Kikwit is the largest city of Bandundu Province, lying on the Kwilu River in the southwestern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kikwit is also known in the region under the nickname "The Mother". The population is approximately 397,737 (2012). An important commercial and administrative centre, it is home to a stadium and is known for its traditional dances, in particular the Bapende dancers whose geographic origin centers around the village of Gungu. Bapende dancers often wear traditional costumes comprising colorful masks and attire made from raffia. Kikwit is also home to an airport and is connected to the capital Kinshasa by a new road and river transport.
In 1995 the city saw one of the few outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus.
Kikwit was to have become the capital of the proposed Kwilu province on 18 February 2009, under the new Congolese Constitution. As of July 2011 this decentralization had not happened.