ZAIRE: The Matabiche Boom


For eight months Mobutu Sese Seko (formerly known as Joseph Desire Mobutu), President of the former Belgian Congo, has been preoccupied with a search for national "authenticity." He has changed dozens of place names reminiscent of colonial times, and the country itself is now known as the Republic of Zaïre. Mobutu has also decreed that all Zaïrians—beginning with himself—should discard their Christian names in favor of "authentic" African ones. As a final symbol of the new order, Mobutu changed the principal national holiday from June 30—its independence day—to November 24, the anniversary...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!