The Democratic Republic of Congo has been independent for 50 years, and endured the most painful, brutal history of any African state.
It has survived dictatorship, political assassination and still on-going conflicts.
But there are dramatic changes, as the Chinese move in with a controversial barter deal to build roads, hospitals and universities, in exchange for a cut of the country's vast mineral wealth.
It is 'win win' according to the Congolese Government and the Chinese Ambassador.
But critics say the DRC is getting a raw deal.
Robin Denselow reports from the capital, Kinshasa, where the locals say: 'The only rule is there are no rules'.
Millions of people struggle to find money for education and health care, and poverty forces 14,000 children to live on the streets.
Some are cast out from their families as witches, street girls face the dangers of sexual violence and Robin meets rapper, Djack, who sings against the brutalisation of women.
He records his songs, with street children, and with the poorest of the poor in the desolate, and cruelly named, City of Hope.
Robin also tracks down legendary musicians and politicians who shaped DR Congo's independence in 1960 and looks at why UN peacekeepers were there then, and are still there now.
Producer: Liz Carney
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.
Robin Denselow reports on African countries celebrating 50 years of independence in 2010.