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Central Bantu

George Peter Murdock (1897-1985)
Africa. Its Peoples and Their Culture History

New York. McGraw-Hill. 1959. 456 p.

Part Eight: Expansion of the Bantu
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Central Bantu

Despite the high degree of uniformity in social organization, first noted by Richards (1950), certain local variants in this and other respects make it advisable to divide the peoples of this province into several clusters.

Kongo Cluster

A cluster of closely related peoples on the lower reaches of the Congo River and the adjacent coast to the north and south aroused the astonishment of the early Portuguese explorers because of the complexity of their political institutions and their social life.

  1. Kongo (Bacongo, Bakongo, Makongo), embracing the Bashikongo (Besikongo, Eshikongo, Exikongo, Mouchicongo), Hungu (Mahungo, Maungo), Mbamba (Bamba, Bambamba), Mbata (Bambata, Batta), Mpangu (Bampangu, Pango), Nzombo (Bazombo, Zombo), and Sorongo (Asolongo, Bashilongo, Basolongo, Misorongo, Mossilongi, Mouchilonge, Musarongo, Mushirongo, Musurongo). Ihle (1929) estimates that they numbered 2,500,000 in 1675.
  2. Kunyi (Bakougni, Bakunya), with the Yangela (Bayangela, Nyangela).
  3. Sundi (Basoundi, Basundi, Mayanga, Nsundi), with the Bembe (Babembe), Bwende (Babouendi, Babwende), Dondo (Badondo), and Kamba (Bakamba).
  4. Vili (Bafiote, Bavili, Chiloango, Fiore, Fjort, Loango, Mfioti), with the Kakongo (Cacongo, Kabinda, Kacongo, Makouango).
  5. Yombe (Bayombe, Majombe, Mayumbe). They numbered about 170,000 in 1933.

Kimbundu Cluster

This cluster of tribes, occupying west central Angola, is among the least adequately described in the entire African continent.

  1. Holo (Baholo, Hollo).
  2. Kimbundu (Ambundu, Mbundu), embracing the Luanda (Loanda), Mbaka (Ambaca, Ambaquista), Mbondo (Bondo), Ndongo (Ndonga, Ngola), Ndembu (Andembu, Atembu, Bandempo, Batembo, Demba, Dembu, Jindembu), and Tamba (Matamba).
  3. Kisama (Cisama, Kissama, Quissama). Their population was reduced by smallpox from over 30,000 around 1900 to about 10,000 in 1929.
  4. Lupolo (Libolo), with the Esela, Haku (Hako, Oako), Kipala (Cipala, Kibala), and Lemba (Malemba).
  5. Mbangala (Bangala, Bangela, Imbangala, Ngala), with the Shinje (Bashinshe, Chinge, Kasinji, Mashinge, Maxingi) .
  6. Sele (Basele, Esele, Selle), with the Kisanji (Cisanje, Kissandschi, Quissanje), Mbui (Amboim, Ambuin, Mbuiyi, Ombe), and Sumbe (Basumbe).

Kwango Cluster

This cluster embraces a number of well-described tribes in the drainage basin of the Kwango River, a southern affluent of the Congo.

  1. Kwese (Bakuese, Bakwese).
  2. Luwa (Balua, Baluwa, Lua), with the Nzofo and Sonde (Basonde).
  3. Mbala (Mmbala, Bambala), with the Huana (Baguana, Bahuana, Bauangana, Wengana) and Humbu (Bahumbu, Bavumbu, Bawumbu).
  4. Ngongo (Bangongo), with the Songo (Basongo).
  5. Pende (Bapende, Baphendi, Capende, Tupende). They number about 27,000.
  6. Suku (Bapindi, Basuku, Pindi, Pindji), with the Samba (Tsaam). They number about 80,000.
  7. Yaka (Aiacka, Bayaka, Bayakala, Djakka, Dsehagga, Giaca, Jaca, Majacalla, Mayacca, Muyaka, Myaka, Ngiaka, Vacca, Yagga), with the Lula (Balula).

