How the West has ‘civilized’ the Congo according to Evariste Pini-Pini. Or: how the past burdens and feeds the future. Euariste Pini-Pini Nsasay Editions AfricAvenir/Exchange & Dialogue, Douala-Berlin-Wien, 2013

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William Blondeel

Published Feb 1, 2018


The first book by Evariste (Kentey) Pini-Pini (°1955, Congo DRC) deals with the nature and the effects of the European domination in the Kongo Kingdom dating back to the end of the 15th century (“Kongo-Dyna-Nza”), the second wave of colonisation in the 19th and 20th centuries in the larger Congo territory (“Congo-prison”) and the post(neo)colonial period until the present day (“Congo-enfer”). The author gives special attention to the resistance of the Congolese people to this domination and he makes a strong plea for a “renouveau” of the “Nsi Kongo, espace de vie et de liberté”. Pini-Pini touches on a huge number of topics and evokes just as many questions about the past, present and future of the DRC Congo; about the clash and the possibility of reconciliation between the fundamental characteristics of 'the West' and 'Africa'; about the specfic role of religious actors within that relation; about the position of African immigrants in our Western/ Belgian society. The book, along with the work of a large part of the Congolese intelligentsia, does apparently not get the attention it should in Dutch-speaking Belgium. And while objections can be raised to the book, it deserves to be read and reviewed in order to stimulate the dialogue with authors such as Pini-Pini. Thus it may pave the way to the much broader dialogue, strongly asked for and desired, between ‘the West' and 'Black Africa' or, in a larger sense still, the 'Monde Noir'.

Key words: Congo DRC, Kongo, colonialism, resistance, tradition, dialogue 

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