By Cory Doctorow at 11:33 am Mon, Sep 7, 2009
And a pizza joint next door, gotta have one of those.
I was in DR Congo a few weeks ago and snapped a shot in Goma of a “copy shop” in the street outside the university of Goma – around a dozen copy machines doing a very brisk business.
As someone wrote above, there’s a rainy season and a dry season; during the dry season, you can pretty much set up anywhere you can deliver electricity. Then of course it’s the dust you have to worry about …
Are they playing Congo Bongo?
If you check carefully, on the right side, there is a cell phone rent stand. Just like the ones we got here.
And I’ll bet those T.V’s are like the fake hollow kind you get in furniture stores.
They’ve even gone to the trouble of putting in dummy power lines!
Beanolini @ #29:
Thing here is, that Britain was ruled by the English, so historically “England” was very commonly used to refer to the UK/Great Britain. It was only the relatively recent rise of Scottish (and Welsh) nationalism that made that use fall out of favor.
“Great Britain” was also an interchangeable term. In fact, a number of languages (e.g. Polish, Scandinavian languages) don’t even have a commonly used name that corresponds to “The United Kingdom” – the name for the UK in those languages _is_ “Great Britain” (or a translation of it)
So there’s nothing at all wrong with saying “Americans fought England during the Revolutionary War”, because “England” was the commonly used term at that time.
These things aren’t so simple as people often believe. For instance, it’s NOT the case (as one might think) that “Bombay” was some colonial corruption, and “Mumbai” the original name. In fact, “Mumbai” is a Marathi neologism and the name change was passed by Hindu nationalists. The change was not embraced by many non-Hindu/non-Marathi residents. In other words, “Bombay” is actually more politically neutral.
In a similar vein, the name for Burma was changed to “Myanmar” by their military dictatorship. Burmans who regard that regime as illegitimate tend not to use that term.
I know this may seem tedious and anal, but referring to it as “Congo” is like when Americans refer to the UK as England
What about when the English refer to themselves as being from England? I know several English people that consistently refer to themselves as English. And being from England.
Now, I realize it was a joke being played on me as a rube United Statesian. Dang.
Hi, the photo’s on my Flickr stream, but it was taken by my co-worker Coco Makanda.
The photo is real, there are arcades like this all over Kinshasa, especially in this neighborhood (Bandal). We walked by at least three others that day. I’ve never seen people playing anything except FIFA soccer.
The dry season is just about to end here; there hasn’t been rain for three months. When the rain starts the arcades get covered or move inside.
It costs 200 Congolese Francs for three games, that’s around 25 cents.
The previous photo in the stream is staged, it was taken during filming for a TV show I’m working on here.
Thanks, and I’m glad you liked the photo!
Elvis Pelt – you’ve entirely missed the point.
English people are of course English. It’s the Scottish, Welsh and Nothern Irish people who make up the rest of the UK that aren’t.
And no, the divisions are not just arbitrary lines on a map – the nations might share a lot of similarities but there there are many cultural, historical, linguistic and ethnic differences between their people.
I invite you to prove me wrong… just visit the streets of Glasgow, Cardiff or Belfast on a Friday night and start calling everyone you meet “English”.
Not that this has anything to do with The Congo, of course. I’ve never been but for what it’s worth, if someone says to me “The Congo” – I think of the RoC – i.e. the former French bit as opposed to the bit that used to be Zaire.
#28, Elvis Pelt:
What about when the English refer to themselves as being from England?
You miss the point. It’s the people who live in Scotland, Wales, Ulster etc who particularly object to the whole of the UK being referred to as ‘England’.
Has Congotronics been mentioned here before?
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the info!
They’re playing Child Soldier, part of Rockstar East’s controversial new fall ’09 lineup.
Damn, I had seen some arcades in weird places, but never one out in the open. Must be scary for the owner and frustrating for the customers every time rain is near.
It brings happy memories from my childhood, however.
In case you didn’t get the message about that section of wall on the right: sitting on top of this wall is strictly prohibited.
That is awesome. All they need now is some tinny Journey playing over the stereo for the full arcade effect.
Also. Check out the picture entitled ‘Fight’, just before ‘Arcade’.
