[This is obviously directed at those who write in English when talking about the two Congos and the Bakongo.]
The term Congo can refer to the Congo river and also Congo rain forest
The term also refers to two different countries:
1) The Republic of the Congo (aka ROC, Congo-Brazzaville) previously known as French Congo and The People’s Republic of the Congo
2) The Democratic Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Kinshasa DR Congo, DRC, RDC, Zaïre - yes some people still call it Zaïre even Congolese people) previously known as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville), Republic of Zaire
[These two countries are not the same, we were never one. Just because we share a pre colonial history, a few ethnic groups and cultures doesn’t mean we’re the same. We also share those things with Angola, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia etc as well, so saying we’re the same just because of those things doesn’t make sense. My ethnic groups has more in common with people from Tanzania and Zambia than ROC, because we share a lot of cultural similarities and history with ethnic groups from those two countries]
People who are Congolese are those either from the Democratic Republic of Congo or Republic of Congo.
[As I said, some people from the Democratic Republic of Congo still refer to the country as Zaïre and themselves as Zarian or Zaïroise/Zaïrois. I still get called Zaïroise by other Congolese people and other Africans because I was born before the country changed its name to DRC]
The term refers to the pre colonial kingdom (Kongo Kingdom) in what is now northern Angola, Cabinda (which is a province of Angola but located between DRC and ROC), southern Republic of the Congo, western Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kongo also refers to the Kongo aka Bakongo and Kongolese. This is not a tribe (learn the difference between tribe and ethnic group) Bakongo are an ethnic group and there are tribes who are part of the Bakongo for example the Vili, Yombe or Lumbo etc
Kongo can also refer to the language of the Bakongo aka Kikongo and also Kituba
It can also refer to the two modern day countries, depends in which language you write in
A new movement of Catholicism was created within the kingdom by prophetess Beatriz Kimpa Vita called Antonianism. Even after she was martyred and the new sect was suppressed, Antonianism is still practiced by people today particularly the Bakongo
Traditional Kongo (Bakongo) religion still existed in the Kingdom and its still practiced today.Kongo religion along with Kongo Catholicism has influenced Haitian Voudou, Quimbanda (an Afro-Brazilian religion) and other religions of the African diaspora
Many Bakongo were taken to Cuba, Haiti, the US, Brazil and others
In Cuba, using very much a late renaissance European metaphor, Palo has been classified as existing in two major forms, Palo Endoqui and Palo Nzambi, the former called Judio – “Jewish” – and the latter Cristiano – “Christian.” These two forms are in fact based upon African originals and a distinction that goes back to feuding sources of authority in Kongo religion during the earlier days of the Kingdom of Kongo.
Religion in the Kongo was always a political thing and associated both with the spirits but also with the kingship. Religion’s primary role was the maintenance of the kingdom and the king was himself sacred. So these shifts represented shifts in political control.
The generally accepted understanding is that there were several forms of cult in the Kongo that passed, as these things usually did, for political reasons, in and out of favor with the aristocracy.
One cult associated Lukankasi as the supreme deity and the other Nzambi. Lukankasi was of the sky and Nzambi of the earth. A third deity, Kalunga, associated with the sea and the underworld, also was considered a supreme deity.
Although in the Kongo Nzambi, Lukankasi, and Kalunga were the supreme deities of contesting political factions, they were not all that different from one another – or perhaps more accurately, there is little evidence remaining to distinguish them. To this day in the Congo and among neighboring peoples, Kalunga and Nzambi are both names for the supreme deity and are used differentially depending on the language spoken.
In time, however – and in the Americas – these three contending supreme deities of the Kongo became associated with quite different entities of the Christian and Yoruban pantheons.
When European missionaries arrived in the Kongo, their entire religious exchange with the Kongolese was accurately described (and I believe both Thornton and MacGaffey have used this metaphor or variations on it) as “a dialogue of the deaf.” This is because the symbol systems and structures of the two peoples had certain very visible similarities, especially in the linguistic metaphors they used. As a result, Christians adopted the terms used by the Kongolese for religious issues and deity. The Europeans and the Kongolese were then able to speak about religion and spiritual reality using a common “dialect” or vocabulary. The problem was that the Kongolese meant one thing and the Christians another. Both however, thought they understood each other.
