Foula-foulas are the face of the transportation industry in Kinshasa. This patchwork of diverse vehicles, made of various parts take the people of Kinshasa from a district to another, and are, in a sense the “nervous system” of the capital.
The more one moves away from the capital center, the more foula-foulas get numerous and dilapidated. In the districts of Njili, Massina and Matete, these 3rd, 4th or even 5th generation vehicles are nicknamed ‘Mbua’ (dog, in Lingala).
The transportation problem is not new. Since the 70s, while the multiple wars ripped the country apart, the modest (ex-) Leopoldville becomes a sprawling megalopolis, but most road infrastructures are crumbling and new neighborhoods are deprived of any roads.
To overcome the public transport issue, more and more vehicles are imported. And Kinshasa, like many other African capitals, is gradually turning into the repository of all the rolling wrecks of Europe.
Text & photos Colin Delfosse