Kisangani /kiːsəŋˈɡɑːni/ (formerly Stanleyville or Stanleystad)
is the capital of
Tshopo province in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. It is the third largest urbanized city in the country and the
largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the
Formerly known as Stanleyville in French (or, in Dutch, as
Stanleystad (help·info)), the city takes its current name
from Boyoma Falls, the seven-arched falls located
south of the city, whose name was also initially given to the
landscape on which the city is located. Singitini (or Singatini) as
Kisangani is from present Swahili), each of which
share the same meaning "the City on the Island", in reference to the
surrounding tributaries (whose waters separate much of
the mainland). It is also known as "
Kisangani Boyoma", and the demonym
Kisangani is Boyoman (or Boyomais in French).
The languages most spoken at home by the population in the city are
Swahili and Lingala, followed by French. The official language of
Kisangani is French, as defined by the Constitution of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo.
Some 1300 mi from the mouth of the Congo River,
Kisangani is the
farthest navigable point upstream.
Kisangani is the nation's most
important inland port after Kinshasa, an important commercial hub
point for river and land transportation and a major marketing and
distribution centre for the north-eastern part of the country. It has
been the commercial capital of the northern Congo since the late 19th
Kisangani has been home to influential politicians, including the
national hero, Patrice Emery Lumumba, the first prime minister of the
country. The city is also the birthplace of the University of
Kisangani graduate, entrepreneur and former governor of former
Orientale Province, Bamanisa Jean Saidi (fr).
1.1 Regional conflicts
3 Culture and contemporary life
3.1 Entertainment and performing arts
5.1 Historical populations
5.5 Religious history
5.6 Boyoma Kisanganien(sis)
6.1 Administration history
8.2 Future and proposed projects
10 Further reading
11 External links
Arab slave raid on Nyangwe, circa 1870
See also: Timeline of Kisangani
Henry Morton Stanley
Henry Morton Stanley founded Stanley Falls Station in 1883, on the
Island of Wana Rusari in the
Congo River near the present town of
Kisangani. During the mid-19th century the area was inhabited by a
native Congolese tribe known as the Clans of Enya, who had used
Wagenia Falls (formerly, Stanley Falls) for fishing. The island is
located a few meters from the shore site of the present town on the
Lualaba River its 7 falls spread over 100 km between Kisangani
Some 1,300 miles from the mouth of the Congo River, Stanley founded
the area's first trading post for
King Leopold II
King Leopold II of
December 1883. The city was known first as Falls Station (or "the Post
Stanley Falls" or "The Falls" or simply "Boyoma" the African name of
Boyoma Falls) and then with
Belgian colonization of the area, it grew
into a settlement called Stanleyville (after the explorer Henry Morton
Stanley). A city terminus of steamer navigation on the Congo River,
the town began as a Belgian trading post. It has been the major centre
of the northern Congo since the late 19th century.
Stanley left Mr. Binnie, an engineer and a Scotsman, in charge to
trade with the local people and to represent the Congo Free State. The
name "Kisangani" was apparently used consistently by the local people,
in conjunction with the name "Stanleyville" (as the city was referred
to in French and respectively Stanleystad in Dutch). In Swahili the
manual published by the
Marist Brothers in the 1920s, we find an
example of substitution naming "from X to Stanleyville" which is
translated "toka X Mpaka Kisangani". The name "Kisangani" is a
Swahili rendering of the indigenous Congolese language word Boyoma,
meaning "City on the Island", also rendered in
Lingala as Singitini
(or Singatini) with the same meaning.
Europeans at Stanleyville in 1902
Soon after the establishment of ties between the
Europeans, East African slavers from Zanzibar, often erroneously
called "Arabs" by European writers of the time, reached Stanley Falls.
Relations between Free State officials and the slavers were strained
and after a fight the station was abandoned in 1887.
After the Arab-Euro wars in the Congo, in 1888 the Free State obtained
(after negotiations in Zanzibar) an agreement to establish a form of
power by appointing Mohammed Bin Alfan Mujreb Tippu Tip, one of the
Zanzibar slavers as first governor of the district of
"Stanley Falls" stretching from eastern
Tanganyika in Ituri through
Maniema. Ultimately the Europeans gained complete control of the vast
area in central Africa.
Stanley Falls Station, map plan in 1893, laying the foundations of
On 15 July 1898, Stanleyville began serving as the capital of the
relatively prosperous District of the Eastern Province Stanley Falls.
City status was achieved by incorporation Order No. 12/357 on 6
September 1958, which divided Stanleyville into 4 municipalities:
Belgian I, Belgian II, Brussels and Stanley. Towards the end of
1958, the city became the stronghold of Patrice Emery Lumumba, the
leader of the political party
Mouvement National Congolais
Mouvement National Congolais (MNC). His
strong ties with the city had been forged during his days as one of
350 clerks at the central post office. Ethiopian
ONUC troops arrived
in the city after July 1960. After the assassination of Lumumba in
Antoine Gizenga installed the
Free Republic of the Congo
Free Republic of the Congo in
Stanleyville, that competed with the central government in
Leopoldville (now Kinshasa). Before the country gained independence
Belgium in 1960,
Kisangani was reputed to have more Rolls-Royces
per capita than any other city in the world.
Belgian paratroopers in action during
Operation Dragon Rouge
Operation Dragon Rouge in 1964
In early 1964, the
Simba Rebellion ("Simba Revolution") occurred,
mushrooming into outright rebellion by May and June. By August rebels
had overrun Stanleyville from their bases in Wanie Rukula. They closed
the airport and barred civilians from leaving, including at least one
foreign consular staff. A number of American and European nationals
taken captive, and following intense negotiations Operation Dragon
Rouge was launched by Belgium, the
Armée Nationale Congolaise
Armée Nationale Congolaise (ANC),
and a plethora of foreign mercenaries under Colonel
Mike Hoare to free
In 1966 and 1967,
Kisangani was the site of the Mercenaries' Mutinies,
which led to widespread looting.