I call Stageificaton Dexteriousis.
Somehow, the blood spatter just doesn’t look right.
That photo’s description is “on the set” and it’s tagged with “actors.”
at least if keeps them off the streets.
Wow, I’m setting one of these up at my place!
Naw, they was waiting for the Obama Labor Day speech to see if they were gonna get a handout or maybe some quarters for the arcade. Where do the quarters go? In the side of the TV in that black box? I’d bet them kids don’t move when it rains, pulling plastic over the top and continuing on with their gaming, just like kids in the US.
Not wanting to be “that guy”, but the Congo is broken into two countries; the Democratic Republic the Congo of and the Republic of the Congo. In the Flickr stream it states that it’s the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I know this may seem tedious and anal, but referring to it as “Congo” is like when Americans refer to the UK as England. And there are some horrific reasons why that distinction between the two countries exists.
#32: Shut the hell up
#10 – What are you getting at? The Congo isn’t broken into two countries; There was never a single political unit (country) known as “The Congo”, unless you count the pre-colonial tribal area of the specific Congo tribe; which would be smaller than the area of the countries. (making your England-UK analogy rather irrelevant)
The reason for that distinction is not horrific. The French and Belgians decided that what was north of the river was French, and what was south, was Belgian. True, the history of Belgian Congo was incredibly cruel, even by 19th century colonial standards. But that didn’t have anything to do with the partitioning itself.
Saying “Congo” for the DRC is wrong, but only because “Congo” has always referred to French Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville. The usually refer to themselves as “Le Congo”.
The DRC was Zaire, and before that, “Belgian Congo”. Not simply “Congo”.
I’m currently in Pointe Noire Congo, (Republic of Congo) and what I’ve realized is most people call this place Congo but specify Congo DRC when referring to the other Congo..
Also, I have seen these arcades, a couple weeks back I was in Gabon and saw similar arcades but they had actually built cabinets to house the TV and Playstation. It’s pretty neat.
As for the rain, there are 2 seasons, rainy and dry.. so for the most part they probably are not too concerned. You can actually see people watching tv outside quite often..
Hey look! Black people are doing something that white people do!
This is the pic I took of the arcade in Gabon I mentioned in an earlier post.
Yeah, coz that’s the salient point.
Great pic Luis!
Something isn’t right… how is the video signal getting from the game systems to the TVs? It’s not through the coax or RCA plugs, they’re all empty.
…though could be plugged into RCA plugs on the front, I suppose.
Actually Cosmo, it looks like the RCAs are on the back and empty too. Is there ever more than one set (besides the coax AV)?
Maybe it’s something custom :)
They could have another input on the front, that would make sense. There’s not a whole lot about the set-up that looks custom, so I doubt they’d bypass the video inputs that came with the TVs and make their own– that’s a lot of work for absolutely no reason.
I’m not trying to be overly skeptical– I don’t know enough about the DRC to know whether or not a street arcade like that makes sense. But, juxtaposed with the picture before it in the stream, which is definitely from a movie/tv show set, it does make me wonder if that’s actually a working arcade or something that’s meant to be filmed.
I wasn’t questioning your sleuthing motivations at all, Cosmo, it’s an interesting and puzzling observation.
I just mailed the photographer, let’s see what he says :)
>> “The graphics on this SNES game are sweet, but I sure wish I had a sandwich.” – Child in Red Shirt
:o) Though, they’re PS2s. You can tell from the silver DualShock pad the kid on the left has. AFAIK the PS1 never had silver ones, and the PS3 doesn’t either yet.
Thank you, #10, I was mildly curious which Congo was pictured. I’m not aware of the common terminology, because nobody I know refers to either on a regular basis. So clarification is helpful to put my slightly compulsive mind to rest.
Arkizzle- Not at all, I’m questioning my own sleuthing motivations. Sometimes a great picture is just a great picture, but the internet has conditioned me to treat every picture like the back cover of a Highlights for Children– I know there’s something wrong, I just need to find out what it is. I’m sure it’s the first step towards being a conspiracy nut, and I don’t like it.
Still the picture seems a little fishy.
“The graphics on this SNES game are sweet, but I sure wish I had a sandwich.” – Child in Red Shirt
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