Examples of images shared on social media to highlight the similarities between the Kinshasa neighbourhoods of Bandal and Lemba and the French capital Paris.
Residents of Bandal and Lemba, two districts of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have both laid claim to the nickname of Congo’s “Little Paris.” The rivalry may seem odd but it has had surprisingly positive effects: it has sparked a competition to beautify both neighbourhoods to make them even more similar to the ‘City of Lights’.
On one side of the dispute is Bandalungwa (shortened to Bandal), a district of northwest Kinshasa made up of about 200,000 residents. On the other is side is Lemba, population 350,000, located closer to the centre of the capital.
Though there are only about 10 kilometres separating them, the two districts have made social media their battleground. Between March and April, residents supporting either Bandal or Lemba created scores of Facebook pages filled with photos aimed at showing how their home was most similar to the French capital.
Bandal residents focused on the lively and more luxurious sides of their district, comparing their landmarks to Paris’ Champs Élysées and other monuments.
This image, comparing a bridge in Bandal with the Alexandre III bridge in Paris, was published on the Facebook page “Bandal c’est Paris” (translation: Bandal is Paris”).
This video filmed in Bandal shows an illuminated “Eiffel Tower” sparkling above restaurants and clubs.
Lemba supporters, on the other hand, have focused on how their buildings look more like those in Paris. Their Lemete tower is often compared to the Eiffel Tower, and Unikin, the biggest university in Kinshasa, is, according to supporters, the Congolese equivalent to the Sorbonne.