Tuesday, 10 April 2018

DR CONGO: Lubumbashi, Centre For Copper, Cobalt, Zinc, Tin, Coal And Home To TP Mazembe

Lubumbashi is the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a population of 1,374,000 and the principal city of the Katanga region.

Lubumbashi formerly Elisabethville in the southeastern part of Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the second-largest city in the country, the largest being the capital, Kinshasa.

Lubumbashi is the mining capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, acting as a hub for many of the country's biggest mining companies.

The copper-mining city serves as the capital of the relatively prosperous Katanga Province and is near the border with Zambia. Population estimates vary widely but average around 1.5 million.

Lubumbashi lies at around 1,208 meters (3,963 ft.) above sea level. The high altitude serves to cool the climate, which would otherwise be very hot.

The Kafue River rises along the Zambian border near the city and meanders through north-central Zambia to the Zambezi River, cutting a long, deep, panhandle into the country.

Creole Swahili is the principal language of the Copperbelt mining cities and is somewhat more different from classical East African Swahili than that spoken elsewhere along the eastern edge of Congo.

Most people can communicate in French, and many of the elite are more at ease in French than Swahili. English is widely spoken in businesses.

Elisabethville served as the capital and centre of the secessionist independent state of Katanga during the 1960–1963 Congolese civil war. Moise Tshombe proclaimed Katangan independence in July 1960.

Congolese leaders arrested him and charged him with treason in April 1961; however, he agreed to dismiss his foreign advisers and military forces in exchange for his release.

Tshombe returned to Elisabethville but repudiated these assurances and began to fight anew. United Nations troops opposed Katangan forces and took control of the city in December 1961 under a strong mandate.

Roger Trinquier, well known for his published works on counter-insurgency warfare, served as a French military advisor to President Tshombe until international pressure, led by Belgium, caused his recall to France.

Mobutu Sese Seko ultimately assumed power of the Congo, which he renamed Zaïre. He renamed Elisabethville as Lubumbashi in 1966 and, in 1972 renamed Katanga as Shaba.

In May 1990, the university campus of Lubumbashi was the scene of a brutal killing among students by Mobutu's security forces.

In 1991–92 ethnic tensions between the Luba from Katanga and the Luba from Kasai, resident in the city, led to violent confrontations and the forced removal from the city of the latter.

Congo entered another genocidal civil war in the late 1990s. The Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo rebels captured Lubumbashi in April 1997.

Rebel leader Laurent Desire Kabila spoke from Lubumbashi to declare himself president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 17 May 1997 after Mobutu Sese Seko fled Kinshasa.

When Laurent Desire Kabila decided to appoint a transitional parliament, in 1999, he decided to install the Parliament in Lubumbashi, in order to consolidate the fragile unity of the country.

The parliament was installed in the building of the National Assembly of secessionist Katanga the former city theatre, which had its capital in this city as well, in the 1960s.

Lubumbashi was therefore the Legislative capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1999 to 2003, when all the country's central institutions were brought back to Kinshasa.

On 7 September 2010 a large prison break happened in Lubumbashi after gunmen attacked a prison on the outskirts of the city. 960 prisoners managed to escape, including the Mai-Mai leader Gedeon Kyungu Mutanga.

On 23 March 2013 a militia group of 100 fighters attacked Lubumbashi and seized a United Nations compound, which was surrounded by Congolese soldiers and members of the president's Republican Guard.

The city was the seat since 1910 of the Catholic Apostolic Prefecture of Katanga, which became the Apostolic Vicariate of Katanga in 1932.

The first apostolic vicar, Mgr Jean-Felix de Hemptinne, occupied this post until his death in 1958. He is buried in the city's Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

In 1959, the till then exempt missionary jurisdiction was promoted to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Elisabethville, renamed Lubumbashi in 1966, chief of one of the republic's six ecclesiastical provinces.

Small numbers of Jehovah's Witnesses are present in the city. Simon Kimbangu, founder of Kimbanguism, an African Christian sect, was imprisoned near Lubumbashi then Elizabethville for about three decades after organizing mass protests.

Jewish people arrived in Lubumbashi along with other Europeans. In 1930 a synagogue was erected in the city. Most of the few hundred Jews remaining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reside in Lubumbashi.

In 2013, the Baha'i World Centre released an hour-and-a-half-long video in five languages entitled Frontiers of Learning, showing Bahá'í community-building activities for people of all religions taking place in four cities from different continents, the second of which was Lubumbashi.

Lubumbashi has a humid subtropical climate, with warm rainy summers and pleasant, dry winters, with most rainfall occurring during summer and early autumn. Annual average rainfall is 1,238 mm (48.75 inches).

Lubumbashi serves as an important commercial and national industrial centre. Manufactures include textiles, food products and beverages, printing, bricks, and copper smelting.

The city is home to the Simba brewery, producing the famous Tembo beer.
The city hosts the headquarters of one of the country's largest banks, Trust Merchant Bank. The airline Korongo Airlines, a joint-venture between Brussels Airlines and the Belgian multinational Groupe George Forrest International, also maintains its head office in Lubumbashi.

