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Rumba Shimmies onto UNESCO Cultural Heritage List

Congolese rumba is among at least nine new entries on UNESCO’s “representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.”

UNESCO is making its 2021 designations this week, recognizing cultural heritage ranging from Arabic calligraphy to falconry to Nordic clinker boat traditions. 

Congolese rumba was named to the list Tuesday. The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo jointly bid for UNESCO to recognize the music and dance, which helped energize people in those countries to shake off colonial rule by Belgium and France, respectively, in Congo, in 1960. 

UNESCO’s director general, Audrey Azoulay, summarized rumba’s significance. 

“In the 20th century, the details ⇒

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