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Mobutu Sese Seko Died Today… Watch "Mobutu, King of Zaire"

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 7, 2011 4:39 AM
4 Comments
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Today in history... September 7, 1997... Congo/Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, died in exile in Morocco, from prostate cancer.

On film, you'll find Mobutu (played by Alex Descas) in Raoul Peck's 2000 film, Lumumba - the story of the rise to power and brutal assassination of the formerly vilified and later redeemed leader of independent Congo, Patrice Lumumba - a film that's been previously mentioned on this blog. Mobutu isn't prominently featured, as it is Lumumba's story; the film ends with Mobutu seizing power and taking control of the region, on September 14, 1960, in a coup backed by the American CIA (Lumumba was eventually assassinated, as the film shows).

He renamed the country Zaire, and thus began his 30-year long totalitarian reign of violence, repression, and corruption, as he became one of the richest and most feared men in the world.

Also worth noting is that Mobutu also was instrumental in bringing the famous Rumble in the Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman to Zaire on October 30, 1974. According to the documentary When We Were Kings, Mobutu, wanting to improve on the image of his nation, put up the $10 million prize money, as promised to the fighters by promoter Don King.

Mobutu was also the subject of the three-part 1999 documentary titled, Mobutu, King of Zaire by Thierry Michel. I couldn't find it on any mainstream movie rental or purchase sites. Although, you can buy it used, via Amazon's marketplace.

Here's its trailer:

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4 Comments

  • Cherish | September 7, 2011 12:08 PMReply

    Chris Rock performed a hilarious tribute to Mobutu on The Chris Rock Show:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZL4crhOH1A

  • Clayton | September 7, 2011 9:30 AMReply

    Aww, Too bad... (extra pouting here)


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  • floyd webb | September 7, 2011 9:22 AMReply

    Alexa Dascas played a stone cold Mobutu in the film Lumumba. What a talented actor this man is. He was wonderful in Clair Denis' 35 Rhums with Mati Diop (the niece of Djbril Diop Mambety and daughter of Wasis Diop)

    I have always referred to the late despot as "Mickey Mouse Mobutu" and just spent 10 minutes looking for my favorite metaphorical image of Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga. It is a picture of he and one of his Children at Disneyland posing with Mickey Mouse. This was a decade after Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was denied permission to visit Disneyland during his 1959 trip to the U.S. Some reports said he was denied entry by Walt Disney himself because he was a godless commie. The FBI explained it to him as a "security issue." Here is what Special K had to say about it himself.

    "We have come to this town where lives the cream of American art. And just imagine, I a Premier, a Soviet representative, when I came here to this city, I was given a plan — a program of what I was to be shown and whom I was to meet here.

    But just now I was told that I could not go to Disneyland. I asked: 'Why not?' What is it, do you have rocket-launching pads there? I do not know.

    And just listen — just listen to what I was told — to what reason I was told. We, which means the American authorities, cannot guarantee your security if you go there.

    What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there or something? Or have gangsters taken over the place that can destroy me? Then what must I do? Commit suicide? This is the situation I am in — your guest. For me the situation is inconceivable. I cannot find words to explain this to my people."

    Well ,old Sese got to go and was welcomed to a personal portrait with Mickey Mouse himself as a reward for helping Eisenhower get rid of Patrice Lumumba, who was about to mess up the western mineral concession in Katanga by cozying up to the Russians.

    Could it be his trip was arranged by "Hegemony Cricket" on the Running Dog American tour with stops at the Pentagon and the School of the Americas at F Benning, GA to get up on advanced torture developments???

    Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga was a cheap sell-out of a great man and of his entire country. In hell there is no Mickey, Sese....or is there?

  • Cherish | September 7, 2011 5:50 AMReply

    Pure evil.

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