The Congo Wars (1997 – 2003) were the latest in a series of generation-impacting events in Congo’s history. King Leopold of Belgium exploited it as The Congo Free State, by some estimates half the population died as he enriched himself.
The Belgians brought development, some stability and high literacy rates with traditional heavy handed colonial rule to the re-named Belgian Congo.
In the 1960’s, violent rebellion eventually brought Mobutu Sese Seko to power in what was now Zaire. He brought more than a quarter century of dictatorship, corruption and ever-increasing poverty until the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide swept into the east and then overwhelmed the entire country in the Congo Wars.
Is it any wonder that a colourful French language alphabet chart has a machine gun in a country still suffering from the aftermath of the deadliest war since World War 2?