Kasai Cluster

The tribes of thjs cluster lie northeast of the Kwango group on or near the Kasai tributary of the Congo River, and adjacent to the Mongo province.

  1. Bunda (Ambundu, Ambuun, Babounda, Babunda, Bambunda, Mbuni).
  2. Dzing (Badinga, Badzing, Baringa, Dinga), with the Lori (Aiwer, Baloli, Balori), Ngoli (Angul, Bangodi, Bangoli, Bangulu), and Nzari (Bandzadi, Bandzala, Bandjadi, Banzari).
  3. Kuba (Bacouba, Bakuba, Tukubba), embracing the Binji (Babindji), Mbala (Bambala), Ngongo (Bangongo), and lesser subtribes. They number about 75,000.
  4. Lele (Bachilela, Bashilele, Bouxhilile), with the Wongo (Bagongo, Bakongo, Bawongo, Tukkongo). They number about 12,000.
  5. Sakata (Basaka, Basakaca), embracing the Baye (Babaye, Bai, Bobai, Tollo), Boma (Baboma, Babuma, Ouabouma, Uabuma, Wabuma), Dia (Badia, Bajia, Jia, Wadia, Wadja), and Lesa (Balesa, Lessa).
  6. Yanzi (Bajansi, Basehansi, Bayanchi, Bayanzi, Wachanzi), with the Amput (Bamputu)

Lunda Cluster

The tribes of this cluster live east of the Kimbundu and southeast of the Kwango groups. Most of them were subject to the Lunda empire of Mwata Yamwo (see Chapter 37).

  1. Chokwe (Ahioko, Aioko, Atsokwe, Bachoko, Badjok, Bakioko, Batchokwe, Batshoko, Chiboque, Kashioko, Katsokwe, Khioko, Kioko, Kioque, Makioko, Matchioko, Quioco, Shioko, Tsehiokwe, Tsiboko, Tsokwe, Tutsehokwe, Utshiokwe, Vichioko, Watsehokwe), with the Minungu (Tuminungu).
  2. Luchazi (Balochasi, Balojash, Kaluchazi, Lutsehase, Luxage, Malochazi, Makangala, Mulochazi, Valuchazi).
  3. Luimbe (Baluimbi, Loimbe, Lwimbi, Valuimbe), with the Mbande (Kimbande, Quimbande). They number about 40,000.
  4. Luvale (Aluena, Balovale, Kaluena, Lobare, Luena, Lovale, Lwena, Malobale, Muluena, Tulwena, Valwena).
  5. Mbunda (Ambunda, Mambunda).
  6. Mbwela (Amboella, Ambuela).
  7. Ndembu (Andembu, Bandempo, Southern Lunda).
  8. Songo (Basongo, Masongo).

Bemba Cluster

The tribes of this cluster live east of the Lunda group in Northern Rhodesia [now Republic of Zimbabwe] and the adjacent [former] Belgian Congo.

