The former colonizer Belgium is still connected to Congo/Zaïre with many strings. For many years this small European country has ties, many ties with this immense and expansive African country. First it was the private property of a Belgian king, next it was the property of the Belgian state. Next phase was that of two independent states, but with a shared history.
In this novel we enter the colonial days. we enter during the days of 1945 and we leave the stage in 1960. In between we meet several protagonists.
Guy Moyaert is a civil servant in the east of Congo, after he had finished his training at the Colonial School. He is an idealistic man and he recognizes the difficult relations between Belgian and Congolese people.
His friend Luk Vermarcke travels to Congo to take charge of the plantation of his father. He is also a man filled with ideals, but his ideals do not extend beyound the boundaries of his plantation.
In between these two men we find Hélene. She is the wife of Luk, but a former firlfriend of Guy. She is faithful to Luk, but their marriage gets stuck in the Congolese mud. Luk fights for his plantation, but not for his wife.
In this novel we encounter several colonial powers: the group of civil servants, the mighty people running the mines, The Roman Catholic Church and the settlers. In the end they all have their own interest, but they all stick together against the local powers. At the end of the novel we see the struggles of the colonial powers to survive. We know now how this struggle ended.
This novel is based on a Flemish television series.
Martin Heylen – Kongo – Antwerpen 1997 – 217 pages