At the insistent request of some English-speaking visitors, I was forced to translate this lexicon from French to English. It’s a colossal job that took me a lot of time, I applied myself and tried to do my best. Despite this, since English is not my usual language, there could be some translation errors here and there. If you find any, do not hesitate to report them to me by writing to me through the contact page of this website.
Thank you in advance !
CLANS OF THE KONGO PEOPLE.
This teaching on Kongo clans is the work of Ne Muanda Nsemi, who is the only Mukongo capable of giving us this list, which demonstrates if necessary his quality as a living ancestor, in other words “mukulu wa moyo”, and that what he teaches us is inspired by the Hereafter, because I do not think that the Portuguese, Belgian or French colonial administrations had fun listing all the clans that made up the Kongo people and classifying them according to their original ancestor. The knowledge of the clans’ names for a Mukongo Lamda is limited at most to the names of his mother’s and father’s clans as well as those of his two grandfathers, to which may be added those with whom they have formed matrimonial alliances and those of some of the clans that make up his village when this Mukongo lives or has spent some time there.
You will find Ne Muanda Nsemi’s other teachings in the Kongo Diéto archives which you can consult on the Ntumua Mase blog accessible by clicking on the following link: http://mbutamassee.afrikblog.com/
The clan and its place in kongo society:
The clan is, among the Bakongo, a reunion of families with the same distant ancestor. As in most societies in Sub-Saharan Africa, the clan plays a very important role in an ethnic society. It is through the clan that the individual can identify with the rest of the group and find his place within the whole community.
The Bakongo family structure is matrilineal : the role of the maternal uncle therefore competes with that of the father. In addition, the family refers to all individuals with a vertical or horizontal relationship, regardless of the degree of kinship. One should not confuse the concept of family with that of nuclear family which has its place in the sociology Kongo, the latter constitutes a group of individuals uniting the mother with her children, the father being considered here as not being totally part of the nuclear family. As for the clan, it brings together individuals from several families and different regions (although part of the Kongo society). Two individuals, one Munianga, the other Mundibu, can thus be part of the same clan and consider themselves as “brothers”.
Among the Bakongo, matriarchy was privileged over patriarchy, because our ancestors had understood that in the couple of parents, the mother was the only one whose child she gave birth to was 100% hers, unlike the father, which means that with matriarchy we have families 99.999% secure if we exclude those who have been adopted.
The Kongo ethnic group or people unites several clans, a clan is composed of several families and a family is composed of several nuclear families.
Base clans :
Before the 13th century there were three basic clans among the Bakongo: the Nsaku clan, the Nzinga clan and the Mpanzu clan. The basic clans were not just groups of individuals because each clan also had a role to play in the organization of society. According to Kongo historical tradition, these clans were the descendants of the three sons of the first Kongo monarch, Nimi Lukeni. According to some traditions, Nsaku was his daughter and not one of his sons, which would explain the prominent place that this clan had in the political and social affairs of the Bakongo, especially when one considers that matriarchy is one of the main social characteristics of Kongo society.
The Nsaku clan:
The Nsaku clan was in charge of the spirituality and justice domain and always provided the Mani Nsaku Ne Vunda, the second personality of the empire, just after the Mani Kongo. The predominance of this clan over others was such that, in the lands they owned, they appointed their own leaders, unlike in other regions where it was Mani Kongo who appointed the leader. The Nsaku presided over all religious activities. In politics, they were in the front row alongside Mani Kongo. They also conducted the funeral of the deceased sovereign and presided over the election of his successor. According to some traditions, Mani Kongo’s wife was often a member of the Nsaku clan, which probably had the effect of linking the Nsaku to the imperial house and strengthening their influence. A Nsaku (a man born to a Nsaku mother) could not claim to the royalty, being in charge of the religious domain. The kongo memory remembers this clan as the guide of the Bakongo.
