Posted by: Dr. Y. | June 26, 2017

Proverbe sur la force / Proverb on Strength



L’éléphant mange même les fruits du palmier borassus (Proverbe Mangbetu – République Démocratique du Congo (RDC)). – Un homme fort est capable de réaliser beaucoup.


Borassus palm tree

The elephant eats even the fruits from the Borassus palm tree (Mangbetu proverb – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)). – A strong man is able to achieve a lot.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | June 23, 2017

Why the Name: Lubumbashi?


Map of DRC with Lubumbashi highlighted

Have you ever wondered what the name of the second largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lubumbashi, meant? Well, growing up, I always loved the sound of it as it rolled off the tongue: LUBUMBASHI: so full of power… so full of ummph, like thunder! So do you think the name has anything to do with power? or thunder?


Express to Rhodesia from Elisabethville’s train station (

The area as it is known today has been inhabited for centuries, but the modern-day city itself  was ‘founded’ by the Belgians in 1910 under the name of Élisabethville (sometimes Elizabethville, both in French, or Elisabethstad in Dutch), in honor of their queen Elisabeth, wife to king Albert I. It was affectionately referred to as É-Ville. It was the second city of the Belgian Congo, after Léopoldville. Élisabethville functioned as the administrative capital of the Katanga Province. It was also an important mining, commercial and industrial center, and a center of education and health services. The work and businesses related to the mines made Élisabethville the most prosperous region of the Congo during the final decade of Belgian rule. Today it is the mining capital of the entire country, with its production in copper, cobalt, zinc, gold, Tin, etc.


Malachite specimen from Katanga, on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (Wikipedia)

In 1965Mobutu Sese Seko with his campaign to identify himself with African nationalism or “Zairianization” politics assumed power of Congo, which he renamed Zaïre. In this push, he renamed Élisabethville as “Lubumbashi” in 1966 and, in 1972 renamed the Katanga Province as “Shaba.” It was named Lubumbashi after the local river by the same name Lubumbashi. It is also called the copper capital. Copper mining in Katanga dates back over 1,000 years and mines in the region were producing standard sized ingots of copper for international transport by the end of the 1st Millennium AD.


Aerial view of Lubumbashi (Source: Aerocam Congo)

As was customary in sub-Saharan colonies, the city center of Élisabethville was reserved for the white (European-Only Neighborhoods in African Cities before Independence) population. This consisted mainly of Belgian nationals, but also British, Italian, and Jewish Greek communities. The black population lived initially in a so-called cité indigène called quartier Albert (now: Kamalondo), south of the city center and separated from the white city by a 700-metres-wide neutral zone. With population growth, new indigenous neighborhoods were created. These still form the main suburbs of present-day Lubumbashi: Kenia, Katuba, Ruashi. In addition to these 3, 4 more communes have been added to this day: Kamalondo, Kampemba, Lubumbashi, and la Commune Annexe.


Fountain at the Place Moise Tshombe in Lubumbashi (Source: Congo-Autrement)

Today, the city of Lubumbashi is affectionately called by locals, L’shi or Lubum, and its inhabitants are known as the Lushois. French is the official language, but the main language spoken by most is Kiswahili. Lubumbashi lies at high altitude at about 1,208 meters (3,963 ft) above sea level, which gives rise to a cooler climate. It is a cosmopolitan city, with people from all over Congo, neighboring countries, and Europeans, Chinese, Americans, etc who mostly come for the mining industry; this has given rise to a gastronomical melting pot as well. The city is also host to one of Africa’s greatest soccer club: The  TP Mazembe (Tout Puissant Mazembe). The club’s chairman was former Katanga governor Moïse Katumbi Chapwe. It is a vibrant city, and still To learn more about Lubumbashi, the cosmopolitan named after its local river, check out the articles  Lubumbashi urban mosaic, Presentation of Lubumbashi. Enjoy the video below on Lubumbashi, the mining capital of DRC!

Posted by: Dr. Y. | June 21, 2017

Ghanaian Talented Inventor

Ghanaian inventor inventing things to make every day better. Imagine helping women who just finished a whole day in the fields, and who have to come back and pound eba for you? Now you have a machine which pounds it for you!



