Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
ngalula by Mikobi ngalula by Mikobi
Village of Bulongo, Kasai Occidental, Congo, 1981

Ngalula brought things from the jungle each week (fruit, mushrooms, etc.) in exchange for a bit of change, or especially, a few pages from a magazine, which she used to decorate the walls of her family's hut. I offered her more, but she was very happy with pages from Newsweek or National Geographic!


Other Congo shots from this series here.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconprofotoeu:
PROfotoEU Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Photographer
This photo is my favorite, she is beautiful!
Reply
:iconmikobi:
Mikobi Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
I've not heard of a Kasai tribe per se...There is the Kasai River, which runs through the center of the country, and the two Kasai provinces, Occidental (west) and Oriental (East). Within the Kasai provinces there are lots of tribes. The Kasai provinces are in the middle of this map ( [link] ), starting with Kuba, Lulua and moving out to about Luntu to the east, Lunda to the southwest, and Dengese to the north. Maybe your family is Lunda from the Kasai region? This map shows the Lunda in Angola, but I definitely remember meeting people from the Lunda tribe in Luiza.

I, too, heard lots of horrific stories of Belgian occupation. Also, lots of political upheaval at the time of the revolution. Lumumba was from Northern Kasai Oriental, a village called Katako-Kombe. At that time the Kasais were split north and south instead of East-West...and were Mobutu's chief political enemies...so he split it east-west to break up their power. I could imagine being white then--regardless of one's intentions and good work--might have been dangerous.

I don't know the Tshikula mission....there are lots of small missions throughout the Kasai's.

Kinshasa, being the capital city was where lots of people converged from around the county, seeking to fulfill their dreams. I've spent lots of time there. I used to be friends with a guy who was in a band called TP OK Jazz, headed by Franco...you can find them on youtube.

When I returned to the US, it was with the idea of getting my degree and going back...but I met my wife, she was less interested in living in the Congo, so here we are (Seattle *not* Congo)(oh well).

You should go though. Find your family. I love the country and the people. Animated, fun, warm, generous. Would not hesitate to go back, even if just for a visit, if I had the chance.

-K
Reply
:iconaja-mujinga-sherrard:
Aja-Mujinga-Sherrard Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2009
She's beautiful!
...I had a family member named Naglula. I never met her, but this picture reminds me of those stories.
Reply
:iconmikobi:
Mikobi Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
Thank you very much!

Do you know if your family member was from the Congo/Zaire? It is a Baluba name, most probably from the Lulua region between the Kasai and Sankuru rivers. I lived there for several years.

I really like your work as well...especially your "arts children" series. (And your photography!)

-K
Reply
:iconaja-mujinga-sherrard:
Aja-Mujinga-Sherrard Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
Yeah, She was from the Congo (though she lived when it was Zaire) My mother's family is all from there. Ngalula was my great-grandmother's sister--she lived in a village called Dilunda, I think. But I had family in Luisa and Kinshasa too.

and thank you! I'm glad you like my work--and my photography. It usually gets ignored ><
Reply
:iconmikobi:
Mikobi Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
that's really fascinating...Ngalula was a fairly common family name in my region...that's why I was thinking maybe Lulua, however....

I don't know the village of Dilunda, but the name makes me think it is in the Lunda Kingdom.

The Balunda were a separate kingdom from the Baluba, the Bakuba (who I lived with) or the Bena Lulua (but these bordering tribes were relatively friendly with one another). The Lunda kingdom covered a huge area mostly south and west of the present city of Kananga, for about 200 years, from the 1600s until Belgian colonization in the late 1880s. Your great grand-aunt (?) may have been there during that time...very scary to think she was there during Belgian colonization. She must have seen and been through a lot.

As for Luisa....I'm wondering if it might have also been spelled Luiza. The town of Luiza is in the Lunda Kingdom...it's about 50-80 miles due south of Kananga. I have been there. It's not easy to get there...I took a train from Kananga south to Kamponde, and hitched a ride on a delivery truck down to Luiza to visit a friend who taught there. I'll see if I can dig up any of my photos from Luiza this weekend.

I did find someone else's photo of the church in Luisa on Panoramio: [link]

As for Kinshasa...that's hard to say: *everyone* ends up in Kinshasa....it's like NYC!

-K
Reply
:iconaja-mujinga-sherrard:
Aja-Mujinga-Sherrard Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
Thanks for the link to that photo! It's insane to see a picture of places I've heard about...

Yeah, my family is Kasai (which, apparently, is another tribe. It's rather widespread) The city could be spelled Luiza--that's how my grandmother's always pronounced it (though that's also just a french pronouncement of Luisa)

My family did live through Belgian occupation--I've heard stories. Actually, the reason my grandmother and her children left was because of Lumumba's revolution. My grandfather was white, and hit was dangerous for him...

I've heard of Kaponde! My grandmother would have to hitch from there to get to Luisa when she was living on the mission in Tshikula.

I didn't realize Kinshasa was that central--my mother was born there.
Reply
:iconmikobi:
Mikobi Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2009
thnx! I love your work btw! Keen sense of color...loved especially the perspective shots like "yellow sub" and "portal" and great self-portraits! -k
Reply
:iconthundermistress:
thundermistress Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
This is just a beautiful portrait. Absolutely stunning, her eyes are so expressive!

I really love this, beautiful! :]
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

Featured in Collections




Details

Submitted on
January 18, 2009
Image Size
161 KB
Resolution
982×1231
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
299
Favourites
8 (who?)
Comments
9
Downloads
27
×