Nzambi was associated by the early missionaries with the Christian God. They accepted Nzambi as God because they were trying to graft Christianity into the existing hierarchy. This identification occurred when the Kongolese king Aphonso I became a Christian, and was undertaken to shore up political power in the face of opposing contenders for the throne (who were ever present) apart from any other spiritual concerns. In the Diaspora, Nzambi remained the dios otioso, mentioned but never really invoked in Cuban Palo.
Lukankasi, because he was the deity who was displaced in the Kongo by the Cult of Nzambi, became associated with the Christian Devil. Because he was the deposed deity in the Kongo at the time that the European missionaries arrived, he had already been “demonized,” although not to the degree that the Europeans tended to demonize former deities.
Kalunga, because of his association with the ocean, became associated in the Diaspora with the Yoruban Orishas Yemalla and Olokun and subsequently changed gender to female. The association of Kalunga with Yemalla and Olokun only occurred after the Kongolese encountered the Yoruban pantheon. This happened in the New World.
Remember that “Kongo” in the New World religious scene is a “shorthand” for a large group of closely related peoples who came here, not simply those who spoke Kikongo, although for example in Cuba and North America those dominated. Still, languages are very, very close in that area of Africa and each culture and tribe had minor variations in belief and usage. This makes a very flexible understanding necessary when dealing with the development of Kongo-derived religions in the Diaspora.
It is also necessary to point out that there are fundamental differences between Kongo Palo and Yoruba Ocha beyond the well-known adage that “Palo deals more with the dead than Ocha,” while “Ocha deals more with the Gods.” Although Palo does deal more with the dead than Ocha does, its true distinguishing feature is that Palo is a religion based upon the beliefs and religion of the Kongo – it is of Central African Bantu tradition. Ocha, on the other hand, is a completely different tradition. It is Yoruba, which is West African and of the language (and cultural group) generally referred to as Sudanese.
In Cuba, as elsewhere in the New World, the slaves of Kongo origin eventually made an uneasy peace with the more recent Yoruba arrivals from Nigeria in the 19th century.
The two mixed, and still do, somewhat uncomfortably, largely because a fair number of people intermarried and people came to have access to both religions as part of their ethnic heritage. There are those who move between the two easily and many more on both sides of this line who are ill at ease with the other tradition. What is more important than the subtleties of the interaction is the recognition that they are not in reality two parts of the same tradition but two distinct religions from vastly different and widely separated cultures, the Yoruba and the Kongo.
The contemporary belief expressed by some Cubans and Cuban-Americans that Ocha was considered “greater” than Palo was a view largely advanced by the Yoruba and one rarely shared by people of Kongo descent. Another Cuban idea, “Your head belongs to Ocha [worship of the Gods], your back to Egun [ancestor veneration]” is explained because the spirits in Palo are not placed on your head but rather on your back.
In the Diaspora, two major varieties of Palo emerged over the last hundred and fifty years. They are called in the more Kongolese terminology Palo Nzambi and Palo Endoqui (Ndoki). These have been glossed in Spanish, using European equivalents, as Palo Cristiano and Palo Judio – “Christian Palo” and “Jewish Palo.”
Without exception, all Cuban Paleros will agree on this point: Those houses that follow Endoqui traditions (those which are not syncretised with Christianity) are called Palo Judio. All others (namely, Palo Nzambi) are Palo Cristiano.
The association of one type of Palo as “Jewish” in contrast to “Christian” is unfortunately a negative one generally, and it does not refer to Judaism per se. More accurately, it really refers to the absence of Christian symbolism in the religious practice. Palo Nzambi makes visible use of the Crucifix and holy water in its religious articles while Palo Endoqui avoids Christian symbolism.
It is worth noting that few Paleros who are Endoqui refer to it using the European terms, but rather prefer the African ones. Also, there are Paleros Endoquis who work with both sets of symbolism and methods. And, I hasten to reiterate, while Palo Endoqui, aka Palo Judio, is not Christian in its orientation, you will find nothing relating to Judaism in it either.
Of course, as Palo really is a number of fairly closely related religions and not one single tradition, there are no absolute universals here, either.
Ruins of the Kongo kingdom and engravings found in caves and stones
For the people of the kingdom the sun (engraved in the bottom left hand side) was an important symbol as the Kongo people believed in a cosmos divided in two, ‘this world’ (nza yayi) and ‘the land of the dead’ (nsi a bafwa). The two worlds are divided by a body of water, traditionally called Kalunga, and also known as nlangu (water), m'bu (ocean), or nzadi (great river). Life in that sense is a cyclical and repetitive movement between the two worlds mentioned above, resembling the path of the sun. At the rising and setting of the sun then, the living and the dead exchange day and night. In Kongo belief, man’s life does not end, it constitutes a cycle, and death is merely a transition in the process of change.
