|To see a map of the DRC, click here||Click here To see a map of the Eastern Congo, the area where Ruined is set.|
An overview of its geography, history and politics
Provided by Friends of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is literally and figuratively the heart of Africa. The country of an estimated 65 million people straddles the equator and is bordered by 9 other countries. It is the size of Western Europe and the fulcrum on which the African continent swings. Congo is the third largest country in Africa in area and the fourth largest in population. Congo is a young country with the majority of its population 18 years old or younger.
History & Politics
Congo is home to one of the oldest mathematical artifacts in the world, the Ishango Bones, a binary counting system and lunar calendar, which dates to 20,000 B.C. Pre-colonial Congo region was governed by federated states. However, since the modern founding of the Congo in 1885 when Congo was given to King Leopold II of Belgium at the Berlin Conference of 1884/1885 as his own personal property, Congolese have been engaged in a social justice movement to control and determine their own affairs.
Why Congo Matters
Congo is arguably the richest country on the planet in terms of natural resources. It is the storehouse of strategic and precious minerals that are vital to the functioning of modern society. Its minerals are key to the consumer electronics industry, the technology industry, automotive, aerospace and military industries. Its diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, uranium, timber, iron, tin, tungsten, and coltan (mineral that is central to the functioning of our cell phones, laptops and other technology and electronic devices) are coveted from China to America. Due to the Congo’s strategic location in the heart of Africa and the lust for her wealth powerful nations have repeatedly intervened in the Congo over the past 125 years. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki says “there is no new Africa without a new Congo.” And President Obama proclaims, “if Africa is to achieve its promise resolving the problem in the Congo will be critical.”
In spite of the remarkable challenges faced by the Congolese people, those challenges can be overcome, especially in light of Congo’s incredible human spirit and natural potential. Congo has the agricultural potential to feed the entire world through 2050 when the world’s population is expected to be 9 billion. Congo also has the hydro capacity to provide electricity to the entire African continent with some left over to export to Southern Europe and the Middle East. Congo is a part of the second largest rainforest in the world and is vital to the fight against climate change and global warming.
To download the full document written by Friends of the Congo, please see our Outreach & Resources section
Hope in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“These women who I interviewed walked miles to tell their stories. And they told their stories because they believed that there was light at the end of the path... They didn’t tell their stories because they wanted me to pity them. They told their stories because they wanted to transform their situations and they wanted to rescue other women. They wanted to stop the pattern of violence.”
– Lynn Nottage in an interview with Human Rights Watch. Click here to listen to the interview.
Numerous organizations are working to improve the situation of women and men in the DRC as well as in cities like our own. For more information, please visit our public outreach section.