Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau, Mbongi: An African Traditional Political Institution: a Eureka to the African Crisis
Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau’s Mbongi: An African Traditional Political Institution: a Eureka to the African Crisis was one my first introductions to African thinking. Dr. Fu-Kiau introduces a way thinking that made up Congolese communities and provided communal strategies for change and resolution. This institution provided a justice and harmony that is unprecedented in democracy as we understand it in the United States.
Dr. Fu Kiau defines the Mbongi as a “ ‘common ‘shelter’ of very simplistic architecture that one finds in the middle of almost every village in the Bantu countries in general and in Kongo region in particular. The construction is the physical living symbol of one of the most powerful and most important African traditional political institutions.” The Mbongi serves as place where the community can come and wrestle with their ideas and genius together, regardless of differences. The Mbongi was the place where elders displayed there wisdom, and respect was visible because it manifested in provision for the entire community. The Mbongi was not a gatekeeping agenda but an investment of the epistemological gifts of all within the community.
Dr. Fu Kiau introduces why the mbongi was pertinent and also why it has not received the necessary appreciation in contemporary society. As he states, “Modern Africa is often a stranger to itself, its so-called institutions are alien to it. The national economic disease spreading to many African states is not of African in origin. It is a disease generated by alien economic systems blindly adopted or being adopted by African leaders who have never sat inside an African ‘Mbongi’; a truly indigenous political institution.”