Accepted paper:

Rise of Nationalism in the Belgian Congo: The "Lulua Brothers" Association, 1952-1961


Kalala Ngalamulume (Bryn Mawr College)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines the rise of nationalism in the Belgian Congo, using the "Lulua Brothers" Association, created in 1952,as a case study.

Paper long abstract:

In 1952, as the Belgian colonial state was trying to find effective strategies to deal with the rise of Congolese nationalism and the pressure from the United Nations to decolonize, an outbreak of extreme violence erupted in Luluabourg between the "Luba," who were seen as "open to civilization" and the "Lulua," who had opposed colonial conquest and rule. Therefore, they were marginalized by the colonial administration. The conflict resulted in the division the Kasai Province into two provinces, Eastern Kasai for the "Luba" and Western Kasai for the "Lulua." The "incidents of Luluabourg" or the "Baluba-Lulua Conflict," as these events were referred to in the press reports, demonstrated the inadequacies of the Belgian ethnic policies. However, most studies have neglected the role played by this association in the rise of nationalism in the Belgian Congo. This paper examines the colonial administrative policies and missionary practices that led to the emergence of a political identity, called "Lulua." It explores the ways in which Lulua leaders working in different provinces created a network, organized, and petitioned the colonial authorities as well as their achievements.

panel His17
Connected decolonisations: networked approaches to anticolonial struggles in Africa, 1950s-80s