Leopold II Statue in Kinshasa

Democratic Republic of Congo

By Jade

In 1967, an equestrian statue of Belgian King Leopold II, the owner and absolute ruler of the Free State of Congo from 1886 to 1908, was taken down and discarded on the outskirts of Kinshasa, in today’s Democratic Republic of Congo, as part of President Mobutu’s postcolonial re-indigenising policy. In 2005, it was reinstated, to much contestation, and taken down once again less than twenty-four hours later. Today, the statue stands in a heavily guarded museum that is largely inaccessible to the general Congolese public. This case study highlights the degree to which Congolese opinion remains mixed on how best to commemorate the figure of Leopold II and, more broadly, Congo’s colonial past.

For the case study click here.