What's in the Name? Congolese Naming Practices

During Mobutu Sese Seko's authoritarian rule of the Democratic Republic of Congo (also known as Zaire) from 1965 to 1997 Congolese citizens were ordered to abondon their Christian or foreign names and replace them with the traditional Congolese names. Following the end of Mobutu's rule many Congolese either reverted back to the previous names or retained both. Typically, the present structure of Congolese naming sequence includes the first name (usually Christian) followed by two traditional names. Educational credentials reflect the era in which they were issued, oftentimes resulting in differences in names for the same person.

  • Michel

    Seeing a Christian name on a diploma/transcript delivered between 1971 and 1997 is an automatic authentication for me but only for a DRC citizen. Foreigners kept their Christian names. At all times, I carefully check the other personnal data when the diploma and ID paper bear different names: any alteration in the DOB or place of birth indicates a high probability of a stolen identity, and hence is also an automatic authentication.

  • Majka Drewitz

    Good to know, Michel! Thank you!



News Archive

Select a Tag