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A Bulungi is a fictional little country nestled somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. If used as a setting, almost always a thick jungle or parched Savannah, even though the southern region is more temperate.

Bulungis are often populated by a mix of white and black residents, the former of whom usually speak with vaguely British and/or Afrikaner accents, and the latter will probably speak Pidgin Englishnote . The country's name is usually composed of simple syllables that are stereotypically "African"-sounding.

In many cases, the Bulungi is in the midst of the transition process from a People's Republic of Tyranny or military dictatorship to a more democratic type of rule, though this might not be going well for them. If there is a dictator, expect him to have Majored in Western Hypocrisy. In particularly incorrect works, the entirety of Africa may be generalized as a Bulungi.

Compare and contrast with Ruritania, Qurac, Wutai, Countrystan, Banana Republic, Tropical Island Adventure and Darkest Africa. Afrofuturist works like to explore and subvert this trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Cyborg 009, Pyunma, also known as 008, comes from the Republic of Muanba. There is a short story arc where the cyborg team travels there in the midst of a revolution. Muanba's economy is in ruins due to this conflict, as it had soon grown into an arms race manipulated by Black Ghost, a weapons company that sells each side ever more effective weapons.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Panther: Averted. Wakanda isn't such a country, but is instead a Hidden Elf Village that does everything in its power to prevent being controlled by outside forces or forsake their native culture (made easier by the fact that they are the world's only natural source of Type I vibranium, which gives them enough political clout (and technological prowess) to keep themselves relatively free of unwelcome outside influence). Wakanda is surrounded by Bulungis, though (like Azania and Niganda), so that Black Panther stories about regional politics can avoid mentioning real nations.
  • G.I. Joe: A country called Equatorial Kalingaland featured heavily in one issue of G.I. Joe Special Missions. The location was not narrowed down any more than that, but if it really is equatorial, it has to be either in Africa, South America or on an island. The predominance of black population, the existence of a royal family, and the lack of sea nearby suggest Africa.
  • Hitman: In one arc, Tommy Monaghan and his friends try to escape a bad situation in Gotham City by hiring themselves as mercenaries to the government of an African country called Tynanda. However, when they realize that the president is a murderous dictator backed by an Evil Colonialist as The Man Behind the Man, they change sides and join the rebels.
  • Justice League of America: Christopher Priest's run has the league crashing in this kind of country, running afoul of a an evil Black Panther counterpart in the process.
  • De Kiekeboes: The African state "Boeloe Boeloe" (pronounced like "Bulu Bulu"), ruled by an Idi Amin parody, is featured in a few albums.
  • X-Men: Storm's uncle was the dictator of such a country.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Squee-Jee Islands, off the coast of equatorial Africa, in The Katzenjammer Kids. Although the King was rather authoritative, and insisted on wearing a traditional grass skirt, it was portrayed as a semi-modern society in the 30's through 50's.
