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DRC: ‘I do social politics’ says Olive Lembe Kabila, influential wife of former president

By Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala
Posted on Friday, 23 April 2021 22:55, updated on Monday, 26 April 2021 14:51

Olive Lembe Di Sita Kabila, Joseph Kabila’s wife, on 27 September 2007. FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/BELGA/MAXPPP

For a long time, DRC’s former president Joseph Kabila's wife was careful to remain in the shadows.

Today, Olive Lembe Kabila is very active on social media and swears that she does not want to enter politics or overshadow the new first lady, Denise Nyakeru Tshisekedi.

Here are 10 things to know about Olive Lembe Kabila.

An extended family

Olive Lembe Di Sita Kabila was born on 29 July 1975 in Kailo, a small town in Maniema, in eastern DRC. She is the daughter of Barnabé Sita Kinsumbu and Léonie Kasembe Okomba. However, she was not raised by her biological father (who had gone back to Kinshasa), but rather a Belgian man named Adam Camille, who worked for the Société Minière du Kivu, in Sominki. Young Olive was surrounded by a large mixed family growing up, which included two brothers (Coco and Niwel) and two sisters (Nono and Dina) on her father’s side as well as two brothers (Thierry and Jean-Paul) and a sister (Stéphanie) on her mother’s side.

Mausoleum

Kabila did not really know her biological father, who died in Kinshasa only a few years after leaving Maniema. However, in the 2000s, she reconnected with her father’s family, with whom she has a good relationship. In keeping with Mayombe customs, she had her father’s remains transferred from the Kinsuka cemetery in Kinshasa to Boma, in central DRC. She also had a mausoleum erected in his honour.