Difference between Congo, Bakongo and Kongo...

[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 

Few facts:

  • Kongo/Bakongo means fighters (or warriors)
  • The Kongo Kingdom was the first pre colonial Christian (specifically Catholic) Kingdom in Central Africa. Not the whole of African, because the was other pre colonial Christian African Kingdoms
  • 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

resource: 1,2,3,4

(I might have missed a few points tell me if I did)


by Eoghan Ballard, University of Pennsylvania

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

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

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

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

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.

tarotqueen13  asked:

I've seen that HUGE masterpost with all the witch labels, and although it's impressive that you've been able to pull together all those resources, for my purposes I was hoping to get the info only on the regional specific witchery. I find SUPER informative and DIFFERENT so Id love to be able to reblog that from you BUT I don't want to tamper or edit your original post without permission. Do you have the post separated by chance, or could you? Because I'd love to reblog so you get the credit!! :)

Here it is!

Regionally Specific Witchery: most were originally tribal based and feature many similarities, such as Paganism and similar craft practices


Norse: Norse witches worship Norse deities. Witchcraft was very important in ancient Viking culture and a normal part of their everyday life. Warrior shamanism, runes, and sacrifices to the Gods were just some of their important practices. Heathen Witch: Heathenry is Norse/Anglo-Saxon/any Germanic Paganism, also called Asatrú: Ásatrú is a polytheistic faith based on pre-Christian Northern European Pagan beliefs. Emphasis on historical accuracy and the heroic tales as recorded in texts and personal honor, truth and integrity are considered to be some of the highest virtues.

Druid: Druidry means following a spiritual path rooted in the green Earth and hails from the United Kingdom. It means participating in Celtic wisdom teachings, but embracing the contributions of many peoples and times. Druids worship Celtic deities and practice earth based magic.

Hellenic Witch: Witches who are Hellenic or Greek Pagans (Hellenists, Hellenes, Hellenism) are generally polytheists who worship the ancient Greek Olympian gods. Offerings to the Gods are an extremely important element of ritual practice. Hellenismos consider hospitality of great important and place great value on the study and use of classical Greek philosophical texts.

Roman Witch: Roman Pagan witches practice Religio Romana, the pre-Christian religion of Rome. The modern religion reconstructs the ancient faith of Rome and its gods, goddesses and rituals as closely as possible. Every attempt is based on historical accuracy and archaeological evidence. Like their friends the Hellenic Witches focus on the original classical texts, writers and language of their ancestors.

Italian Witch: Strega (Stregheria, La Vecchia Religione, “The Old Religion”), Italian witches practice a form of Witchcraft that encompasses elements of the pre-Christian European magical teachings and ancient Etruscan and Tuscan religions. Many modern Italian Witches today, especially those who still reside in Italy, are Christians who also practice their Old Religion.


Egyptian Witch: Kemetist witches practice a modern religion based upon the ancient Egyptian family of gods/goddesses and ancient Egyptian ritual practice. While many gods and goddesses are revered or acknowledged, the Kemetic religion is not primarily polytheistic. In many sects of Kemetism, the concept is better described as one god representing many distinct personalities and divinities. Rituals and offerings are often elaborate, and both ancient texts and modern archeological discoveries are very important to modern Egyptian witches.

African Witch: African witchcraft varies region to region of the African continent and can be tribally specific. African witchcraft normally delves in spirit work and shamanism. The most well known type of African witchcraft is Voodoo (Vodou). Voodoo is an ancient West African religion based on spirit work. Voodoo is a religion of spirits. Voodooists believe that the world of humans is shared by the world of the spirits. When a person dies, his spirit passed to the world of the unseen but is still able to see the human world. Spirits, it is believed, in some cases can even impact the world of the living. They also seen as witch doctors in their communities who can heal, work with divination, and give their customers charms and amulets to bring them luck, love, harm to others, and so on.

The Americas

Native American Witch: Each region and tribe of Native Americans have its own unique kind of witchcraft. Each tribe has their own rituals, performed ceremonies, and ritual outfits. They each have their own tools, carvings, and totem poles. In spite of all their differences, Native Americans share a sense of oneness with their land, practice herbology, and hunt, use, and honor animals of Native America. A common magical practice known to have roots in Native American magic is the practice of smudging.

