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(Mongo-Nkundo), a people in the Republic of Zaire, comprising many tribal groups. Population, approximately 2 million (1970, estimate).
Most Mongo live in the tropical forests at the bend of the Congo (Zaire) River; some live in towns. The language of the Mongo is related to the Central Bantu languages; a writing system exists for several Mongo dialects. A considerable number of Mongo are Catholics; elements of a primitive communal system and tribal-clan worship (ancestor-divinities, heroes) have been retained among the Mongo inhabiting the remote tropical forest.
The principal livelihood of the Mongo is hoe farming (yams, manioc); hunting, fishing, and gathering are subordinate occupations. Some of the Mongo work on coffee and oil palm plantations and at agricultural processing plants in the cities. In the past, the Mongo actively traded in ivory and slaves.
REFERENCESSobchenko, A. I. “Etnicheskii sostav Kongo.” In Afrikanskii etnograficheskii sbornik, vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962. (Tr. In-ta etnografii AN SSSR: Novaia seriia, vol. 72.)
Kerken, G. van der. L’Ethnic Mongo. Brussels, 1944.
E. S. L’VOVA