The Land Where Women Can’t Grieve Their Elders

When people die, the first thing that is common is people grieving for their loved ones. However, in the Southwestern part of Congo, a tribe called the Suku has a weird way of mourning their dead.  When elders die, they are celebrated with a ceremony that is held in a forest opening that has been cleared. Offerings and gifts are given to the bereaved but the women and outsiders are not allowed to attend this gathering.

Bambuta is the name of this sacred ceremony. The forest opening that is cleared is called the yipheesolu. The Suku or the Basuku people can be found in the Republic of Congo and Angola.

They speak a Bantu language called kiyaka; derived from the Niger-Congo dialects. The people practice the matrilineal culture. However, men are reserved the chiefdom. The work of the women involves farming and collecting berries, nuts, and roots while the men are left with hunting.

According to History orally passed to generations, the Suku and their neigbouring tribe, Yaka invaded the Kongo Kingdom. This invasion happened in the 16th century.  In the 19th century gained some independence after the Luanda-Chokwe Empire collapsed. The people crafts various sculptures from woods that depicts magical figures, religion and the everyday life. The people also craft complicated masks that are used for initiation.