Haitian Vodou: A sect of African Voodoo, they believe in a supreme creator, Bondye, and worship the spirits subservient to him, the Loa. Every Loa is responsible for a particular aspect of life and they cultivate a relationship and worship them much like Pagans worship their Gods and Goddesses. Haitian religious culture is derived from the Kongolese tradition of kanga, the practice of tying one’s soul to something tangible, which is evident in Haitian Vodou. Fearing an uprising in opposition to the US occupation of Haiti, political and religious elites, along with Hollywood and the film industry, sought to trivialize the practice of Vodou. After the Haitian Revolution, many Haitians fled as refugees to New Orleans. Free and enslaved Haitians who moved to New Orleans brought their religious beliefs with them and reinvigorated the Voodoo practices that were already present in the city. Eventually, Voodoo in New Orleans became hidden and the magical components were left present in the public sphere. This created what is called hoodoo in the southern part of the United States.

Louisiana Voodoo: A sect of African Voodoo, knowledge of herbs, poisons, the ritual creation of charms and amulets, and the intension to protect oneself or harm others are key elements of Louisiana Voodoo. Voodoo queens have great power in their communities, are ritual leaders, and draw crowds to buy their magical products, such as “gris gris” amulets and spells that will grant the customers desire. There also Voodoo kings, their male equivalent.

American Hoodoo: A sect of Louisiana Voodoo that is ever evolving. Hoodoo practitioners use gris-gris items, such as amulets and charms, to cure their customers ailments, bring them luck and love, and whatever they desire. Some work closely with the Bible, and have said to see Moses as magical figure.

Bruja/Brujo Witches: Witches who practice witchcraft, brujeria, who are descended from, or live in Spanish speaking South America.

Brazilian Shamanism: Like other tribal or local shaman, they work with the spirit world, work with divination, and are seen as healers. Shamanism is often hereditary in Brazil and they work with a specific animals spirit to derive power from, such as the jaguar. Umbanda: The incorporation of catholic saints with the beliefs of the Brazilian Indians.

Kahunas of Hawaii: Like other shamans, they invoke spiritual help, conduct rituals, and have Pagan local gods who are given offerings. They also have various crafts of Kahunas, such as a high priest, dream interpreter, and reader of the skies. To the Kahunas, and many witches today and in the past, the subconscious is your greatest ally or greatest foe for achieving health, wealth, and happiness.


Slavic Witches: Today, old techniques of divination, magic, soul travel and healing is known from their ancestors and their native faith Rodnovery. These families, the volkhvy, who have “witchblood” have ancestors from ancient Rodnover priesthood. They are considered masters of a much larger tradition in Russia called koldovstvo, or chaklynstvo. One does not have to possess the lineage of the volkhvy to practice koldovstvo. The Russian volkhvy are thought to be descended from shamans who could shape-shift into bears and wolves, while in Macedonia and Bulgaria they are considered to be descended from dragons. Slavic witches also revere Baba Yaga, one of the most important witch lore figures in Slavic culture, who commonly appears as an old crone who flies within a mortar and holds a pestle. She has many faces, like the Wiccan triple Goddess, such as an Earth Goddess or a symbol of Death.

Japanese Witch: The Pagan Japanese religion of Shinto is shamanistic. Witch is a very positive term in Japan. Japanese witchcraft is commonly separate into two types: those who familiar snakes and those who familiar foxes.

Korean Shamans( Muism or Sinism): Sinism is Pagan shamanism pre-dating Buddhism and Confucianism. The Mu, also known as magician, medicine man, mystic or poet, have the ability to will people into a trance state and astral project. The Mu provides physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. These shamans emphasize holistic living. There are different types of Mu and they are link to the mother goddess associated with a mountain. Each region has a different mountain association, thus a different goddess associated with that region. They make sacrifices to the gods, worship ancestors, sing songs, and meditate.

Chinese Wuism: Chinese shamanism, also called Wuism, was first recorded in the Shang dynasty. These men and women are seen to meditate with the powers to generate things, worship ancestors, and can communicate with the spirits. Gods of nature are prominent in Wuism.

Filipino Witch: Kulam is a form of folk magic from the Phiippines. It emphasizes personal power and the secret knowledge of Magica Baja. Like other witches they practice candle magic, scrying, spell work, and a mangkukulam, a version of the Voodoo doll. They also are witch doctors like other folk magic practitioners who uses divination to diagnose a victim and try to cure them.

