Voodoo: Take A Look At This Place in Congo Where Wrestlers Fight Using Charms

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Wrestlers Fight Using Charms

Voodoo: Take A Look At This Place in Congo Where Wrestlers Fight Using Charms.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a wrestling-crazed country. Some say that apart from soccer, wrestling has to be the most favorite sport of the Congolese. 

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This is a phenomenon whose seeds were sown in the capital Kinshasa in 1971 by American and European wrestling promoters. The unique and wildly popular Congolese variety of wrestling, which bears some similarities to American professional wrestling, took off in the late 1960s and early ’70s. 

Wrestlers Fight Using Charms
Wrestlers Fight Using Charms

Since the early days of urbanization, there have been public fights in Kinshasa,” says Katrien Pype, Ph.D., a professor of African cultural anthropology at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and at KU Leuven University in Belgium. In the 1950s, when this sizable swath of Central Africa was still a Belgian colony, a style of fighting called mukumbusu emerged. Inspired by the movements of gorillas and incorporating both foreign and African fighting styles, mukumbusu was a “reaction to the other martial arts that were brought in by the colonialists,” 

Pype says. Elaborate costumes that had amulets and talismans or a magic powder were common. There were also those who could bring their reptiles, dead or alive, and other animals to perform magic in the ring. In these contests, the spectators, enthusiasts, and fighters say no amount of gym and martial arts sessions can save a voodoo wrestler. A good voodoo wrestler is one who can neutralize the powers of an opponent and subdue them. 

Sometimes, in a voodoo wrestling match, defeat could reportedly mean the death of the defeated. In documentary films about voodoo wrestling, subjects report of the most bizarre things apart from death setting fire to an opponent, eating the intestines of an opponent among other dastardly drama. When it started, voodoo wrestling had support from Congolese dictator and known aficionado of African mysticism, Mobutu Sese Seko. 

There was a league competition sponsored by the government. Apart from the cessation of national support, growing Pentecostal Christianity was also a potent mind-changer for millions who once before saw nothing wrong with voodoo wrestling. These days, voodoo wrestling is thought to be the pastime of the poor and morally and spiritually inept Congolese. 

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