With the assumption of the "Zairianization" program in the 1970s by
Mobutu Sese Seko, Stanleyville was officially renamed
Stanley Falls became Wagenia Falls, and as of 27 October 1977 the
municipalities were renamed as follows: Belgian I (Mangobo and Tshopo
), Belgian II (Lubunga), Brussels (Kabondo) and Stanley (Makiso).
In the 1990s, the area emerged as the theatre for a series of major
battles known as the fight of
Kisangani during the First Congo War.
Laurent-Désiré Kabila, leader of the Alliance of Democratic Forces
for the Liberation of Congo invaded the Congo from the eastern region
of the country with assistance from Rwanda,
Burundi and Uganda
military forces. As of 30 October 1998, there were 15,000
19,000 Rwandan troops on Congolese soil.
Laurent Kabila designated
Kisangani as the forward base for the foreign forces as he marched
Kinshasa to overthrow Mobutu Sese Seko.
The alliance of foreign military forces disintegrated when people of
Hutu descent were massacred by the thousands in western
because of looting in the mining areas, in particular,
the Kivus. The population was completely opposed to the presence of
foreign forces because of their behaviour. Laurent-Désiré Kabila
could not continue to support the use of
Kisangani as the base for
foreign fighters as they launched attacks to massacre the
– hence he demanded that
Rwanda pull its forces out of the country.
In 1999, the city was the site of the first open fighting between
Ugandan and Rwandan forces in the Second Congo War, when nearly 3,000
people died in the cross fire. This followed the fracturing of the
anti-government rebel group
Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) into
camps based in
Kisangani and Goma. The fighting was also over the gold
mines near the town. The local population was caught in the cross fire
Ugandan and Rwandan military forces which led to the
destruction of about a quarter of the city. Various buildings were
damaged, most notably the roof of the Cathedral Rosaire of Notre-Dame,
which was ignited by missiles. Both of the foreign forces were
reported to have looted and pillaged the city. Despite the
Uganda by the International Court of Justice,
establishment of responsibilities, realization of compensation, or
arrests are yet to be made. Further clashes between Rwandan and
Ugandan led to thousands more deaths and widespread destruction from 5
to 10 June 2000.
During the Second Congo War, on 14 May 2002, 160 people were massacred
Kisangani which is believed to be the work of those under the
command of Laurent Nkunda. By the time a peace agreement was
signed in 2002, the town was under the control of the Rwandan-backed
Rally for Congolese Democracy -
The three encounters between
Kisangani have been
coined the wars of 1 day, 3 days and the deadliest of 6 days in
Kisangani is strategically placed at the junction of the Congo,
Tshopo, and Lindi rivers and at the crossroads between eastern and
western Congo. Approximately central of the African continent, it is
located in North-eastern
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),
Tshopo Province. The location at the northernmost tip of
the Congo River, navigable for large waterborne cargo between Kinshasa
and Kisangani, which feeds into a naturally transportation waterway
for much of the Congo Basin, has helped the city grow in significance
as a trading city.
Kisangani is at the centre of the Tshopo, and is bordered by the city
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north,
Opala territories to the south,
Isangi to the west and Bafwasende
municipalities to the east. The city of
Kisangani lies 324 km
from Buta, 572 kilometres (355 mi) of Isiro, 696 kilometres
(432 mi) from
Bunia and 2,912 kilometres (1,809 mi) from
Lualaba River flows through a bend to a confluence with the Congo
River, at the alteration of the waterways lies the city of Kisangani.
Kisangani City is built on the location of land defined in
between the river stretches of
Tshopo river on its north and by the
Congo River on its south. Many tributaries and islands are intertwined
conducive to moving inland waterways. Tidal straits actually separate
L'Île Mbiye from mainland of
Kisangani City. The city is locally
referred to as Boyoma after the prominent geographical feature on
land, Boyoma Falls. The seven cataracts have a total drop of 61 meters
(200 feet). Falls Wagenia where the fishery is installed on the
rapids can be seen.
The city's land area is estimated at 1910 square kilometres. The City
Kisangani has a density of 229 inhabitants per km². The city seats
in the midst of the vast and isolated Congo Basin, the second largest
tropical woodlands on the planet. It is located at 0° 31' north
latitude from the equator (57 km), 25° 11' east longitude from
the meridian of Greenwich and 1 404.1 feet (428 meters) above sea
L'Île Mbiye is situated on the
Congo River in the Eastern part of
Kisangani. It is located upstream of the Wagenia Falls, between
latitude 0°31' North and longitude 25°11' East, with 376m of
altitude. It adjoins the town of Kisangani, and it is 14 km long
and 4 km wide. All around Kisangani, L'Île Mbiye is the only
ecosystem that has a dense forest that is relatively well preserved.
The Island is part of the Sustainable Forest Management in Africa
Symposium project of forest ecosystem conservation conducted by
Stellenbosch University. The Island has an area of 1,400 ha, and it
comprises three types of forest: dry land forest, periodically flooded
forest and swampy forest.
Despite being adjacent to the equator, the city has a tropical monsoon
climate due to the fact that its driest month (January) sees on
average below 60 mm of rain.
Kisangani experiences an average
relative humidity of 86%.
Typical climate in regions through which the
Congo River flows is that
of Kisangani, a town situated on the river's right and left bank
slightly north of the Equator. Humidity is high throughout the year,
and annual rainfall amounts to 64 inches (1,620 mm) and
occurs fairly regularly; even in the driest month the rainfall totals
more than 2 inches (53 mm). Temperatures are also uniformly
high throughout the year, and there is little diurnal variability. The
average temperature at
Kisangani is in the mid-20s°C (mid-70s°F).
Kisangani is also a beneficiary of a cool breeze that often blows off
the Congo River.