Lubumbashi, the mining capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a base for many of the country's biggest mining companies.

The Democratic Republic of Congo produces more than 3 percent of the world's copper and half its cobalt, most of which comes from Katanga.

Lubumbashi lies at the centre of railway lines to Ilebo, Kindu, Sakania and Kolwezi. In the 1960s, the section from Mutshatsha to Lubumbashi was electrified at 25 kV AC.

Attractions in the city include a botanical garden, a zoo and the regional archaeological and ethnological National Museum of Lubumbashi.

Some of the most prominent examples of colonial architecture, such as the art-deco style Palace of Justice, the Grand Hotel or the Catholic cathedral St Pierre et Paul, have been restored since the late 20th century.

The city hosts the major University of Lubumbashi, which maintains a library.

The zoo of Lubumbashi is one of the most visited tourist attractions. It was created during the colonial period, and is considered the nicest zoo in the country.

During the years of war, it deteriorated but it has been rehabilitated by AZLU, a non-profit organization. By 2007, great animals had been acquired for the zoo.

AZLU is keeping the zoo for education purposes, and the protection of the natural heritage of the country, as it can be read on signs.

Today, it has almost been restocked with lions, tigers, monkeys, apes, pelicans, wart hogs, crocodiles, snakes, turtles, monitor lizards, eagles, parrots, ostriches, gazelles, etc. Apart from animals, the zoo features a restaurant, a veterinary center, and a termite museum.

Muyambo Kyasa popularized the concept of parks. Muyambo Park opened in 2010. Located about 15 km from Lubumbashi, it is a large garden where children can play games, and adults relax.

Other parks or farms include Mikembo on Kasenga Road in the city’s outskirts.

French is the official language, but the main spoken lingua franca in Lubumbashi is Kiswahili.

The dialect of Kiswahili spoken all down the east side of Congo including the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema, Katanga and Oriental, Western Kasai and Eastern Kasai and almost all the way across to the Katangan border with Angola is called Kingwana.

As many people have moved into Lubumbashi for employment from rural areas, they have brought many other local languages including Kiluba, Chokwe, Bemba and Kisanga. Kiswahili has been the chief language shared by most people.

The popular music from Kinshasa is much appreciated and played in Lubumbashi. Jean-Bosco Mwenda is likely the most famous Katangese musician.

Many of his songs have become classical, and are endlessly remixed by new young artists.

Modern Lubumbashi singers fall into two groups: those who play Soukous, such as Jo Kizi and Kepi Prince, and those who play international urban music, such as Ced Koncept, Tshumani, M-Joe, RJ Kanyera, Oxygene, Agresivo, Nelson Tshi, and Da Costa on the other.

Most artists are influenced by successful Dj Spilulu's productions, Kinshasa singers Fally Ipupa, Ferre Gola and World Music.

Lubumbashi music is characterized by the use of many languages, Swahili, Lingala, Tshiluba, French and some English in the lyrics. It is rare to hear songs composed in only one language.

This code switching and mixing expresses the cosmopolitan character of the city, but some critics think it weakens the lyrics, which seem to be particularly made for teenagers anyway.

Serge Manseba and Karibyona are humorist-singers featured by Dj Spilulu G'Sparks.

The Institut Français located in the heart of the city, contributes a great deal to the cultural and artistic life of Lubumbashi.

Students and researchers spend time in its library; it shows European and other French-language films; produces plays and other shows in its theater; and features local singers’ records for sale on display at the entrance.

Okapi Radio’s Lubumbashi presenters participate each Saturday evening in “métissage,” the cultural program of the radio. The whole country is informed of the cultural activities in the city.

RTNC or Congolese National Radio and Television has a provincial station located in Lubumbashi district at the junction of Lubilanshi and Sandoa.

It has been very influential from the 1960s to the mid-1990s, at the end of the one-party system, and before the information technology revolution.

Zenith Radio, the first independent radio station in the city, started broadcasting in 1996; since then numerous radio and television stations have been established.

They can be classified in three groups: religious channels are Zenith, RTIV, Cannal de Vie, RNS, etc., commercial channels are RTA, Mwangaza, Nyota, RTLJ, Malaika, Kyondo, etc., and mixed ones like Wantanshi Radio and Television.

Lubumbashi is home to football clubs TP Mazembe, FC Saint Eloi Lupopo and CS Don Bosco. Chairman of Mazembe is the former governor of the province of Katanga Moïse Katumbi Chapwe.

Basketball players Myck Kabongo and Bismack Biyombo are from Lubumbashi.

Lubumbashi is home to the modern Lubumbashi International Airport. The city serves as a distribution centre for such minerals as copper, cobalt, zinc, tin, and coal.

Lubumbashi is served internationally by South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Zambian Airways.

Flights within Congo D. R. are offered by Hewa Bora Airways [3], Korongo Airlines operated by Brusselsairlines and by CAA .