The other engravings include a man hunting some type of serpent (bottom right hand side) and a message of some sort on the 1st right hand side.
17th century painting of the dutch painter Albert Eckhout showing two emissaries of the Kingdom of Kongo in Brazil holding the two main sources of wealth in Africa at the time, an ivory tusk and a jewel box.
Smh I hope my people stop giving their money and support to these coon crooks. Pastor James Manning teaching black inferiority. Factually this guy is wrong on so many levels. First off Egypt is part of Africa. There were great cities civilizations with great wealth like Timbuktu, Ancient Nubia, The Kingdom of Kongo also the Kingdom of Zimbabwe that were thriving and self sufficient long before European colonialism. This guy says there are only one story high grass huts in all of Africa which is false! The Kingdom of Zimbabwe had tall buildings made of stone before the Europeans. There are also black civilizations who conquered and enslaved whites such as the Carthaginians and the Moors who you will never learn of in school or colleges taught and operated by europeans. The Moors brought numerous innovations in many areas of knowledge to whites in Europe including universal education, sewer systems, paved roads, street lights and hospitals. If our people are never taught these things and are only taught that we are the inferior then the result is guys like Pastor Manning teaching a whole congregation that they can’t do anything without the help of their slave masters. We as a people need to embrace our #Hebrew roots and re-educate ourselves and our people so we can break free of these self hating house nigga mindsets.#Repost @bena_yahu
What's the difference between Kongo and Congo, Kongolese and Congolese. Sorry if you've answered this before
I have but I’m bored so I don’t mind answering this again
Congolese - refers to people from Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo. Although SOME of the ethnic groups from both countries share pre-colonial history like the Bakongo, Gbaya and Teke, it doesn’t mean every ethnic group from both countries share histories/cultures. Both countries were named after the pre-colonial Kongo Kingdom which was also part of Angola
Kongolese - Kongolese is Bakongo in English. Bakongo are a Bantu ethnic group who inhabit Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Republic of Congo. Their mother tongue is Kikongo. Just because I am Congolese does not mean I’m Bakongo/Kongolese and not every Bakongo is Congolese.
Congo - refers to the countries Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo. Both countries are in Central Africa, as said before they share some pre-colonial histories but also have some cultural similarities. Western Democratic Republic of Congo share some cultural similarities with Republic of Congo, that is where the boarder is. But Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for example doesn’t. Some people think the two countries where once one, they were never one. They’re confusing the kingdom with the countries. They’re two different countries with different histories.
Kongo - also refers to the Bakongo ethnic group but also the Kongo Kingdom. It was a Central African kingdom in what is now Angola, Cabinda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo. Sometimes the Kongo Kingdom is written as Congo
The Kongo kingdom
And this is a map of where Kikongo and Kikongo ya leta (Kituba) which is a Kikongo Creole, is spoken
Plural: Bakongo. Singular: Mukongo or M’Kongo. Kongo land: Wakongo Language: Kikongo. Kongo can be used as both plural and singular
Some people are under the impression that every Congolese person is a descendant of the Kongo kingdom. We are not, I am not. There were more kingdoms/states than Kongo.
I know in some languages Kongo is used to refer to the countries and not just the Kingdom or ethnic group but I’m talking about English.
If I’ve missed something out, feel free to comment
A brief history of Christianity in the African continent
*this post doesn’t touch on how was used in Christianity western colonialism there will be other posts made for that* [I have tried to make the reading more accessible for people than and also as short as possible]
Christianity emerged in the Levant* around mid-1st century AD. Christianity in Africa began in Egypt around the 1st century, the Coptic Orthodox Church are believed to be the oldest sect of Christianity in Egypt and one the oldest in the continent along with Ethiopian (Christianity in Ethiopia emerged around the 4th century and existed in the country before that) and many Copts* still practice it today. According to tradition Mark the Evangelist founded the Coptic
the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt. The Kingdom of Nobatia which was established in the 3rd century was a Christian kingdom in what is now lower Nubia. Due to Islamization the Muslim population of Nobatia gradually started to rise but still remained Christian until the invasion of the Funj Sultanate of Sennar. The Kingdom of Makuria (what is now Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan) converted to Christianity near the end of the 6th century but after it was invaded by Muslim armies, the kingdom was cut off from other Christian kingdoms, states, christendom and eventually became a Muslim kingdom.With the addition of the Kingdom of Alwa, these three kingdoms are known as the Christian kingdoms of Nubia
The emergence of Christianity in North Africa’s Maghreb was around the 2nd century. Tertullian (who was born to a Roman father and an Amazigh mother – born in what is now Carthage, Tunisia) is known as the founder of Western theology was on the prominent and influential figures of Christianity in North Africa. Even after his death, Christianity was spreading rapidly all over the Maghreb.