I will be updating the entire master post soon!  )O( H Lavenderwhisp

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100 things that you did not know about Africa - Nos.51- 75

51. The mediaeval Nigerian city of Benin was built to “a scale comparable with the Great Wall of China”. There was a vast system of defensive walling totaling 10,000 miles in all. Even before the full extent of the city walling had become apparent the Guinness Book of Records carried an entry in the 1974 edition that described the city as: “The largest earthworks in the world carried out prior to the mechanical era.”

52. Benin art of the Middle Ages was of the highest quality. An official of the Berlin Museum für Völkerkunde once stated that: “These works from Benin are equal to the very finest examples of European casting technique. Benvenuto Cellini could not have cast them better, nor could anyone else before or after him … Technically, these bronzes represent the very highest possible achievement.”

53. Winwood Reade described his visit to the Ashanti Royal Palace of Kumasi in 1874: “We went to the king’s palace, which consists of many courtyards, each surrounded with alcoves and verandahs, and having two gates or doors, so that each yard was a thoroughfare … But the part of the palace fronting the street was a stone house, Moorish in its style … with a flat roof and a parapet, and suites of apartments on the first floor. It was built by Fanti masons many years ago. The rooms upstairs remind me of Wardour Street. Each was a perfect Old Curiosity Shop. Books in many languages, Bohemian glass, clocks, silver plate, old furniture, Persian rugs, Kidderminster carpets, pictures and engravings, numberless chests and coffers. A sword bearing the inscription From Queen Victoria to the King of Ashantee. A copy of the Times, 17 October 1843. With these were many specimens of Moorish and Ashanti handicraft.”

54. In the mid-nineteenth century, William Clarke, an English visitor to Nigeria, remarked that: “As good an article of cloth can be woven by the Yoruba weavers as by any people … in durability, their cloths far excel the prints and home-spuns of Manchester.”

55. The recently discovered 9th century Nigerian city of Eredo was found to be surrounded by a wall that was 100 miles long and seventy feet high in places. The internal area was a staggering 400 square miles.

56. On the subject of cloth, Kongolese textiles were also distinguished. Various European writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries wrote of the delicate crafts of the peoples living in eastern Kongo and adjacent regions who manufactured damasks, sarcenets, satins, taffeta, cloth of tissue and velvet. Professor DeGraft-Johnson made the curious observation that: “Their brocades, both high and low, were far more valuable than the Italian.”

57. On Kongolese metallurgy of the Middle Ages, one modern scholar wrote that: “There is no doubting … the existence of an expert metallurgical art in the ancient Kongo … The Bakongo were aware of the toxicity of lead vapours. They devised preventative and curative methods, both pharmacological (massive doses of pawpaw and palm oil) and mechanical (exerting of pressure to free the digestive tract), for combating lead poisoning.”

58. In Nigeria, the royal palace in the city of Kano dates back to the fifteenth century. Begun by Muhammad Rumfa (ruled 1463-99) it has gradually evolved over generations into a very imposing complex. A colonial report of the city from 1902, described it as “a network of buildings covering an area of 33 acres and surrounded by a wall 20 to 30 feet high outside and 15 feet inside … in itself no mean citadel”.

59. A sixteenth century traveller visited the central African civilisation of Kanem-Borno and commented that the emperor’s cavalry had golden “stirrups, spurs, bits and buckles.” Even the ruler’s dogs had “chains of the finest gold”.

60. One of the government positions in mediaeval Kanem-Borno was Astronomer Royal.

61. Ngazargamu, the capital city of Kanem-Borno, became one of the largest cities in the seventeenth century world. By 1658 AD, the metropolis, according to an architectural scholar housed “about quarter of a million people”. It had 660 streets. Many were wide and unbending, reflective of town planning.

