By John C. Yoder
John Yoder chronicles the heritage of the Kanyok, a humans from the southern savanna of Zaire, from ahead of 1500 until eventually their incorporation into the Congo loose country within the Nineties. through studying their oral traditions, myths, and legends, the writer describes the political and cultural improvement of a those that, sooner than 1891, had no written documents, and whose background has formerly been restricted to the stale recitation of wars and succession struggles that symbolize many present books on pre-colonial Africa. Yoder units his paintings firmly in the better context of the southern savanna by way of extending his investigations to the traditions of neighboring peoples, particularly to the Luba and Lunda, whose empires as soon as ruled the area. during this means, he demonstrates how an identical tales and concepts circulated over an unlimited sector yet have been continuously tailored to neighborhood conditions.
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Extra resources for The Kanyok of Zaire: An Institutional and Ideological History to 1895 (African Studies)
Musas still lacked legitimacy in the eyes of the surrounding people. 18 Thus, Kalamba men of memory, even today, recognize the source of the new chief's authority was not family and tradition, but his ability to exercise military power, generate wealth, and gain external support. Translating power into legitimacy was difficult and the cliche of the falling bridge points to the fragile character of a big man's constituency. Other oral legends about Musas and the Mwen a Etond emphasize Musas' rootlessness, warriorly orientation, and dependence on Etond.
9 While oral records contain no suggestion of Kanyok-Kete conflict, the Ruund recollections point to a general climate of insecurity involving the Kanyok, Nkong, Kete, and Ruund. As the wealth, food supply, and population of the Kanyok and their neighbors multiplied and as wars and raids became more intense, political, military, commercial, and lineage patterns shifted to take advantage of new opportunities and adjust to new pressures. Families and even individuals searched for new sources of authority to influence, allocate, or monopolize the wealth available from increased production, commerce, or booty.
Not only did the big men dominate military, political, and economic life, they or their supporters also transformed the rituals and legends which legitimized and perpetuated the new leaders in office. 2 Before 1700, Kaleng a Mukel, a Kanyok region rich in palm groves, was known for the manufacture of salt. 3 Also, by the 1600s, the Kanyok people, who previously made iron ornaments and small tools, were producing metal in sufficient quantity to fashion larger implements and weapons. According to oral legend, Ngoi, near Mulundu, and Cilond, about 15 kilometers northeast of Kaleng a Mukel, were important centers for the forging of iron, a product replacing stone and wood in the manufacture of large tools such as hoes, axes, and knives.