  • Bangalla, homeland of The Phantom, somewhere on the east coast of Africa. It was an English colony when the series started in the 1930s, and transitioned to self-rule in the 1960s. Bangalla handled the transition to the post-Colonial age better than most, and the capital of Mawitaan (formerly Morristown) is a modern city, but there are still deep jungles and parched savannas a-plenty. In the first stories, Bangalla was in the Indian subcontinent (its name may remind some of Bangladesh).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Nibia from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lois Lane goes to Nairomi to interview a war chief / terrorist chief. The name is most probably inspired by Nairobi, the capital and largest city of Kenya.
  • In Casino Royale (2006), the generic African country of Nambutu that Bond storms the embassy of in the Action Prologue. Its flag is a combo of the Djibouti and Mozambique one. The scenes were actually filmed in the Bahamas.
  • Coming to America has Zamunda, a general riff on Real Life Zambia, with elements of Swaziland and Lesotho thrown in (i.e. it's a rare example of a modern African monarchy). Unlike most other Bulungis depicted, Zamunda is shown as being quite prosperous, with its ruling family living in luxury.
  • Birani at the beginning of The Gods Must Be Crazy, where their Cabinet gets shot up by Sam Boga's men. It is supposedly located near Namibia and Angola and has a banana grove at a place called Dumgase.
  • The Interpreter has Matobo, a southern African country liberated by a Dr. Zuwanie who now is a corrupt dictator that kills his opponents. Matobo is similar to Zimbabwe (previously Rhodesia), making Dr. Zuwanie a fictional counterpart to Robert Mugabe (ironically, the film was cleared by censors for release in that country, though government officials denounced it). The protagonist of the movie, Silvia, is a white citizen of that country. The country seems to be somewhere near South Africa, because when the FBI is looking for Silvia they check all flights to Johannesburg. The screenwriters of the movie seemed to have gone to great lengths to make Matobo relatively realistic - notably, they hired a professional linguist to create Matobo's fictional official language, Ku (derived from various existing southern Bantu languages and dialects).
  • Wakanda of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a subversion of this trope. Captain America: Civil War (which formally introduces Black Panther, Wakanda's national superhero) depicts it as an isolationist sub-Saharan country of pastoral tribelands, with no white residents at all. Then Black Panther reveals Wakanda is really radically different: they pose as pastoral tribeland to avoid attracting attention, but beneath the holograms is a case study in Afrofuturism.
  • La Nuit de la vérité (Night Of Truth) is an actual African drama film that deliberately features two different Bulungis, called Bonande and Nayak. The movie was a 2004 co-production of Burkina Faso and France.
  • The 1981 French movie Le Professionnel, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, has his character going on a secret mission to Malagawi in order to assassinate its Idi Amin-esque President for Life. It definitely earns a distinction for laziness in invoking the trope by the way its filmmakers merely took the existing country of Malawi and added a "-ga-" in the middle.
  • The Dolph Lundgren action movie Red Scorpion takes place in the communist nation of Mombaka, in the middle of a civil war between La Résistance and the government and their Soviet, Cuban, and Czechoslovakian allies. Given the country's savanna environment and Marxist government, it appears to be inspired by either Mozambique or Angola, which were both communist at the time, especially given that the film was shot in and partly funded by South Africa, who was in the midst of fighting a war with Angola at the time.
  • Tigora in Sheena.
  • The Soviet spy movie TASS Is Authorized to Declare..., based on the eponymous novel by Yulian Semyonov, has Nagonia.
  • Zembala in The Wild Geese.