Climate data for Kisangani
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: BBC Weather Centre Kisangani
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Modern, multi-storey buildings of brick emerge from the dense walls of
Congo Basin jungle. Multiple kinds and scales of houses,
townhouses, condominia, and apartment buildings can be found in
Kisangani. The building form most closely associated with
Belgium influence, whose introduction and widespread adoption in
colonial times saw Kisangani's buildings shift from the thatch African
tradition to the low-scale and vertical rise of European business
Kisangani has architecturally significant buildings in a wide range of
styles still in their original form. These include the Aumonerie which
is distinctive for its facade using visible stone-tone to evoke the
building's structure, the impressive 20th century headquarters
landmark that is Central Prisons' with its towering fortress walls,
Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Rosaire, an early cathedral revival built
with massively scaled stone detailing and the Congo Palace on avenue
de l'eglise is an important example of highly influential European
style buildings in Kisangani.
The character of Kisangani's urban residential districts is often
defined by the elegant villas with tiled roofs of old Belgian
influence, brownstone rowhouses, townhouses, and tenements that were
built during a period of rapid expansion from 1908 to 1950. Large
swaths of Kisangani's rural residential areas away from the city
centre are characterized by continual strings of villages unfolding,
each composed of thatched roof tops built from the early 20th century
through to the present day. At times the path is filled with a sweet
floral fragrance and clouded with white and purple butterflies.
Forests give way to patches of grassland, then clumps of bamboo and
then more forest.
The city of
Kisangani is composed of six large communes of which are
further subdivided into smaller neighbourhoods. The partitioned
communes are Lubunga, Makiso, Kisangani, Tshopo,
Kabondo and Mangobo.
Throughout the boroughs there are hundreds of distinct neighbourhoods,
many with a definable history and character to call their own. All
municipalities in the city have a nickname denoting how Boyoma
perceive their cities. Therefore, Kisangani, which in Swahili means on
the island ("Kisanga" translates island and "ni" is on) is official
given the nickname of "City of Hope" by administrative authorities in
opposition to the title of martyred city. Boyomas' affectionately
nicknamed their city "Boyoma Singa Mwambé", that translates has
before reaching the most beautiful city the pole must be thrown 8
times (Boyoma means the most beautiful girl, while Singa is the mast
and Mwambé is the number 8).
Cascades of the
Kisangani commune is commonly referred to as "Tolimo" in Kigenyi,
mainly due to the craft of scaffolds installed on Wagenia Falls.
Mangobo is the city's most populous commune and is known as
"Mathématique" because of the difficulty in locating particular
street addresse names that are simply manuscript numbered rather than
word labelled. The commune is home to the political youth movement the
"Bana Etats-Unis" (Children of the United States)
Kisangani City's northernmost commune, it features a long
beachfront. It is home to an hydroelectric plant and the site of
Makiso is the most densely populated borough and home to many of the
city's commercial and financial institutions. The commune contains the
headquarters of many major corporations, NGOs, International
organisations, the United Nations, as well as a number of important
administrative structures of governorship, and many cultural
attractions. It is the site of a continuous supply of electricity with
some of the most beautiful houses and of the widest boulevards. Makiso
is as known as "Miroir".
Lubunga is the most suburban commune in character of the Six communes.
Ascribed the nickname of "Pays" it supplies
Kisangani with most of its
Kabondo is the commune that usually takes lead in annually hosting
some of the city's largest parades and public events mainly due to its
cultural and social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene,
distinct neighbourhoods and unique architectural heritage. As a
Kabondo is known as "Pilote".
Culture and contemporary life
The city is a centre for television productions, radio, theatre, film,
multimedia and print publishing. Kisangani's many cultural communities
have given it a distinct local culture. The city's waterfront allure
and nightlife has attracted residents and tourists alike. As a Central
Kisangani shares many cultural characteristics with the
rest of the continent. It has a tradition of producing African jazz,
nu-rumba, African folk, rumba and ndombolo music. The city has also
produced much talent in the fields of visual arts, theatre, music, and
dance. Some of its better known popular culture residents include
Aberti Masikini, Anne-Sylvie Mouzon, Barly Baruti,
Koffi Olomide and
Moreno. Yet, being at the African confluence of the South and the
North and West and East traditions,
Kisangani has developed a unique
and distinguished cultural face. Another distinctive characteristic of
Kisangani culture life is to be found in the animation of its
downtown, particularly during summer, prompted by cultural and social
events, particularly festivals. The city's largest festival is the
Cercle Boyoma Culture festival, which is the largest in the world of
its kind. Other popular festivals include the
Kisangani Film Festival, Nuits d'Afrique and the
Entertainment and performing arts
Strongly influenced by the city's immigrants, productions such as
Barly Baruti and others used song in narratives that often
reflected themes of hope and ambition. Artists of all cultural
Kisangani such as musicians, stage actors, comedians,
fashion, cultural operators, draftsmen, folk music, painters,
sculptors, and silkscreen meet annually for the seasonal culture
shows. Cercle Boyoma Culture is one of such shows where cultural
Kisangani come together synergistically for an exchange
and reflection involving different associations of all cultural
disciplines. Cercle Boyoma Culture is annually held in Makiso on 14
Fina Avenue from the month of December through to June. The culture
show displays a digital audio recording studio, a large stage show, 10
booths that host libraries, internet cafes, sewing stations,
interactive gaming machines and cafeterias.
The cultural space in
Kisangani provides multitudes of beauty pageants
a platform to exchange experiences, provide mentoring consultation and
hosting of training seminars. Miss Boyoma is annually held in
December, organised by the cities' authority to determine the most
beautiful girl in Kisangani. Elysée of 17 years old is Miss Boyoma
Other live music genres which are part of the city's cultural heritage
Kisangani Soul, African Jazz, soukous and
gospel. The city is the birthplace of Congolese legendary musicians
Aberti Masikini and
Koffi Olomide and is the site of an influential
nu-rumba scene. In the 1950s, the city was a center for African Folk,
soukous and African jazz. This influence continued into the more
developed soukous of the 1960s. The city has been an epicenter for
Ndombolo culture since the 1980s. A flourishing independent folk music
culture brought forth
Kisangani Blues. The city has also been spawning
a critically acclaimed underground nu-rumba scene with various bands
gaining national attention in the nu-rumba world. Annual festivals
feature various acts such as the Cercle Boyoma Culture Festival.
