Central African Republic History and Culture

By | October 17, 2021


The territory of the Central African Republic was conquered by France after 1890 and administered from 1910 as the Ubangi-Shari colony in the Federation of French Equatorial Africa (since 1946 overseas territory within the French Union). After 1945, the Catholic clergyman Barthélémy Boganda (* 1910, † 1959) made a name for himself as a political leader and after granting autonomy on December 1, 1958, gave the country the name Central African Republic.

On August 13, 1960, according to remzfamily, the Central African Republic became independent under President David Dacko (* 1930, † 2003), but worked closely with France politically, economically and militarily. With the introduction of one-party rule (1962), the “Mouvement d’Évolution Sociale de l’Afrique Noire” (MESAN; German “Movement for the Social Development of Black Africa”; dissolved in 1979) received the status of a unity party. After a military coup at the turn of the year 1965/66, Chief of Staff J.-B. Bokassa the power, whose regime increasingly assumed the features of an arbitrary rule. Elected president for life in 1972, he proclaimed the “Central African Empire” on December 4, 1976 and proclaimed himself emperor (coronation December 4, 1977).

After demonstrations (between January and May 1979) against Bokassa’s terror regime (including personal participation in the murder of demonstrating school children in Bangui in 1978), the opposition formed a united front (June 1979). With military and political support from France, the former President Dacko was able to overthrow Bokassa on September 20, 1979 and restore the republic, but was deposed on September 1, 1981 by a military coup. General André Kolingba (* 1936, † 2010) took over the government at the head of a “Comité Militaire de Redressement National” (CMRN; German “Military Committee for National Reconstruction”). In March 1982 a coup attempt by A.-F. Patassés. With the adoption of a new constitution by the population (November 1986), Kolingba was elected president. The unity party “Rassemblement Démocratique Centrafricain” (RDC) was founded in 1987 to support his rule. After protests against the Kolingba regime in 1990, political reforms were announced and in 1991 several parties were allowed for the first time. With the dissolution of the CMRN (1991), a prime minister appointed by the president took over the leadership of the government. Patassé (MLPC) won the presidential elections (August / September 1993) and a new constitution was introduced in 1995. Against the background of economic difficulties, there were several army mutinies in 1996/97, including a resignation of Patassé was demanded and which were increasingly ethnic. Despite a peace treaty signed in Bangui on January 25, 1997, which, among other things, an amnesty, the formation of a government of national unity and the deployment of an African peacekeeping force, as well as an agreement on national reconciliation passed on March 5, 1998, the domestic political situation remained tense. In the presidential elections on September 19, 1999, in the run-up to which there were bloody clashes between supporters of the government and the opposition, Patassé was confirmed in office. A military coup was put down in May 2001; the putschist leader Kolingba, who fled abroad, was sentenced to death in absentia in August 2002. On March 15, 2003 Patassé overthrown in a coup led by former Chief of Staff F. Bozizé and with the active military participation of Chad; Bozizé was proclaimed the new president. He appointed representatives from almost all political parties and groups to the transitional government he had newly formed. In the presidential elections in May 2005, Bozizé was confirmed in office. The parliamentary election, which was held at the same time, was won by the Bozizé- led Kwa-na-Kwa coalition with 42 of 106 seats.


The Aka Pygmies in the Central African Republic

The Aka-Pygmies and their music

In the rainforests of Central Africa, the Aka pygmies have preserved their original way of life as hunters and gatherers to this day. Their music is extraordinarily diverse. Although the Aka Pygmies use some simple musical instruments, such as flutes and musical bows, their choir singing together is particularly impressive. Like the entire life of the pygmies, musical education takes place in the community; every member of the tribe is also a musician. Each singer receives a melodic-rhythmic pattern from a common set of notes with which he identifies himself; this ostinate figure can also be varied in dimensions. When singing together, each singer sings “his” pattern within a basically four-part choir. By combining the many different Patterns of different lengths always result in new, complex constellations in harmony. Anyone can get involved in this singing, so that the four-part voice quickly results in an artistic polyphony. Since the music is only passed on orally, there is no actual composition – the melodies are always created anew.

In the meantime, the music of the Aka-Pygmies has also been discovered by European musicians. The Austrian composer György Ligeti was encouraged to write piano etudes in which he transformed the superimposing processes that can be heard in the folklore of the Aka-Pygmies. Fascinated by her polyphonic chants, Ligeti arranged for guest appearances by the 15 members of the ensemble “Nzamba Lela” in Berlin (2001) and Basel (2003).

World Heritage Sites in the Central African Republic

World Heritage Sites

  • Manovo-Gounda Saint Floris National Park (1988)
  • Sangha Tri National Park (2012)

Central African Republic History and Culture