Both soccer and television has been distributed as popular culture across the Democratic Republic of Congo and the globe. Pictured on the left is of the DRC’s national soccer team. Soccer the most popular sport by far around the world and it is especially popular in the DRC. The national team has a large fan base as nearly everyone in the country either watches the games or attends them. Competitions with other African soccer nations is very important as well. When the team won the African Cup in the 1970’s, they came home and were treated as heros, and there was a national holiday for everyone in the country. The sport isn't just played by professionals, kids of all ages play it constantly. Television has also grown to popularity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although there are very few found, people gather together to watch shows such as soccer, news conferences from government leaders, or the most popular shows in the country, dramatic tv shows. Cinemas are also found in most large towns and are a very popular hang out spot. The picture represented for television is of people setting up to watch the election results of the 2006 election. Whenever people do get to watch television it is usually with others in the town together. Satellite television is what is popular in most towns because there is no cable television. Popular culture has affected the Democratic Republic of Congo in these major ways with other things such as televisions and cars as well. These things were brought from all over the world, especially from China in the last few years when the Democratic Republic of Congo made a future partnership with the country in 2007. In this deal the country was revolutionized further because of all the new Chinese items were coming to the DRC.
Two parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo's folk culture that is very important to them is folk dances and art. The picture on the left is of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo performing a dance. Dance is extremely important to their culture. Instruments and costumes are usually homemade since people can not afford to buy them. These instruments are the Ngoma, or a drum, Nskala, Kisansi, and the Nigongui. They dance a certain dance to the beat of this music made from the drums and sticks. Usually the dance will tell a story of what has happened or why events have happened in the past. These dances and costumes have been passed down through generations and it is a tradition for certain tribal groups to do these at celebrations. The picture on the right is of a mask created by a Congolese artist. Masks were used as a way to talk to divine powers such, but have now turned into more of an art. In some parts of remote areas in the DRC, masks are still very sacred and are only seen for certain celebrations. These artist usually create objects that used to be very important in older society, but has now become more of a form of art. Woven baskets, sand paintings, ceramic pots, and wood carvings are just a few of many examples of Congolese art. The folk art that is made in the Democratic Republic of Congo attracts visitors and many people around the world enjoy buying items such as these from tribes around Africa. Folk culture is extremely important to the lives of many Congolese, especially those living in remote tribal areas. An example of these practices is the Bakuba people, as they still practice traditional dances and artwork. Some social problems of today's world has also been added into the culture, but the Bakuba remain unchanged for the most part. Art and dance are just two examples of the Democratic Republic of Congo's wide array of folk culture.
Housing in the Democratic Republic of Congo is very simple with not many different styles. In these two pictures you see the most popular types of styles, houses made of mud and sticks, and houses made of tin and whatever is available. The house style on the right are usually only one big room with straw as the roof. Small housing like this is found in rural areas, where many people live together in a compound like environment known as a homestead. They usually have multiple self-built houses for families and places to put items such as food and seeds. The homesteads are usually located close to locations for farming, so it is only a short distance away to get to the fields. Some homesteads are built on top of old fields, so the fields have time to fertilize. After a few years the field is used again for planting crops. Futuristic houses that have nice structure and multiple rooms have also become popular, but only the rich can afford to buy them. On the right is a picture of the skyline of Kinshasa, the capital city. The area on the bottom half is almost completely swarmed by shacks. Shacks, also known as shanties, are popular in areas just outside of urban atmospheres. Most of the people that moved into shacks were moving to the city for a better life. Instead they could not afford a house in the city so they have to live in the shacks outside the city.This is also due to the lack of housing that is built for all these people, so they are forced to live in these horrible environments instead of nice suburban houses.. Shanties are all found extremely close together and the population density for the area is very high. In the end, the Democratic Republic of Congo is still in major need of houses for its rising population, but nice housing for all is not affordable due to the very poor people and government.
In the DRC, men and women enjoy dressing up in nice clothes with very bold colors. The Congolese dress in a style known as "Liputa", which means the wearing of colorful materials. Wearing nice clothes in this country is extremely important because the nicer the clothes are, the more respect one will receive. The ladies in this picture are wearing a top and a skirt with a headdress as well, which is a very popular style in the country. On these tops, headdresses, and skirts the colors are usually bright and there are different patterns. Women always wear dresses, never pants. Fashion to Congolese men is very important. In the 1970's men began dressing in a style known as "Les Sapeurs", where they dress in nice clothes such as suits, and wear multiple bright colors. They often clash their colors on purpose to stand out and wear very nice shoes. Once the dictatorship of President Mobutu began, this clothing was banned and people had to dress in old African style. After the rough years ended the trend was revived and dressing up in colorful suits became popular again. These men believe that being a Sapeur goes further than just clothes but also to be a gentlemen, follow the law, have a clean haircut, and smell nice. Even though most of these Sapeurs can not afford to buy these clothes, they will buy them anyways because clothing is so important to the culture. Now a woman designer has moved to the United States and has made Congolese dress styles popular. Mamie Kapend is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo and moved to the United States to design Congolese clothing. Mamie has had good success and now the Congolese style is being spread all over the world. The Liputa styles that have originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most important aspects of their culture.
