Originally a monument to the heroes of the nation, Echangeur has been used in turns as a police station, a museum and a radio transmission tower. Mobutu commissioned it from the French-Tunisian architect Olivier-Clément Cacoub in the early 1970s. It is a brutalist or neo-art deco concrete tower, 210 m tall, ‘modernism that relies on self-sufficiency’,[i] sitting next to the main road from the airport into Kinshasa. In 2022 it was undergoing restoration work by the Chinese company CREC, and a new mausoleum was being constructed to house one of Patrice Lumumba’s teeth (the only part of him thought to remain after his body was dissolved in acid).
[i] Ruth Sacks ‘The city can speak for itself: notes on approach architecture in Kinshasa’ in Africa in the World: Shifting Boundaries and Knowledge Production, pp 21-29 https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/j.2573-508X.2018.tb00007.x: 27