Gbadolite or Gbado-Lite (pronounced [ɡ͡badolite]) is the capital of Nord-Ubangi Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The town is located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of the Ubangi River at the border to the Central African Republic and 1,150 kilometres (710 mi) northeast of the national capital Kinshasa. Gbadolite was the ancestral home and residence of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, later self-styled as Mobutu Sese Seko where airport, colleges, malls, supermarkets and libraries were built by the President in a program of modernization.
Provincial capital and city
|Ville de Gbadolite|
Aerial view of the town
|Zone (territoire) de Gbadolite||December 8, 1972|
|Cité de Gbadolite||March 25, 1982|
|Ville de Gbadolite||January 10, 1987|
|• Mayor||Joseph Mulegbe Damba|
|• Total||278 km2 (107 sq mi)|
|Elevation||462 m (1,516 ft)|
|• Density||720/km2 (1,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (WAT)|
Mobutu built Gbadolite into a luxurious town often nicknamed "Versailles of the Jungle". He built a hydroelectric dam on the nearby Ubangi River in Mobayi Mbongo, an international airport, Gbadolite Airport, which could accommodate a Concorde, and three large palaces. As a result, the people of the town had no trouble finding jobs. During Mobutu's regime, Gbadolite also had companies such as CDIA Zaire for farming productions, SOZAGEC for road construction, and SAFRICAS for house construction. The town had a General Hospital with high tech facilities, supermarkets or malls, which were destroyed in 1997. Gbadolite had also College Presidentiel, a high school famous for its academic excellence and administered by Jesuit Fathers to whom Mobutu gave the school. This school had a chemistry lab, physics lab, computer lab, Olympic game facilities, and band instruments of all kinds. The town was also famous for its Chapelle Marie la Misericorde, a luxurious church in which Mobutu buried his first wife Mama Mobutu.
Two palaces were built outside Gbadolite at Kawele. One was an elaborate complex of Chinese pagodas while the other was a modern mansion. Both were used as residences for Mobutu and guests. The three story palace in Gbadolite was used primarily for public functions.
Mobutu also built a nuclear bunker that could house more than 500 people and was the largest in Africa; this was the only nuclear bunker in Central Africa. The bunker was connected to the Ubangui River by a secret tunnel, giving access to the military harbour at the village of N'dangi.
- "Villes de RD Congo - Gbado-Lite" (in French). MONUC. 2006-05-29. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- "Kabila Nomme les Maires et leurs Adjoints". Forum Des As. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
- "Ville de Gbadolite". CAID. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
- "Legacy of corrupt and ruthless dictator who built Versailles in the jungle". London: The Independent. May 5, 1997. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- L'Express, 22 December 2008, page 13
- Michela Wrong (2000). In the footsteps of Mr Kurtz: living on the brink of disaster in the Congo. Fourth Estate Ltd (Harpercollins Publishers). p. 229. ISBN 1-84115-421-0.
- Nagifi, Valentin (2003). Les derniers jours de Mobutu à Gbado-Lite (Congo-Zaïre) (in French) (Archive congolaise ed.). Paris: L'Harmattan. ISBN 2-7475-3623-8.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Gbadolite.|
- Smith, David (10 February 2015). "Where Concorde once flew: the story of President Mobutu's 'African Versailles'". The Guardian.
- "Inside Mobutu's ruined jungle palace in DR Congo". BBC. 8 October 2013.