Racism row overshadows 90th birthday edition of Tintin’s Congo adventure

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  • Africa
  • Europe
Tintin is a national symbol in Belgium, depicted here in public art on a building in Brussels Tintin is a national symbol in Belgium, depicted here in public art on a building in BrusselsZHENG HUANSONG/XINHUA/ALAMY

Tintin’s 90th birthday has been overshadowed by controversy over alleged racism in a new colour edition of the boy reporter’s adventures in Africa.

The cartoon character and his dog Snowy are rare national symbols in Belgium and allegations that Tintin in the Congo, first serialised in 1930, is racist are highly sensitive in a country marked by post-colonial guilt over its record in Africa.

Hergé’s pictures of Africans with fat, red lips and wearing loincloths have been widely condemned, including by Britain’s Commission for Racial Equality, as making black people “look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles”.

Barly Baruti, a Congolese cartoonist, said it was wrong to bring out a new edition of the book at a time when far-right parties are on the rise…

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  • Africa
  • Europe