The Belgian Annihilation of the Congo

Leopold II inherited the Belgian throne in 1865. In 1879, envious of other European nations’ overseas empires, Leopold tasked famed British explorer Henry Morton Stanley to establish a Belgian colony in Central Africa. On 5 February 1885, the "Congo Free State" (an area 76 times larger than Belgium) was founded. Unlike other government-run European colonies,… Continue reading The Belgian Annihilation of the Congo

Rocket Science in the Congo

In 2007, the first African-owned space project was launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Project Troposphere was established by Jean-Patrice Keka Okese and his team. The rockets were manufactured and launched at Menkao, two hours away from the capital, Kinshasa. With limited resources, Keka, an engineering graduate of the Kinshasa’s Institut Supérieur des… Continue reading Rocket Science in the Congo

Sona Designs: Stories Through Mathematics in Central and Southern Africa

Sona designs (lusona in singular) are a series of geometric patterns originating from communities in present-day Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The designs, which have been in practice since the 6th century BCE, were used to transmit knowledge to the community through riddles, games, proverbs, fables, etc. The designs were usually… Continue reading Sona Designs: Stories Through Mathematics in Central and Southern Africa

The Bantu Migration

Many historical narratives, consider pre-colonial Africa to be a static continent where not much changed until the arrival of European settlers.  However, the Bantu migration shows that dynamism has defined Africa's history for centuries. The Bantu Migration was the southward movement of peoples from the adjoining regions between Nigeria and Cameroon in West Africa, into… Continue reading The Bantu Migration

Françafrique: 1979-Present (Part 3)

Continued from Part 2 1979 [Central African Republic]: ‘Operation Barracuda’ – French troops overthrow Bokassa after over a decade of military and economic support 1979-1992; 1997-present [Republic of Congo]: Despite being a self-proclaimed Marxist, President Nguesso remains under the control of French oil giant Total (previously Elf Aquitane) 1983 [Chad]: ‘Operation Manta’ – 4,000 French… Continue reading Françafrique: 1979-Present (Part 3)

Françafrique: 1954-1978 (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1 Below is a timeline of some (but definitely not all) Françafrique events: 1954-1962 [Algeria]: Over 1 million Algerians killed by French forces in War of Independence 1957 [France]: French Prime Minister François Mitterrand says, “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century.” 1958 [Guinea]: After Guinean leader Sekou… Continue reading Françafrique: 1954-1978 (Part 2)

Françafrique: France’s Relationship with Its Former African Colonies (Part 1)

France is often heralded around the world as a bastion of liberty and democratic ideals, and yet France’s record in Africa speaks otherwise, even up to the current day. The relationship between France and its former colonies is referred to as ‘Françafrique’ (a portmanteau of ‘France’ and ‘Africa’ in the French language), a term coined… Continue reading Françafrique: France’s Relationship with Its Former African Colonies (Part 1)

The Kingdom of Kongo

The Kingdom of Kongo was an independent African kingdom that existed between 1390 and 1891, located in Central Africa in present-day Republic of the Congo, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At its height, the Kingdom was one of the largest and most powerful states in sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Gabon to Angola, spanning… Continue reading The Kingdom of Kongo

The Kanem-Bornu Empire

The Kanem-Bornu Empire was a Central African empire that covered territory in the present-day states of Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Libya and Cameroon, and existed between the 8th century CE and 19th century CE. The Kanembu people established their capital, N’jimi, around the year 700 CE under the first King Saif. Saif’s son Degu increased the… Continue reading The Kanem-Bornu Empire