Much speculation surrounds Joseph Kabila's personal life and is gleaned mostly from popular news sources. According to an official statement issued by the Congolese Supreme Court on the occasion of his inauguration, Joseph Kabila was born 4 June 1971. Joseph Kabila is the eldest of ten children of the late Laurent-Desiré Kabila; the elder Kabila was born in Ankoro, a small town on the banks of the Congo River in North Katanga. Some reports suggest that the elder Kabila adopted Joseph at a young age, while others maintain that Joseph is indeed Laurent Kabila's biological son. Official statements indicate that his mother is a member of the Bangubangu tribe of Maniema province in eastern Congo, while other reports suggest that his mother was a Tutsi possibly from Rwanda.
Joseph Kabila completed his primary and intermediate education in Tanzania where he attended Anglophone schools based on the British tradition. He is fluent in both English and Swahili, but not in Lingala, the language of the army, the capital city, and Congolese music. He is said to have studied French for approximately three years, and he underwent military training in Rwanda in 1995 while waiting to begin university studies at Makarere University in Kampala.