Kisangani is also the city of world-famous choreographer and stage
director Faustin Linyekula. Since 2007, the Studios Kabako, the
cultural organization he founded in
Kinshasa in 2001, has been
resettled in Kisangani. There, the Studios Kabako have been
accompanying the debuts of young Congolese artists from training to
production and touring, in the fields of dance, theatre, music and
video. The rising generation of young dancers and choreographers
trained by the Studios Kabako include Jeannot Kumbonyeki, Michel
Kiyombo, Dorine Mokha, Djino Alolo and Yves Mwamba among others...
The Studios Kabako have opened there the only professional recording
studio of the Eastern part of Congo, accompanied musicians include
guitarist Flamme Kapaya, rap singers Pasnas, Franck Moka and Shoggy,
musicians Pépé Lecoq...
Kisangani is also the home-town of film-maker Dieudo Hamadi.
Shopping along the avenue de l'Eglise, its many restaurants, as well
as Kisangani's eminent architecture, continue to draw tourists. The
city is the DRC's third-largest convention destination. Most
conventions are held at Stade Lumumba, just north of Stade du Marche.
The historic City Hall also now houses the city's Visitor Information
Center, galleries and exhibit halls. The Alliance Franco-Congolese
(AFRACO) building which hosts governmental conference.
The variety of attractions in
Kisangani include botanical gardens,
museums, factories, zoos, exhibition halls, elevators, retail stores,
breweries, warehouses, libraries, mills, auditoriums and refineries
which today provide a legacy of historic and architectural interest,
especially in the downtown area.
Rosaire of Notre-Dame Cathedral, Central Market and the impressive
19th century headquarters of all major
Kisangani banks on 1st Avenue .
Kisangani holds a campus of the National University of the Congo,
which includes the renowned Medicine Faculty, made infamous by the
Polio virus conspiracy.
Kisangani also maintains the city's focal
library at University of Kisangani. The city holds an extensive
collection of ancient Congolese and near East African archaeological
artifacts, at its regional archaeological and ethnological, the
National Museum of Kisangani.
Former Hôtel des Chutes, Kisangani. Now an empty shell.
Other landmarks include: L'Hôtel des chutes, Le Voyageur, Hellénique
ainsi que Psistaria, l'Hôtel Congo Palace, l'Hôtel Boyoma, l'Hôtel
Kisanganian and L'Hôtel Palm Beach. Place de la Femme which was
completed in 1934 as a dedication to Boyomaise women, the landmark One
of the most revered religious leaders Reverend Father Gabriel Grison
was buried at the Mission St. Gabriel in
Kisangani and has monument
dedicated to him on Monseigneur Grison Avenue. Mobutus' residential
home on route de Lubutu, Place des Martyrs that held the Lumumba
Square until 1967, the controversial Central Public Fountain that
anchors the downtown park was installed by the distraction of the
popular monument of Stanley and its surrounding structures are but a
few notable examples of 20th-century architecture.
On the right bank of the
Tshopo River, the
Zoo attracts many
visitors, as well as the
Kisangani Hydroelectric Dam that supplies
electricity to the city of Kisangani. At spectacular waterfall of
Wagenia Falls, fishing with the old age tradition tools installed on
the rapids can be witnessed. Fishing is practiced through a scaffold
installed among rocks, with vines attached and serving through the
tensioning creels of woven conical vines immersed in the current of
A Major destination include the forest ecosystem of L'Île Mbiye, with
is a part of protection conservation forest program called Sustainable
Forest Management in Africa as spearheaded by Stellenbosch
University. L'Île Mbiye is an ecosystem with a well preserved
dense forest. The Island has an area of 1,400 ha, and it comprises
three types of forest: dry land forest, periodically flooded forest
and swampy forest. The Island is situated on the
Congo River in the
eastern part of Kisangani. It is located upstream of the Wagenia
Falls, between latitude 0°31' North and longitude 25°11' East, with
376 m of altitude. It adjoins the town of Kisangani, and it is
14 km long and 4 km wide.
Kisangani lays claim to a large number of regional specialties, all of
which reflect the city's ethnic and working class roots. Included
among these is its nationally renowned deep-dish Manioc.
Kisangani's food culture, influenced by the city's immigrants and
large number of dining patrons, is diverse. Eastern Africa and Indian
immigrants have made the city famous for their traditional foods. Some
of the mobile food vendors licensed by the city have made foods such
as husking paddy standbys of contemporary
Kisangani street food,
although kosa kosa and
Kisangani coffee are still the main street
fare. The city is also home to many of the finest prawn cuisine
restaurants in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The Riviera, La Vanille and
Rwenzori constitute some of the city's
Kisangani is served by a variety of media outlets, including several
Lingala and French language television stations, newspapers,
radio stations, and magazines. There are four over-the-air Swahili and
Lingala-language television stations and they also air multicultural
programming. There are also five over-the-air French-language
television stations, including: Radio Télévision Nationale
Congolaise (RTNC), Télé Boyoma and Radio Télévision Amani
Kisangani has four daily newspapers, in Swahili and
Kisangani Gazette and the
French-language Mungongo, La Tshopo, Le
Thermomètre, Agence de Presse Congolaise and Kisangani. There are
also two free French dailies, Nationaliste and Kisanga.
has numerous weekly tabloids and community newspapers serving various
neighbourhoods and schools. Mungongo is produced by young journalists
Université de Kisangani
Université de Kisangani at the Faculty of Arts, with supervision
of the news agency Syfia Great Lakes.
There are 11 AM and 23 FM radio stations in Kisangani. Of these13
broadcast in French, 16 broadcast in multiple languages and three
stations are bilingual. The major
Kisangani station networks include:
Radio-Télévision Numérique Boyoma(RTNB), OPED FM and Radio Okapi.
