This publication is the fruit of close collaboration between the Education and Culture service and scientists from the Colonial and Contemporary History sections of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren.
It was designed in close collaboration with education experts and teachers from different networks and streams in order to meet the needs and requirements of school programmes in the best possible way.
The educational book and its companion DVD-ROM seek to provide a nuanced view of the Congo's colonisation and its subsequent independence, with the help of numerous documents giving several viewpoints and contextualized by historians. It hopes to encourage students to think critically and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for the study of history. It should be noted that the bulk of the archives on the colonial period was produced and assembled by Europeans, whereas historical sources from Africa itself are much rarer. We have attempted to cite them as often as possible to provide a balanced portrait. Despite our best efforts to provide a finely-shaded picture of the period with the help of our Congolese colleagues, it should be recalled that this book was written in Belgium. A similar book written in the Congo would likely highlight other historical details and take a different approach to the period.
Given the diversity of educational networks and streams, we deliberately refrained from providing specific lesson plans, instead proposing a set of documents that can be used by the teachers to design their lessons.
This vivid presentation of history gives teachers and students, as well as any curious reader, the chance to measure the impact of this shared period between Belgium and the Congo – and use it as the starting point for visiting the museum with fresh eyes.