.

There are road and rail links to Matadi, the sea port in the Congo estuary 150 km (93 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean.

There are no rail links from Kinshasa further inland, and road connections to much of the rest of the country are few and in poor condition.

The city has two airports: N'djili Airport is the main airport with connections to other African countries as well as to Brussels, Paris and some other destinations. N'Dolo Airport, located close to the city center, is used for domestic flights only with small turboprop aircraft.

ConservationEdit

Lola ya BonoboEdit

Bonobos

Founded by Claudine André in 1994, Lola ya Bonobo is the world's only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos.[29] Since 2002, the sanctuary has been located at Les Petites Chutes de la Lukaya, just outside of Kinshasa. Lola ya Bonobo means 'paradise for bonobos' in Lingala. In 2008, Lola ya Bonobo was home to 60 bonobos who live in 30 hectares of primary forest.

KinshasansEdit

Sister citiesEdit

See alsoEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Géographie de Kinshasa". Ville de Kinshasa. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "DemographiaWorld Urban Areas - 8th Annual Edition" (PDF). Demographia. April 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Cécile B. Vigouroux & Salikoko S. Mufwene. Globalization and Language Vitality: Perspectives from Africa, pp. 103 & 109. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Time series of the population of the 30 largest urban agglomerations in 2011 ranked by population size, 1950-2025" (XLS). United Nations, Population Division. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "XIVe Sommet de la Francophonie". OIF. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Wachter, Sarah J. (19 June 2007). "Giant dam projects aim to transform African power supplies". New York Times. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "Average Conditions Kinshasa, Congo Democratic Republic". BBC Weather. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Dept. of State – Congo, Democratic Republic of the Country Specific Information". United States Department of State. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  9. ^ http://africacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/AfricaBrief-7.pdf
  10. ^ World Street Children News :: Congo (DR) Streetkid News
  11. ^ Manson, Katrina (22 July 2010). "Congo's children battle witchcraft accusations". Reuters. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Street Children in Kinshasa". Africa Action. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "A night on the streets with Kinshasa's 'child witches'". War Child UK – Warchild.org.uk. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "Danballuff – Children of Congo: From War to Witches(video)". Gvnet.com. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Africa Feature: Around 20,000 street children wander in Kinshasa". English.people.com.cn. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children". Gvnet.com. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  17. ^ "Police shoot dead street child in Kinshasa". BBC News. 16 August 2001. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  18. ^ "Cefacongo.org". Cefacongo.org. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  19. ^ "Provincial Health Division of Kinshasa" African Development Information Services
  20. ^ "Democratic Republic of Congo country profile – Media". BBC News. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "Africa South of the Sahara: Selected internet resources – Democratic Republic of the Congo – Newspapers – Kinshasa Newspapers". University of Stanford Library. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  22. ^ Nadeau, Jean-Benoit (2006). The Story of French. St. Martin's Press. p. 483. ISBN 9780312341831.  The world's second-largest francophone city is not Montreal, Dakar, or Algiers, as most people would assume, but Kinshasa, capital of the former Zaire.
  23. ^ Trefon, Theodore (2004). Reinventing Order in the Congo: How People Respond to State Failure in Kinshasa. London and New York: Zed Books. p. 7. ISBN 9781842774915. Retrieved 31 May 2009.  A third factor is simply a demographic one. At least one in ten Congolese live in Kinshasa. With its population approaching ten million, it is the second largest city in sub-Saharan Africa (after Lagos). It is also the second largest French-speaking city in the world, according to Paris (even though only a small percentage of Kinois speak French correctly).
  24. ^ Manning, Patrick (1998). Francophone sub-Saharan Africa: Democracy and Dependence, 1985–1995. London and New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 189. ISBN 9780521645195. Retrieved 31 May 2009.  The apostles of francophonie in the 1980s labelled Zaire as the second-largest francophone country, and Kinshasa as the second-largest francophone city. Yet Zaire seemed unlikely to escape a complex multilingualism. Lingala was the language of music, of presidential addresses, of daily life in government and in Kinshasa. But if Lingala was the spoken language of Kinshasa, it made little progress as a written language. French was the written language of the city – as seen in street signs, posters, newspapers and in government documents. French dominated plays and television as well as the press; French was the language of the national anthem and even for the doctrine of authenticity. Zairian researchers found French to be used in vertical relationsihps among people of uneven rank; people of equal rank, no matter how high, tended to speak Zairian languages among themselves. Given these limits, French might have lost its place to another of the leading languages of Zaire – Lingala, Tshiluba, or Swahili – except that teaching of these languages also suffered from limitations on its growth.
  25. ^ (French) La Stib à Kinshasa ?, La Dernière Heure, 24 May 2007.
  26. ^ (Dutch) Werkt MIVB mee aan uitbouw tramnetwerk Kinshasa?[dead link]
  27. ^ (French) L’enfer des chemins de fer urbains kinois, Le Potentiel, 25 July 2005.
  28. ^ DRC CONGO: KINSHASHA|Railways Africa
  29. ^ "Sanctuary. A love story" (PDF). Educator. Environmental Education and Training Newsletter (United Nations Environment Programme) (2year=2007). Retrieved 14 August 2008. 

External linksEdit

Last modified on 18 April 2014, at 06:44