DEMOKRATSKA REPUBLIKA KONGO – DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO – RÉPUBLIQUE DÉMOCRATIQUE DU CONGO

Africki dzez bar-An African jazz bar

Africki dzez bar-An African jazz bar

Cekajuci da prodje voz-Waiting at a train crossing

Cekajuci da prodje voz-Waiting at a train crossing

Frizerski salon u gradu-A city hairdresser

Frizerski salon u gradu-A city hairdresser

Grcka pravoslavna crkva u Kinsasi-The Greek orthodox church in Kinshasa

Grcka pravoslavna crkva u Kinsasi-The Greek orthodox church in Kinshasa

Ko zeli papaju a ko ananas-Who wants papaya, who wants pineapple

Ko zeli papaju a ko ananas-Who wants papaya, who wants pineapple

Mali kvar na autu-A minor auto repair

Mali kvar na autu-A minor auto repair

Nenad Pandurovic-Stanislav

Nenad Pandurovic-Stanislav

Pijaca suvenira-A souvenir market

Pijaca suvenira-A souvenir market

Protestantska crkva-A Protestant church

Protestantska crkva-A Protestant church

Tintin au Congo

Tintin au Congo

UN trupe na aerodromu Kisangani u centru Konga-UN troops at Kisangani airport in the centre of Kongo

UN trupe na aerodromu Kisangani u centru Konga-UN troops at Kisangani airport in the centre of Kongo

Postoje dva Konga u Africi. Nalaze se jedan do drugog i u oba se govori
lokalni  francuski, dok je odrednica “demokratska” relativan pojam u
afričkim uslovima, pa i u celom svetu. Ovaj Kongo je bio belgijski (Congo
belge), za razliku od onog manjeg, susednog, koji je bio francuska kolonija.
Ipak, svi ih jednostavno nazivaju prema imenima glavnih gradova: Kongo
Brazavil i Kongo Kinšasa.
Između njih se pruža najveća afrička reka, koja se takođe naziva Kongo i
jedina je reka koja u velikom luku dva puta preseca ekvator. Oduvek sam bio
opsednut tom rekom, dugom skoro pet hiljada kilometara, kojom je sporo
plovila ogromna “Afrička kraljica”, povezujući tako, svojom usporenom
plovidbom, najudaljenija sela sa Kinšasom. Prolazak ovog plovećeg naselja je
događaj za sve učesnike tog dugog putovanja, na kome se dešava sve što se
može desiti u Africi. Na brodu se rađa i umire, trguje i odmara, tuguje i
veseli, u bučnoj i uzavreloj atmosferi, u kojoj svi viču jedni na druge, a
često se i fizički obračunavaju. Oni retki srećnici, koji to posmatraju sa
najvišeg brodskog nivoa, na kome je mali broj zagušljivih kabina, mogu da
uživaju u pravom afričkom teatru, u kome se beba šimpanze prodaje za pedeset
dolara, kao i vreće manioke, naramci zelenih banana, kineska bižuterija, pa
čak i jedan mali krokodil vezanih čeljusti, koji se prevozi neznano kuda.
Čitav afrički život u malom. Brojni čamci-piroge sve vreme prate brod, sa
kojim se, u prolazu, obavlja ploveća trgovina i razmena dobara.
Kongo, bivši Zair, ogromna je zemlja i jedna od od najvećih na kontinentu.
Putovao sam dugo sa pripadnicima urugvajskih Plavih šlemova Ujedinjenih
nacija u iznajmljenom JAT-ovom avionu DC-10, koji je prevozio te vojnike u
Kisangani, u dubini kontinenta. Tu će oni neko vreme održavati prividan mir.

