Let’s go for ten days of competition. Kinshasa is now the capital of Francophonie as the ninth Games of La Francophonie opened, six years after the last edition in Côte d’Ivoire. Thirty-six delegations for a total of over 3,000 athletes will compete in nine sports competitions and eleven cultural events.
It was 7:09 p.m. in Kinshasa, in a Martyrs stadium which combined light and fervor, when Félix Tshisekedi pronounced the famous: ” I thus declare open the 9th Games of La Francophonie “. Kinshasa will have waited a long time for her day of honor in a community where she is a standard bearer. There first French-speaking city of the world experienced “magical moments” for 2 hours and 10 minutes.
A paradigm shift in the DRC
From 6 p.m. sharp, the Stade des martyrs turned on its floodlights. The new synthetic lawn has ceremonially ceded its central throne to a ground cover with multicolored frescoes, representing the diversity, cardinal value of La Francophonie. The public, who came in large numbers, noted the ” narrative and paradigm shift in the DRC. The Francophone Games are indeed the first competition of such magnitude to be held in the country of Lumumba.
The Kinshasa Martyrs stadium, more beautiful than before (Photo Dandjes Luyila)
It is clear, the prospect is confirmed. The DRC seems on the right track. Yes, it is not only war, insecurity, calamities, human rights violations and political instability in this sleeping giant of Central Africa. Kinshasa is a city welcoming and radiant “, it’s nice to live there. For ten days, it will be the capital of the French-speaking world, through sport and culture which will be exalted there by the youth and their talent.
Thanks to its people and the legendary resilience which is its strength, the DRC intends, through these games, to continue to play a leading role in the Francophonie with the ambition of becoming, by 2050, the largest French-speaking country in the world.
A ceremony at the height of the first French-speaking city in the world
After the observance of a minute of silence in memory of victims of the war of aggression suffered by the DRC, the thirty delegations marched to the delight of the fans. As a symbol, Côte d’Ivoire, host of the eighth Games, opened the ball, passing the baton to the DRC, which paraded last.
There followed a short ceremonial part during which the Canadian Caroline Saint-Hilaire, administrator of the OIF and representative of the SG, celebrated “ Francophone youth in all its splendor ” but also the DRC which by ” passion and dedication gave birth to these 9th Games. “ These games transcend borders, cultures and languages to unite us under one banner: La Francophonie, a constellation of 88 states. (…) French is more than a communication tool, it is a powerful echo of our cultures. The Francophone Games are the shining expression of our commitment to a world where everyone has their place “, she declared full of energy. To young people, the number 2 of the OIF had words of praise: ” Your prowess and your passion ignite our hearts ».
Believe in the Francophonie
For his part, the President of the DRC took advantage of this ceremony to “ celebrate this beautiful community that brings us together from north to south, from east to west thanks to the French language that we have in common », while paying homage to the fathers of La Francophonie. ” The Congolese still believe in the Francophonie in these difficult times. Our country has the ambition to continue to play a significant role because the future of the Francophonie is also at stake in the DRC. “, he declared while the DRC consented “ enormous financial efforts “in a difficult context marked by aggression” unfair in the east by armed groups supported by some neighboring countries “. Tshisekedi sees in these Games a ” solidarity of francophones towards the Congolese.
The Congolese athlete Olivier Mwimba Sefu and a representative of the judges closed this part by taking the oath on behalf of all the competitors.
A colorful show
It was finally at 7:30 p.m., half an hour late, that the opening show began. A show worthy of the DRC and the Francophonie. At my side, a dazzled spectator exclaimed when the lights went out: “Ba sala na bango ba francophonie, oyo bazo zwa lesson”. Translate: there have been opening ceremonies of the Games, but this one is unique.
After “ get up », the engaging hit of Franco-Serbian artist Barbara Pravi who traveled from Kinshasa to perform this « manifesto for freedom and universal love and the deployment of the identity of the Games, a journey into the deep Congo plunged spectators into a unique visual ecstasy.
Kinshasa offered an opening show that has nothing to envy to previous editions. In illustration, the opening of the 6th Games in Beirut in 2009
The cultural heritage, the immense natural and human wealth that abounds in the DRC were visited in an exciting narration with the majestic Congo River as a point of barley and a landing in beauty in Kinshasa the capital where the sapeurs exhibited brands and clothing styles that exalt the taste in a country where the mixture of cultures is very pronounced.
Before the performance of Fally Ipupa, guest of the evening who communed with an audience won over to his cause, the very one who carried him to the summit of Apollon’s art, a trip to the future was offered to spectators with an emphasis on waste management. The DRC is a solution country, as you know.
During those 120 minutes or so, I was almost out of my body. Yes, we proposed the best opening ceremony in the history of the Games of La Francophonie. In the meantime, enjoy your stay in the new “ City of Lights to the 3,000 athletes and long live La Francophonie.