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Mongo and Luba

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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Mongo and Luba

In the very heart of the equatorial rainforest, almost surrounded by the curve of the Congo River, live a number of populous Bantu tribes belonging to the great Mongo nation. Amongst them reside a considerable body of Pygmies, intermarriage with whom in the past has produced an even larger population of mixed bloods, who are today indistinguishable in culture from the dominant Negroes.
Southeast of the Mongo, in the adjacent savanna country, live a number of quite different peoples, mainly belonging to the Luba nation. In language, political institutions, and certain other aspects of culture they affiliate with the Central Bantu to the south. We have nevertheless chosen to treat them with the Mongo largely because, like the latter, they exhibit patrilineal forms of social organization. Moreover, the eastern and southeastern Mongo tribes manifest an unmistakable transition between them and the main body of the Mongo nation. Since the two sets of tribes basically constitute distinct culture provinces (see Map 14), they are separated in the following classification.

Mongo Province

  1. Bosaka (Saka), with the Ekota and Elinga. They number about 11 0,000.
  2. Ekonda (Baseka), with the Batitu, Bokongo, Bolia, lpanga, fyembe, Mpama, Ntomba (Matumba, Ntumba, Tomba), and Sengele (Basengele, Mosengere). They number about 200,000.
  3. Kela (Akela, Bakela, Ekele, Ikele), with the Balanga, Bambuli, and Boyela (Vela) . They number about 150,000.
  4. Kurshu (Akurshu, Bakutsu, Bankutshu), embracing the Bokala, Bolcndu, Bolongo, Booli, Dcngese (Bonkesse, Ndengese), and Yaelima. They number abom 80,000.
  5. Mbole (Bole, Imoma, Mboe). They number about 100,000.
  6. Mongo (Balolo, Bamongo, Bomongo, Mbongo, Lolo). They number in excess of 200,000.
  7. Ngandu (Bangandu, Bolo, Bongandu, Mongandu), with the Bambole, Lalia (Dzalia, Lolia), and Yasayama. They number about 250,000.
  8. Ngombe (Bangombe, Bongombe, Gombe), with the Kuru (Bakoutou, Bakutu), Linga (Balinga, Baringa, Elinga, Waringa), and Ntomba.
  9. Nkundo (Bankundu, Elanga, Gundo, lnkundo, Kundu), with the Bolemba (Bokote, Flonga, Lifumba, Wangata) and numerous other subtribes. They number about 200,000.
  10. Songomeno (Basonge-Meno, Bassongo-Meno), with the Wankurshu (Ankutshu, Bankusu, Bankutsu, Bankutu, Nkutu).
  11. Tetela (Batetela), also called Hamba (Bahamba) and Kusu (Bacueu, Bakoussou, Vuakussu, Wakusu), embracing the Okale, Olemba, Sungu, and other sub tribes. Together with the Songomeno, they number about 300,000.

Luba Province

  1. Luba (Balouba, Balunga, Balm·a, Bulaba, Louba, Turruba, Waluba), with the Bena Kalundwe and Bena Kanioka.
  2. Lulua (Bena Lulua, Luluwa), with the Lange (Bachilangue, Bashilenge, Kaschilange, Tusilani, Tusselange).
  3. Lunda (Alunda, Arunda, Balonda, Baloundou, Bamlunda, Kalunda, Lounda, Malhundo, Valunda).
  4. Mbagani (Babagani, Babindi, Bindi, Tubindi), with the Kete (Baketa, Tukere).
  5. Songe (Basonge, Bassongo, Bassonje, Wasonga), with the Zimba (Bazimba, Wazimba).
  6. Yeke (Bayeke). This is not a tribe but a state established over Central Bantu indigenes by Nyamwezi conquerors from Tanganyika in the nineteenth century.