Individual works

  • Gorotoland from Allen Drury's sequels to Advise and Consent
  • Ambagazali, the home country of Bunduki in the works of J.T. Edson.
  • Chanda's Secrets and Chanda's Wars by Allan Stratton both are about the title Chanda in an unnamed AIDS ravaged sub-Saharan African country.
  • Nmkwami in Changeover by Diana Wynne Jones. As the title suggests, the novel is set during the transition to self-rule.
  • Zanj, Kush and Sahel in John Updike's novel The Coup. As befits Updike, these are somewhat better-educated names, being historical terms for actual regions of Africa (Zanj refers to the central part of the eastern coast, roughly corresponding to coastal Kenya and Tanzania, Kush is an Ancient Egyptian name for a state of Classical Antiquity that existed in what is now northern Sudan, and Sahel is the semi-arid region on the southern edge of the Sahara).
  • Terry Pratchett never got round to fleshing out Howondaland, the Discworld's Africa, to the same degree of detail he gave to, say, its Australia. It has been revealed that at the time of his death, he was at least blocking out a novel called The Dark Incontinent that would have covered things "African". It is possible that a few snippets from this never-to-be-completed-work were used in The Compleat Discworld Atlas, where countries such as Urabewe, S'Belinde, and "the Howondalandian Kingdoms" are briefly mentioned, largely as expies of Black Africa.
  • Zangaro from Frederick Forsyth's The Dogs of War. Based on Equatorial Guinea. It's small enough that a single company of soldiers with handful of hardened mercenaries as support can take it over.
  • Good Omens has Kumbokoland, an African country that was briefly Sir-Humphrey-Clarksonland, and which has been at peace for three thousand years. That is until War pays a visit.
  • The People's Republic of Fernando Poo, a revolutionary government established by coup d'état in the Illuminatus!! trilogy. It's name is an immature pun on the actual Central African island of Fernando Pó, also known under the native name Bioko and a part of Equatorial Guinea.
  • The neighboring nations Lamblia and Gurunduwaju in Stanisław Lem's short story "Professor A. Donda" from Memoirs of a Space Traveller.
  • Andrew Norman Wilson's novel My Name Is Legion has Zinariya. It's ruled by a dictator, General Bindiga, and has globally important copper mines.
  • Nick Velvet: Nick gets involved in the politics of the newly independent African republic of Gola in "The Theft of the Seven Ravens" when he his hired to steal the republic's gift to their former colonial master Great Britain.
  • If you want a Congo-esque Planetville Bulungi, go no farther then Haruun Kal, homeworld of Mace Windu and the setting of the Star Wars Legends novel Shatterpoint.
  • In the James Bond novel Solo, Bond is sent into the fictional African country of Zamzarin, which is being ravaged by a civil war against the province of Dahum (which sounds just a few letters away from Darfur). His job is to assassinate the leader of the opposing side that the country can return to its oil-dealings.
  • Beninia from Stand on Zanzibar. There's also Dahomalia and RUNG, but these are mergers of existing IRL countries.
  • Nagonia from Yulian Semyonov's spy thriller TASS Is Authorized to Declare....
  • The newly independent and thoroughly primitive Republic of Magoon was the setting of some stories in Punch.
  • Pharamaul, an island off the coast of Southern Africa, is a British colony in “The Tribe That Lost its Head” by Nicholas Monserrat. In the sequel, “Richer Than All His Tribe”, it is granted independence, with ghastly results.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400: In "Voices Carry", Jordan Collier entered into business with an international weapons dealer named Ian Dravitt. His plan was to fund a coup in San Tomé, an island nation off the west coast of Africa (obviously based on the Central African island country of São Tomé and Príncipe), in the hope of installing a friendly government who would shelter the 4400 if it became necessary. NTAC discovered the plan through the telepathic Gary Navarro but they had no actual proof of any wrongdoing.
  • 24: Redemption, the Made-for-TV Movie, takes place in Sangala, a destabilized African nation whose duly-elected Prime Minister has been deposed by a military coup. The following season, Season 7, sees the Sangalan dictatorship perpetrate terrorism in an attempt to dissuade American President Allison Taylor from a military intervention on behalf of aforementioned Prime Minister.
  • The eleventh episode of Airwolf was set in North and South Limbawe and featured the conflict between the two countries. The North Limbawe's air force used antique WWII fighter aircraft, like the Vought F4U Corsair (which would admittedly better fit in a Cold War Banana Republic setting).
  • The A-Team had three: Zulabwe from "Diamonds 'n' Dust", and Northern and Southern Triana from "There Goes the Neighborhood".
  • In the The Avengers (1960s) episode "Small Game for Big Hunters" it's Kalaya. An old colonel who couldn't face the fact that Kalaya became independent has recreated his Kalayan HQ in rural England. There's a conspiracy to unleash an epidemic of sleeping sickness back in the real Kalaya.
  • Borgen had a couple of episodes dealing with the Danish government arranging a peace deal between the warring northern and southern regions of an East African country called Kharun, which was definitely not Sudan.
  • "Uranda-Burundi", at least according to Alfred Tetzlaff in Ein Herz und eine Seele. Little do we learn about this alleged country, other than it also allegedly has got exactly one brothel.