L’éléphant grandit, même si cela ne plaît pas aux hommes (Proverbe Vai – Sierra Leone). – Le bien triomphe toujours.

The elephant grows, even if it does not please men (Vai proverb – Sierra Leone). – Good always triumphs.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | June 16, 2017

Great Quote by Miriam Makeba


True African Beauty: Miriam Makeba

The conqueror writes history; they came, they conquered, and they write. You don’t expect people who come to invade us to write the truth about us…” Miriam Makeba

Le vainqueur écrit l’histoire, ils sont venus, ils ont vaincu et ils ont écrit. On ne peut pas attendre de ceux qui nous ont envahi qu’ils écrivent la vérité sur nous…” Miriam Makeba

Ce que Dieu a promis, ne manque jamais (Proverbe Mossi – Burkina Faso).

What God promised never fails (Mossi proverb – Burkina Faso).


Posted by: Dr. Y. | June 7, 2017

The Two Cowards

Tapper harvesting palm wine

Tapper harvesting palm wine

Two cowards were banished from their village. They met and walked together into the deepest forest. Once there, they decided to start a home outside of God’s care. They lived there until winter (rainy season from July to October). They then decided to find some handles for their hoes. For that, they walked a long time until they arrived under the shadow of a raat (combretum glutinosum – tree with medicinal properties). One of them said:

  • You will climb on top of the tree to keep an eye out on the forest, while I will dig deep to find some good roots. If you see someone, let me know.
  • Sure, but you too, if you see something, do not forget to let me know.

The watchman climbed up the tree, while the other started digging at once. Soon, he finds two straight and long roots so beautiful that he can’t stop himself from shouting:

  • Ah! Here are two at last!

At these words, the watchman tumbled from the tree and, taking to his heels, dashed as an arrow. The other one, seeing his colleague running, throws away his shovel and runs after him.

running-iconThey run, they run losing their breaths and, when they think themselves safe, they stop. One of them asks:

  • What did you see?
  • No, I should be the one asking you that question, because I started running when I heard your warning!
  • But no, I did not raise the alarm! I was just cutting two beautiful roots that I had dug up. I only made a sigh of joy.
  • It is precisely your sigh that scared me.
  • And I, I ran away as soon as I saw you dash like an arrow!

Which of the two is the most coward?

According to the public, it is the one up in the tree, since the one digging only saw his roots.

Told by Khady Diouf, Contes Wolof du Baol, J. Copans and P. Couty, Ed. Karthala, 1988, p. 79. Translated to English by Dr. Y.,

crocodileEn pleine lagune on ne se moque pas du caiman (Proverbe Minah – Togo).

In the middle of the lagoon, you do not laugh at the caiman (Minah proverb – Togo)



Un belge visite l’Afrique avec un guide pigmé. Soudain, les voila arrivés devant un fleuve.
Le pigmé : Bouanana, on ni peut pas t’ave’se’, !!
Belge : Et pourquoi une fois, il y a des pierres, il n’y a qu’a marcher dessus!
P: NONON Boouanana, c’est pas des pie’rres, ces des c’ocodilles, bouanan dis-donc !!!
B: Allez une fois, tu m’en racontes hein ?
P: NONON Bouanana, rega’de
Et le pigmé lance un caillou sur ce qui ressemble à une pierre. Soudain, le crocodile se réveille, ouvre grand la gueule et fonce vers nos hommes.
Le pigmé en se sauvant : Bouanan, dis dont cou’s, y va te BOUFFER !!
Et le belge bien calme au bord du fleuve : Eh là une fois, c’est pas moi qui ai jetté la pierre !!!!


running-iconA Belgian visits Africa with a pygmy guide. All of a sudden, they come near a river.

Pygmy: Bwanana, we can’t cross !!
Belgian : and why not? once there are rocks, we only have to walk on it! 
P: NO NO Bwanana, these are not stones, these are crocodiles !!!
B: Oh come’ on, you are just joking, right?
P: NO NO Bwanana, look
And the pygmy throws a pebble on what looks like rocks. Suddenly, the crocodile wakes up, open its mouth wide, and rushes after our men.
The pygmy, while running away: Bwanana, run, it will eat you!!
And the Belgian, calmly staying on the river’s shores: For once, I am not the one who threw the pebble !!!! 



Flag of Togo

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