Dec 15, 2021
By Andy Johnson
You may not be familiar with Congolese Rumba.
It’s a popular genre of dance music which originated in the Congo basin during the 1940s and gaining popularity throughout Africa during the 1960s and 1970s.
It’s described as one of the most influential genres of African music and dance and, as the culmination of a campaign by the the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville, Congolese Rumba, now enjoys Unesco-protected status.
The two counties occupy what was once the ancient kingdom of Kongo where the dance originated. The work “rumba” itself comes from the Kikongo word for navel.
Congolese Rumba now joins other living traditions like Jamaican reggae on Unesco’s “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” list, which helps to maintain cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization