Bombé puts its users into a kind of trance.

Foto:

Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL

New Drug in the Democratic Republic of Congo The Zombies of Kinshasa

The capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo is being overrun by a dangerous new drug called bombé, made from deposits the catalytic converters of automobiles. In a country facing many problems, it helps people forget.
By Heiner Hoffmann and Arsene Mpiana (Photos) in Kinshasa
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Users of bombé, such as these youth in Kinshasa, first experience a kind of euphoria before then sliding into a zombie-like state.

Foto: Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL

Part of the powder is snorted up the nose, the other part smoked.

Foto: Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL
ANZEIGE
ANZEIGE

Kinshasa is among the most rapidly growing cities in the world, but the economy is depressed.

Foto: Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL
ANZEIGE

Many consumers of bombé seem fully out of it for several minutes, or even hours.

Foto: Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL

The contents of catalytic converters, from which bombe ingredients can be extracted according to the police.

Foto: Kinshasa Police

A mechanic shows the welding seam on an opened and emptied catalytic converter.

Foto: Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL

Samy Moyo (center) educates trains former bombé addicts for several occupations.

Foto: Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL

Plamedi Lama, 23, was addicted, but now hopes to receive his own parcel of land.

Foto: Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL

Olga Kithumbu (center) is a social worker and advises consumers on how they can leave bombé behind.

Foto: Arsène Mpiana Monkwe / DER SPIEGEL

This piece is part of the Global Societies series. The project runs for three years and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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