All three networks broadcast in Lingala, French and Swahili.[citation
OPED FM specializes in environmental issues and is headquartered in
Kisangani. OPED is acronym for l'Organisation pour la Protection de
l'Environnement et le Développement. OPED FM broadcasts can be heard
in Germany through radio Deutsche Welle.
RTNB has niche prioritizes business coverage of financial markets. The
station works in partnership with Radio Télévision Belge Francophone
(RTBF) and Radio Africa n°1. Programs of the two stations regularly
broadcast in Kisangani.
Kisangani is a filming-friendly location. Since the 1920s, many motion
pictures have been filmed in the city, most notably The Nun's
Sports of all kinds play an important part in many Boyomai's lives.
The city of
Kisangani is home to several stadiums with the 3 main
stadiums being Stade Lumumba, Stade du Marche and the Stade of Athenee
The city is represented in Nationwide Football League
Linafoot by TS
Malekesa, RC Etoile d' and AS NIKA in the 2009/2010 season. They both
play their home games at a soccer-specific stadium called Stade
Kisangani is also represented in Province Oriental Provincial League
by, CS Makiso, Sotexki SC, RC Stella, AS Kisangani, RC Boyoma, Echo
Sport, CS Monami, FC Procure, AS Vita Boyoma and AS Pars. They draw
packed crowds at the small but picturesque Stade of Athenee Royal for
their regular-season games. The current president of the Kisangani
Football Association the Entente Urbaine of Football in Kisangani
(EUFKIS) is Anaclet Kanangila who succeeded to the post left by Robert
Sunset over the Congo river.
Kisangani's economy is the one largest of cities in the Congo Basin
and is the largest in the former Orientale province. It's an intricate
hub of business and commerce and is one of three "command centers" for
the Congolese economy (along with
Kinshasa and Lubumbashi). Before the
country gained independence from
Belgium in 1960,
reputed to have more Rolls-Royces per capita than any other city in
the world. It flourished because of the many Boyoman who prospered
during a boom in coffee, cotton and rubber production late in the
colonial era, when those commodities still fetched high prices.
Strategically positioned and central on a geographical map of the
continent of Africa, at the confluence of the
Lualaba River and Congo
Kisangani is the inception and terminus point of river traffic
between east and west of DR Congo, playing a major economic role in
the '5 Chantiers' economic recovery and redevelopment of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The city is today an
important centre of commerce, finance, industry, metallurgy, panning,
real estate, hydro industries, agriculture, breweries, technology,
culture, media, and arts.
One of Africa's great trading centres; Kisangani's strengths in
its transportation system have contributed to the development of the
city. SOTEXKI, the Textile Society of
Kisangani produces fabrics and
manufactures clothing, while
Bralima produces beverages, REGIDESO
treats and supplies water to the population, SORGERIE (Société de
Gestion, de Gérance et d'Investissement), produces soaps, vegetable
oils and other cosmetic products. Compagnie Forestière de
Transformation (CFT) is the firm that process and exports African
teak. Pharmaceuticals, printed material, food processing,
telecommunications, textile and clothing manufacturing, tobacco and
transportation, also play major roles in the city's economy. The
service sector is strong and includes civil, mechanical and process
engineering, finance, higher education, and also research and
The forest Island of Mbiye is one of the natural ecosystems in
Kisangani that play a leading economic role with regard to the supply
of food, medicines and building material, in which is of critical
importance to the survival of plant life, wildlife and human
Realising the importance of the biosphere and preservation of the
forests biodiversity: "Forty million Congolese depend in one way or
another for their survival on the Congo forest" says Stephan Van Praet
of Greenpeace, who coordinated the research for the report, entitled
Carving up the Congo. "I can assure you they know the value of their
forests. If you cut the sapele trees you take away the caterpillars
they rely on as a source of protein."
L'Île Mbiye in
Kisangani is part of the Sustainable Forest Management
in Africa Symposium project of forest ecosystem conservation conducted
by Stellenbosch University.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
is also looking to expand the area of forest under protection, for
which it hopes to secure compensation through emerging markets for
The Port of Piroguiers is the largest inland port in the DRC, after
the nation's capital Kinshasa, handling million tonnes of cargo
annually. As one of the most important ports in DRC, it remains a
trans-shipment point link
Kinshasa to the North-Eastern provinces for
grain, sugar, petroleum products, machinery, and consumer goods. For
Kisangani is a railway hub of DRC and has always been an
extremely important rail city; it is home to the headquarters of
Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo. Since the resumption
of road traffic between
Kisangani and its eastern cities, the markets
of the city are regularly supplied and export food from and to Beni,
Bunia and Butembo.
The city's television and film industry is among the largest in the
country. Creative industries such as new media, advertising, fashion,
design and architecture account for a growing share of employment,
Kisangani City possessing a strong competitive advantage in these
industries. Other important sectors include medical research and
technology, non-profit institutions, and universities.
Kisangani's informal sector is highly developed. Its composed of
handicrafts, local brick manufactures, merchants close to the banks of
the river that sell a variety of edible products (like prawns, kosa
kosa and caterpillars), others engage in artisanal quarrying,
ceramics, coffee growing,
Jeweller dealing, producing cultural
artifacts, precious metals goldsmithing or subsistence
Manufacturing accounts for a large share of employment. Garments,
chemicals, metal products, processed foods, and furniture are some of
the principal products. Most of the food products derived from rural
areas whose main activities are agriculture and livestock include kosa
kosa and prawns, which are exported to all major cities of the DRC.