Boravio sam i u bazi Ujedinjenih nacija u Kinšasi sa medicinskom ekipom iz
Niša, gde me je uveo moj stari prijatelj, afrički saputnik i domaćin Nenad
Pandurović, zvani Stanislav.
Zemlja je izmučena ratovima i siromaštvom, što stvara veliku napetost u
narodu, pa je potreban poseban oprez, naročito pri fotografisanju ili
boravku u noćnim klubovima. S druge strane, Kongo je ogromna zemlja, sa
velikim i retkim prirodnim bogatstvima, što je čini pogodnom metom za
eksploataciju. Tako je, nažalost, oduvek bilo u Africi, od koje je mnogo
otimano, a malo joj se vraćalo. Kongo je samo još jedna velika karika tog
lanca, o čemu razmišljam dok naizgled bezbrižno šetam glavnom avenijom u
Kinšasi. Tu se, kao mala oaza mira, smestila grčka pravoslavna crkva. Kratak
predah u hramu neuobičajenom za ovo mesto, a potom povratak bučnoj i
nesigurnoj afričkoj realnosti. Jedan pogrešan pogled dovoljan je kao povod
za svađu, napad, galamu i tuču. Sve se to odvija pred vama kao deo
svakodnevnice, deo obračuna nekih suparničkih grupa ili pristalica
predsedničkih kandidata.
Lik legendarnog prvog premijera Patrisa Lumumbe ostao je inspiracija levo
orijentisanim političkim grupama, a njegovo ubistvo u Katangi pre pola veka
razbuktalo je proteste naprednih snaga u svetu, pa i kod nas. Tada je
napadnuta belgijska ambasada u Beogradu, koji je dobio ulicu sa Lumumbinim
imenom, u koju sam često odlazio jer se u njoj nalazi škola u kojoj je moja
majka predavala srpskohrvatski jezik. Jugoslavija je tada podržavala
oslobađanje zemalja Trećeg sveta od kolonijalizma i ujedinila ih davne 1961.
godine, na Prvoj konferenciji nesvrstanih zemalja u Beogradu. Ove, 2011.
godine, na istom mestu pokušaćemo, neuspešno, da ponovo budemo nesvrstani.
Mislim da je to mogao samo drug Tito.

Novembar 2003.
______________________________________________________________

There are two Congos in Africa. They are located next to each other and a
local version of French is spoken in both. As for ‘democratic’, it is a very
relative term in Africa, as well as in the entire world. This Congo used to
belong to Belgium (Congo belge),whereas the other, smaller one, used to be a
French colony. Yet everyone calls them by their capital city names, Congo
Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa.
Between them is the largest African river, also called the Congo, and it is
the only river that cuts across the Equator twice, in wide meanders. I have
always been obsessed with this river, almost 5000 kilometres long, where the
‘African Queen’ glides slowly cruising and connecting Kinshasa with the most
remote villages.
Cruising on this floating settlement is a true event for all the
participants in the long journey and everything that can happen in Africa,
happens here. On this ship people are born and die, people trade and have a
rest, people are sad and cheerful, and in a noisy and hectic ambiance where
everyone is shouting at everyone else, sometimes people have physical
fights. Those lucky ones observing all this from the ship’s top level, where
there is a small number of stuffy cabins, can enjoy a real African theatre:
a baby chimpanzee is sold for $50; also you can buy bags of cassava, bunches
of green bananas, Chinese trinkets, and even a small crocodile with his jaws
tied that is being shipped God knows where. A whole African life in
miniature. Numerous boats-pirogues follow the ship all the time, carrying
out trade and bartering with it while on the way.
Congo, formerly called Zaire, is a huge country and one of the largest on
the African continent. I travelled a long time with the UN Blue Helmets from
Uruguay, on the leased DC-10 aircraft that belonged to Yugoslav Airlines.
The soldiers were transported to Kisangani, deep in the African continent.
For a while, they will be keeping an ostensible peace.
I also spent time at the UN base in Kinshasa with the medical crew from Niš,
where I got access through my friend, Africa co-traveller and host, Nenad
Pandurović, nicknamed Stanislav.
This country has been ruined by wars and poverty, which creates a huge
tension among the people, so extra care is needed while photographing or
visiting nightclubs. On the other hand, Congo is a huge country with rarely
found, abundant natural resources which makes it an easy target for
exploitation. Unfortunately, it has always been like that in Africa from
which a lot has been taken and so little given in return. Congo is yet
another ring in this long chain, I keep thinking, while I stroll down
Kinshasa’s main avenue, seemingly relaxed. On this avenue, like an oasis of
peace, a small Greek Orthodox church is nestled. I have a short break in
this sacred space so unusual for this location and then I return to the
noisy, uncertain African day-to-day reality. One wrong look is enough to
provoke an argument, an attack, shouting and fighting. All that is happening
right in front of you, as part of daily life, part of infighting of local
opposing groups or supporters of presidential candidates.
The personality of the legendary first premier, Patrice Lumumba, remained an
inspiration to the leftist political groups and his assassination fifty
years ago induced protests of democratic forces around the world, including
in Serbia too. The Belgian Embassy in Belgrade was attacked and Belgrade got
a street bearing the name of Patrice Lumumba. I went there often, because my
mother was teaching Serbo-Croatian in a school there. At the time,
Yugoslavia was supporting the liberation of the Third World countries from
the colonial rule, and brought them together in the distant 1961 at the
first conference of non-aligned countries in Belgrade. This time round in
2011, at the same place, we will try to face our failure of being
‘non-aligned’ again.
Only comrade Tito could have done that.

November 2003

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