Taking its name, Goat Water, from the folklore of the Baluba people for whom it is a center, Mbuji Mayi has known a stormy history. Lying approximately 940 air miles (1500 km.) to the east of Kinshasa, the city serves as the provincial capital of the East Kasai and has become a major Congolese commercial center. One reason for its deveopment is the rich diamond pipe which was originaly discovered and exploited by the Belgian colonial authorities and which continued to yield a rich flow of quality stones under the Congolese national administration. The aggressive and enterprising nature of the Baluba people is also a major contributing factor to the growth of the surrounding area which in 1986 numbered some 5,000,000 people. In 2005, its population was estimated to be around one million.
Mennonite presence in Mbuji Mayi has its roots in the migration of Baluba Mennonite refugees, who fled the tribal conflict which erupted along the Kasai River 300 miles (500 km.) to the west in the months following the political independence of the Congo in June 1960. During this time of great political insecurity, the Baluba people along the Kasai River trekked across the countryside to their traditional homeland in the East Kasai, a migration which took with it hundreds of Mennonite Christians and their pastors. It was at the height of this refugee period that the Mennonite Central Committee provided funds and desperately needed emergency supplies, and Congo Inland Mission missionaries, Archie Graber and Glenn Rocke, supervised the distribution of these materials.
Out of these circumstances two Mennonite groups emerged in the area, namely, the Communauté Mennonite au Congo and the Communauté Evangélique Mennonite. Both churches counted a number of congregations in the city and surrounding area.
|Author(s)||James E Bertsche|
Cite This Article
Bertsche, James E. "Mbuji Mayi (Democratic Republic of the Congo)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 26 May 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mbuji_Mayi_(Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo)&oldid=92670.
Bertsche, James E. (1987). Mbuji Mayi (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mbuji_Mayi_(Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo)&oldid=92670.
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