The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People's History

by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja

Book cover for The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People's History

The people of the Congo, as this book shows, have suffered cruelly throughout the past century from a particularly brutal experience of colonial rule; and, following independence in 1960, external interference by the United States and other powers, a whole generation of patrimonial spoliation at the hands of Mobutu (the dictator installed by the West in 1965), and periodic warfare which even now continues fitfully in the East of the country. But, as this insightful political history of the Congolese democratic movement in the 20th century decisively makes clear, its people have not taken these multiple oppressions lying down. Instead, the Congolese people have struggled over the years to improve their conditions of life by trying both to establish democratic institutions at home and to free themselves from exploitation from abroad; indeed these cannot be separated one from the other. 

The author of this book, Professor Nzongola-Ntalaja, is one of the country's leading intellectuals. Despite being forced into long years of exile (during which he taught political science in the United States and elsewhere), he has played a part at significant moments in his country's political struggle. His deep knowledge of personalities and events, and his understanding of the underlying class, ethnic and other factors at work, make his book a compelling, lucid, radical and utterly unromanticized account of his countrymen's struggle. In acknowledging their defeat, he sees it and the crisis of the post-colonial state as the result of the breakdown of the anti-colonial alliance between the masses and the national leadership after independence. 

This book is essential reading for understanding what is happening in the Congo and the Great Lakes region. It will also stand as a milestone in how to write the modern political history of Africa. 

This book is part of: