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Morocco-DRC: Tea in Rabat with the Mobutus

By Fadwa Islah
Posted on Friday, 1 October 2021 19:01, updated on Monday, 4 October 2021 11:01

Seated in the centre, Mama Bobi Ladawa, Mobutu's widow, surrounded by Ngawali (left) and Yalitho, two of the marshal's daughters. Standing, Nzanga (left) and Nyiwa, his sons and grandson © HOC for JA

Friday 20 August 2021. On this holiday, the streets of Rabat are almost always deserted; the ambassadors’ residential area is no exception. Each year, the kingdom celebrates the anniversary of the ‘revolution of the king and the people’, a period during which Moroccans protested against Mohammed V’s forced exile to Madagascar in 1953.

Along the wide palm tree-lined alleys – which are usually filled with the cars of ministers, generals and other senior government officials – time seems to have stopped. The silence is occasionally interrupted by a whistling garden hose or a rustling door at one of the booths for the guards who ensure the safety of the wealthy villas’ inhabitants.