In the heart of Congo’s capital stands a memorial which houses the remains of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, the French explorer of Italian origin, who founded Brazzaville in October 1880.
The gleaming white marble mausoleum built as a memorial to Mr. Brazza, the founder of the city, along the banks of the Congo River is completed with a museum, sculpture garden and giant statue.
At a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the memorial, Bélinda Ayessa, CEO of the Memorial Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza said the adventure has been exiciting.
“I think we can say ten years of adventure; an extraordinary and exciting adventure that has been beset by problems. Like any adventure, there have been good times, there have been bad times. It is here that is the adventure that allowed us today to achieve our decade. And we’re happy.”
The memorial is primarily a tourist site that traces the history of the Congo. Since it was inaugurated 10 years ago, nearly 7 million people have visited it.
“I came to visit first because it is a place that tourists come to visit. I took my daughter to Ouesso (a city in northeastern Congo) that she will find useful as she studies history in school. We ourselves have also been found in elementary school history,” said Michel Bahou, one of the visitors at the memorial.
“It’s culture first. So ancient history. It’s good. I would like to remember all those who died before me and who lived before me. My point is about the friendship treaty he had with King Makoko. Although we often talk at school, but I’d like to see and cultivate myself,” another visitor, Dieuveil Ndolo added.
Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza took possession of the land Ncouna, which later became Brazzaville, after having signed a treaty with then king of Teke known as Makoko on September 10, 1880.
Today, some Congolese wish to see his remains rest near those of Savorgnan de Brazza.
“There is a bit of disappointment on our part because Mbé (where the treaty of Brazza-Makoko was signed in 1880) is still landlocked, like the district of Ngäbe (which is Mbé‘s home) that is now lost in the bush. Regarding King Ilo 1; who signed with Brazza, he must surely be turning in his grave as he sees he that he still remains a leper: Brazza is seated while he is still lost in the deep forest,” Prince Nsalou, spokesman for the Royal Court Teke said.
Recently, the Congolese government initiated expansion works of the Brazza memorial.
The goal is to transform the site into a true cultural complex with among others an auditorium of nearly 800 seats, a theater, a museum, galleries of art and restaurants.