THE BANYAMULINGE: WHO ARE THEY?
THE BANYAMULINGE: WHO ARE THEY?
To readers, especially from afar, the BANYAMULENGE constitute one of the Congolese tribes belonging to the Tutsi ethnic group, living in its identity territory called the Itombwe highlands, which is made up of a triangle of state territories including that of Fizi, Mwenga and Uvira in South Kivu province (DRC). Currently the Mulenge of which we speak is no longer the locality at the height of Lemera; rather a space and/or a region inhabited by the BANYAMULENGE (from the North to Ruramba and to the South at Milimba). It is a tribe having a hybrid dialect of Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Kifuliiru and few of the words of Kibembe; it has its own culture and values, distinguishing them from others.
According to Lieve Joris, the BANYAMULENGE are phenotypically confused with the Rwandan and/or Burundian Tutsi and are identified under different names according to the various ancient authors, in particular: The Banyarwanda, The Congolese Tutsi, the Pastors, the Tutsi of Itombwe, the Ruanda, the Congolese of Rwandan expression, etc.
Below, some references among several on the installation of BANYAMULINGE in the EASTERN Congo:
➡️HIERNAUX, in 1954 counted six generations since Their installations by taking the interval of 30 years from one generation to another by concluding that the migrations would have taken place around 1744.
➡️WEIS 《Pays d’Uvira》, it traces some indications on the establishment of 《Ruanda》in the chiefdom of the Bavira in the village Galye in 1881. In this period, the BANYAMULENGE had already done a hundred years in Kakamba and Mulenge ;
➡️As for JACQUES DEPELCHIN, he says: “These are pastors who settled in the high plateau areas of Itombwe, fleeing the reign of the Rwandan Mwami GAHINDIRO who reigned in 1746 and that of RWABUGIRI from 1855-1895》 .
➡️According to ALEXIS KAGAME, the presence of the BANYAMULENGE in the Ruzizi plain is between the years 1576 to 1609, under the reign of KIGELI II NYAMUHESHERA, King of Rwanda.
➡️According to Bishop Patient KANYAMACUMBI, the presence of the BANYAMULENGE in the EAST of the DRC is between 1720 and 1780, it was based on genealogical surveys made with certain clans of the BANYAMULENGE, including ABASITA, ABADAHURWA, ABAGUNGA, and ABANYABYINSHI, making a difference of 30 years by genealogy. Bishop Patient KANYAMACUMBI locates MUASHA Munyamulenge village chief in MUTAMBALA in the current territory of Fizi in 1914;
➡️NGUYA– NDILA MALANGALA, it signals the presence of the BANYAMULENGE in pre-colonial Congo in the 17th century towards the end and in the 18th century;
➡️Equally, JEAN PIERRE CHRETIEN specifies that the BANYAMULENGE are in South Kivu before the birth of the Congo and come from migrant subjects who had fled from the 18th century.
Finally, led BANYAMULENGE are in the region at the same time as the Babembe, who arrived in 1770 and 1780 and the Bafulero shortly before except the Bavira who were already there in the 17th century. And, in this period before the Europeans and after the partition of Africa in 1885, inter-community cohabitation was harmonious, especially the BANYAMULENGE and the Bafulero.
SOCIAL (OLD) INTER-COMMUNITY ASPECT
Intercommunity relations were very good especially between the BANYAMULENGE and the Bafulero and also the Bavira and the marriages were exogenous.
✅According to traditional sources, MUKOGABWE I had a Munyamulenge wife named NYAMBIBI, daughter of MUSANA from the ABASINGA clan and they gave birth to NYAMUGIRA.
✅MWAMI NYAMUGIRA, father of MUKOGABWE II had several women among them BANYAMULENGE women including GAHUNDANO daughter of GAHIRIRI from the clan of ABASINZIRA and NYIRABUTITIRI, daughter of CUNGURIRA MUCUNDAMBEGA also from the clan of ABASINZIRA.
✅MUKOGABWE II, alias 《MAHINA》 married several women including NYAGASHINDI and TOTO, daughters of MUNONI, MUNYAMULENGE of the clan of ABASINZIRA.A And NYAMPINJA, daughter of BIRUKUNDI of BUHIGA and several others following.
✅NYASAMAZA MARIA daughter of the ABAZIGABA clan was one of MAHINA’s wives.
✅RUTOKI little sister of NYAMPINJA daughter of BIRUKUNDI married to MUZIMA I.
✅NYIMIGUNGA daughter of KAMANDWA married to MINYARUHO des BAFULERO and mother of RINGINE RUREMENTUSI, DE NOE KAGOSI and DAVID MUJOBA;
✅NYABICEKA mother of MUTEBUTSI from ABAHETO clan was Muvira;
✅ KIBIHIRA ELISABETH daughter NDABUNGUYE of the ABAGUNGA clan was married to KIGUNGU MUHEZO, father of pastor MAZIBO of Lemera.
✅NYIRAMAYANGE daughter of RWICA of ABANYABYINSHI wife of KARARIZI whose children are NYAKABEKABE and RUNYARUKA, former leader of the Lemera group, etc…
✅NYIRABAHIGA daughter of MUTAYEGA wife of MAHINA and mother of RWUGARIRA, etc…
BANYAMULINGE ANCESTORS MARRIED TO THE BAFULERO DAUGHTERS:
✅GASHURI was married to NAHUMBWE his second wife Mufulero daughter of MUKOGABWE I, mother of MABANO;
✅BUHIGA (ABAHIGA CLAN) Son of GASHURI, One of his wives was MUFULERO who was called MUTUNZI from the family of BAMIET, mother of GAHANGA, GIFOTA, KIBAMBA andRUBIRIRA.