  1. Aushi (Avausi, Bahushi, Baoussi, Baushi, Umwausi, Ushi, Wouaousi, Wausi, Wauzhi), with the Chisinga (Wenachishinga), Kawendi (Kabende, Wenakawendi), Mukulu, and Ngumbu (Wenangumbu). They number about 100,000.
  2. Bemba (Awemba, Ayemba, Babemba, Muemba, Wawemba, Wemba). They number about 150,000.
  3. Bisa (Abisa, Aiza, Awisa, Babisa, Bawisa, Invisa, Moize, Moiza, Muiza, Wabisa, Wisa). They number about 50,000.
  4. Buye (Babudjue, Babui, Babuye, Bambuyu, Bubui, Luba-Hemba, Wabudjwe, Wabuyu, Waruwa), with the Bwari (Ouabouari, Ubwari, Wabwari), Goma (Wagoma), Hombo (Bango, Bangobango), Kalanga (Bakalanga), Kunda (Bakunda), and Lumbu (Balumbu).
  5. Holoholo (Baholoholo, Wahorohoro), also called Guha (Bagua, Baguha,Wuaguha, Waguha) and Tumbwe (Batumbwe, Watombwe).
  6. Kaonde (Bakahonde, Bakaonde), with the Sanga (Basanga). They number about 40,000.
  7. Lala (Balala, Bukanda), with the Ambo (Kambonsenga) and Luano. They number about 75,000.
  8. Lamba (Balamba, Walamba), with the Lima, Sewa, and Swaka. They number about 70,000.
  9. Luapula (Bena Kazembe), with the Londa (Alonda, Aronda, Balonda, Lunda,Warunda). They number about 100,000.
  10. Lungu (Alungu, Marungu, Walungu, Warungu), with the Mambwe (Amambwe).
  11. Senga (Asenga). These people, numbering about 25,000, are an offshoot of the Bisa and are strongly acculturated to the Tumbuka.
  12. Shila (Awasira, Bachila, Bashila, Messira, Wasira).
  13. Tabwa (Barabwa, Batambwa, ltawa, Watabwa), with the Bwile (Babwile, Swire).
  14. Unga (Bahonga, Bahunga, Baunga, Honja, Waunga). They number about 10,000

Maravi Cluster

The tribes of this cluster, who are known collectively as the Maravi, live mainly in Nyasaland (now Malawi) and on the lower Zambesi River.

  1. Chewa (Achewa, Ancheya, Cewa, Masheba, Sheva), with the kindred Chipeta (Achipeta). They number about 650,000.
  2. Chuabo (Achwabo, Atxuabo, Chwampo), with the Podzo.
  3. Kunda (Achikunda, Chikunda), with the Nyungwe (Wanyongwe). They number about 75,000 in Nyasaland alone.
  4. Nsenga (Senga). They number about 50,000.
  5. Nyanja (Anyanja, Wanyanja), with the Manganja (Maganja, Waganga). They number in excess of 300,000.
  6. Nyasa (Anyassa, Wanyassa).
  7. Sena (Asena, Wasena).
  8. Tumbuka (Barumbuka. Matumboka, Watumbuka), with the Fuliwa, Fungwe (Wafungwe), Henga (Bahenga, Wahenga), Hewe (Rewa), Kamanga (Wakamanga), Kandawire, Nthali, Phoka (Poka), Sisya (Siska), Tonga (Baronga, Matoka), Wenya, and Yombe. They number about 120,000.
  9. Zimba (Azimba, Bazimba, Ouazimba, Wasimba. Wazimba).

Yao Cluster

The tribes of this cluster live mainly in northern Mozambique and adjacent coastal Tanganyika, although a few spill over into southern Nyasaland.

  1. Lomwe (Acilowe. Alomwe, Anguru, Nguru, Walomwe, Wanguru), with the Mihavani. They number about 400,000 exclusive of those in Portuguese territory.
  2. Makonde (Wakonde, Wamakonde), with the Matambwe (Wamatambwe) and Mawia (Mabiha, Mavia, Wawiha, Wamavia, Wawia). Those in British territory, a small fraction of the total, number about 150,000.
  3. Makua (Makoa, Makoane, Wakua, Wamakua). They number about 850,000.
  4. Mwera (Wamuera), with the Kiturika (Kirusika).
  5. Ngindo (Wangindo), with the Chobo (Choo), Hamba, lkemba, Tdonde (Wandonde), and Ndwewe.
  6. Yao (chawa, Adjao, Adsawa, Adsoa, Ajawa, Ayo, Hian, Mudsau, Mujano, Mujoa, Myao, Veiao, Wahaiao, Waiyau, Wayao). Those in British territory, a small fraction of the total, number about 360,000.
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