The Wagenia, whom mostly fish the rapids of the famous Wagenia Falls
Congo River are known for the possession of excellent fishing
skills. The food-processing industry is a stable major
manufacturing sector in the city. Chocolate is Kisangani's leading
specialty-food export, with imports of cocoa from nearby Kabinda
During the holidays, the young people enjoy the school holidays by
engaging in part-time jobs, learning earlier on how to earn money and
gaining family budgetary skills, thus adding to the family income. The
children are likely to open up small vending businesses, of which the
services offered may include selling boiled eggs, cooking oil or
operating shoeshine stores, to name a few. Many parents believe that
part-time work helps children to become more independent as well as
providing them (and sometimes their families) with some extra
During its first century,
Kisangani grew at a rate that ranked among
the fastest growing in the Belgian Congo. Within the span of forty
years, the city's population grew from slightly under 15,018 to over
121,765 by 1958. By the close of the 20th century,
Kisangani was the
third largest city in Zaire, and the largest of the cities that
existed in the former Orientale province. Within thirty-three years of
Zairieanastion, the population had tripled to over 600,000, and
reached its highest ever-recorded population of 672,739 for the 2003
The population is ethnically diverse and is changing rapidly,
especially in large cities such as Kisangani, so it is not always easy
to get an exact picture of the ethnic origin of all the population
from census statistics. The last census in 2003 counted almost 672 739
inhabitants in the city of Kisangani. Lubunga is the town's most
populous but least dense with 115 775 inhabitants while Mangobo with
98 434 inhabitants is the most dense.
Demography has evolved as follows since colonial times:
Historical population of Kisangani
Kisangani is the most populous city of the Northern provinces in the
DRC, with an estimated 2008 population of 1,200,000 (up from 406,249
thousand in 1993).This amounts to about more than half the population
of the northern regional population lives in the province of Tshopo.
Over the last decade the city's population has been increasing.
In 1905, there were a total of eleven stations and stations of the
state in the area of Stanley Falls and Stanleyville. The total number
of state officials increased to 40.
In 1909, the European Stanleyville numbered 80 and the native
population was estimated at 15,000 people within a radius of 5
At the time the sprawling population in 1918 required the District
Commissioner to create a daily food market in Kisangani, near the
Hospital Avenue, 1 kilometre from shore. Two more weekly markets were
also created on the other side, one near the docks and another at CFL
Mission St. Gabriel. The population in the 1920s increased to 4,000
Africans and 200 Europeans, with an average of 2000 inhabitants moving
around downtown Stanleyville (in the chiefdom Arabized).
The population of Stanleyville, in the early 1950s stood at 40,000 and
by the late 1950s the population reached 70,000.
Kisangani is exceptionally diverse. Throughout its history the city
has been a major melting pot of entry for immigrants. Today, some of
the city's population has foreign ancestry and among Congolese cities,
this proportion is exceeded only by
Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. In
Kisangani no single community or region of origin dominates.
Some of the many African ethnic groups in
Kisangani are: Bamanga,
Popoi, Boa, Lokele, Turumbu, Mbole, Kumu, Wagenia, Rega, Topoke,
Lokele, Turumbu, Basoko, Lendu, Budu, Bangetu, Logo, Alur, Hema,
Azande and Yira ethnic group also have a notable presence.
Non-African ethnic groups include many Flemish of Belgian origin.
There are also small groups of Greeks, Chinese, Walloons, Indians and,
The city has a heterogeneous population of over 250 ethnic African
majorities of which Wagenia and Kumu compose the native population:
In the north of the city of the
Tshopo Commune, reside the Bamanga,
Popoi, Boa that emigrated all the way from Buta.
To the south of the city live the
Arabized population groups of the
Lokele, Turumbu, Mbole, Kumu, Wagenia and Rega, in the Lubunga
Commune. Some arrived from the province of
Maniema by the way of
Ubundu road and rail, as well as the Opala road and the river toward
the neighbouring territory of Isangi.
Towards the west in the
Commune of Mangobo, lie the Topoke, Lokele,
Turumbu and Basoko, whom emigrated through the
Congo River and Tshopo
River, which divides the city into two banks of Tshopo.
To the east of the city in the commune of Kabondo, is home to the
Lendu, Budu, Bangetu, Logo, Alur, Hema, Nande, Yira, whom arrived
Kisangani the Ituri road in Bunia.
The main languages used in
Lingala and Swahili. French
is also widely spoken since it is the official language of the DR
Kisangani's large multi-ethnic population as resulted in a wide
variety of faiths are practiced. Various Christian denominations, such
as diverse Orthodox, Catholic, Methodists, Greek Orthodox and
Baptists churches, are found throughout the area along with adherents
of Judaism, Islam, Kimbanguism, Hinduism, Traditional Religions and
Kisangani has been a centre of
Catholicism in Central
Africa with its numerous seminaries and churches, including the
Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Rosaire. Most of the total population is
Christian, largely Roman
Catholic primarily due to Roman Catholic
mission which commenced on 21 September 1897 in Kisangani. The
Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is
overwhelmingly Roman Catholic; Roman
Catholic Archdiocese of Kisangani
(Latin: Kisanganien(sis)) is the Metropolitan See for the
Ecclesiastical province of
Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) .
Kisangani Suffragan Sees include the areas of Bondo,
Doruma – Dungu, Isangi,
Isiro – Niangara, Mahagi –
Nioka and Wamba. Marcel Utembi Tapa is the current
Kisangani, since 28 November 2008.
Due to the percentile of non-European cultures, there is a diversity
of non-Christian religions.
Islam maybe the largest non-Christian
group, There are small communities of
Hindus who work in
commercial urban areas.
Catholic mission commenced on 21 September 1897. Prefecture
Apostolic was established on 3 August 1904. By the division of the
Vicariate Apostolic of the Congo, the Church of
Vicariate Apostolic of Stanley Falls has of 12 March 1908. It then
became the Archdiocese of Stanleyville on 10 November 1959 and was
later renamed to the
Archdiocese of Kisangani on 30 May 1966.
One of the most revered religious leaders is Reverend Father Gabriel
Grison, Bishop Grison is buried at the Mission St. Gabriel in
Kisangani and a monument dedicated to him on Monseigneur Grison
The territory of
Archdiocese of Kisangani has been divided several
times: 11 August 1913, by selling Irumu the Apostolic Vicariate of
Lake Albert, 9 April 1934 by the detachment of the Mission now the
Diocese of Butembo-Beni, 10 March 1949 by the detachment of the
Apostolic Vicariate of Wamba, 23 April 1956 through the sale of
several missions to the Vicariate Apostolic of Kindu.