The DRC has a wide variety of foods, especially many that deal with spicy flavors and plants and plantains that are found in the natural environment. The food on the left is Moambe, the national dish of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is usually fish or chicken cooked with cassava leaves, hot pepper sauce, and peanuts, with rice or bananas on the side. The peanut flavor is apparently very noticable anyway you prepare it. Moambe can be made either as regular meat or as a stew. It also can be made with other meats such as crocodile or venison but it is not as commonly seen. Bushmeat is also another type of meat that is used for Moambe, although rarely seen just as crocodile and venison. Fufu is an extremely popular food that is eaten by most Congolese at least once a day. It was brought to Sub-Saharan Africa when Portuguese traders took it with them from Brazil. Fufu is a very simple food made of water and corn flour, sometimes cassava flour is mixed in as well. You boil water and then put the corn flour in until begins to be thick enough to stay together, but still soft. The dough like substance is considered a side and eaten with a main dish such as Moambe. It is also common to rip off small pieces of the fufu and dunk it into soup. It is very comparable to mashed potatoes, just a bit more cohesive. Fufu is not just found in the Democratic Republic of Congo but also in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa and even parts of Latin America. Fufu is very popular in the DRC because it is available to almost everyone and it does not cost much to buy. Another reason why fufu is so popular in the Democratic Republic of Congo is because it works as a side dish to almost any type of food. Both Moambe and Fufu are very popular in the country and people love to eat both all the time.
Board games and basketball are two things that people enjoy doing for entertainment. This picture on the left is of Mangula, a traditional board game that is very popular throughout the country. To play the game you use 48 small objects (stones, marbles, seeds, etc.) for 16 spots on the board. More than 18 spaces can be used to play this game as seen in the picture above.You begin with 4 objects in each spot. You pick up all of the objects and drop one in each new spot as you rotate counter clockwise. Whenever you pass your goal you drop one in there and it counts as a point. Whenever you run out of objects, you pick up all of the objects that are in that spot. You repeat this process until you drop your final object into a spot where there is no other rocks. In that case it is then the other person's turn to go as they do the same thing. The game ends when all objects are gone from one person's side of the board. When this happens each player counts up how many objects they have in his or her own pocket. Whoever has the most in their pocket wins the game. This is a very popular game all throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially in more rural areas where older men enjoy playing it. Many games are very popular in the country such as checkers, chess, cards, and others. Another thing that younger children love to do to pass time is play basketball. The picture on the right is young children being instructed by a coach about basketball. While soccer is the most popular sport in the DRC by far, basketball is very popular as well. Past stars such as Dikembe Mutombo and Bismack Biyombo have led to the sport growing in popularity since the 1990's. In recent years the NBA has brought camps to the DRC to help develop young players skills and get more children involved in the sport. Basketball has risen tremendously due to these two things and many other African players making it to play basketball in college in the United States or playing for the NBA in the U.S. Basketball is seen played in more urban areas and cities than in rural areas where soccer and board games are more relevant. Both Mangula and basketball are very popular forms of entertainment in the DRC all over the country.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo western religions are very popular. Western religions are popular due to the colonization of European countries that took their religion to the colonized country as well. Belgium colonized the country and banned the local religion of Kinbanguism and forced them to adopt other Christian branch of Roman Catholic. After the DRC became a country the rate of Kinbanguism grew to todays rate of 10% of the population. 80% of the population is Christian, with the main religions being Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Kinbanguism. The picture on the left represents the Roman Catholic branch of the Christian religion. In the picture are Congolese bishops with the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. The Catholic Church makes up 50% of the religious population and there are around 35 million people that worship the religion. It was brought from Belgium during colonization and was forced upon the Congolese. It also educates 60% of the primary school children because of all the schools that are supported by the church. Higher position Catholics, such as Bishops, are the country's biggest critics and there is a divide between the church and the state. The Protestant religion was brought to the DRC by missionaries from Europe in 1878. Protestants represents 20% of the religious population in the DRC. They have never had the support of the state due to the Catholic Church being much more popular and controlling. Leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo have had to back the Catholic Church due to the large majority and most of primary schooling coming from the Church. In recent years the Protestant Church has become a bit more popular and has received a slightly larger funding support from the government. The Catholic Church is by far the most popular and most supported church in the Democratic Republic of Congo but Protestantism is slowly climbing and Kinbanguism is also rising again as well.
Rumba, also known as soukous is the most popular type of music in the country. The music was made popular by "Papa Wemba", who is pictured on the left, in the late 1960's and early 1970's. He is known by a lot of Congolese as the father of Rumba Rock. His Rumba band got its start in the late 1960's and then he split from the group in the early 1970's, forming his own style. He died on April 24, 2016, leaving a legacy that will be remembered for creating Rumba. Rumba has spread all across the continent and has become very popular in Africa. The picture on the right is of Fally Ipupa, who is a famous artist in Africa for his "soukous ndombolo" style music. The faster beat Rumba known as "soukous ndombolo" became popular in the 1990's as a more upbeat style of music. The dance that is performed is based off of people swinging their hips in the rhythm of the music. In 2000 the DRC banned this music from tv's and radios but the music grew in popularity when this happened. In 2005 soukous ndombolo came under fire again, this time certain music videos were banned from the internet and certain artist's music was forbidden to be played on the radio. Rumba was also put down under President Mobutu's reign, as he wanted music to be focused on making Paris the center for Congolese music. Soukous ndombolo has come under recent scrutiny from governments once again, calling the dancing that deals with the music "scandalous". Today, Fally Ipupa is the most popular artist on the entire continent of Africa. He is so popular because of his very exciting performances that are full of energy, and that women are huge fans because they go crazy over his swiveling hips whenever he is singing. A reasonable comparison for Fally Ipupa is that he is the DRC's Justin Bieber. Although the music is considered the same, much of the style has changed from when Papa Wemba was creating it to Fally Ipupa's rapid songs and dance moves.