Despite being rich in resources, wildlife, and agricultural crops, the Central African Republic has endured political and economic instability since its independence from France in 1960. For nearly two decades, the country was governed under the oppressive regime of Jean-Bedel Bokassa who was deposed, with French backing, in 1979; a series of coups and unrest followed. More recently, the Central African Republic has been destabilised by the Lord's Resistance Army of nearby Uganda. The current President of the Central African Republic is François Bozizé who came to power in a 2003 coup.
The Central African Republic's over 80 ethnic groups each have their distinctive cultures, traditions, and languages. French writer André Gide's Voyage au Congo was sharply critical of the French colonial administration of the Central African Republic, then part of Ubangi-Chari. Makombo Bamboté is the best-known Central African writer whose works include Princesse Mandapu and Coupe d'Etat Nègre. Whilst French is the official language, the majority of the population speaks Sango; traditional oral story-telling is an integral part of village culture.
Cameroon-born photographer Samuel Fosso who developed his art in Bangui, Central African Republic is an influential, internationally-acclaimed portrait photographer. His works have been compared to the overtly theatrical, staged works of Cindy Sherman.
In film, an important filmmaker is Joseph Akouissonne who directed Zo kwe zo (A Human Being Is A Person) and Les Dieux noirs du stad (Black Gods of the Stadium). Le silence de la foret (2003) was a joint-production between Central African filmmaker Didier Florent Ouénangaré and Cameroonian director Bassek Ba Kobhio, which adapted Étienne Goyémidé's novel of the same name.