Congo (Belge)


‘The negro is very attached to those he loves and respects, and will not leave them in danger. […] the negro is courageous, but only in the face of visible danger. He bears pain courageously, providing he knows its cause; on the other hand, he has an unreasonable fear of every invisible threat and easily, if not always, ascribes the origin of accidents or illnesses that befall him to secret powers or to a spell cast by his enemies. He is very idle and possesses a great talent for mimicry, but he has no sense of where the ridiculous begins. For this reason he sometimes comes across as grotesque when imitating white men’s clothing and manners. He has a cheerful character, likes singing and dancing; everything for him is an excuse to sing and dance, but when he is drunk (and he has a weakness for alcoholic beverages) he quickly becomes quarrelsome and cruel.’
Two years before independence, the official travel guide for Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi briefly summarizes the psychology of fourteen million Africans.

Continue reading the intro of the book. Text and research

by David Van Reybrouck

This book is part of a 2 book project about the former Belgian colony. Past and present.

Congo Belge en images (past)