Talking about the late Augustin Dokolo’s biography is difficult. Few people know details of his private life. He is better known for his deeds and numerous achievements.
Augustin Dokolo was above all a self made man full of energy and passion for Africa and the arts.
Recently interviewed on Radio France Internationale, Manu Dibango tells how he started his career in Leopoldville, not with the musician Kabasele but alongside a young banker named Augustin Dokolo. Before Independence, he already owned a taxi company and a famous dance hall. Fascinated by the art world, M. Dokolo played a part in the film “Les Aventuriers du Kasaï” by Yves Allegret staring French actors Jean Lefebvre and Nicole Courcel. The film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962. Soon after, he developed a chain of shops with branches around the world.
In 1967, Augustin Dokolo met Hanne, his wife to be. The latter worked as a manager of the Danish Red Cross Hospital’s dispensary. They have three children: Manzanza, Sindika and Luzolo.
In 1969, Augustin Dokolo started to build what was to be his most ambitious achievement: the Bank of Kinshasa. It was the first bank of national capital in sub-Saharan Africa. With an initial capital of 300.000 zaires, the equivalent of 600.000 dollars, it was worth 10,474,875 zaires in 1983.
The company was able to develop despite the economic constraints of the times. In 1974, the Bank of Kinshasa was a victim of radicalisation measures. However, the Congolese state then decided otherwise and returned the bank in 1976 acknowledging all of M. Dokolo’s rights over the bank. Thanks to a network of about twenty agencies throughout the country, the bank helped economic development in spite of difficult conditions.
Convinced that the Congolese should take their destiny into their own hands and emancipate themselves from occidental help, he applied his beliefs and created numerous companies. The latter intervened in fields as different as breeding, fishing, coffee exportation, real estate, consumer goods distributor, merchandise conveyance, printing, insurance, mining, car selling… 17 companies were created in total.
His resourcefulness and creativity allowed him to become the second coffee exporter of the country as well as the second importer of fresh supplies. He created a farm at 130 km from Kinshasa that counted 50,000 free-range cattle, 5,000 pigs and a modern meat-processing plant. The term “Dokolo Empire” was soon used to describe the success of this tycoon who employed more than 10,000 householders across the country.
Despite many proposals, he never accepted a governmental position. He preferred to devote himself to his business activities.
In 1985, the bank faced an important increase in its debt towards the Central Bank. The overdraft was mainly constituted of overdraft interest, compound interest as well as astronomical financial penalties that were charged by the Central Bank every month.
M. Dokolo was therefore forced to hand over numerous real estate goods in order to cover the debt his companies had towards the bank and then discharge the debt the bank had with the Central Bank.
To everyone’s surprise, the Bank of Kinshasa was placed under government administration on February 17th 1986.
The buildings that had been handed over in order to cover the debt were simply seized. The Bank of Kinshasa was not handed back over to its shareholders at the end of the legal period of government administration. It was nationalized and all of its properties were transferred to the New Bank of Kinshasa. All M. Dokolo’s companies were handed over to UNITZA by way of a simple letter from the Director of M. Mobutu’s cabinet.
Augustin Dokolo never got over this despoilment. He became ill shortly after and died in Paris on April 12th 2001.
Despite this tragic destiny the Dokolo family stayed very close and united. Hanne Dokolo was named General Honorary Consul of Norway in 2005.
Main dates
16th March 1935: birth of Augustin Dokolo Sanu at Sinsu-les-thysville (Mbanza Ngungu)
Studies: St Theresa School in the same village
28th October 1956: Birth of Ndona Tuluka Dokolo at Leopoldville, Belgian Congo
15th December 1959: Birth of Nkembi Nzolantima Dokolo at Mbansa Ngungu, Belgian Congo
Before Independence:
First black person to own a taxi company of 15 vehicles and a dancing hall in town. Meets Manu Dibango.
During the advent of the country to sovereignty:
Becomes the owner of a chain of shops with international branches.
From September to December 1965: Writes Telema Congo
21st August 1970: Birth of Manzanza Badjoko Dokolo in Kinshasa, Zaire
16th March 1972: Birth of Sindika Dokolo in Kinshasa,Zaire
13th June 1974: Birth of Luzolo Dokolo in Kinshasa, Zaire
Bank of Kinshasa
17th December 1969: Creation of the bank with Congolese capital
20th November 1969: Inauguration of the Bank of Kinshasa
4th December 1970: Opening of the bank to the public
1971: Computerization of the bank thanks to IBM
1971-1973: Capital increase of the bank to bring it to 7,9000,000 z. Extension of its geographical coverage.
1973-1974: Zairianisation and Radicalisation. Negative effect on the bank.
1978: Partnership with the International Monetary Fund through the Central Bank.
December 1985: Handing over of the Dungu building in order to resolve the dispute between the Dokolo group and the Bank of Kinshasa.
20th March 1986: Administrative supervision of the Bank of Kinshasa by the government.
12th April 2001: Death of Augustin Dokolo Sanu in Paris, France.
for more information about this website click here !.
Augustin Dokolo, an African entrepreneur