The Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the most populated countries in Africa and the world, has the forests that serve as home to many mammals, birds, primates and butterflies. Real heaven for those who enjoy observing nature has been suffering from a serious crisis for many years. Armed conflicts and unstable economic situation have put in danger the lives of people living and working in Democratic Republic of Congo Congo. Despite the unhealthy atmosphere in certain regions of the country, a rapid increase in population (2.3 million people per year) is present. This, in turn, creates a demand for food and shelter that is not easy to satisfy.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of those countries many people don’t know much about. Today, we decided to gather the facts that will help our readers to learn more about this African country with a unique culture. Let’s see what these facts are…
The Democratic Republic of Congo: 9 interesting facts about the fourth most populated country in Africa
1. The country was named in honor of the Congo River
Some of you may have already guessed that Democratic Republic of Congo Congo was named in honor of the Congo River, the longest river in Africa flowing through the entire country.
In fact, the original name of the country changed in 1997 to “the Democratic Republic of Congo” was Zaire. The name “Congo” refers to the kingdom of Kongo, located not far from the river back in the 18th century.
2. The Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in natural resources
An interesting fact about Democratic Republic of Congo is that one of the poorest countries in the world can boast an abundance of natural resources like gold, uranium, diamonds and platinum. Besides, the country also has many sources of minerals that are used for making electronics. Despite having potential for wealth and development, the country suffers from a lack of infrastructure and poverty caused and influenced by corruption.
3. Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most ethnically diverse countries
Believe it or not, but the country is home to as many as 200 ethnic groups. Apart from French, there are more than 200 other languages spoken in Congo on a daily basis. French is one of many official languages used for instructions and communication because Democratic Republic of Congo was once a French colony.
4.This country’s traditions and culture focuses on men as breadwinners
Men, who are the breadwinners responsible for making all decisions in a family, prefer to work as farmers, an interesting Democratic Republic of Congo fact. This is one of the easiest ways to provide food for a family that, in the majority of cases, lives in poverty. Extreme poverty sometimes forces a family to split up so that to be able to survive.
5. The country’s natives have no access to education
In fact, more than 3 million children living in Democratic Republic of Congo either don’t have access to education or are unable to attend schools due to the country’s unsafe environment and high level of violence. One of the recent conflicts led to 400 schools being destroyed and many children being recruited to protect the country.
6. Congolese children have a tough life
It’s common for a family to have at least 4 children, with each of them having their own responsibilities around the house. Considering the number of tasks an average child has to do in a day (babysitting, fetching water, etc.), the life of the children in Democratic Republic of Congo can hardly be called easy.
7. The country has a unique wedding tradition
The tradition means that a bride’s relative (her father or grandfather in most cases) needs to share a drink with the family’s ancestors by pouring it on the ground, a fun fact about Democratic Republic of Congo. The ritual is believed to have a positive effect on the life of the family. Why? Because when sharing a drink with their ancestors, the family invites them to join the celebration and asks them to protect the couple.
8. Democratic Republic of Congo is the country where women can buy foods from home
No, women living in Democratic Republic of Congo do not buy foods online. In fact, the majority of natives do not have access to the Internet. What we are talking about here is a type of a tradition that only locals will understand. If a woman needs to buy foods, she takes a seat, puts it not far from her house and seats down. Upon seeing vendors, selling vegetables, fruits and pretty much everything that is needed for cooking meals, a woman asks the vendor she wants to buy foods from to come inside her house. This method of shopping is very convenient and beneficial since the prices are not fixed and can be negotiated.
9. Congolese widows shave their heads
Even though the tradition may seem strange, it’s based on the beliefs that the majority of tribes have, a fun fact about Democratic Republic of Congo. The procedure carried out by a member of a late husband family and is meant to show respect for him. The tradition is not followed by all the native population, but the majority of Congolese people believe that hair of a widow is like a magnet attracting the spirit of her deceased husband. If a woman refuses to shave her head, it is believed that she may fall ill and even die.
In some tribes, a widow is allowed to keep her hair, but she is forbidden to die or change the style of her hair in any way. The mourning itself can last from six to twelve months.
Despite the country is believed to be unsafe, many people visit its capital, Kinshasa. It’s a big city with more than 6 million people living in it and a long history. Virunga National Park that is home to many animals and birds is also on the list of the most popular attractions in Congo. Those willing to learn more about the unique culture of Congo are recommended to chose guided tours and refuse the idea of travelling there alone.
I hope that this article on Democratic Republic of Congo facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!