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For the municipality in the Philippines, see Kananga, Leyte, For the villain in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, see Dr. Kananga.

Kananga, formerly (and on some company names) known as Luluabourg, is the capital of the Kasai-Occidental province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a population of 393,000 (1994).

The city lies near the Lulua River - a tributary of the Kasai River and the IleboLubumbashi railway. An important commercial and administrative centre, it is home to a museum and an airport. Kananga is located at 5°53.82′S 22°26.93′E.

[edit] History

German explorer Herman Wißmann established a station in the area around present-day Kananga, on the left-bank of the Lulua river. Wißmann named the station Malandji, a name suggested by his 400 carriers, who were from the city of Malandji in Angola. Later on, with the construction of the railway on the other bank of the river, the station was moved, and the Lulua train station gave its name to the new town, namely Luluabourg. The old location is named Malandji-Makulu (old Malandji) to this day.

At the Brussels Round Table in 1960, name given to the negotiations for the independence of the (then) Belgian Congo , a decision was taken that the new state would move the location of its capital from Kinshasa to Kananga (then Luluabourg), due to the latter's central location. However, due to multiple political setbacks, and particularly the secession attempt by Albert Kalonji and his South Kasai, this decision was never implemented. When the central government reconquered South Kasai in 1962, Luluabourg became the capital of the new Kasai-Occidental province.

In 1966, in a move to reclaim the "authenticity" of Congolese identity, Mobutu Sese Seko renamed a number of cities and towns that bore European names. Leopoldville became Kinshasa, and Luluabourg became Kananga.

Locally, Kananga is known as Kananga-Malandji, or even Kananga-Malandji wa Nshinga. Nshinga, or cables, stands for the large high-voltage cables of the Inga-Shaba project, that cross the skies of Kananga, and that link the southern Katanga Province to the Inga Dam in Bas-Congo.

[edit] Trivia

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