The development of tribal and cultural values in many parts of Africa is based on the relentless efforts of traditional rulers, kings, chiefs and leaders. Congo is not left out of this category. The Republic of Congo however still maintains their royal leaders after the abolition of states during the colonial rule. Under the ministry of culture, the government constitution continues to recognize the traditional leaders and chiefs in Congo as custodians of customs and traditions. Some of these leaders serve in the political government. Previously, tribes were known as kingdoms but now are called chiefdom. These chiefdom are also called Chefferie.
From being involved in activities that can develop DR Congo, these royal kings are not just custodians. Below is the list of ten royal kings in the Republic of Congo.
MANIKONGO OF KONGO KINGDOM
In 1390, the Kingdom of Kongo was established by the Kongo speaking people. This kingdom stretched from Western Congo DRC, Congo Brazzaville, North Angola and South Gabon. The capital of the Republic of Congo was Mbanza. This is in the North Angola and has remained the world heritage site for UNESCO. “Mwene-Kongo” which means the ruler of Kongo was the primarily ruler or leader of Kongo. The Portuguese could not pronounce this name and it famously became pronounced as Manikongo.
(Mwene-Kongo) Dom Pedro vii of Kongo reigned from 1923 with his Queen Dona Isabela Afonso Nzinga and he died in 1955. His son Antonio iii succeeded him and became the king in 1955. Unfortunately, he ruled for two years and died 1n 1957. After (Mwene-Kongo)bAntonio iii died of heart attack in 1957, his wife, Queen Dona Isabela de Gama became the regent of Kongo. Her reign ended in 1975 and she died in 1990.
Ever since 1975 and 1990’s, each royal house has its own successor.
NYIM OF KUBA KINGDOM
Generally known as King (Nyim) Bot a Mbweeky iii of Kuba kingdom or the present DR Congo or Bakuba people, Kwete Mbokelte is the 125th king of the Kuba kingdom which was founded in 1625. He was enthroned in 1969 and is still the current king of Kuba. According to their custom, a king does not sit on the ground, cultivate on field, does not share his cooking utensils and eats in the presence of people. However, he carries his cooking utensils with him wherever he travels to. Prince Guy Kwete of Kuba , the founder of Central Africa Business Cooperative, is the third son of Kwete and the potential candidate of the throne. He is also the first son to study abroad. He also works on a project that aims at preserving the culture of DRC.
MWAANT YAAV OF LUANDA
The Luanda people are ruled by a monarch called Mwaant Yaav.
Mushid iii of Luanda is the current (Mwaant Yaav) emperor of Luanda people. He has been the emperor since 2005. The Luanda speaking people who covered the area of Congo, Angola and Zambia established this empire in 1600s.
MWAMI OF BUKUM NYIRANGONGO KINGDOM (CHEFFERIE DE BUKUM)
(Mwami) Kahembe iv Isaac Butsitsi, the late son of King Kahembe who died in 1998. He was just two when he lost his father. His uncle became the regent until 2016 when he officially took over the throne. He has three other young siblings.
MWAMI OF KAZIBA, WALUNGU TERRITORY
After the death of Chimanye ii Kabonwa in 2005, His son rose to become the king. According to their custom, he ruled under the regency of his Aunt while he was studying in South Africa. He officially took over power in March, 2020. (Mwami) Dirk Majiri iv Nakaziba Chimanye is the current ruler of Kaziba.
MWAMI OF LUHWINDJA, SOUTH KIVU
Mwami(king) Naluhwindja Tony Chibwire V of Luhwindja was born in 1990. He was crowned in 2001 after his father’s demise. According to their tradition, his mother Mwamikazi Esperance became a regent. He officially took over the throne in 2015. In 2019, he got married. As a custodian to custom and tradition, he is working relentlessly in collaboration with government and Non government for the advancement and the development of his people and their kingdom.
MWAMI OF GARENGAZE, YEKE
Mwami M’siri Mwenda VIII is currently the king of Yeke Kingdom after the death of his father, Mwami Mwenda VI Godefroid Munongo who was a politician and had been a one-time interim president. M’siri who has been king since 1997, is currently the president of National Alliance of Traditional Leaders. He is also the chairman of Forum of African kings and he has also been a senator for twelve years. The BaYeke or people of Yeke are also from Tanzania and Zambia. Yeke capital is at Bunkeya.
MWAMI OF BUHAVU, KALEHE TERRITORY
In april, 2004, Mwami Kamikrogosa III Shosho Ntale Frank became the king of Buhavu ( Kahele territory) DRC after Ntale Hamuli death.
MWAMI OF BUZI, BULENGA
On June 2019, Mwami Sangara Raymond Bera III died and his son Sangara Amri Hubert II of Buzi, Bulenga succeeded the throne.
MWAMI OF NTAMBUKA
Balekage Mihigo II Roger Buhavu of Ntambuka, Idjwi Island, South Kivu DRC has been monarch since 1998. The kingdom of Buhavi has been ruled by Basibula clan from 1500s. It has had 3 chiefdoms until 1974 when it was made a made a kingdom. Just like many other places in Africa, it has remained a traditional monarchy. Lake Kuvi is where Idjwi Island is located. This lake is the second largest lake in Africa and the tenth in the world.
There are a lot of chiefdoms in Congo. These few above mentioned rulers proves that royalty exists in Congo and not just Congo, the whole Africa at large. These culture and traditional custodian are greatly working hand in hand with the government to preserve our cultural values and develop our countries.