Country Listing

Zaire Table of Contents



Zairians have not revolted in the face of their progressive pauperization. Instead, faced with a steady decline in income and a rise in exactions from authorities on their declining income base, they have responded in three ways: by adapting, by resisting, and by fleeing. These strategies cut across class distinctions, although the specific actions taken might be shaped by class.

One key to understanding popular adaptive strategies and their underlying ideologies may be found in the terms of reference and address, idioms, and phrases used in everyday life. Paralleling the official ideologies of authenticity (see Glossary) and Mobutism (see Glossary) have been those methods created by the Zairian people in their efforts to cope with an economy in decline. Phrases heard in daily conversation embody the strategies used to negotiate an increasingly difficult economic climate.

Data as of December 1993