  • The long-running German crime investigation series Küstenwache ("Coast Guard") had an episode which featured the small African monarchy of Sotho. The name and characterization was very obviously inspired by the actual Lesotho.
  • Legends of Tomorrow has Zambesi, Vixen's homeland and the origin of the spirit totem that she wears. Like Wakanda of the Marvel universe, however, Zambesi is more of a Hidden Elf Village than a normal example of this trope.
  • Wadata from the Leverage episode "The Scheherazade Job". Also, part of the Tie-In Novel The Zoo Job is set in the West African nation of Malani.
  • Israeli comedy series Lost In Africa features a country named Abuna Kilosa, bordering on Chad and Sudan. They try their best to defy the Darkest Africa stereotype (‘This is not Burkina Faso!’).
  • MacGyver (1985) featured several such countries over the course of its run. The country Kambezi from one episode of this show is unusual in that at one point it was actually shown on a map (it was supposedly in the vicinity of South Africa).
  • The Madam Secretary episode "The Call" has the Republic of West Africa, said to be located between Gabon and Cameroon (the real-life location of Equatorial Guinea). The plot of the episode has Secretary McCord trying to organize an international response to the RWA's planned genocide of an ethnic minority.
  • One episode of Man in a Suitcase sees McGill kidnapped by the former British governor of Ecuala, who is convinced (probably correctly) that McGill, in his CIA days, supported the independence movement that ousted him.
  • The Mission: Impossible episode "Kitara" was set in the gold-producing West African nation of Bocamo. It seems to be ruled by a settler minority of German descent, who are unfortunately white supremacists and practice racial segregation of the native populace. The episode the country appears in was clearly a satire on the apartheid-promoting Cold War governments of Rhodesia and South Africa. Another episode, "The Money Machine", had Ghalea, a small country whose pro-Western government was key to stability in the area. Other examples are Logosia from "The Crane" and Lombuanda from "The Diamond".
  • In an episode of My Name Is Earl, Earl is betting on a political election between a regular guy and a cannibal in Africa that he's following on the news. The cannibal guy wins.
  • "Equatorial Kundu" appears to be a go-to name for Aaron Sorkin: a major plotline in The Newsroom concerns U.S.-caused riots in the fictional African country of...Equatorial Kundu.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Monster", it is mentioned that the African warlord General Lawrence Gecongo is attempting to seize power from the legitimately elected President of Uwanda.
  • In Rumpole of the Bailey, the titular English barrister is contacted by one of his former pupils, now a politician in the West African country Narenga, formerly the British colony New Somerset. The pupil is charged with murder and wants his old pupil-master, a leading criminal defense barrister, to represent him. Rumpole has to deal not only with the fraught politics of the case (as the trial could spark a civil war between the country's two main ethnic groups), but also the frustrating absence of a jury (and, therefore, a heavily biased judge).
  • Spooks: Series five, episode four featured West Monrassa, led by president Gabriel Sakoa, who was about to order a genocide on an ethnicity in the north of the country. However, another African president at the conference, Manu Baffrong of Gaudec, tells the team most developing African nations and their leaders are not like that. Furthermore, the problem is also the result of the United States blithely selling Sekoa weapons for The War on Terror and the British government being more concerned about the PR victory of getting their treaty signed than the wellbeing of Africa.
  • In The West Wing, there was Equatorial Kundu, an African nation wracked by genocide. Besides that, there was also mention of a Sahelise Republic.
  • Buranda from Yes, Minister, referred to on the show as a TPLAC—"Tinpot Little African Country", a parody of development geography terminology. Prior to its independence it was "British Equatorial Africa". It appears to have replaced real-life Equatorial Guinea on the map.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Bongolesia (The National African Republic of Bongolesia), created by miniature wargaming enthusiast Michael T. Murphy, is a southeastern-central African country ruled by President for Life P'hat Daddee B'wonah. Hilariously, Bongolesia is often mistaken for a real nation. It has its own tongue-firmly-in-cheek blog. The Kingdom of Zagoria, a former African colony of Imperial Germany, is a partner project of the aforementioned Bongolesia.
  • Champions supplements have occasionally mentioned the fictional African nations of "Lugendu" and "Lurranga"; the former has a president who's secretly a supervillain, while the latter is a generic sort of African dictatorship with an active but low-level revolutionary movement.
  • The Mutants & Masterminds Freedom City setting has Dakana, which the source material says is located "deep in sub-Saharan Africa, at the crossroads of Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Congo". Different versions of this nation show up in the alternate universes of related to the setting. By default, it is a unique take on the trope as the leader is a super who actually cares about his people, and the nations itself is stated to be wealthy and technologically advanced thanks to the Daka crystals that they have a monopoly on. (This is a blatant Captain Ersatz of Wakanda in the Marvel universe, as described in the comics section of the page.)


