Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Congo Brazzaville: cradle of SAPOLOGIE


It is a tradition that requires its members to be well educated and also be properly dressed not for vanity or show and tell, but to show the French colonialists then, that, in spite their differences in pigmentation, they were not better than black Africans. It is the spiritual and circular ideology propounded by Andre Grenard Matsoua that has made the people of the Pool region today be more advanced politically, spiritually, culturally and educationally, than most regions of the country. It also explains why Sassou Nguesso and other leaders before him do consider the Pool region as a rebellious region.  SAPOLOGIE and Matsouanists, both secular and theocratic ideologies inspired by Andre Grenard Matsoua, were and are still forms of peaceful protests. It was used in the past to protest against colonial rule and today, it is used to fight against dictatorship. Without understanding the above, it would be beyond comprehension or impossible to understand why the people of BasCongo, mainly the Laris, will leave their neighbourhoods located in south of the capital: BasCongo and Makelekele and walk to the Maya-maya international airport to welcome any visiting French president.

Bizarre political protest

Whenever the smartly albeit flamboyantly dressed people from BasCongo and Makelekele arrive at the Maya-maya International airport, to welcome any visiting French president, they chant noisily in French: “notre president est arrivee” or “welcome, our president”.  As explained earlier, it is not exactly an inferiority complex as I had first thought, but rather a form of protest. Around Africa whenever a personality visits a country, the host country’s government sponsors dancing groups and others to welcome its guest. Most often, the welcoming committee are seen at the airport or massed along the trajectory that the guest will take. It is a classic master piece in dictatorial manipulation to show the guest that, the host leader is popular. In Congo Brazzaville, the state most often include members of the Sapologie in the welcoming committee. Although there are some members of the SAPOLOGIE who are paid to come at the airport to welcome visiting leaders, but the difference between them and other traditional dance groups are that, while most are paid to show a different or positive image of the regime, most often than not, members of SAPOLOGIE or Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegants, are the ones who go the airport under the guise of welcoming a visiting French leader or any other guest.  As already mentioned, their chants are  in reality a political statement expressed by people from  the greater south, to show the visiting French leader that, they are living in a country where there is little or no political freedom. 


However bizarre the political statement or protest of the BasCongo or people from the greater south as enunciated above via Sapologie could be viewed, they remain the most patriotic or nationalistic groups of Congolese. And among the people of greater southern Congo, the most patriotic could be the Laris, an ethnic group living within and without Brazzaville and in most parts of the Pool region. Having given all the above explanations, it doesn’t change my perception that, Congo may be the only place in French-speaking black Africa that I know, where France is truly respected and admired. However, that admiration or respect for France is fast diminishing among young Congolese because of Paris’s continuous support to the dictatorial rule in Brazzaville as demonstrated by Francois Hollande’s declarations in a Press conference on the 22nd of October 2015, two days before Congo’s controversial October 25th 2015 referendum.  Mr Hollande’s claim that, President Sassou Nguesso had the right to organize a referendum to change the January 20th 2002 constitution was viewed in Congo within the opposition and also within government circles as a tactic support from Paris for Sassou Nguesso to elongate his presidential mandate. 

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