LeidenGlobal lecture: The surprising history behind North Korean statues in Africa

North Korea has left an indelible influence on Africa, perhaps most noticeable through a myriad of quintessential North Korean statues that celebrate the rise of African nation states. This lecture illuminates the obscure history of the fraternal relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and various African liberation movements. The DPRK offered African guerilla organizations political support and military hardware and training. At present, a considerable number of African governments emerged from the same liberation movements that received North Korean support. This explains why they choose to adopt the North Korean socialist realist visual language for their myth making efforts. National cemeteries, war memorials, monuments, government buildings and museums are designed and constructed by North Korea. By merging African nationalism and North Korean socialist realism, these statues truly are ‘heritage on the move’.

This lecture is an initiative of LeidenGlobal and coincides with the photo exhibition 'Heritage on the Move', currently to be seen in the hall of the Pieter de la Court building. Several photographs from ASCL researchers are shown in the exhibition, including the photo and research of Tycho van der Hoog.


Tycho van der HoogTycho van der Hoog holds bachelor’s degrees in history (2014) and political science (2014), a research master’s degree in African Studies ('Brewing Identity: Beer and the Establishment of the Namibian Nation', 2016) and a master’s degree in History ('North Korean monuments in southern Africa: Legitimizing party rule through the National Heroes’ Acres in Zimbabwe and Namibia', 2017) from Leiden University. He has conducted fieldwork in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.

Date, time and location

27 September 2018
16.30 - 17.15
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room SB-11 (basement)