Nkunda’s complaint. On universities, colonisation and decolonisation in Belgian Congo
In 2008, amidst ongoing troubles in East Congo, Congolese rebel leader Laurent Nkunda used an interview to complain about the lack of university education during the colonial period. His complaint is part of a long tradition, in which the Belgian government is held responsible for depriving the Congolese of university education; consequently, decoloniz a tion could only fail. This article argues that, although official education policies were not aimed at university education, initiatives were taken by the universities themselves. At Lovanium and at the Belgian universities, a small number of gifted Congolese were given the oppor - tunity to enjoy higher education in the years leading up to 1960. Furthermore, this group did play a role in the period immediately following decolonization. But after Mobutu had taken power, and during the post-colonial aftermath, a university diploma no longer served as an important entry to key positions in society.