African Circle Museum of Pointe-Noire
The African Circle Museum of Pointe-Noire: A Nostalgic Journey into Congo's Past</h4>
Nestled in the bustling port city of Pointe-Noire, the African Circle Museum of Pointe-Noire serves as a vibrant testament to the Congo's diverse cultural heritage. Positioned on the Lumumba roundabout, this museum carries a poignant historical significance. During the colonial era, this site marked the boundary where Congolese natives, despite acquiring French nationality, were forbidden to cross into the "Cercle Civil"—the exclusive enclave of French elites.
The building housing the museum has a storied past of its own. It began as a Court of Justice, then fell into disuse before the Congolese state, in partnership with Eni Congo, breathed new life into it, transforming it into a museum under the auspices of UNESCO.
Project head and the leader of community and territories initiatives at Eni Congo, Yvon Nkouka, emphasizes the importance of this landmark, stating, "This is significant because it remains the demographic boundary of the city centre where there is a certain mixed elite between locals and expatriates." He adds, "As soon as we talk about history, we talk about identity, and if we talk about identity, we project ourselves into the future."
Keen to make culture accessible to all, the museum has set an affordable entry price—just 500 Congolese Francs (equivalent to US$0.30, €0.27, £0.23). Children under 14 years of age are admitted for free. Nkouka believes that the low cost will inspire even the youngest visitors to "rediscover the history of their culture".
The museum's curator, Samuel Mabanza, points out that the Congo had no establishments capable of housing such collections in the past. "If today we can return collections to us, we now have structures to accommodate them," he says.
The African Circle Museum of Pointe-Noire stands as a beacon of cultural preservation and education. It offers a window into the country's past, fostering a sense of identity and providing a space where future generations can explore and connect with their heritage.
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