Covering the Congo Beat

Pierre Mambele was never credited with telling the story of Congo’s never-ending crises. But the news would often have gone unheard without him. For successive Reuters reporters in Kinshasa and for other journalists flying in to cover the latest calamity, Mambele was a driver, a guide, a fearless protector and – above all – a loyal friend. He died on June 8, aged 74. An institution for foreign media, Mambele played a unique part in shaping coverage from the Democratic Republic of Congo, starting under the rule of late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko when the country was known as Zaire. Mambele epitomised those unseen drivers, fixers and translators whose work – often at personal risk – is critical to reporting the news from the toughest places on earth. When Mambele became a driver in 1974, the country was enjoying a rare high. Zaire had won Africa’s soccer cup and was hosting The Rumble in the Jungle – a historic boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. Reuters describes Mambele as much more than a driver. He always kept an ear out for breaking news and for nuggets of truth in Kinshasa’s endless rumours. Mambele never hesitated to suggest ideas for stories he thought needed telling and the best people to speak to.SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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