Culture and Customs of the Congo

Culture and Customs of the Congo

Culture and Customs of the Congo

Culture and Customs of the Congo

Synopsis

The Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, continues to struggle with socioeconomic and political development. Culture and Customs of the Congo provides the full context of traditional culture and modern practices against a backdrop of a turbulent history. The volume opens up a land and peoples little known in the United States. Written expressly to meet the needs of students and the general audience, the work will inform about the geography, economy, political history, and history from the slave trade to dictatorship; ancestral religions and inroads of western faiths; ancestral literary heritage and communication; art, architecture, and housing; diet and dress; marriage, family, and women; lifestyles and life events, and traditional and modern music and dance.

Congolese society comprises hundreds of ethnic groups, such as the Luba, the Kongo, and the Kuba. The countryside is largely based on the hunting and gathering, herding, and farming lifestyles. The city is marked by lifestyles reflecting the prevalence of small business activities and increasing cultural sycretism of customs from different parts of the Congo and Western imports. Mukenge's narrative gives the diverse perspectives of their cultures with their fascinating juxtapositions to our familiar western ways. Examples of this are found in the Religion and Worldview chapter, which discusses ancestral religions, the spirits of the land, and supernatural power practitioners. The Literature chapter covers verbal competition and game songs. Congolese cuisine is based on starches such as the cassava root, the corn, and the plantain; green vegetables, insects, fish and, to a lesser extent, meat. Other chapters cover topics from the distinct Congolese dress and symbolic adornments, all-important family lines, to ceremonial music and dance. A chronology and glossary are added value.

Excerpt

Africa is a vast continent, the second largest, after Asia. It is four times the size of the United States, excluding Alaska. It is the cradle of human civilization. a diverse continent, Africa has more than fifty countries with a population of over 700 million people who speak over 1,000 languages. Ecological and cultural differences vary from one region to another. As an old continent, Africa is one of the richest in culture and customs, and its contributions to world civilization are impressive indeed.

Africans regard culture as essential to their lives and future development. Culture embodies their philosophy, worldview, behavior patterns, arts, and institutions. the books in this series intend to capture the comprehensiveness of African culture and customs, dwelling on such important aspects as religion, worldview, literature, media, art, housing, architecture, cuisine, traditional dress, gender, marriage, family, lifestyles, social customs, music, and dance.

The uses and definitions of [culture] vary, reflecting its prestigious association with civilization and social status, its restriction to attitude and behavior, its globalization, and the debates surrounding issues of tradition, modernity, and postmodernity. the participating authors have chosen a comprehensive meaning of culture while not ignoring the alternative uses of the term.

Each volume in the series focuses on a single country, and the format is uniform. the first chapter presents a historical overview, in addition to information on geography, economy, and politics. Each volume then proceeds to examine the various aspects of culture and customs. the series highlights . . .

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