I was surprised to learn that the 16th of January was a National Holiday in DRC… Why? Because it is also the date of my birthday!
I decided to read and write about it, so that I could inform some of the people who read me about this important dates for the Congolese:
January 16 is the Memorial Day for the murder of “Mzee” Kabila, Congo’s third president. This date was one of the last holidays dated to have been added to the calendar by current President Joseph Kabila, in tribute to his dead father in 2001. Apparently, it is also the “Open Day” at the Marble Palace to visit the office where he was killed. Why not play a visit? 🙂
January 17 is the Commemoration day of the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba, who died in Katanga in 1961. He was proclaimed “national hero” in 1966 by the Government of Mobutu; for instance, a monument is dedicated to him at the exchanger of Limete. Moreover, it seems that several events are held, including the wreath laying flowers at the monument, conferences, workshops and a religious ceremony. The 17/01 became a legal holiday on the initiative of L.-D. Kabila, on his accession to power in 1997.
So, if you do not have plans for the weekend, and feel like integrating your self into the real Congolese life, just enjoy!