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 on 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.
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.
Singer King Kester Emeneya was born in Kikwit in 1956. In April 2014, a tribute concert held in Kikwit to honor King Kester Emeneya ended in disaster, and least thirteen people in the stadium lost their lives in a stampede following a power failure.