Kuamba Charles was born of Lulua parentage along the Kasai River in south central Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The opportunity for education attracted him to the Congo Inland Mission (Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission) at Djoko Punda, where he came to a personal faith in Christ. Although by nature a quiet person, he had strong musical gifts and soon became an active layman in the station church. He taught in the Bible institute and directed a variety of choirs. His patience and sensitivity equipped him well to serve as a language tutor for missionaries for many years.
Kuamba's faith commitments were deep. These were never more severely tested than during his first marriage. Although he and his bride greatly desired children, they lived with deepening disappointment. Furthermore, his wife became ill at an early age and experienced steadily declining health. Childless and burdened with a wife who eventually became an invalid, Kuamba resolutely resisted the pressure from fellow clansmen to return his wife to her people and take another wife. He cared for her until her death. His second marriage was blessed with a total of 11 children, the first of which were twins. During the political upheaval of the early 1960s the Baluba and Lulua people in the Kasai found themselves in conflict. When asked which tribe he belonged to, Kuamba responded by saying he belonged to neither because he had joined a new tribe, "the tribe of Jesus."
After moving south to Tshikapa with his family Kuamba was proposed for ordination and continued in 1987 as a pastor of a Mennonite congregation in that urban center.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 499. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Graber, Harold. "Kuamba Charles." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K82.html.
APA style: Graber, Harold. (1987). Kuamba Charles. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K82.html.