The Mpanzu clan:
It was that of the craftsmen and technicians who mastered the art of metallurgy. They also had the responsibility to lead men during the war. It is undoubtedly because of this fact and also because they had control over metallurgy that the members of this clan often, during the medieval history of the Bakongo (Ngola), claimed not without success the royalty. Indeed, the art of forging was considered a royal and sacred attribute and this art was at the centre of economic, political and social activity. It is thanks to this art that the peasants had tools to work and that the warriors had weapons to fight. It was also a tool of political and social preponderance, iron being the main material necessary for the manufacture of weapons and copper being a precious metal. The kongo memory remembers them as the repositories of knowledge.
The Nzinga clan:
As for the Nzinga clan, it was the clan that generally provided the sovereigns. Members of this clan held most of the country’s administrative and governmental positions. Among the Bakongo, no position was hereditary, the future Mani Kongo thus came to the throne by election, even if the reigning Mani Kongo could propose his candidate, who was often a son or nephew, but the candidates were members of a dynastic family. The incumbents of the other positions were appointed by Mani Kongo, except for the positions devolved to the Nsaku, whose members appointed their own candidates. From the Nzinga clan, the kongo memory remembers as one who has the gift of government.
By “daughter” clans, we mean the clans from the three basic clans. Indeed, from the 17th century, the period marked by the beginning of Portuguese colonization in Angola, the Bakongo people were in crisis: several individuals moved north towards the current Democratic Republic of Congo. This progressive distancing from the core of the kongo civilization (current provinces of Zaire and Uige in Angola and Centre-South of the current province of Kongo Central in the Democratic Republic of Congo) creates a weakening of the founding values. In addition, as they travel, they must enter into matrimonial or political alliances with the peoples of the localities where they have settled or crossed. Thus, families, growing and mixing, gradually became clans. These new clans saw in them the birth of several families who, despite the many changes, never forgot their links with their original clans, that is, their basic clans.
List of clans.
Here is a list proposed by Ne Muanda Nsemi :
Descendants from Nsaku : Nsaku, kinsaku, lemba, muanda, lunda, kalunda, kilunda, kinzambi, ndembo, ndingi, madingu, ba dia ndingi, mbuta, kimbuta, kihunda, kivunda, kimbunda, mavunda, mpunda, mbata, kimbata, kota, kikota, kahita, mukukulu, nkukulu, nkokolo, nkala, kinkala, mukala, milimina, kabemba, mbemba, mpemba, kimpemba, mvemba, kimvemba, lawu, mankunku, nkunku, ngola, nsongo, tsongo, mitsongo, kimanga, mbika, kimbika, kimvika, kiyuvu, mabika, nsengele, kinsengele, sengele, kiuvu, kinsumbu, kalemba, mvika, matsakula, kibuila, kimbuila, mbuila, mpila, kimpila, kingidi, kingila, kividi, kiyidi, mayidi, neyidi, ngidi, ngiri, nzidi, nsivuila, kuimba, kikuimba, kikuiti, lukuti, sangila, lunsangi, matsanga, musenga, nsenga, nsanga, nsangi, ngimbi, kingimbi, yimbu, ndinga, kindinga, mavandu, mpanda, muema, ngandu, masaka, masaki, nkamba, kikamba, lemfu, kilemfu, ngemba, kingemba, kiyemvo, yongo, kiyongo, zongo, kizongo, vuzi, kivuzi, kinsembo, masembo, nsembo, musemo, kimfuti, mfuti’a mvemba, makaba, nsimba, nsimbi, nsimbu, nsungu, nsongi, kinsongi, ntumba, kintumba, mowa, kiowa, kikiowa, ntamba, kimayalasa, kimiala, miala, nkuwu, mbakala, kimbakala, kiyaka, etc.
