Postcard from... Kinshasa

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  • not your average secondment ! very interesting.

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  • Kinshasa is a fabulous city (although Brazzaville, capital of the 'other' Congo, and just across the river from Kin - is nicer and less sprawling).
    What the author neglected to mention is the music - and the joie-de-vivre that goes with it. Everybody in Africa "knows" that the finest music on the continent comes from the Congo. It is possible to get a taste of it in the ex-pat night-clubs (a bar call M-16, and known locally as "The American Weapon" was a favourite when I was living there, partly because it was less full of "assertive" prostitutes than the bars in Gombe) - but for the real experience you have to go local, and find the live clubs which kick off at around 1am and continue until the morning comes. You will need a local guide to find these places (and vouch for you to stay safe)... but it well worth the experience.
    The Congolese music goes right to the soul, and reflects itself in the smiles you see from day-to-day. I was always struck when driving to work at 7am that the young school kids would stop off on the way to school outside bars with huge stacks of speakers blaring out distorted tunes in order to have a little dance to wake them up in the morning.

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