In short, the socio-cultural aspect was good and some families had made blood pacts between the BAFULERO AND BANYAMULINGE. The exception was the Mwami MAHINA of the BAFULERO who raided and killed the BANYAMULENGE when they were their biological brothers-in-law and nephews. JEAN CHRETIEN confirms this by saying that around the 21st century the BANYAMULINGE had conflicts in the BAHAMBA of the legitimate lineage of the Bafulero as a result of bad governance. Indeed, he killed to his liking and the case in point is the Death of NKIKANYI MABEMBE who lived in his tent RUTOKI wife of MUZIMA killed by Mahina by spear milking the cow. And, the result is that RUTOKI and NYAMPINJA had to divorce and go to complain to the Belgian colonial administration under the facilitation of their nephew NTAKANDI. This crime was the last drop of blood that cost him life around the 1930s. It was from the death of Nkikanyi and the conviction of Mahina that all his BANYAMULINGE wives divorced and abandoned their children and the relations between the family Mahina and her in-laws were completely damaged and blocked.
In addition, there were violent attacks between the BANYAMULENGE and the Mwami Mahina before, during and after the First World War of 1914–1918. Below are some attacks among many others:
1️⃣The attack on Kurufuli currently RUNINGU by the team of MWAMI MAHINA MUKOGABWE alias 《Mahina》 under the leadership of MUSHURUTI, his chief of warriors and the Death of MASINE son of Kayira. The counterattack was under organized by SEGUGU from ABATWARI clan, MAKEBO from ABAHINDA clan and RUTEREKA KAYIRA from ABASINZIRA.
2️⃣Two attacks that claimed the lives of 4 sons of Murihano Rugira and raided cows.
3️⃣The Mahina attack in Mulenge which killed RUVUSHA MUDUDA of the ABAGORORA clan and SEBASAMIRA of ABAGUNGA was injured;
4️⃣The attack at CHENDAKUDYA son of KAYIRA by RWASAMANGA who had weapons abandoned by the Germans and 400 cows are raided;
5️⃣The replica of the group of KAYIRA BIGIMBA MUHINYUZA Mwami of BANYAMULINGE, whose chiefdom was suppressed on December 5, 1933 by Minister L. Franck. Chief KAYIRA BIGIMBA was the fourth Munyamulenge chief after Chief SEBIHARA MUCUNDAMBEGA, KAYIRA SAGITWE and BIGIMBA SUNZU.
6️⃣The Attack of Mwami MAHINA, he burns the huts of the cults and there was the Death of Musuruti, Mufulero warrior at Mahina;
7️⃣The Attack of Mahina in Mulenge and the Death of BIZOZA, the ancestor of the current Abazoza and his cows are raided, etc. These killings further damaged community relations until the events of the Mulele rebellion.
1. LIEVE JORIS in his book titled 《L’heure des rebelles》on page 19
2. J. HIERNAUX, 《NOTE ON THE TUTSI OF ITOMBWE, Paris》, 1965 on page 21,
3. WEIS, 《PAYS D’UVIRA》, Regional Geography Study on the Western border of Lake Tanganyika, rue de Livourne, 80 A, Brussels 5, 1959, page 118.
4. F. REYNTYENS and S. MARYSSE
5. ALEXIS KAGAME, 《UN ABREGE DE L’ETHNOHISTOIRE DU RWANDA, TOM 1》, Edition University of Rwanda, Butare 1959, page 118 and 119.
6. NGUYA NDILA MALANGALA, 《 Nationality and citizenship in Congo-Kinshasa, Harmattan edition, Paris 2001, page 37.
7. JEAN PIERRE CHRETIEN, 《 AFRICA OF THE GREAT LAKES TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF HISTORY 》 on page 300 and 301.
8. A. MOELLER, AND WILLEMART, 《The History of the territory of Babembe, March 1935, page 1
9. A. Moeller page 142
10. A. Moeller 142
12. GAHENA MUGOMBERWA, 86 years old also informed by Rugabanira and Ndasimurwa who grew up in the courtyard with Mukogabwe alias Mahina, their brother-in-law.
13. Mushirampuhwe Etienne, which Mahina was her aunt’s husband
14. The Story Nyasamaza Told David 1996.
15. Daudi Mujoba was born in 1922, he comes after Kagosi and Ruremantutsi who was born in the midst of the 1914–1918 war. They are the sons of Minyaruho from the clan of Bashimbi/Bafulero and Nyiramigunga/Munyamulenge daughter of Kamandwa, Kamandwa son of Mutuganyi, Mutuganyi son of Rutenderi from the clan of Abasita. From Rutenderi to Nyamigunga there are 4 generations and she would probably have been born in 1890. And, if we calculate the generation between 25 and 30 years old, Rutenderi would be in Mulenge around the years 1800 and 1815.
16. Pastor Mushirampuhwe Etienne, cousin of Nkikanyi
17. Bihorakumutongo witnessing the events via Mafundisho
18. F. REYNTYENS AND S. MARYSSE
19. RUGABANIRA MUNONI VIA GAHENE.
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