Kinshasa’s two main sports stadiums hold a special place in the country’s political history.
Stade Tata Raphael was opened in 1952 during the colonial era, and originally called Stade Roi Baudouin after the then Belgian monarch. It is best known as the venue for the 1974 WBC/WBA Heavyweight Championship boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, one of the most glittering of President Mobutu Sese Seko’s spectacular and lavish state-sponsored events.
The Stade des Martyrs de la Pentecôte (formerly the Stade Kamanyola) was built with a loan from the People’s Republic of China and opened in 1993. It sits in the heart of Kinshasa, opposite the Palais de Peuple, and hosts Congo’s biggest football matches. The building, constructed in Mobutu’s time, was renamed by his successor Laurent Kabila, to commemorate four cabinet ministers –Évariste Kimba, Jérôme Anany, Emmanuel Bamba, and Alexandre Mahamba – who were accused of an attempted plot against Mobutu and publicly hanged on the site in 1966.