62. The Nigerian city of Surame flourished in the sixteenth century. Even in ruin it was an impressive sight, built on a horizontal vertical grid. A modern scholar describes it thus: “The walls of Surame are about 10 miles in circumference and include many large bastions or walled suburbs running out at right angles to the main wall. The large compound at Kanta is still visible in the centre, with ruins of many buildings, one of which is said to have been two-storied. The striking feature of the walls and whole ruins is the extensive use of stone and tsokuwa (laterite gravel) or very hard red building mud, evidently brought from a distance. There is a big mound of this near the north gate about 8 feet in height. The walls show regular courses of masonry to a height of 20 feet and more in several places. The best preserved portion is that known as sirati (the bridge) a little north of the eastern gate … The main city walls here appear to have provided a very strongly guarded entrance about 30 feet wide.”

63. The Nigerian city of Kano in 1851 produced an estimated 10 million pairs of sandals and 5 million hides each year for export.

64. In 1246 AD Dunama II of Kanem-Borno exchanged embassies with Al-Mustansir, the king of Tunis. He sent the North African court a costly present, which apparently included a giraffe. An old chronicle noted that the rare animal “created a sensation in Tunis”.

65. By the third century BC the city of Carthage on the coast of Tunisia was opulent and impressive. It had a population of 700,000 and may even have approached a million. Lining both sides of three streets were rows of tall houses six storeys high.

66. The Ethiopian city of Axum has a series of 7 giant obelisks that date from perhaps 300 BC to 300 AD. They have details carved into them that represent windows and doorways of several storeys. The largest obelisk, now fallen, is in fact “the largest monolith ever made anywhere in the world”. It is 108 feet long, weighs a staggering 500 tons, and represents a thirteen-storey building.

67. Ethiopia minted its own coins over 1,500 years ago. One scholar wrote that: “Almost no other contemporary state anywhere in the world could issue in gold, a statement of sovereignty achieved only by Rome, Persia, and the Kushan kingdom in northern India at the time.”

68. The Ethiopian script of the 4th century AD influenced the writing script of Armenia. A Russian historian noted that: “Soon after its creation, the Ethiopic vocalised script began to influence the scripts of Armenia and Georgia. D. A. Olderogge suggested that Mesrop Mashtotz used the vocalised Ethiopic script when he invented the Armenian alphabet.”

69. “In the first half of the first millennium CE,” says a modern scholar, Ethiopia “was ranked as one of the world’s greatest empires”. A Persian cleric of the third century AD identified it as the third most important state in the world after Persia and Rome.

70. Ethiopia has 11 underground mediaeval churches built by being carved out of the ground. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries AD, Roha became the new capital of the Ethiopians. Conceived as a New Jerusalem by its founder, Emperor Lalibela (c.1150-1230), it contains 11 churches, all carved out of the rock of the mountains by hammer and chisel. All of the temples were carved to a depth of 11 metres or so below ground level. The largest is the House of the Redeemer, a staggering 33.7 metres long, 23.7 metres wide and 11.5 metres deep.

71. Lalibela is not the only place in Ethiopia to have such wonders. A cotemporary archaeologist reports research that was conducted in the region in the early 1970’s when: “startling numbers of churches built in caves or partially or completely cut from the living rock were revealed not only in Tigre and Lalibela but as far south as Addis Ababa. Soon at least 1,500 were known. At least as many more probably await revelation.”

72. In 1209 AD Emperor Lalibela of Ethiopia sent an embassy to Cairo bringing the sultan unusual gifts including an elephant, a hyena, a zebra, and a giraffe.

73. In Southern Africa, there are at least 600 stone built ruins in the regions of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. These ruins are called Mazimbabwe in Shona, the Bantu language of the builders, and means great revered house and “signifies court”.

74. The Great Zimbabwe was the largest of these ruins. It consists of 12 clusters of buildings, spread over 3 square miles. Its outer walls were made from 100,000 tons of granite bricks. In the fourteenth century, the city housed 18,000 people, comparable in size to that of London of the same period.

75. Bling culture existed in this region. At the time of our last visit, the Horniman Museum in London had exhibits of headrests with the caption: “Headrests have been used in Africa since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. Remains of some headrests, once covered in gold foil, have been found in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and burial sites like Mapungubwe dating to the twelfth century after Christ.”

Part 1. 1-25

Part 2. 26-50

Part 3. 50-75

By Robin Walker 

Robin Walkers book When we ruled is one of the best books Africans and African Diaspora can use firstly as a introduction to African history and secondly a good source to become proficient with precolonial African history.

Recommended reading

anonymous asked:

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 


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