Tumbwe people

Tumbwe people
Regions with significant populations
Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo 100,000[1]
Sanga language

The Tumbwe people are an ethnic group living mostly in Tanganyika District of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Tumbwe are a small group of about 100,000 people whose homeland is on the west shore of Lake Tanganyika.[1] They take their name from a hereditary chief of the Sanga people.[2] Other people in the region include the related Luba, Tabwa and Hemba.[1]

The Tumbwe Chiefdom is an administrative area around the port of Kalemie, on Lake Tanganyika, where the Lukuga River leaves the lake.[3] The Tumbwe, who live between the road leading south from Kalemie and the lake, may be the oldest settled group in the area.[4] Traditionally the Tumbwe made their living by small-scale farming and by fishing on the lake. Today, growing numbers of Tumbwes work for wages in urban areas.[5]

A Tumbwe chief will own a ceremonial staff, kept hidden when not in use, which indicates his rank and status. The staff is decorated with abstract design that tell of the chief's ancestry and is a residence for their spirits.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "TUMBWE CHIEF'S FIGURAL STAFF , STAND, GREAT PATINA". Africa Direct. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  2. Vail, Leroy (1989). "The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa". London Berkeley: Currey University of California Press.
  3. Blaes, X. (October 2008). "Découpage administratif de la République Démocratique du Congo" (PDF). PNUD-SIG. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  4. HIDEAKI TERASHIMA. "Hunting Life of the Bambote : An Anthropological Study of Hunter-gatherers in a Wooded Savanna" (PDF). Kyoto University. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  5. Olson, James Stuart (1996). "Tumbwe". The Peoples of Africa: an Ethnohistorical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 570. ISBN 0-313-27918-7.
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