The Mongo people are a population of 12 million living in the equatorial forest of Central Africa. They are a Bantu ethnic group and are the second-largest ethnic group in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite their diversity, they share a common legend wherein they believe that they are descended from Mongo, an ancient ancestor of theirs.
They are highly populated in the Equateur and northern regions of the Bandundu province. They also share similarities in language and social interactions with other tribes.
The dominant traditional language spoken by the Mongo people is the Mongo language, also called Nkundo. This language has an average of 200+ dialects intertwined and based on the Mongo sub-ethnic groups which include Mpama, Boyela, Sengele, Songomeno, Bolia, Bokote, Ekonda, Kondam Mbole, Dengese, and many other ethnic groups that form the Mongo traditional circle.
Though the history of the Mongo people is still vague and unclear, they settled along the rainy and humid river valleys of the northern and western Congo in the 1st millennium.
They are stapled farmers and does cultivate yam, banana, and other staple foods as far back as 1000 CE. Their traditions were however impacted by the colonial times when they were colonized by the Belgians and predominantly converted to one of the Christian denominations found in present-day Congo. Their belief system was also affected by the invention of Islam’s influence from missionary activities which has always been a source of resentment for the Christian population of the Mongo people.
The mongo people are renowned cultivators of cassava and bananas which has economic implications for their trades and sales. They are also involved in fishing, hunting, and plant gathering as a major occupation of the majority of the population.
The three distinct territories of the Mongo people are the household, village, and district.
Etuka, the household is the primary residence of the main unit of the economic production and socialization of this tribe. The average size of a household is usually between twenty to forty members in a single household. The Tela is the eldest member of the household and is the father of the household.
The typical villages among the Mongo populace usually consist of a hundred to three hundred people and undertake tasks such as clearing the forest and forming defensive units against outside attacks and predating animals.
Kinship and social status were and are still held in high esteem by the Mongo people as occupying a political position was based on the wealth and status of the holders.
The religion of the Mongo people is ancestral worship and belief in natural spirits. These spirits are believed to be responsible for fertility, luck, favour, and wealth. They also believe in sorcery, magic, and witchcraft.
Mongo religion placed a strong emphasis on ancestor worship and beliefs in nature spirits responsible for fertility, as well as on magic, sorcery, and witchcraft.
The involvement of ancestral worship played a vital role in the traditional religion of the Mongo people and is believed that the majority of the population also believed in deities and also believed strongly in a Supreme Being, the creator of all living things and the earth. The Supreme Being is believed to be only approachable by deceased elders and relatives, hence their belief in ancestral spirits as propitiation between them and the Supreme Being.
Therefore, all prayers for wealth, children, safety, and success are all directed to their ancestors.