Ethnic associations in Katanga province, the Democratic Republic of Congo: multi-tier system, shifting identities and the relativity of autochthony

Ethnic associations in Katanga province, the Democratic Republic of Congo: multi-tier system, shifting identities and the relativity of autochthony

Author: 
Gobbers, Erik
Publisher: 
Cambridge University Press
Date published: 
2016
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Modern African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2016, pp. 211-236
Abstract: 

This article unravels the world of ethnic associations in Katanga that emerged as a result of rural-urban migration. These associations constitute a multi-tier system reflecting ethnic, provincial and national identity levels. Primarily meant to organise mutual aid and foster cultural values, they have behaved as interest groups since democracy was re-established in the 1990s. Representing ethnic communities, they try to influence the distribution of spoils through lobbying activities, emphasising the right of 'autochthons' to be prioritised regarding employment and development. Political and socio-economic changes trigger identity shifts and ethnic associations adapt by inventing alternative 'autochthony'/'allochthony' dichotomies, causing friction between communities. The multi-tier system provides forums where ethnic differences can be negotiated and ethnic communities can integrate. In its current manner of functioning it is only effective at mitigating acute crises. In order to resolve more complex political issues, it would benefit from a preventive approach within a permanent framework of consultation between associations and authorities.

Language: 

CITATION: Gobbers, Erik. Ethnic associations in Katanga province, the Democratic Republic of Congo: multi-tier system, shifting identities and the relativity of autochthony . : Cambridge University Press , 2016. Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2016, pp. 211-236 - Available at: http://library.au.int/ethnic-associations-katanga-province-democratic-republic-congo-multi-tier-system-shifting-identiti-0