MB Mobeka

A river tug for local traders on the upper Congo River

supported by

a river tug for passengers

On the upper congo River


The MB Mobeka consists of a small truckable pushboat (250bhp) and a 19 m long barge. The barge has an iron hull, and its superstructure has been crafted out of local redwood (liyolo) by Didier Bosoye, who is one of the most gifted local baleinière craftsmen on the Upper Congo River.  The MB Mobeka does exactly the same transport work as the local all-wood “whaleboats” (baleinièrenières). Along with three wooden baleinières it operates on the axis Kisangani – Basoko (240km) and brings people and goods to Kisangani and Basoko on a weekly basis. In the meantime, its is a living platform for action research : its activities lend unprecedented and unique insights into Congo’s “real” local economy, its ever-evolving transport geography, local technical culture, vernacular logistics and multi-modality, etc.). The benefits the action generates not only enable us to widen the action itself, but also to encourage further research by local colleagues into mobility-related questions in an ever-changing environment.  


The construction of the wooden superstructure of our barge has been successfully completed by the local baleinière-builder Didier Somboye. We are now able to carry up to 150 passengers with their goods and offer two cabins to the crew. In addition, a mechanical transmission between the steering wheel of the pushboat and the upper forward cabin of the barge has been added to improve the captain’s visibility.  

=> As these works have “eaten” up our intermediary earnings, we are looking for support to buy fuel for our next journey (Kisangani, 8 June 2024). 

babomaka nguma na nzete ya musika te
one does not kill a snake with a stick that is far away
Mayala Louis