The Archdiocese in the Eastern Province,
Kisangani also includes a
part of the territories of Bafwasende, Banalia, Basoko, Opala, Ubundu
and Tshopo; in the region of
North Kivu and parts of the territory of
Archdiocese of Kisangani commands an area of 150.123 Km2, of a
population numbering 988,854, in which 552.526 are
Bamanisa Jean Saidi
Moreno (Batamba Wenda Morris)
Reverend Father Gabriel Grison
During independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the city
was the political central base of the Mouvement National Congolais
(MNC). Patrice Lumumbas' strong ties with the city had been forged
during his days as one of 350 clerks at the central post office.
Kisangani is now home to influential political youth groups such as
Bana Etats-Unis and Vendome.
Since its devolution in 2006,
Kisangani has been the Capital of Tshopo
with a "strong" mayor-council form of government. Decentralisation of
central government power was enabled to give provincial governments
more control of matters that directly affect them. The government of
Kisangani is more centralized than that of most other DRC cities. As a
Kisangani is governed by a wide range of
institutions: the judiciary, the police, the civil service and the
institutions of local government. In Kisangani, the central government
is responsible for public education, correctional institutions,
libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water
supply and welfare services.
People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy
People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) holds the
majority of public offices. As of November 2006, most of registered
voters in the city are PPRD.
Kisangani is the capital of the Tshopo
Kisangani was given the official nickname "City of Hope" by
its government. Kisangani, a city home to some 1,200,000 civilians, is
administratively divided into six urban communes: Makiso, Tshopo,
Mangobo, Kabondo, Kisangani, and Lubunga and the communities of Lubuya
and Bera are also parts of
Kisangani City. Each commune is home to
dozens of smaller neighborhoods (known in French as quartiers).
The head of the city government in
Kisangani is the mayor, who is
first among equals in the City Council. The mayor in the period of
2008–2009 was Guy Shilton Baendo. The city council is a
democratically elected institution and is the final decision-making
authority in the city, although much power is centralized in the
executive committee. The Council has jurisdiction over many matters,
including public security, agreements with other governments, subsidy
programs, the environment, urban planning, and a three-year capital
expenditure program. The
City Council is also required to supervise,
standardize or approve certain decisions made by the commune councils.
Reporting directly to the City Council, the executive committee
exercises decision-making powers similar to that of the cabinet in a
parliamentary system and is responsible for preparing various
documents including budgets and by-laws, submitted to the City Council
for approval. The decision-making powers of the executive committee
cover, in particular, the awarding of contracts or grants, the
management of human and financial resources, supplies and buildings.
It may also be assigned further powers by the City Council.
During much of the last half of the 20th century, Kisangani's politics
were dominated by a growing
Mouvement National Congolais
Mouvement National Congolais (MNC)
organization dominated by the charismatic Patrice Lumumba. During 1964
Kisangani was under siege of the Simbas, a group of powerful radical
tradition with large and highly organized socialist, anarchist and
Indeed, a decree of Governor General dated 6 September 1958 and
entered into force on 1 January 1959 established the city of
Stanleyville. The city was divided into communes; each headed by a
Mayor, the chief head of all of Stanleyville City was the city's first
The first consultation was held in commune of Stanleyville on Sunday,
14 December 1958. By Order No. 12/35 of 6 September 1958, the
territory of Stanleyville took the status of a city. Stanleyville was
divided into 4 municipalities: Belgian I, Belgian II, Brussels and
City Council assisted each mayor in running the whole
city, whilst each of the municipalities was assisted by Municipal
Councils. The mayors of municipalities and municipal council members
were elected. The city council included members of law, the mayors of
municipalities, members appointed has company representatives, middle
class representative and members representing the municipal
Kisangani and its administrative representatives formed a prominent
group responsible for drafting of the Congolese Forestry Code. The new
forestry code according to section 89 requires logging companies, to
draw up social responsibility contracts with their concessions, which
may include building schools, housing and clinics while they carry out
logging operations. Essentially the law demands firms to set up
Greenpeace has however attacked this corporate-centred
model, because it undermines the state's responsibility to create a
functioning system of social services.
The law states that the schooling age is from 5 to 19 years old, which
comprises 39% of Kisangani's population. The working age begins at 20
years and retirement age is set at 69 years old of which is 41.42% of
the city's demography.
Since the 1950s,
Kisangani has been a Congolese center of higher
education and research with several universities that are in the city
proper or in the immediate environs.
Kisangani has the third largest
campus of the National University of Congo. Much of the scientific
research in the city is done in medicine and the life sciences. The
Medicine Faculty at the
Université de Kisangani
Université de Kisangani was made infamous by
Polio Vaccine conspiracy theorists.
In 2007, there were 381 academic and research staff, most of them
(215) active in the humanities and social sciences – but the recent
history of the institution overshadows its current realities.
Currently, the university's income is derived from student fees (49
percent) and government subsidies (51 percent), but university
management reports that the current income level is insufficient for
effective operation. In addition, there is a serious need for
infrastructure rehabilitation and additions, as well as for the
acquisition of research literature. Although the university does not
have a strategic plan to develop additional income sources, it is
taking steps to increase academic fees to improve the daily operation
of the institution.
The main challenges facing the university include serious weaknesses
in the university's information and communication technology (ICT)
capabilities; and then the lack of qualified staff, of financial
means, of premises and equipment, and of literature and laboratories.
Clearly, the university's physical infrastructure has not been rebuilt
since the troubles. This is one reason why only 20% of the
institutional focus of the
Université de Kisangani
Université de Kisangani is reckoned for
Kisangani is the seat of the
Université de Kisangani
Université de Kisangani (1963),
Université Mariste du Congo, Institut Superieur du Commerce (ISC),
Institut Superieur Pedagogique and Institut de Batiment et de Travaux
Publiques, and the
Kisangani Hellenic Center). The
Library, which has the largest collection of any public library system
in the Kisangani, serves Makiso, Tshopo, Mangobo, Kabondo, Kisangani,
Lubuya and Bera. The city's public school system is managed
Kisangani Department of Education. The primary and secondary
schools are public and privately run by secular and religious groups
in the city.
