Bortolami, Gabriele (2012) I Bakongo: società, tradizioni e cambiamento in Angola. Doctoral Thesis.
Who are the Bakongos? Where do they live? What do they do? How are they socially organised? What are their traditions and cultural heritage? The author, after 28 years of working alongside the Bakongos, aims to explore the dimensions of their culture. The authour's work which is based in Mbanza Kongo, the ancient capital and its surrounding lands has finally brought a serious ethnographic perspective to this important subgroup of the Kongo ethnicity. The first part of the study looks at Bakongo society, its monarchic structure, the relationship between the lineages who compose this group and the Europeans who landed on the Kingdom of Congo's shores. This study is enriched by a series of observations into Kongo life and culture dating from the fifteenth century onwards. The authour's historiographical survey on the country reflects this, as it starts with the earliest writers in the sixteenth century and continues up to the twentieth and twenty-first century. The study goes on to present the productive activities which maintain the economic and social organisation of the village as well as the division of tasks according to social and family roles. The ethnographic analysis takes material culture into consideration. The chapter on religiosity highlights the complexity of ritual practices. In the life-cycle stages a description is provided of customs and practices belonging to the golden-age of the Congo Kingdom, these have subsequently been affected by colonial experience and profoundly marked by homologation and globalizing cultural models. Some brief linguistic commentaries follow a rich anthology of proverbs and tales. Finally, the importance of the foundation myth is emphasised.
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