Kingdom of Kongo (what is known northern Angola, Cabinda, southern republic of Congo and western Democratic Republic of Congo) became a Christian Kingdom in 1491 when King Nzinga converted to Christianity of his own free will. Despite of the conversion many Bakongo* still practiced their traditional religion, some alongside Christianity. Christianity also influenced traditional Kongo religion and neighbouring kingdoms and states around the Kongo kingdom. The Kongo Kingdom was the Christian only pre colonial kingdom and state in Central Africa
The Levant is a historical geographical term referring to an area in the eastern Mediterranean
Copts are ethno-religious group indigenous to Africa who live mostly in Egypt but also Libya and Sudan.
Bakongo are a Bantu ethnic group who live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Angola and the Republic of Congo and are descended from the former Kongo Kingdom
Christianity in the Land of the Pharaohs: The Coptic Orthodox Church by Jill Kamil
Coptic Civilization: Two Thousand Years of Christianity in Egypt edited by Gawdat Gabra
The Kingdom of Alwa by Mohi El-Din Abdalla Zarroug
The Spreading of Christianity in Nubia by Michalowski
Medieval Christian Nubia and the Islamic World by Jay Sapulding
Tanscontinental Links in the History of Non-Western Christianity by Klaus Koschorke
Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo by Cecile Fromont
The Development of an African Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1491–1750 by John Thornton
The Cambridge History of Christianity Volume 2: Constantine to c.600
The Disappearance of Christianity from North Africa in the Wake of the Rise of Islam by C. J. Speel
Church History: Christianity in Ethiopia
by Dale H. Moore
On July 2, 1706, Kimpa Vita was captured near her hometown and burned at stake with her baby (in some accounts) in Evululu as a heretic in 1706 by forces loyal to Nusamu a Mvemba, one of the kings of the Kongo Kingdom. She was tried under Kongo law as a witch and a heretic, with the consent and counsel of the Capuchin friars Bernardo da Gallo and Lorenzo da Lucca.
What is her story?
Kimpa Vita was born in 1684 in the Kongo kingdom during the time of trade and partnership with Portugal. Note that after 1492, Kongo even had embassies in Portugal.
Kimpa Vita, later baptized Beatriz, was a Congolese prophet and leader who created her own Christian movement, Antonianism, which taught that Jesus and other early Christian figures were from the Kongo Empire. Her teaching grew out of the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church in Kongo, and caused her to upbraid the Portuguese Catholic priests living in the Kongo Kingdom for not believing as she did.
What is commendable about Kimpa Vita is that she was able to mobilize a large number of Kongo to reclaim their faith and make it what they’d like it to be… All of this while she was a teenager. She died when she was 21.
I see some people on here writing “Kongolese” to refer to ethnic Kongo people it’s wrong. Here is how it should be: (only for when you’re writing in English)
It’s not Congolese its Bakongo (plural) or Muakongo (singular but I’ve only ever hear Muakongo used on very rare occasions some people use “Bakongo” to refer to themselves ) when referring to someone of the Kongo ethnic group or people of the Kongo Kingdom.
Congolese is used to refer to someone from either the Democratic Republic of Congo or the Republic of Congo (and no they were never one country then split)
Some people from the Democratic Republic of Congo still refer to themselves as Zaïrois especially those who were born and/or lived between 1971–1997
Bakongo people live in the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola
People can be ethnically Kongo (Bakongo) and their nationality can be Angolan. They can also be Congolese and ethnically Kongo (Bakongo)
Not every Congolese person belongs to the Kongo ethnic group. So people should stop tagging or commenting Kongo when the post is about Congo. Its rude to do so and it erases other Congolese ethnic groups. I hate being referred to as Kongo when that’s not my ethnicity.
It’s okay to use Kongolese when you’re writing in German for example because they use the “K” instead of “C” but only if you mean Congolese not Bakongo