Luba, also known as Baluba, is the largest Bantu community group living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They spread widely in the areas of Katanga, Kasai and Maniema. They speak the following languages: Luba-Katanga, Luba-Kasai, Luba-Maniema and Swahili. They live in grasslands and forests where they are mainly hunters, farmers and traders. The population of Luba is around fourteen million
Luba includes many people who speak an almost common language. Despite their different origins, they share common cultural characteristics and political activities. The Luba community lives mainly in the forests and in the savannah. They are said to live in houses made of reeds and wattles, which are found along rivers and lakes. The main area where Luba lives is the depression of Upempa. Because of their creative nature, they build dams for the storage of fish spell seasons and agricultural activities.
History of the Luba
Around 1500, the subgroups of the Luba community came together to form an empire called The Luba Kingdom. The kings who led this kingdom were the Black King (Mbidi Kiluwe) and the Red King (Nkongolo Mwamba). The empire was very flexible to welcome the new leaders of the Lunda community who protected them from the Portuguese. Their successful nature has ensured the significant advantage of overcoming disagreement over succession. The welfare of the people was taken into consideration before the powers of the king. The empire was meant to gather above all the well-being of the community. Until their stable political nature, the succession of leadership from one generation to another was successful. Luba’s well developed form of leadership creates a impatience with the neighboring community regarding their association. It was the powerful kingdom that facilitated Luba’s growth. This mode of functioning of the Luba made the Lunda community to emulate them.
The people of Luba lived in groups of small villages. Their main activities included hunting, gathering and agriculture. They have practiced subsistence farming for their survival along with hunting as they live near the forest. They also harvested fruit and planted cassava and corn. In addition, they practice cattle breeding along the lakes. The agricultural practices were mainly for their consumption.
Like other communities, the Luba also practiced religious activities through dances, offerings and tides, worshiping, purifying and singing. Furthermore, they believe in communicating to ancestors to ascertain the cause of uncertain circumstances. The Luba people believe in the god called Shakapanga, which means universal creator. Later, Belgian missionaries introduced Christianity among themselves.
Their economy was based primarily on trading with their high-value metals because of their highly specialized metalworking skills that gave them a great economic baggage. Their outputs were mostly axes, necklaces, bows and arrows. Unfortunately, the slave and ivory trade destroyed the kingdom of Luba. As a result, the community was divided on their succession