Mobutu, Joseph Désiré: see Mobutu Sese Seko.

Lake, east-central Africa. Lying at an altitude of 2,021 ft (616 m), it is 100 mi (160 km) long and has an average width of about 20 mi (32 km). In the southwest, the Semliki River brings into the lake the waters of Lake Edward; at its northeastern corner, just below Murchison Falls, it receives the Victoria Nile from Lake Victoria. In 1864 the lake's first European visitor, Samuel Baker, named it after Queen Victoria's consort. Initially part of Uganda, it now forms part of the Uganda-Congo border.

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orig. Joseph-Désiré Mobutu

(born Oct. 14, 1930, Lisala, Belgian Congo—died Sept. 7, 1997, Rabat, Mor.) President of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), 1965–97. Mobutu served in the Belgian Congolese army and as a journalist before joining Patrice Lumumba in independence negotiations in Brussels in 1960. When independence was achieved, the coalition government of Pres. Joseph Kasavubu and Premier Lumumba put Mobutu in charge of defense. In a rift between Kasavubu and Lumumba, Mobutu helped Kasavubu seize control. Four years later, in a power struggle between Pres. Kasavubu and then Premier Moise Tshombe, Mobutu removed Kasavubu in a coup and assumed the presidency. He established single-party rule and Africanized all European names, changing his own to Mobutu Sese Seko (“All-Powerful Warrior”). His repressive regime failed to spur economic growth; corruption, mismanagement, and neglect led to decline, while Mobutu himself amassed one of the largest personal fortunes in the world. He was overthrown by Laurent Kabila in 1997 and died in exile in Morocco.

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Mobutu, King of Zaire (orig. French title: Mobutu, roi du Zaïre) is a 1999 documentary film about Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, the former President of Zaire.


"Of all the human passions, the appetite for domination is the most inebriating" (St. Augustine)

The ultimate "African King, Joseph Désiré Mobutu was one of the most enduring and tenacious dictators to rise to power as a result of the Cold War and the decolonisation.

November 1965. With the help of the CIA, Mobutu launched a coup d'état and seized power in the former Belgian Congo. He renamed the country Zaïre and imposed on his people a peace based upon fear, violence and repression.

In less than 25 years, this young sergeant of the colonial army became one of the richest and most feared men in the world. He sided with the West and built a pyramid of autocratic, predatory power, underpinned by money. He handed out favours and disgrace, and wielded absolute rule over the ruins of a country ravaged by corruption,.

Mobutu, King of Zaïre is the story of one man's exceptional destiny, founded on ambition and grandeur, betrayal and cowardice, a character worthy of the great Shakespearean tragedies.

The film: Its History

This film is the result of more than two years of work tracking down archive material and witnesses close to Mobutu in Africa, Europe and the U.S. More than 950 hours of footagehabe been seen by the world. Among the 104 hours selected as the basis for this film, are 30 hours of archives recently discovered in Kinshasa and never before released. Completing these exceptional documents, are more than 50 hours of interviews with those close to the former president and the events surrounding his reign, conducted by the director in Kinshasa, Brussels, Paris and Washington.

Like a vast historical puzzle, this film pieces together the tragic history of a country, and its self-styled leader - the dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, "King of Zaïre.


  • Mention of honor in "Seen by Africa" on 1999 - Montreal - Canada
  • Nominee in Los Angeles by international Documentary Association (IDA) for the IDA Awards - United States
  • Special mention during the delivery of European Films Awards for Berlin - Germany


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