Kisangani grew in importance as a trading port while under Belgium
rule. After the upper
Congo basin wars of Euro-
Arab in the 1880s the
city became the Belgian military and political base of operations in
Northern Congo. In the mid-20th century, the city was transformed by
immigration and development. A visionary development proposal expanded
the city street grid to encompass all of Boyoma, and the 1819 opening
of a railroad built to bypass the cataracts on the Congo River, opened
shipping routes further into the Congo jungle.
Kisangani became the
most populous urbanized area and the undisputed economic and cultural
centre of Northern Congo.
The transportation system in
Kisangani is extensive and complex. It
includes the longest suspension bridge in Northern Congo. Public
local transport is served by a network of buses, commuter
trains and waterways that extend across and off the
Unlike many major cities,
Kisangani does not have a problem with
vehicular traffic congestion. Kisangani's high rate of public transit
use, daily Toleka users and many pedestrian commuters makes it the
most energy-efficient major city in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC). Walk and tolek modes of travel account for high
percentage of all modes for trips in the city. The Tolek is a cycling
taxi ("Toleka" means "Time" in Lingala), that emerged as the primary
means of transportation around
Kisangani during the mid-1990s.
Commercial centre of Kisangani. Congo Palace building in the back
As the city lies between stretches of the
Tshopo and Congo Rivers,
many tributaries and islands are intertwined conducive to moving
inland waterways for the population of
Kisangani and the
transportation of goods by ships, boats or canoe (paddle or
motorized), from one bank to another and from one neighbourhood to
another is made possible. Waterway systems connect
various locales within and outside the city (including
Kisangani is the highest navigable point on the River Congo
and the terminus of river traffic from
Kinshasa and all ports operated
A considerable amount of automobile taxis and buses are also employed
to supporting public transit throughout the city. The building of new
gas stations and rehabilitation efforts for redevelopment of urban
roads and the opening of the No. 4 National Highway Road are among the
main factors behind this resumption of automobiles. The redevelopment
of the National Highway Road No.4 has meant an increase in scrambling
shuttles of traffic between Kisangani, Bafwasende, Komanda, Nurse,
Mambasa, Beni and Butembo.
Kisangani provides connections to Ubundu
and Opala, along the southern corridors of
Ubundu and Opala road
respectively as well as long-distance road networks to cities such as
Kigali (in Rwanda) by way of the National
Highway Road No. 2.
Kisangani is part of the Trans-African
Highway network 8 (TAH 8), at a length of 6259 km, the
Trans-African Highway between
Lagos (Nigeria) –
Mombasa (Kenya) is
longest transcontinental route between East-west of Africa. Kisangani
also has access to the Indian Ocean coast by way of a highway corridor
connecting the city to
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
Kisangani is impossible due to the Boyoma Falls; a
portage railway was therefore built to Ubundu. It is operated by
Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo, starting from Kisangani
Station. This is considered the first section of the Great Lakes
Kisangani is served by
Bangoka International Airport
Bangoka International Airport on the far east
side and the older
Simi-Simi Airport on the west side. Bangoka is for
commercial passenger flights and cargo only, whereas Simi-Simi mainly
serves military purposes, though it also hosts some private and
Future and proposed projects
In October 2007 a railway was proposed to connect
Kisangani to Kasese
in western Uganda. This railway would extend as 1,435 mm
(4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) gauge to the Kenyan port of
The transcontinental road projects in Africa, Trans-African Highway
Kisangani through the Lagos-
Following the mandate of "5 Chantiers" the city of
network undergoing redevelopment to make the city more integrated with
towns and cities of other provinces, especially the eastern regions
that previously made up the former Orientale Province.
and around downtown
Kisangani are part of the project.
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par Pierre VAN BOST, qui décrivent la station à l'époque) Some
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station at the time)
^ (Source : CEDAF (Centre d'étude et de documentation
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Kisangani 1877 – 1960" par
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^ Sources : 2007 / Jean Flouriot "Introduction à la
géographique physique et humaine du Zaïre" 1994 / Mairie de
Kisangani 2008) (Sources:, 2007 / Jean Flouriot
"Introduction to physical geography and human Zaire" 1994 / City of
Kisangani in 2008)
^ "Le fleuve". Stanleyville.be. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
DR Congo National Road No. 2: Information from". Answers.com.
^  Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
Archived from the original on 1 January 1970. Retrieved 21 August
2012. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ (Sources : 2007 / Jean Flouriot "Introduction à la
géographique physique et humaine du Zaïre" 1994 / Mairie de
Kisangani 2008) (Sources:, 2007 / Jean Flouriot
"Introduction to physical geography and human Zaire" 1994 / City of
Kisangani in 2008)
See also: Bibliography of the history of Kisangani
Jason Stearns: Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the
Congo and the Great War of Africa,,2011. ISBN 978-1610391078
V.S. Naipaul: A Bend in the River, 1979. ISBN 978-0-679-72202-1
Michela Wrong: In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz,2002.
Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness, 1899
Tim Butcher: Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart,
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kisangani.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kisangani.
Provinceorientale.cd the Government official site for Orientale
Stanleyville.be City of
Bamanisajean.unblog.fr is Governor Jean Bamanisa's blog site.
Unikis.ac.cd is the official website of the University of Kisangani
@Prov_orientale Twitter for Orentale Provincial Government.
Kisangani Agroforestry Cultivation and Conservation.
Cboc.e-monsite.com is the Official Cercle Boyoma Culture.
Capitals of the provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Matadi (Kongo Central)
Mbuji-Mayi (Kasaï Oriental)
Provinces are shown between brackets
Coordinates: 00°31′N 25°12′E / 0.517°N 25.200°E /