Bangui - Bokassa


The trip from the Sangha river to the capital took me two long days, with driving some hours even in the dark. Nights in the Central African Republic are dark and only oil lamps lighten the shops. No power most of the times. When I arrived in the capital it was the usual African chaos, with streets full of colourful people struggling to survive and heavily boiled by the sweltering heat during the day. Also same to many African nation is the history here, of never ending coup d´états of rebel groups. However the form of dictatorship here was far in excess of the rest of the continent, culminating in a single term: Bokassa. He proclaimed the first African Empire with him as the emperor. His crowing ceremony held in Bangui sucked up 20 million dollars. Although the pope denied his coronation, several head of states took part of the ceremony as a kind of legitimization of his power. He slaughtered the opposition, sacked villages and fired every opponent from the parliament, nothing really new in Africa, however to my surprise there were still several Bokassa memorials in Bangui. A celebration of a past, which was not really worse than the present, where still rebel groups conquer the city regularly. Thankfully it was quiet today, although one armed group was waiting not far north of the city for their chance.