This is an plus size book, meant to read and view. There are many pictures in this book, showing life of the Belgian citizens living in Congo, during the colonial era. It was the world of the civil servants and later in time of the people who wanted to set up shop in the country by starting a business, like a plantation, a mining corporation etcetera.
The world of the white folks was seperated from the world of the Congolese, even seperated from the world of the évolues, who tried to reach the ‘level’ of the white population. However, within the world of whites there were seperations as well, everyone stood with people from his own class and rank.
The Belgian government paid attention to educating the local population, but the focus was almost completely on primary education. Secondary education and even higher education was available, but only in a very limited way. The result of this was that at the time of independence there was only a very small group of people who could key jobs. Healthcare was at a proper level in the colony.
There is plenty of attention to speedy proces that led to independence in 1960. The liberal Belgian Jef van Bilsen had proposed a few years earlier a short road to independence for Congo. That road extended to a period of 30 years!
Jan Raymaekers – Congo. De schoonste tijd van mijn leven. Getuigenissen van oud-kolonialen in woord en beeld – Leuven 2009 – 199 pages