Photographer's Note

For one colonial ruler, honor in his african home! It’s not every day that an African country erects a 20-foot-tall statue in the busiest part of town to honor a white man.
But Brazzaville has always had a trend-defying relationship to its first master, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza.
All across the continent, names that smacked of colonial rule were quickly jettisoned after independence. Leopoldville, the capital of the Belgian Congo named after King Leopold II, was renamed Kinshasa shortly after the country became first Zaire and afterwards Congo Democratic Republic, Delamere Street in Nairobi, Kenya, named after the head honcho of white settlers, Lord Delamere, became Kenyatta Avenue. And so on and so on.
But Brazzaville was an exception, because Mr. Brazza was actually liked by many Africans, who considered him a kinder, gentler Victorian explorer type, someone who charmed his way deep into the African jungle, unlike his rival, Henry Morton Stanley, whose shotgun and bullwhip approach earned him the nickname Breaker of Rocks.
When it came time to tell the Brazza tale, the government of Brazzaville decided to do it in style — building a gleaming white marble mausoleum along the banks of the Congo River, complete with a museum, sculpture garden and giant statue. The remains of Mr. Brazza and his wife and four children were flown back to Brazzaville, and in mid-December, the mausoleum is scheduled to open.
Mr. Brazza died in 1905, in Senegal, en route to France to deliver an embarrassing report about the brutality of colonial rule, and the return of his bones was supposed to mark the 100th anniversary of his death.
Mr. Brazza was born in 1852, near Rome, the son of an Italian count with French connections. Young Brazza loved sailing, joined the French Navy and at age 23 offered to chart the Congo River at a time when European powers were scrambling to carve up Africa and corner the wildly lucrative ivory and rubber trades.
Mr. Brazza used his youthful spirit to win over African chiefs, though in the end he handed them the same cheap glass beads and bolts of cloth that other explorers traded for thousands of miles of territory.
His most famous deal was signed with King Makoko in 1880, in a little village along the north bank of the Congo River, paving the way for the establishment of the French Congo, with Brazzaville as its capital and Mr. Brazza as governor. Since independence in 1960, Brazzaville has remained just that.
Brazzaville and Kinshasa, which stare each other down from opposite banks of the Congo River, are famed as the two national capitals closest to one another.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Alberto Piubello (albertopiubello) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 331 W: 41 N: 881] (2623)
  • Genre: Lugares
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2007-04-02
  • Categories: Arquitectura
  • Exposición: f/4.8
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Versión de la foto: Versión original
  • Date Submitted: 2007-04-06 13:23
Viewed: 11026
Points: 24
Additional Photos by Alberto Piubello (albertopiubello) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 331 W: 41 N: 881] (2623)
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