Belgian rule over Congo in focus

Forty-five years after Congo won its independence from Belgium, a Brussels show is seeking to present an objective view of the African country's colonial-era past.

    The exhibit brings together Belgian and Congolese historians

    Congo's Memory: The Colonial Era - on display in the Brussels suburb of Tervuren until October - brings together Belgian and Congolese historians to give a balanced view on its imperial past.

    "The time had come to set the record straight. We have had time for passions to calm, or to change," said Congolese historian Isidore Ndaywel e Ziem, a member of the committee which brought the show together.

    The country now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was created in 1885 under Belgian King Leopold II, annexed by Belgium in 1908 and finally secured its independence in 1960.

    Colonial crimes

    Visitors are invited into a succession of themed rooms covering waves of new arrivals, the country's economic transition and sometimes brutal colonial practices, illustrated by whips used to cut off hands on rubber plantations.

    "In 1960 it was with regret that Belgians abandoned a colony seen as the country's most beautiful work, while Congolese people wanted to be free," said Ndaywel e Ziem.

    "Half a century later, for a lot of Congolese people the colonial era seems like a golden age, while Belgian public opinion has gone in the other direction and today recognises the crimes of the past," he added.



    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.