Return to the Inquirer story at
Zaire leader goes home to big welcome

Mobutu's return to Kinshasa in December 1996 from cancer surgery in Europe was stage-managed to reassure the public that the Big Man was back. And he was prepared to fight the rebels who were mounting an increasingly serious challenge in Zaire's east. Frail  and weak from prostate surgery, Mobutu made few other public appearances after this event as his conditioned weakened and the rebels strengthened. Six months after these photos were taken, Mobutu was forced  to flee Zaire. He died a few months later in Morocco.

İAndrew Maykuth / The Philadelphia Inquirer
Click small pictures to see larger images
mobut3.jpg (34805 bytes)  coke.jpg (18813 bytes)
The Council of Traditional Leaders waits to give Marshal Mobutu the red-carpet treatment at Kinshasa Airport.
The Coca-Cola dancing girls prepare to greet the president. So many supporters were positioned on the tarmac that the blast from Mobutu's DC-8 blew over scores of them.
mobut4.jpg (22267 bytes) mobut5.jpg (27384 bytes)
He Who Is Above All Others.
The gaunt president was surrounded by quite a few serious  guards.
mobut6.jpg (21192 bytes) mobut1.jpg (28848 bytes)
Though he was sick, Mobutu lost little of the regal air that helped keep him in power for more than three decades.
Mobutu moves unfazed through the media horde awaiting his arrival at Kinshasa Airport home page   
Recent news
  | Africa coverage  |  Archives  |  Afghanistan coverage  |  E-mail from Africa  |  Magazine articles | Photographs  |  Bio 
African Odyssey
  |  Apartheid's Secrets  |  Democracy's Promises  |  The Forgotten Wars  |  Rwanda: Aftermath of Genocide

Copyright 2001-2006 Andrew Maykuth