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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, 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 (or Puma), 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 
  • Storm's uncle was the dictator of such a country. Wakanda, the home of the Black Panther, however, 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.
  • 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 and the lack of sea nearby suggest Africa.
  • De Kiekeboes: The African state "Boeloe Boeloe", ruled by an Idi Amin parody, is featured in a few albums.
  • In one arc of Hitman, 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 realise 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.
  • Christopher Priest's Justice League run has the league crashing in this kind of country, running afoul of a an evil Black Panther expy in the process.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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 did handle the transition to the post-Colonial age better than most, and the capital of Morristown is a modern city, but there are still deep jungles and parched savannahs a-plenty.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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 an Expy of Zimbabwe (previously Rhodesia), making Dr. Zuwanie a fictional counterpart to Robert Mugabe (especially funny since he actually banned the film, decrying it as CIA propaganda). 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 lenghths 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).
  • 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.
  • Zembala in The Wild Geese.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 an expy of 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.
  • The Soviet spy movie TASS Is Authorized to Declare..., based on the eponymous novel by Yulian Semyonov, has Nagonia.
  • 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.
  • Nibia from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
  • Tigora in Sheena.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Evelyn Waugh:
    • Ishmaelia from Scoop.
    • Azania from Black Mischief, often interpreted as a stand-in for inter-war Ethiopia.
  • Zangaro from Frederick Forsyth's The Dogs of War. Based on Equatorial Guinea.
  • 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.
  • Beninia from Stand on Zanzibar. There's also Dahomalia and RUNG, but these are mergers of existing IRL countries.
  • Ambagazali, the home country of Bunduki in the works of J.T. Edson.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nagonia from Yulian Semyonov's spy thriller TASS Is Authorized to Declare....
  • The neighboring nations Lamblia and Gurunduwaju in Stanisław Lem's short story "Professor A. Donda" from Memoirs of a Space Traveller.
  • 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.
  • Gorotoland from Allen Drury's sequels to Advise and Consent
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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).
  • 24: Redemption, as well as the following season of the series proper, features Sangala.
  • The A-Team had three: Zulabwe from "Diamonds 'n' Dust", and Northern and Southern Triana from "There Goes the Neighborhood".
  • 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.
  • In The West Wing, there was Equatorial Kundu, an African nation wracked by genocide. Besides that, there was also mention of a Sahelise Republic.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!’).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


    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.)

  • Night and Day, by Tom Stoppard, is set in “Kambawi”, which comes complete with a ruler who Majored in Western Hypocrisy (and learned that lesson well).
  • The Odd Couple mentions "Baggi", which has existed since Thursday.
  • Dave Brubeck's jazz musical The Real Ambassadors features Talgalla.

    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 
  • Kijuju from Resident Evil 5, which is in West Africa, but is inhabited by people who speak the East African language Swahili.
  • 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.
  • The early levels of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon are set in an unspecified East African country, before the action moves north.
  • 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".
  • The Moloni Republic in Metal Gear Ac!d.
  • Galzburg in Metal Gear, "retconned" in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel into Gindra. Unlike most of these examples, Gindra had exhaustively well-detailed description including things like rainfall, ethnic makeup, and a certain amount of fairly realistic history, which could be accessed through calling a certain character.
  • N'Mani's unnamed country in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
  • Commando Mercs is set in the Central African country of Zutula, where the President of the United States has been kidnapped by rebels.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Mega-Corp).

    Web Original 
  • Malê Rising is a story on whose Point of Divergence involves the 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. 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 
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • Incidentally, "bulungi" is the common term for "good" or "alright" in Uganda.
  • The World Bank actually uses this trope in its training exercises, featuring a country called "Afrinia".
  • Equatorial Guinea in Tropical Gangsters by Robert Klitgaard, at least at the time the book was published.
  • Curiously enough, only four contemporary African countries start with the letter "B": Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Burundi.
  • The group Africa for Norway parodies this by making Live Aid-esque Public Service Announcements for Scandinavian countries. Rusty Radiator, or Radi-Aid is a spin-off.

Alternative Title(s): Fictional African Country


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