30 facts about the culture of DR Congo

The DR Congo flag features a sky blue background, a yellow star in the upper left corner and a red stripe with a yellow trim running from the top right to bottom left.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (or DR Congo or Congo-Kinshasa) is diverse nation with rich cultural heritage, heavily influenced by war and colonisation, and areas of stunning natural beauty.

It’s important to remain aware of warfare and systemic exploitation of the Congolese people at the hands of major tech companies and their use of mines to extract materials for their products.

Here are some facts about the country.

The history of DR Congo

  1. The “Congo” part of DR Congo’s name comes from the Congo River, which in turn came from the Kongo people and their language (also known as Kikongo).
  2. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has had many other names such as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, the Republic of the Congo-Léopoldville, and the Republic of Zaire.
  3. The DR Congo flag features a sky blue background, a yellow star in the upper left corner and a red stripe with a yellow trim running from the top right to bottom left.
  4. The flag has been officially used since 2006 and is the eighth in its history since 1877.
  5. DR Congo’s motto is “Justice – Paix – Travail” which is French for “Justice – Peace – Work”

Admin stuff

  1. DR Congo is a member of the UN, Non-Aligned Movement, African Union, COMESA, Southern African Development Community, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and Economic Community of Central African States.
  2. DR Congo is the 11th largest country in the world
  3. The capital of DR Congo is Kinshasa (which is appended to Congo’s name to distinguish it from the Republic of the Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville).
  4. The national language of DR Congo is French but it has four officially recognised languages which are Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba
  5. DR Congo has a population of over 105 million people (as of a 2024 estimate)
  6. The currency of DR Congo is the Congolese franc.
  7. The average life expectancy in DR Congo is about 59 years.
  8. Approximately 95% of DR Congo is Christian.
  9. DR Congo first became a “Democratic Republic” in 1964

Food and drink

  1. DR Congo’s most important exports are coffee and palm oil.
  2. The national dish of DR Congo is considered to be Moambe chicken
  3. The legal drinking and alcohol purchase ages are 18.

The arts

  1. DR Congo is known for a variety of pre-colonial art featuring masks, sculptures, and stories passed on through objects like lukasas.
  2. DR Congo is home to many famous writers, including Léonie Abo, Raïs Neza Boneza, Maguy Kabamba, V.Y. Mudimbe, and Clémentine Nzuj.
  3. The literacy rate in DR Congo is about 80.54% (source)


  1. Soccer, basketball, and rugby are some of the most popular sports in DR Congo.
  2. As “Zaire”, its national football team won two African Cup of Nations titles in 1968 and 1974 and qualified for the World Cup in 1974.
  3. In basketball, former NBA player and Kinshasa-born Dikembe Mutombo is one of the nation’s most famous athletes, having won a variety of awards and having his jersey number retired at two different franchises (the Atlanta Hawks and the Denver Nuggets)

Nature and geography

  1. The highest mountain is Mount Stanley (5,109m/16,763ft).
  2. DR Congo is home to half of all mountain gorillas and they live in Virunga National Park.
  3. The okapi is an endangered species endemic to the nation.
  4. The national flower of DR Congo is regarded as the waterlily.
  5. Deforestation and poaching in DR Congo are major concerns as it is home to a number of endangered species
  6. The Congo River (Nzâdi Kôngo in Kikongo) is the second-longest river in Africa, and the third-largest in the world in terms of discharge volume.
  7. DR Congo’s mining industry produces a variety of important materials such as copper, diamonds, gold, and more than 63% of global cobalt production. Unfortunately, this is causing significant environmental and sociopolitical issues including child labour, displacement (many Congolese people are evicted to make way for mines), human rights abuses, and systemic exploitation.

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