Lingala and the ‘La Sapes’: DRC culture icons

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He said that the ‘’DRC, a region of 90 million people, does not have a single cow,’’ and that Kenyans should exploit the opportunity offered by regional trade agreements to sell milk to Congolese. He said this while poking fun at the fashion style of Congolese musicians, who wear high-waist trousers.

These comments set off a diplomatic kerfuffle and a social media firestorm, with #COT or Congolese On Twitter supporting fiery Congolese ambassador Francine Muyumba Nkanga who condemned Ruto’s snide and demanded an apology. After sustained online reprimand of Kenya #COT threatened to boycott Kenyan bank Equity in Kinshasa and national carrier KQ, the most visible Kenyans brands in DR Congo.

Kenya’s ambassador to the DR Congo Dr. George Masafu issued a statement reiterating the great respect and regard that Kenya has for the DR Congo, and later DP Ruto’s press secretary issued a statement too.

But forget the cows for a minute. DP Ruto’s remarks touched at the very soul of the Congolese cultural pride: Music and fashion. While the DR Congo’s top exports may be tangible minerals – gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt, tin, tungsten and zinc, estimated at over $10 billion – its top cultural exports are its music and musicians.

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