Lesson 9: Congo and Congo

All Around This World’s exploration of Africa includes sing-along, dance-along classroom and homeschool lessons about the countries of the Congo for kids . . . Meet the world through music –“come to class” with Jay.

All Around This World Map of Africa featuring the Congo for kids

This week in music class we tell the tale of two countries in the Congo for kids — the Democratic Republic of Congo, sometimes known as Congo-Kinshasa, and the Republic of Congo, a.k.a. Congo-Brazzaville. Neither has had an easy recent history, but they’re substantially different countries that have experienced very different ups and downs. One thing they do have in common is soukous — contagious, pulsing dance music that starts with Cuban dancehall rumba and adds a heaping cascade of African guitars. They also share the kwassa kwassa, a hip-shaking dance that, if done improperly, could turn your knees to jelly.


OVERVIEW: The land we now know as two nations, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo, has appeared on the map as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Leopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa and Zaire . . .

MUSIC: One of the Congo’s most famous and most fabulous forms of music is soukous, which is infinitely danceable . . .

LANGUAGE: While there are several hundred languages in the DRC and ROC, French is an official language of both, as is Lingala.

WHEN YOU GO THERE: Independent travel may not be easy, safe or even generally advisable on either side of the Congo River, but if you do survive you’ll probably have a lot of fun . . .

KWASSA KWASSA: In the Congo, when so inspired, people literally “get down,” shaking like crazy with the Congolese hip roll.

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