Kuba (Bakuba)

DR Congo

Numbering about 250,000 the Kuba live in the area of central DR Congo bordered by the Sankuru, Kasai, and Lulua rivers. This is a region of valleys where numerous rivers flow south to north; the hills are covered with bush and the rivers are bordered by forests. Farming, aside from clearing the fields, was women’s work; they cultivate manioc, corn, gourds, bananas, pineapples, and palms. Tobacco was grown by the men. The hunt, a collective enterprise using nets, brought prestige and reinforced the social cohesion between the villagers. To fish the rivers required the participation of the entire village in order to build canoes. Although today most Kuba ethnic groups are organized into independent chiefdoms, they still recognize the authority of the Bushong king.

The Kuba people is no homogeneous group. It consists of 18 tribes with about 250.000 people. They live in the fertile territory in the middle of The Democratic Republic of Congo. According to history Kong Shamba Bolongo invented the complicated raffia weaving technique in the 15th century. Raffia is a plantfibre from the leaves of the raffia palm.

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