Article| Image
Directory Of Year 1991, Issue 1
The current issue
Current Location:English » 19911 » My Trip To Zaire
Bookmark and ShareCopy Reference Bookmark and Share Add To Favorite

My Trip To Zaire

Year:1991 Issue:1


Author: Zhao Jing

Release Date:1991-01-20

Page: 10,11

Full Text:  

As a Beijinger, I am accustomed to the succession of four seasons. But in 1990, I was lucky enough to live a second summer, between autumn and winter, spending eight enchanting days under the Zairian equatorial sun.

“You leave a home to enter a home”

I was part of the Chinese Press Delegation invited by the Zairian Press Union(UPZA). We were very warmly welcomed with an intriguing sentence heard over and over again: “You leave a home to enter a home!” meaning that we were to feel at home. And they really made me feel at home from the moment I arrived at the port of Ngobila. Messrs Kituntu Oleontwa, Mutinga Mutshiyi and Mulopo Kiswzko, respectively President, Vice-President and General Secretary of the UPZA,were waiting for us. They had prepared such an interesting programme that we were eager to go ahead with it, forgetting we were tired from the long trip. If you had read on the programme “Academy of Fine-Arts, Diamond Mine and Natural Reserve”, would you have wanted to sleep?

The Kingdom of Art

Zaire was named long ago the “Kingdom of Art”. The day we arrived, we went to the Fine-Arts Academy, cradle of artists. The atmosphere there is very special, “it smells of art” said someone. Kinshasa is full of flowers and trees, but on the campus, the landscaping has a definite artistic flavour. Stone statues sculpted by graduate students cover the grounds. One work depicted a young girl with her head turned away. She had a very fine waist and soft stylized features. The sculpture was peaceful as a lake, limpid as the sky and soft as a lamb, very characteristic of Zairian art.

The students had just finished their classes and chatted about in small groups. Inside the building, students worked assiduously, one young man was even studying mathematics. No wonder, for mathematics and art both require imagination.

The exhibition hall displayed many paintings and sculptures, all beautiful masterpieces. Wood sculptures are very popular, with importance given to movement and harmonious figures. Some sculptures, based on strange geometrical designs, displayed a surprising composition close to the European abstract style.

Mr Lyolo, Director of the Academy, is himself an accomplished sculptor. By day, he runs the Academy, and by night he is an artist. His works are exhibited and appreciated everywhere in Europe, America and Africa; he was awarded many prizes in Zaire as well as abroad. His last creation, “Envy”, shows his hope and concern for humanity’s harmonious coexistence with all existing life in the universe, his quest for eternity and perfection.

Mbango and diamonds

Following our programme, we visited the famous Mbujimayi Diamond Mine (MIBA),in the Oriental Kasai region. In the local dialect, the word ‘diamond’ is pronounced ‘mbango’.

Due to bureaucratic formalities, we were 24 hours late. Local colleagues had come twice to the airport to fetch us. M.Lufuluabo Kandolo, President of the UPZA Committee Department personally dropped us off at the hotel. A tall and strong man, he spoke with alow voice full of authority. In half a day, we visited the Bakwanga mining area (MIBA), the Marshal Mobutu dredge and the diamond sorting center.

The MIBA publishes a bi-monthly magazine entitled “Mbango”, written, edited and published by M. Lufuluabo. The only thing he leaves to a helper is photography.

Goma: a city established on volcanic rocks

Our Zairian hosts organized for us a fun and relaxing trip to Goma, a famous touristic city in the North Kivu region.

This region is known for its Virunga park, 137 km from Goma, where wild animals such as gorillas, hippopotamus, chimpanzees, etc, roam in liberty, while tourists are imprisoned in their cars. What an exciting perspective! Unfortunately the visit was cancelled because of heavy rains. But I did see the volcanoes, the lake, the market. The temperature on the shores of Lake Kivu is very pleasant, a haven of coolness on the equator.

The best known volcano in Goma is Nyiragonga, which last erupted in 1973. The Goma volcano, on which is built the local television station, is extinct, but the whole of Goma is constructed on volcanic rocks. All children like to play in the sand, and the children of Goma have a wonderful time with volcanic sand. It is everywhere, fields and streets are black from it, some of the markets stands are made of volcanic rocks. I took home with me three pieces of this special rock as souvenir. The market is very colourful and lively, and offers many products: cassava, fou-fou, corn, clothes, and beautiful materials with unique African motifs. My girlfriends don’t understand why I brought home only pictures but no beautiful materials.

So long, see you in Beijing!

The eight days of our stay were soon over, but a deep friendship was established between Chinese and Zairian colleagues. The time came to part, I had to leave this beautiful country that had welcomed me so warmly. I did not know when I would ever see my Zairian friends again, but as the saying goes, “Its a small world”. As stated in a joint Sino-Zairian release, a delegation of the Zairian Press should visit China this year. Perhaps my friends will be among them.

So long, Zairian friends, see you in Beijing!

A Chinese delegation is met by the Zairese Press Union. ZHAO JING

A Chinese delegation is met by the Zairese Press Union. ZHAO JING

Kinshasa's Academy of Fine-Arts, in Zaire. ZHAO JING

Kinshasa's Academy of Fine-Arts, in Zaire. ZHAO JING

5 chegongzhuang Xilu, P.O.Box 399-T, Beijing, China, 100048
Tel: +86 10 68413030
Fax: +86 10 68412023