congo down in history

A shake of the head and a grin: “That is so Congolese.” Oft repeated and never gets old. And yet, it’s never just comical; always, there is a backdrop of politics, social tensions and acrobatic logic that one can tease out from even the most benign situations. Add it all up and you get tiny explosions of spectacular insanity. Take this story, for example, from ESPN’s World Cup coverage and an article on the biggest mistakes in World Cup history (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/world-cup/columns/story?id=756594&cc=4716&ver=global):

“Ilunga Mwepu’s free-kick – Zaire vs Brazil (1974 group stage) This Zaire right back made his name when, as the referee blew his whistle for Brazil to take a free-kick, he broke from the wall and kicked the ball to the other end of the pitch. He later appeared on TV programme¬†Fantasy Football League to recreate the moment in comic fashion (“I can’t believe no one’s thought of it before. I’ll go down in history. This will become known as the Ilunga Mwepu manoeuvre”), but he has also said his actions came after threats of violence from the country’s president if they went down to a heavy defeat. “I panicked and kicked the ball away before he had taken it,” he said. “Most of the Brazil players, and the crowd, too, thought it was hilarious. They didn’t understand the pressure we were under.'”

That is so Congolese. Or Zairois, if you like.


1 Response to “congo down in history”

  1. 1 Terence Sinabajije
    December 29, 2011 at 4:12 am

    Hello Jefferson!

    My name is Terence. You made me miss my home country after reading your report. I am very greatful to good work that Heartland does in Africa most particularly in Burundi where I was born and grew up. Jefferson are based in Burundi or you have already completed your work in Burundi? Thank you so much for the report and congratulations to you all. If you would like to contact me, my email address is sinatere2000@yahoo.com.

    Thanks a lot.


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