Bonobo Handshake: A memoir of love and adventure in the Congo
by Vanessa Woods
Black Inc., $27.95 pb, 256 pp
Even the name is confusing: think of it as Belgian Congo/Zaire/Congo DRC to avoid confusing it with the Republic of Congo/Congo Brazzaville across the river. Officially, the name is Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC – so you could roll out the usually accurate cliché that any country with ‘Democratic’ in the name definitely isn’t that. In fact, the DRC had an election a few years back which was reasonably democratic and certainly inspired an impressive voter rollout.
If the name is confusing, the DRC’s recent history is even more opaque. The virtually unreported war there may have claimed as many as five million lives and has justifiably been labelled ‘Africa’s World War’, all and sundry having joined the game, including countries such as Zimbabwe that don’t even border the DRC.