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The Memory of Congo: The Colonial Era

Research Unit: Theory and History
Academic year: 2010/2011
Staff: Johan Lagae

Drawing on the Royal Museum for Central Africa’s extensive collections, this exhibition presented a broad survey of Congo during colonial times and, as such, shed light on an ignored historical past. Beginning with an evocation of Congo’s distant past, which preceded a colonial era that would bring changes to the territory, the history of Congo’s colonization was narrated around a series of major themes: social hierarchies, economic transactions, encounters between individuals and cultures and the construction of a colonial imagery. The exhibition ended with a section devoted to the independence and the post-colonial era. Oral accounts from Belgians and Congolese enlivened the presentation of this emotionally loaded past. Johan Lagae contributed a section on colonial urbanity and sciences, among others.
The exhibition proved an immense success, attracting over 140,000 visitors. It was widely discussed in national and international media.

The Memory of Congo Brochure EN
http://www.congo2005.be/geheugen/frameset.php?lang=nl