AfricaAfrica Facts Q&A

Bokassa: the man-eating dictator

Bokassa lost his parents at the age of 6 (the French shot his father, his mother committed suicide), the future emperor brought up by relatives who prepared him for the priesthood.

The mistress who became his first course was Doris. The student girl met with Bokassa for a long time and had severe intentions towards him. He strangled Doris while she was sleeping. French newspapers then printed excerpts from the interrogation protocols of Bokassa: “I enjoyed eating her fresh meat, especially the liver and heart, because, according to our African beliefs, this means that you become more courageous and brave. I ate her brain raw with a tablespoon – to be intelligent and cunning, like a woman. Subsequently, all the new girls I brought to my home, I treated to steaks made from meat not only by Doris but also by my former girlfriends.”

Bokassa

More than $20 million spend on his coronation. During the ceremony list in the Guinness Book of Records, the shoes he wore were the most expensive in the world. The ceremonial copied in many details the coronation of Napoleon I, whom the new emperor considered his model.

The fabulous luxury of the coronation and the imperial court contrast with the meager standard of living in the country. In 1977, there was one doctor per 43.4 thousand inhabitants and only one dentist in the entire Central African Empire.

Bokassa
Bokassa

After the overthrow, parts of human bodies were found in his refrigerator, and the ex-emperor’s chef said that he was forced to cook dishes from human meat in pain of death. Once the dictator Bokassa ordered to kill one of his ministers, make dinner with him and feed the rest of the ministers. He told them what they were eating only at the end of dinner.

Violence and terror reigned in the empire. For the slightest offense, and excessive punishment followed. For example, thieves were chopped off an ear for two violations and a hand for a third, and Bokassa himself was often personally present at such court proceedings. Undesirable persons and potential competitors were removed from their posts, expelled from the country, subjected to arrests, medieval torture, and executions. Bokassa ate his political opponents in the truest sense of the word. Body parts – of those executed from time to time, entered the sizeable emperor’s refrigerator.

Jean-Bedel himself called human flesh “sugar pork.” On trips, he always took canned meat with him – an artisan cook came up with a way that kept Bokassa’s favorite food fresh for several months.

Bokassa issued a decree that all barefoot students attending the only school in Bangui come to classes in a single expensive uniform. Parents could barely master the textbooks their children needed for secondary education. The Emperor Guard gathered two hundred poor schoolchildren and lined them up in the prison yard. Threatening the children with weapons, the guards took them to overcrowded cells. A few weeks later, the murders began. One by one, the children were taken away to “try on school uniforms” and were ruthlessly beaten to death.

In June 1970, Bokassa paid an official visit to the USSR. In the Union, most of all liked the ritual of fraternal kisses introduced by Brezhnev. Returning home, he kissed all the ministers. He said in this way you can find out if a person is plotting something terrible: if the lips are wet and relaxed, it means that they are sincere; if dry and hot – you should not trust him.

What happened to Bokassa?

Although he was found not guilty of cannibalism, the remaining charges were enough to again sentence him to death on June 12, 1987. The following year he was pardoned, the sentence was changed to life imprisonment and ten to twenty years. After the restoration of the democratic system in 1993, a general amnesty declares in the country, and Bokassa was released. He died of a heart attack three years later, on November 3, 1996.

Zeal

I'm Zeal Oz "De Lady at Scene". I'm a freelancer, content writer and former editor at chenkeleb. Email: Oziga@afrinik.com

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