Continuities and Dislocations: 50 Years of African Independence location:Mainz, Goethe University date:7-11 April 2010
The paper deals with the commemorations of Lumumba and Kabila as they took place in Kinshasa in 2010. The main questions addressed are: 1) where is public memory produced in present day Kinshasa? And, 2) in which way is the representation of key figures of the national past (in casu Lumumba and Kabila) tied up to current political processes?
First, I identify the producers of public memory in Kinshasa, and, then, also the political contexts in which Laurent Kabila and Patrice Lumumba are represented. Here, I am not so much concerned with the representations as such, rather, I ask: who are the political actors that appropriate the names and images of Laurent Kabila and Patrice Lumumba, and for which ends? Who promotes these deceased leaders as heroes in Kinshasa today?
Second, I identify Kinshasa’s media world as the most significant space of political memory. I argue that television is increasingly an important site of memory production in Kinshasa. This phenomenon is tied to the enhanced mediatisation of local politics.