Congo first adopted its anthem upon independence in 1960. Known as Congo (Kinshasa) at the time of independence, to differentiate it from its neighbour to the west of the same name, the anthem was kept until 1971, when the national symbols were changed and the country’s name was changed to Zaire. A coup in 1997 restored the national symbols, including the name and anthem, back to the symbols adopted upon independence. The author and composer also wrote Zaire‘s anthem.
When South Kasai seceded during the Congolese civil war in the early 1960s, it used “Debout Congolaise” as its national anthem, as their secession was from the provincial government, not from the Congolese nation.
The DR Congo’s anthem also may be the only one specifically written for specific soloist and choral parts in the lyrics.
Special thanks to: Ben Cahoon for some of this information.