Jana Frey | 10/05/2018 | 747 Views | Interviews

Sangu Philippe Ibaka | "Kinshasa, ville-capitale: L’adaption des institutions traditionelles après l’indipendence"

Lisa Maskell Fellowships at Stellenbosch University, South Africa

In 2014, the Gerda Henkel Foundation initiated a scholarship programme supporting young humanities scholars from Africa and Southeast Asia in honour of the foundation's founder, Lisa Maskell. It is the largest international support programme for PhD students in the history of the Foundation. The Lisa Maskell Fellowships aim to strengthen universities in the partner countries, to counter the outflow of qualified young scholars and to ensure the doctoral students enjoy excellent academic training.

In the following months, L.I.S.A. will publish interviews with the Lisa Maskell Fellows from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, in which they will talk about their research projects as well as their experiences during their academic career and the Lisa Maskell fellowship.

This week, we welcome Sangu Philippe Ibaka from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After graduating from the University of Kinshasa, he started his PhD in Sociology with the thesis Kinshasa, ville-capitale: L’adaption des institutions traditionelles après l’indipendence at Stellenbosch University in 2016.

Sangu Philippe Ibaka from DRC

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L.I.S.A.: What is the status of the humanities in Democratic Republic of the Congo, your home country?

Sangu Philippe Ibaka: In my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the education system officially recognizes three classical cycles, namely: the primary cycle, 6 years; the secondary cycle, 6 years and the university cycle, 5 years. The secondary cycle is also called the humanities; it is sanctioned by a state diploma at the end of a competition organized at the national level. It is this degree that gives the candidate access to the university.

L.I.S.A.: Have you ever encountered problems in the realization of your academic career?

Sangu Philippe Ibaka: In my academic career as a teacher at the university, I have encountered many difficulties related to the internal workings of my department, the faculty and the university in general. This is the case when it comes to the difficulties related to my scientific publications because of a the lack of financial means. However, I had to overcome them in my way to move forward.

L.I.S.A.: What is your PhD project about and what got you interested in the chosen topic to begin with?

Sangu Philippe Ibaka: In my thesis I study "The adaptation of traditional institutions in Kinshasa after independence"; how they work in the city with modern institutions. "A people without culture is like a human body without a soul", and therefore a corpse. Traditional institutions embody the culture of an entire people. They play a very important role in the functioning of the state machine and its modern structures; that is what justifies my interest in this study, a way of revaluating our cultural heritage in the capital-city of Kinshasa.

L.I.S.A.: What has your experience at Stellenbosch been like? Have there been any differences to the University of Kinshasa and possibly other institutions you have previously attended?

Sangu Philippe Ibaka: My experience at Stellenbosch University is positive. Three things caught my attention and the fourth is the logical consequence of the first three. This is the organization, the equipment (basic infrastructure) and the work resulting in the results. Universities in my country in general, the ones I attended: Lubumbashi and Kinshasa, have serious difficulties (problems) in their operation. This situation is linked to the political, economic and social realities of the country.

L.I.S.A.: What are the opportunities in Democratic Republic of the Congo to pursue different degree options (BA/MA/PhD)?

Sangu Philippe Ibaka: Despite all the difficulties mentioned above, the Democratic Republic of Congo has enormous skills in terms of human resources. We have qualified and competent teachers (Professors) to train academics at Bachelor's (BA), Master (MA) and Doctoral (PhD) cycles. Opportunities in the DRC to pursue these different degrees are open to all.

L.I.S.A.: What are your plans concerning your future career once you have obtained your PhD?

Sangu Philippe Ibaka: After obtaining my PhD, I will continue my academic career in my country and in my University (UNIKIN) to ensure and guarantee the next generation of academics; to make my contribution in the field of youth with the experience gained in Stellenbosch. With my doctorate (PhD), I become an international civil servant. I would be open to all requests from other universities across the continent and around the world as science is universal.

Sangu Philippe Ibaka has answered the questions in written form.

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