Medals of South Kasai|
The secessionist state of South Kasai sought independence in similar circumstances to neighboring Katanga during the political turmoil arising from the de-colonization of the Belgian Congo.
On 8 August 1960, motivated partly by long-standing tribal rivalries, Luba Chief Albert Kalonji (1919 - ) proclaimed the independence of the diamond-rich region of South Kasai as the Autonomous State of South Kasai, with its capital at Bakwanga. Kalonji styled himself as Chef Suprême du Peuple Muluba et Protecteur Incontesté des Tribus Associées à son sort. - Supreme Chief of the Muluba People and Protector of the Associated Tribes - effectively President of South Kasai.
On 12 April 1961 an assembly of notables invested Kalonji's father with the traditional Luba imperial title of Mulopwe. The new Emperor then conveniently abdicated in favour of his son, who thereafter ruled South Kasai as Emperor Albert I Kalonji.
After a bloody four-month military campaign during which thousands of civilians were massacred, troops of the Congolese central government re-conquered the region and arrested Kalonji on 30 December 1961. The wily Emperor soon escaped however and managed to maintain a government that lasted into October of 1962.
Under the subsequent thirty two-year regime of Joseph Mobuto (Mobuto Sese Seko) the former South Kasai was divided into east and west provinces, in part to discourage any resurgence of separatist sentiment or activity.