Congolese rumba awarded Unesco Cultural Heritage of Humanity standing

  • The Congolese rumba was included within the Unesco Cultural Heritage of Humanity record.
  • Unesco says the Congolese rumba is a multicultural type of expression, originating from an historical dance known as nkumba.
  • Because the record was developed in 2008, a complete of 429 intangible cultural heritage components have been inscribed.

In October 1974, American boxer Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), on the best way to beating George Foreman within the extremely publicised “Rumble within the Jungle” in Kinshasa, performed Congolese drums and received locals chanting “Ali Bomaye” (Ali, kill him!), engraving himself in that nation’s folklore and common tradition. 

The sound of the time was Congolese rumba and, greater than 45 years later, the story of Ali conquering the center of Africa remains to be being instructed via the identical style of music and different types of artwork.

On Tuesday, the United Nations Training and Scientific Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Summit accorded Congolese rumba the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity standing.

Two nations – the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville – utilized for Congolese rumba to be given particular discover.

In an announcement, Unesco mentioned they selected to recognise the music style as a result of it “is a multicultural type of expression originating from an historical dance known as nkumba (that means “waist” in Kikongo). The rumba is used for celebration and mourning, in non-public, public and spiritual areas”.

Among the most outstanding stars of this style are Koffi Olomidé and Kanda Bongo Man.

Within the Sixties, Congo Brazzaville turned the music capital of Africa, with the late Francois “Franco” Luambo Makiadi attaining legendary standing.

In its quotation, Unesco mentioned Congolese rumba was handed from technology to technology via formal education and social interplay.

Unesco mentioned:

The custom of Congolese rumba is handed right down to youthful generations via neighbourhood golf equipment, formal coaching colleges and group organisations. As an illustration, rumba musicians keep golf equipment and apprentice artists to hold on the apply and the manufacture of devices. The rumba additionally performs an essential financial function, as orchestras are more and more growing cultural entrepreneurship aimed toward decreasing poverty.

As a profession of individuals’s language and tradition, rhumba “is taken into account a vital and consultant a part of the id of Congolese folks and its diaspora. It’s perceived as a method of conveying the social and cultural values of the area and of selling intergenerational and social cohesion and solidarity”.

The sound joins Cuban rumba on the record, a secular style of Cuban music involving dance, percussion and music, from which it attracts some components of inspiration.

Different African recognitions have been Ceebu jën, a dish that originated within the fishing communities on the Island of Saint-Louis in Senegal.

Tbourida, a Moroccan equestrian efficiency, courting again to the sixteenth century, additionally made it to the record.

Moutya, a Seychelles dance introduced by enslaved Africans, who arrived with the French settlers within the early 18th century, was additionally honoured.

Among the well-known intangible cultural heritage components on Unesco’s consultant record embrace the Gastronomic Meal of the French (France, 2010), Indonesian Angklung (Indonesia, 2010), Chinese language Shadow Puppetry (China, 2011), Kimjang, or the making and sharing of Kimchi (South Korea, 2013), Washoku (Japan, 2013), Bagpipe Tradition (Slovakia, 2015), Beer Tradition in Belgium (Belgium, 2016) and Yoga (India, 2016).

Because the record was developed in 2008, a complete of 429 intangible cultural heritage components have been inscribed.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Basis. The tales produced via the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements which may be contained herein don’t replicate these of the Hanns Seidel Basis.

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