Congo Opens African Circle Museum in Pointe Noire
The choice of the Lumumba roundabout for the opening of the Museum is a real symbol, dating back to the colonial era, where Congolese natives who acquired French nationality, were denied access to the “Cercle civil” in the city center, where the French elites used to gather. This is explained to us by Yvon Nkouka, in charge of the logistics for this project.
“This is an important phenomenon because it remains the demographic boundary of the city centre where there is a certain mixed elite between locals and expatriates… and the rest of the population that is still demographically settled on the other side of the roundabout. And in order to promote culture, the price of access to the Museum is set at the modest sum of 500 FCFA, less than a dollar, and it is free for children under 14 years of age. It is to allow the youngest to come here to rediscover the history of their culture and you know that as soon as we talk about history we talk about identity and if we talk about identity, we project ourselves into the future”
A duty to remember, therefore, and a beginning of a response at a time when the return of African cultural heritage to the continent remains a hot topic.
It is to allow the youngest to come here to rediscover the history of their culture and you know that as soon as we talk about history we talk about identity and if we talk about identity, we project ourselves into the future
“This is very important because in the past, we did not have an establishment like this in Pointe Noire, especially in Congo. But today we have Museums, where we can keep the collections. So if today, we can return the collections to us, we now have structures to accommodate them,” explains Samuel Mabanza, the Museum’s curator.
Formerly a cultural place for the Congolese, before being transformed into a Court of Justice and finally falling into disuse, the building was rehabilitated and transformed in 2017 to become this Museum, thanks to the cooperation between the Congolese state and Eni Congo, under the patronage of the Unesco.
Since its opening to the public on 4 December, the African Circle Museum had already welcomed more than 600 visitors by 31 December, and many school groups.