First Lady of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg
Denise Tshisekedi (cropped).jpg
Denise Tshisekedi

since January 24, 2019
Inaugural holderHortense Kasa-Vubu
FormationJuly 1, 1960

First Lady of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: Première Dame de la République démocratique du Congo) is the title attributed to the wife of the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country's current first lady is Denise Tshisekedi, wife of President Félix Tshisekedi, who had held the title since January 24, 2019.

The country was known as Zaire from 1971 until 1997.

List of first ladies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

No. Name Portrait Term Began Term Ended President Notes
1 Hortense Kasa-Vubu
Kasa-Vubu and his wife at a party.jpg
July 1, 1960 November 24, 1965 Joseph Kasa-Vubu Kasa-Vubu, who was born Hortense Ngoma Masunda, married Joseph Kasa-Vubu in a Catholic ceremony on October 10, 1941.[1]
2 Marie-Antoinette Mobutu
Marie-Antoinette and President Mobutu Sese Seko in Kinshasa.jpg
November 24, 1965 October 22, 1977 Mobutu Sese Seko As First Lady of Zaire beginning in 1971. Marie-Antoinette Mobutu, the first wife of President Mobutu Sese Seko, died from heart failure on October 22, 1977.
Position technically vacant October 22, 1977 May 1, 1980 Mobutu Sese Seko Marie-Antoinette Mobutu died on October 22, 1977.
3 Bobi Ladawa Mobutu May 1, 1980 May 16, 1997 Mobutu Sese Seko As First Lady of Zaire. Bobi Ladawa had been Sese Seko's longtime mistress during the 1970s. The couple had children together even before the death of Sese Seko's first wife, Marie-Antoinette Mobutu, in 1977.[2] Ladawa and Sese Seko married in a church and civil wedding on May 1, 1980, on the eve of Pope John Paul II's visit to Zaire. However, the Pope refused to officiate the ceremony.[3]
4 Sifa Mahanya May 17, 1997 January 16, 2001 Laurent-Désiré Kabila Sifa Mahanya was the main wife of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, who reportedly had at least 13 wives, and matriarch of the Kabilas.[4][5] According to official biographies, Mahanya and Laurent Kabila are the parents of former President Joseph Kabila.[4] However, this parentage is disputed by some observers and opposition figures.[4]
Position vacant January 16, 2001 June 17, 2006 Joseph Kabila President Joseph Kabila was not married at the time.
5 Olive Lembe di Sita
Olive Lembe Kabila (cropped).jpg
June 17, 2006 January 24, 2019 Joseph Kabila Olive Lembe di Sita married President Joseph Kabila on June 17, 2006, at the presidential residence in Gombe, Kinshasa.[6]
6 Denise Tshisekedi
Denise Tshisekedi (cropped).jpg
January 24, 2019 Félix Tshisekedi


  1. ^ Biographie belge d'outre-mer 2015, p. 219.
  2. ^ Akyeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku; Gates, Henry Louis (2012). Dictionary of African Biography. OUP USA. pp. 238–9. ISBN 978-0-19-538207-5.
  3. ^ Schatzberg, Michael G. (1988). The Dialectics of Oppression in Zaire. Indiana University Press. p. 120. ISBN 0-253-31703-7.
  4. ^ a b c Manthorpe, Jonathan (2013-02-23). "Jonathan Manthorpe: Parentage of Congo's president questioned as coup plot foiled". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  5. ^ "All the President's Weath: The Kabila Family Business" (PDF). Pulitzer Center. July 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-03-06. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  6. ^ "Solennel mariage religieux du président Joseph Kabila". Digital Congo. 2006-06-07. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2019-03-09.