    Theme Parks 
  • Disney Theme Parks: Animal Kingdom's African section features the town of Harambe, East Africa. A nation which, judging by the inscription on a bench nearby, received independence in 1961. There were also plans to expand EPCOT in 1983 with an Africa pavilion containing features of multiple nations, but the only country willing to host the exhibit was South Africa, and even Disney's not that evil.

    Video Games 
  • The early levels of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon are set in an unspecified East African country, before the action moves north.
  • Commando Mercs is set in the Central African country of Zutula, where the President of the United States has been kidnapped by rebels.
  • The Kingdom of Mazunda in Criminal Case: World Edition, where Case 41 takes place and continues being referenced in subsequent seasons via inhabitants or products from there appearing.
  • Subverted in Empire Earth II, where the Maasai campaign explicitly takes place in Kenya and the tech level is relatively modern (though there is a military strongman with backing from a MegaCorp) thanks to the discovery of Unobtainium deposits there (the player's faction sells it to another MegaCorp that has no interest in running the country themselves).
  • The setting of Far Cry 2 is unnamed, but its two named regions (Leboa-Seko and Bowa-Seko) are like this, though they includes multiple environments one might expect in Africa (jungle, desert, savannah) in a very small space. The country's corrupt monarchy was ousted from power and now two factions, the APR and the UFLL, are locked in a civil war.
  • Longinus in Far Cry 4 is implied to be from the same African country of Far Cry 2. He describes it as "a land of death and misery", and used to be a warlord who sold blood diamonds to anyone who'd buy them. He then received a bullet to the head, after which his life was saved and he converted to a priest and now works as an Arms Dealer in Kyrat in order to find the blood diamonds and serve as The Atoner.
  • Southeastern Kenya in Halo is an industrialized and economically advanced version (thanks in large part to having a Space Elevator); specifically, it's part of the "East African Protectorate".
  • Inazuma Eleven 3 revolves around an international soccer tournament. The Final Boss is the national team of Cotarl (Côte-Victoire in the English dub), a tiny African republic. They were trained from a bunch of nobody kids to the strongest soccer team in the world by Endou Daisuke, the main character's long-thought-dead grandfather.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Galzburg in Metal Gear, "retconned" in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel into Gindra. Unlike most of these examples, Gindra has an exhaustively well-detailed description including things like rainfall, ethnic makeup, and a certain amount of fairly realistic history as a former French colony, which can be accessed through calling one of your support contacts.
    • The Moloni Republic in Metal Gear Ac!d.
    • N'Mani's unnamed country in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Our only hint is that the signs on the buildings are in English, which leaves about 20 contenders, half that if we cut out those not bordering a large body of water like the one a Metal Gear RAY jumps out of.
  • The first Operation Flashpoint has a mod named Tonal Island, which is focused on a civil war in a fictional African country set in a group of islands lying near the eastern coast of Africa.
  • Kijuju from Resident Evil 5, which is in West Africa and uses the Nigerian Naira as its currency, but is inhabited by people who speak the East African language Swahili.
  • Mazuri from Sonic Unleashed, the country where the Savannah Citadel stages take place. It has a real-world basis, however: The urban areas Sonic visits are based on the city of Djenné.
  • Jagged Alliance 3: is set in Grand Chien, a French-speaking nation in west Africa, that is small, dependent on diamond exports and currently trapped in a multi-way civil war.

