The interviews

Long time Congolese opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi Wa Mulumba passed away on Wednesday, February 1st at the age of 84. The congolive team produced a show to help our listener know who he was.

Our guest, Dr. Nzongola Ntalaja, a professor of African, African-American, and diaspora studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a professor emeritus of African studies at Howard university, served as a diplomatic advisor to Tshisekedi when he was a prime minister in the 90s. He shared with us what impact Tshisekedi had on Congolese politics over the decades.

Tshisekedi was born on December 14, 1932 in Kananga, formerly Kasai-Occidental. He obtained a doctorate in Law in 1961 from the Lovanium University in Kinshasa. He was the first Congolese to receive such a degree.

When Mobutu took over in a coup in 1965, Étienne Tshisekedi joined his government as Minister of Interior. It was shortly after this period on June 2, 1966 where the four Pentecost martyrs were publicly hung by the state for plotting to overthrow the regime.

Tshisekedi later played a key role in drafting the original documents of Mobutu’s single party state enshrined in the Popular Movement for the Revolution – MPR in French. He served Mobutu and the MPR faithfully until 1980 when he and 12 others spoke out openly about the ravages of the dictatorial Mobutu regime. This initial outspokenness would presage the founding of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, UDPS in French in 1982. Thus began his non-violent struggle for democracy and the rule of law. He courageously confronted Mobutu and paid a deer price with jailing, beatings, house arrests and internal exile.

By the early 1990s, Étienne Tshisekedi firmly ensconced as leader of the opposition to Mobutu, served a brief stint as Prime Minister, which came about as a result of pressure on the Mobutu regime by the non-violent, pro-democracy forces. Just as he resisted Mobutu, Étienne Tshisekedi would later resist both Laurent Desire Kabila and his son Joseph Kabila. Although he boycotted the 2006 elections, he ran for President in 2011. Joseph Kabila claimed victory in the fraudulent elections. Tshisekedi refused to recognize Kabila as president and swore himself in, unfortunately to little effect.

Following the 2011 elections, Tshisekedi was subject to extended illness that saw him spending most of the time in Belgium. In July 2016, he returned to Kinshasa after having unified opposition forces to resist Kabila’s efforts to remain in power in contravention to the Constitution that required him to step down.

His final major contribution as leader of the loyal opposition was to join with the Catholic Church to broker a deal between the Kabila regime and the opposition on December 31, 2016 that called for elections to be organized in 2017 and Kabila to step down upon the election of a new President.

His overriding legacy will be a fight for democracy and rule of law through non-violent means.

February 4, 2017

Feb 4 – Remembering Étienne Tshisekedi – Committed to Social Change

Long time Congolese opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi Wa Mulumba passed away on Wednesday, February 1st at the age of 84. The congolive team produced a show […]
December 18, 2016

Dec 17 – Tom Perriello – Prospect for Peace and Stability in the Congo

On this episode of Congo Live, US Special Envoy Tom Perriello joined us to discuss his work as an envoy for the past 18 months and […]
October 31, 2015

Oct 31: Dedy Mbepongo Bilamba – Writing Our History One Book at a Time

CongoLive! interviewed ther inspiring and engaging Congolese author Dédy Mbepongo Bilamba on his latest book “À cloche-pied” (On One Leg) was released October 28, 2015 and […]
October 17, 2015

Oct 17: Ghislaine Sabiti – Interdisciplinary Artist on Fashion, Design and Exhibiting Art

Bio Ghislaine Sabiti, an interdisciplinary Congolese-born artist who was raised on the outskirts of Paris in France. She was introduced to art at a very young […]
October 10, 2015

Oct 10: Franco Luambo Makiadi – The Legend of an African Music Giant

For this episode, we examine how Luambo Makiadi aka Franco pioneered and popularized Rumba style in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. “The African Music Giant” […]
September 26, 2015

Sept 26: Sarah Kazadi – A Conversation with Congolese Journalist and Filmmaker

Our guest for this episode is Congolese journalist and filmmaker Sarah M. Kazadi based in New York City. Her work has been featured in the NYTimes, […]
September 19, 2015

Sept 19: Alisa LaGamma: Kongo Power and Majesty

We are joined for this episode by Alisa LaGamma, the curator of the MET museum exhibit “KONGO: Power and Majesty” to discuss this landmark art exhibition […]
September 11, 2015

Sept 11: Kiripi Katembo Siku – The Legacy of A Congolese Photographer

On August 5, 2015, the Congo lost one of his great photographers by the name of Kiripi Katembo Siku who was only 36 years old. Congo […]
August 15, 2015

Aug 15: Naomi Yané – Emerging African Young Professionals

This episode looks into Naomi Yané’s career in journalism and her journey as a young professional and Congolese American in New York City. Naomi Yané is […]