Sindika Dokolo, a man between Kinshasa and Porto

He was born in Congo, lived his youth in Europe and married in Angola. By the hand of Isabel dos Santos, his wife, he would end up recognizing in Portugal, more precisely in Porto, the right place to rest his enormous collection of art from so many trips.

Sindika Dokolo, businessman and husband of Isabel dos Santos, died this Thursday in Dubai of drowning, as the Congolese newspapers report, with little information available, the country where she was born 48 years ago (in Kinshasa, in March 1972). His marriage to Isabel dos Santos in 2002 - which, it is said, costs something close to 900 thousand euros and had around 10 thousand guests, among them the former Prime Minister Durão Barroso, among many other Portuguese - did so get closer to Portugal.

And more specifically from Porto, where he wanted to move the European headquarters of his foundation. The connection to Porto dates from 2015. In March of that year, Sindika Dokolo was awarded the Medal of Merit of the city of Porto, within the scope of the contemporary art exhibition 'You Love Me, You Love Me Not'.

The tribute served as recognition of the city to the contribution of Sindika Dokolo, which allowed the city of Porto to develop one of the most relevant contemporary art projects today. And it happened at the height of the turmoil that surrounded the entrance and later the departure of the Angolan businesswoman from the shareholder group of BPI.

Surrounded by journalists from the reception in the halls of the City Hall to the rooms of the Almeida Garrett Municipal Library - where the exhibition was located - Isabel dos Santos tried to 'hide' behind Sindika Dokolo so as not to steal her role, which that night should be his. The mayor, Rui Moreira, a solicitous host, also tried to direct the general interest to the exhibition - which took a long time before the couple had arrived at the venue. But BPI was, in those days, too desirable in terms of news and Isabel dos Santos ended up having access to address a few words to the numerous battalion of journalists. Just to say that I wouldn't talk about BPI!

Later, in January 2016, the Sindika Dokolo Foundation would eventually decide to choose Porto to host its European headquarters, which would be located in the Casa Manoel de Oliveira building.

Art has always been the vehicle of personal satisfaction for Sindika Dokolo - who did not conceal his status as heir and continuator of his father's legacy, the first ever-born banker on the African continent.

The son of a Congolese father and a Danish mother, he spent most of his childhood in Europe (Belgium and France).

With the death of his father in 2001, he would take over the family empire, which extended to banking, real estate, insurance, livestock and mining, among other details, while creating his own empire with the still girlfriend Isabel dos Santos. But his interests always remained equidistant between his business - which he knew to cause frequent headaches, namely with the accusations or suspicions of fraud in both Congo and Angola) - and art, which he considered to be a form of identity and identification of the African people.

The chronicles say that his collection started when he was 15 years old, instigated by his father and at a time when he knew Africa more than postcards than because he felt his pulse. Since then, it has gathered more than three thousand works, including paintings, prints, photographs, videos and installations, in a collection that experts estimated at around 50 million euros. It was through her that he found recognition in several capitals, especially those that, like Madrid, Venice or São Paulo, have in the arts one of their differentiating options.

Member of the board of directors of several Portuguese companies - due to Isabel dos Santos' connection to some Portuguese businessmen, as was the case with Amorim - his disappearance was by all accounts unexpected. On her Twitter account, Isabel dos Santos published a photo of the couple without any captions.

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