    Web Animation 
  • The second episode of David Firth's The News Hasn't Happened Yet is largely focused around the wartorn (and then suddenly idyllic) African country of Clonka-Minkus.

  • Housepets!: Jata's home country (where Sabrina spent a chunk of her childhood), Feraga. It's explained to be an African country that completely avoided colonization and holds no distinction between animals and humans, considering both equal citizens. Its royal family is even composed of leopards, including Jata.

    Web Original 
  • Malê Rising is a story on whose Point of Divergence involves the 1835 Malê revolt of Muslim slaves in Brazil being slightly more successful, leading to the freed and exiled slaves founding a nation in our world's Nigeria rooted in liberal Enlightenment values informed by the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions. The ideology they develop spreads first across West Africa and then into the broader Muslim world, leading the European empires to take a lighter hand during the Scramble for Africa when they encounter stronger, better-developed states that can't be crushed so easily, and West Africa being a front in the Great War leads the region to industrialize on both sides. By 2015, there are parts of Africa, such as Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria, South Africa, and the Copperbelt, where the living standards are close to European standards, and even many poorer countries like Ethiopia, Angola, and Egypt resemble Eastern Europe more than anything. That said, some parts of Africa still conform to the stereotype; the United Congolese Republic gets run into the ground by a tinpot dictator, East Africa is devastated by a brutal civil war in the 1940s, and Natal becomes a white supremacist minority-rule state.
  • The Trope Namer comes from The Onion, which had an article about Bulungi, a West African country whose existence was only attested to by its American ambassador (a stoner who got his job while talking to then-President Clinton in the McDonald's where he worked). Besides Bulungi, they've also briefly shown the fictitious country of "Mumbambu" (which, according to the U.S. State Department, encompasses most of East and Central Africa) in one of their news videos.

    Western Animation 
  • George of the Jungle, straddles the line between this and Darkest Africa, being a parody of Tarzan but set in what was then the present day.
  • The Rambo: The Force of Freedom episode "Rambo and the White Rhino'' has Big Bad General Warhawk fomenting war between two fictional African nations, Namboola and Ombasi.
  • The Simpsons: The episode "Simpsons Safari" is set in Tanzania, and the production team did take effort to portray the country realistically, but did slip in some Bulungi-esque tropes, like the country changing regimes and official title frequently, and including customs like ear, lip and neck stretching that aren't Eastern African customs at the Masai village.
    Flight Attendant: Attention, passengers. Please prepare for our landing in Tanzania. (handed paper) I'm sorry. It is now called New Zanzibar. (handed another paper) Excuse me. It is now called Pepsi Presents New Zanzibar.

  • The World Bank uses a fictitious country called "Afrinia" in its training exercises.
  • Private Eye, in its satirical material, tends to use the fictitious African country "Rumbabwe, formerly known as British Rumbabaland", a pun on Zimbabwe and the British dessert "rum baba".
  • In 2017 Donald Trump praised the health care system of a country called "Nambia" during a speech to African leaders at the United Nations. The White House later stated that he meant to refer to Namibia (with earlier speculation also suggesting Zambia and The Gambia), but not before a spate of jokes on Twitter depicted Nambia as an example of this trope.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fictional African Country



The Fly Team investigates a suspect in Paris, who somehow was able to get diplomatic credentials from the Democratic Republic of Dondi, which is (likely) a take on the Democratic Republic of the Congo since both countries use French as a working language.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Bulungi

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