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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 feature vaguely British accents. 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 its former sort of government to a more democratic type of rule, though this might not be going well for them. If there is a dictator, expect him to be a well educated man who Majored in Western Hypocrisy. Depending upon how it is handled, a Bulungi can easily lend itself to Unfortunate Implications.

Compare and contrast with Ruritania, Qurac, Wutai, Banana Republic, and Darkest Africa.

Examples of Bulungi include:

Comic Books


Film

  • The Interpreter has Matobo, which is probably as generic as it gets. It is an African country liberated by a Dr. Zuwanie who now is a corrupt dictator that kills his opponents. 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.
    • It's an Expy on Zimbabwe, making Dr. Zuwanie a fictional counterpart to Robert Mugabe (especially funny since he actually banned the film, decrying it as CIA propaganda).
  • 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).
  • Zembala in The Wild Geese.
  • In Casino Royale, 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 assasinate its Idi Amin-esque President for Life.
  • The Dolph Lundgren movie Red Scorpion takes place in the communist nation of Mombaka, in the middle of a civil war between La Résistance and the Soviets and their Cuban, Czechoslovakian and local military allies.
  • 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.


Literature

  • 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.
  • Ishmaelia from the novel Scoop by Evelyn Waugh, and its 1987 film adaptation. Also, 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 Nigeria/Biafra.
  • 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.
  • 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 West African island of Fernando Pó, also known under the native name Bioko (it is a part of Equatorial Guinea).
  • Nagonia from Yulian Semyonov's spy thriller TASS Is Authorized to Declare....


Live Action TV

  • MacGyver featured several such countries over the course of its run. The country Kembezi 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 features Sangala.
  • The A-Team had three: Zulabwe from a second-season episode, and Northern and Southern Triana from a later episode.
  • Buranda from Yes Minister, referred to on the show as a TPLAC--"Tinpot Little African Country", a parody of development geography terminology. It appears to have replaced 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.
  • 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 appers 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".
  • An episode of Spooks featured West Monrassa, led by corrupt president Gabriel Sakoa, who was guilty of ordering genocide on an ethnicity in the north of the country. Another episode had Guadec, led by a reformist president called Manu Baffrong.
  • 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).


Newspaper Comics

  • 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.


Radio

  • An episode of Think The Unthinkable featured the team at Unthinkable Solutions scheduled to meet with the Minister of Finance for the fictional African state of Nambitrea.


Tabletop Games


Theater

  • Dave Brubeck's jazz musical The Real Ambassadors features Talgalla.


Theme Parks


Video Games

  • Kijuju from Resident Evil 5.
  • Far Cry 2 is set in a place like this, though it includes multiple environments one might expect in Africa (jungle, desert, savannah) in a very small space.
  • The early levels of Ace Combat Assault Horizon are set in an unspecified East African country, before the action moves north.
  • The Moloni Republic in Metal Gear Acid.
  • 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.


Web Original

  • 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 country of Mumbambu in one of their news videos.


Real Life

  • Incidentally, "bulungi" is the common term for "good" or "all right" in Uganda.
  • The World Bank actually uses this trope in its training exercises, featuring a country called "Afrinia".
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