Kananga (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Situated approximately 790 air miles (1,250 km.) east of Kinshasa and 150
miles (250 km.) east of Tshikapa, Kananga is the second largest urban center
of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). (its population exceeded
1,000,000 in 1987) and serves as the provincial capital of the West Kasai Province.
Situated astride a major rail line which runs from the copper mines of southeastern
Congo to the river port Ilebo in central Congo, it is an important commercial
center and features an airport which accommodates jet passenger and freight
service to other major cities of the country.
Known as Luluabourg during the Belgian colonial era, Kananga has historically been the administrative and ministry center of the Southern Presbyterian Mission, whose area of work bordered that of the Congo Inland Mission (CIM; later Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission) to the east. Early Presbyterian missionaries played a key role in influencing Mennonites to enter a large unevangelized area to their west along the Kasai River in south central Congo. Across the years Mennonite Christians migrated to this growing city from the rural CIM stations at Djoko, Kalonda, and Mutena and became the core groups of Mennonite congregations which were to follow. Given the fact that both the Presbyterians and the Mennonites have long worked in an area of several million Tshiluba speaking people, joint ministry projects which served the needs and interests of both missions and related church groups developed early in the histories of these groups. These projects include a book store (LIPROKA), a press (IMPROKA), a recording studio for the preparation of Tshiluba language programs aired over the provincial government radio (STUDIPROKA), and a large hospital and nurses' training school (IMCK).
The Mennonite Church of Congo (Communauté Mennonite au Congo) had five congregations in the Kananga area and several primary schools in 1986. The Evangelical Mennonite Church (Communauté Evangélique Mennonite) had one congregation in the city.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 475. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bertsche, James E. "Kananga (Democratic Republic of the Congo) ." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K3635.html.
APA style: Bertsche, James E. (1987). Kananga (Democratic Republic of the Congo) . Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K3635.html.