Friday, June 1, 2012


A Chuduku is a device used for transporting things and occasionally people in the DRC.  I have seen it described as a “wooden bicycle” or “wooden scooter.”  Essentially it is a wooden board on two rubber covered wheels with “a steering handle atop an upside-down fork” ("12 Degrees of Freedom"). The device is named for the sound it makes—chuduku, chuduku, chuduku. They originated in Goma, the capital city of North Kivu and it has become such a symbol of the city that there has even been a statue erected in the device’s honor.  The stature is of a man on a chuduku and the plate at its base explains that it represents “the ‘sustained effort and diligent work’ that leads a country to development” ("Now African").  One man living in Goma explained that “chukudu carts were developed by farmers, who once pushed their goods to market over Congo's rocky roads on wheel-barrows” (Murdock). Yet another source I found suggests that even the oldest citizens of Goma have no recollection of exactly when or how the Chuduku was developed.
What the Chuduku means for the people of Goma, is a way to make a living. Men will sell their services hauling groceries, construction material, clothing, firewood—anything up to 1300 pounds that can be strapped on with a little rope.  Many sources say a man can make from six to ten dollars on a good day which is a good amount of money for the area, and because the “scooter” only cost around 20 dollars and is made of such lasting materials, a man can more than pay for his investment in a couple days.
From what I have seen it is mainly men who use chudukus, which is a shame because I read in a blog called “12 degrees of Freedom” that it is very common to see women carrying massive loads of things like food or laundry on their heads.  In contrast, men generally carry only their personal belongings.  The blog asserted, and I agree, that the chuduku could bring much liberation to women.  She explains that if a household owned a chuduku, the woman could ask the man to carry a load with him.  Though this will by no means equally distribute the work between men and women, it will literally take a large load off of her

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