Descendants from Mpanzu : Mpanzu, kimpanzu, lamba, tadi, kilamba, kalamba, lufu, luvu, dondo, ndundu, munuani, kesa, muteke, kuanza, nkuanza, muanza, kimuanza, nganzi, bangu, kibangu, kabangu, kuangu, kikuangu, luangu, kiluangu, tsiluangu, mpangu, kimpangu, mvangi, muangu, kihungu, hungu, vungu, kimbungu, mbungu, ngungu, mangungu, mahungu, mavungu, mfutila, kimfutila, ndamba, kindamba, nlamba, mbau (tiya), kimbauka, mbauka, nsundi, kinsundi, kinsula, kinsulu, musundi, fumina, kifuma, vonga, luvongo, mbongo, kimbongo, kinuani, matana, nkua nioka, vakula, mpaku, kimpaku, voma, kihombi, kilombi, ngoma, kingoma, ngombe, kingombe, lombo, kilombo, kumba, nkumba, kinkumba, nkumbu, fulama, mfulama, kimfulama, vemba, mbembe, mbe, kimbembe, mbimbi, kimbimbi, wumba, wumbu, bumbu, kibumbu, lubangu, kimbundi, kibuma, mbuma, mbumbu, ngumbi, ngumbu, mukuzu, kinkuzu, nkozo, vola, mpondi, kimpudi, mpolo, polo, lumbu, kilumbu, malumbu, mpombo, mpumba, mumba, kimumba, ndombe, lulombe, mbumba (mvangi), ndumbu, mvudi, ngolo, ngola, ndamb’a ngolo (angola), paka, mpaka, mpakasa, kimbaku, kimpaka, mabaka, vona, mponi, mboma, boma, vukama, mavuku, mpuku, vonda, kimpondo, ngonda, ngondi, longo, ndongo, kindongo, samba, busamba, kinsamba, nsamba, nseke nzila, lumba, malumba, mulumba, nkenzi, kinkenzi, mukenzi, masunda, kinkosi, kinsuka, nsuka, nsuka za kongo, mutsakila, nsakila, ntu a nkosi, wembo, kiwembo, mfutila na wembo, etc.
Descendants from Nzinga : Nzinga, kinzinga, mbamba, kimbamba, kambamba, mbala, kihangala, kiluamba, kimbala, kiama, kimbambi, mbambi, kinzamba, nanga, kinanga, kananga, enanga, zananga, mayamba, mazamba, miyamba, mpal’a nzinga, muabi, muyabi, nzamba, yambi, zambi, yanzi, kiyanzi, kiniangi, kiyangu, kianza, kikiangala, mandiangu, nianga, manianga, mani, mayanzi, mbangala, mpalanga, muakase, nsanzala, mbanda, kimbanda, kibanda, mumbanda, kiyandu, mbandu, yandu, lunga, mabulungu, bulungu, madungu, mandungu, malunga, ndunga, nkunga, kiyinda, mbinda, makondo, nkondo, mukondo, mukoko, mikondo, mbenza, muzinga, njinga, mujinga, ngongo, nsinzi, nsindi, ngundu, ngunu, kingunu, kingundu, mahinga, muhoyi, mungoyo, ngoyo, kingoyo, woyo, lukeni, nkenge, kinkenge, kenge, mafuta, etc.
As a supplement to this section, here is the list of tribes that make up the Kongo dia Ntotela Empire, according to a contribution by Dr Miatudila Malonga and Mfumukanda M. Masembo :
In D. R. Congo :
- Bakongo ba Boma
- Ba Mbanza ma Nteke
- Besi Ngombe
- Besi Kuakongo
In Angola & Cabinda :
- Besi Songo
- Besi Nova Kayipemba
- Besi Kisaka Ndika
- Besi Zanza
- Besi Nsonso
- Besi Bembe
- Basanza Pombo
In Congo Brazzaville :
- Bakongo ba Boko
In Gabon :
A gift for you:
“Singing is praying three times”, here is a sample of songs that will help to connect with the Great Spirits who lead our people, to glorify them and address your grievances to them.
You will find other songs on different YouTube channels including Kesa BDK’s where you can enjoy the very moving song dedicated to Yaya Vita Kimpa which reminds us of her supreme sacrifice as well as the one created in honour of Mfumu Kimbangu.