Review: Cartoons of Congo
By Joëlle Verstraeten Photos: © vzw ASD (Association pour la Solidarité et le Développement)
The Congolese comic book took shape through several social evolutions and was first developed under Belgian colonization in 1945. The Belgian occupiers felt an educational obligation towards the native population. Soon they understood the importance of propaganda trough comic books in an oral culture such as Congo. The missionaries used this channel to spread their Christian beliefs, less than their Western ideology.Film was another popular channel to convert the local inhabitants.
Religious propaganda during the colonizationThe Flemish missionary Albert Van Haelst created the soon to be most popular Congolese personages ‘’ inspired of the comic duo ‘Laurel and Hardy’. ’ were created to spread the Christian values and during the 1980s Mombo Sisé made a comic about those two.
Jeunes pour jeunesis one of the first Congolese cartoonist who got international recognition. His influence is still tactile. He's the author of . I recommend it to the fans of the Belgian comic book ‘’. himself said: ‘’
Sinatra contre MolokCoco et DidiTerrible politic and economic circumstances in the 1980s caused massive emigration of African artists to Europe. Through contact with European scenarists the careers of Congolese comic authors took another turn, which got them international acknowledgment and some success. From then on the authors were more engaged towards society, especially towards the educational system. Take for example the author Alain Kojélé, who wishes to motivate young African girls to go to school with his collection called ‘’.
Short-cartoon of TetshimWith the globalization awareness towards Europe grew. This is noticeable in several books such as the work of cartoonist , considered as the most remarkable nouvel vague cartoonist of Congo. As I saw his drawings I immediately thought of the Belgian cartoon ‘’. Not only are they both an one-page story, I particularly like their humoristic nonchalance.
TetshimGaston LagaffeAs The Democratic Republic of Congo is still an on oral tradition based culture, movies and comic books are very popular. Their cartoons have a magical, exotic tone for the Belgian reader, which can be enlightening. It’s also interesting to be introduced to the Congolese society trough an entertained channel.
The exhibition will run until the 12 february at the AMVB in the Arduinkaai 28 in Brussels. It’s open every weekday from 10h till 17h.