Travel by car is totally discouraged as the roads in the Congo are of quite poor quality and you risk being attacked in the remoteness around Lubumbashi.

Connections via Zambia to Dar es Salaam and to South Africa.

Freight trains connect to Zambia, Dilolo to the west on the Angolan border in Katanga province, Ilebo to the far northwest in Kasai Province with river transport on to Kinshasa, and via Kamina to Kindu and Kalemie the Lake Tanganyika border with Tanzania to the north.

Passenger service is infrequent and slow without international connections.

Angola is completing rebuilding of the link from Dilolo to the ocean at Lobito after decades of war, and a direct rail link to Kinshasa, connecting on to the Atlantic coast, is again being planned.

Unless you are a local your only means of travel around the city is by foot but if you can handle try driving a 4x4 car or a jeep.

Zoo de Lubumbashi, on Route Kipushi, as well as several predators like lion and tiger, zoo has a large snake collection and termites museum.

Watch one of TP Mazembe's games football, as they are the best football team in Africa.

Cercle Wallon a Belgium club: Eat, bar, tennis, 10 pin bowling. 2 Avenue De la Revolution . Finally you could play a posh game of Golf at Golf de Lubumbashi , Route de Golf around the North-West of the City.

Check with locals to see if there is a show at the Amphitheatre on Avenue Kasombo and have a good watch of the show.

Also befriend a local and have him/her take you to the great Marche de Katuba , Avenue Central. Finally watch a movie at the great cinema , Cine Betamax.

There are several markets scattered throughout the city. Most stands sell copper and brass bracelets and rings, carved animals made out of wood or ivory, and religious figurines and crosses.

For groceries, visit Hyper Psaro, a pricey but nice ex-pat market. There are also many roadside stands that sell wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables. Most grocery stores have a range of groceries, from cheap vegetables to pricey South African imports.

Plage Tshombe: several restaurants and bars, situated on Route du Golf at Lake Tshombe. Also if your in the mood for fast food go to the city center's large chips shop called Katanga Fried Chicken. Le Perroquet on Avenue Kapenda is a nice Restaurant.

In or near the centre: La Brioche at Avenue Kabila is a nice French style cafe also serving light meals. Chez Olga is local resto at crn. 30 Juin/De Hemptine. "

Le Transit is local resto at crn. 30 Juin/ Djamena. Petit Bruxelles is a garden resto at Kabanga no.624 north from centre.

La Kalebasse in Ave. Likasi beside Hotel Kaby is a local bar in a backyard with DJ music in the evening. Several drinking terraces at Ave. Adoua, southbound from Ave. Kabila.

Bougian Villa Guest House, Av Lukonzolwa 58/59, Golf Area. checkin: noon; checkout: 10:30AM. Bougian Villa is a South African-owned Guest House claiming to offer the best accommodation in Lubumbashi.

In-house restaurant which offers good value home-style meals for breakfast, lunch, and supper, also a full bar, wifi internet, dstv, etc. 145$-185$.

AMS Guest House, 7409, Avenue de la Revolution. checkin: noon; checkout: 11AM. 18 rooms with air-con, DSTV, wi-fi and en-suite bathrooms, kitchenettes.

Hotel also has a restaurant and bar. US$ 130 bed and breakfast, US$ 145 half board, US$ 165 full board.

Hotel Karavia, down town on route du golf, it is in between the golf course at the left west side and lake karavia ( Tshombe ). Formerly the old Sheraton Hotel that was abandoned for 10 Years, Fully Renovated in 2010

Park Hotel, 50, Avenue Munongo between main post office and train station. Built in 1929, this art deco gem is Lubumbashi's classic hotel. The inner courtyard has an excellent restaurant, with delightful live jazz most evenings. $100.

Hotel Belle-Vue, Av. Kasai one block from train station. One of the most beautiful buildings in Lubumbashi. The rooms are simple and inexpensive. The balcony overlooking the busy street is charming. $50.

Kamy de Luxe is basic but acceptable, 5 min. south of centre (Ave. Kabila) in Ave. Likasi between Ave. Lomamy and Ave. Sendwe. double with shower from 20000 FC = 17 EUR- right beside is La Kalebasse, local daily dancing and drinking.

You can buy a SIM card or an entirely new cell phone from one of the roadside stands, or you can use your current phone plan. Although it is sometimes difficult to find a signal, it is sometimes successful and rates are not outrageous.

ONT (National Tourist Organisation): Ave. Kabila 64 (2eme etage), Batiment LAC; helpful Mme. Jenny.

SNCC Lubumbashi (train station):chef de consigne, very helpful with timetable.

The safest way to leave by using the direct rail link to kinshasa and leave at Njili airport which might cost a lot of dollars so it's best you leave the way you came.

There is no direct rail link to Kinshasa, the railway only goes as far as Ilebo - very rare, from where you have to find a boat via Badundu to Kinshasa or get a shared taxi to Kikwit and then Kinshasa, and about every 15 to 30 days trains to Kananga, Kindu and Kalemie.

Tourism Observer
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