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ISSN: 1570-0178

Volume 14, Issue 6 (19 April 2013)




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The Jamaa Files

transcribed, translated, and commented by

Johannes Fabian

University of Amsterdam

e-mail: johfabian  [at]



IntroductionText OneText TwoText ThreeText Four Text Five


Text Five

Leaders of JATAF, M. Thérèse, Mwamba Pierre, B. Gabriel, others, Bumuntu, recorded 6. 6. 1985 in Musonoi (Excerpts)

My first meeting with a group of JATAF took place at the home of Baba Mwamba Pierre and Mama Thérèse Kapanga at Musonoi. They had been among my most frequent interlocutors in 1966-67. The event was a joyful reunion after almost tweny years rather than a calm conversation.  Also, because of the number of people who were present and intervened in one way or another, the recording is, except for the examples of teaching presented here, for the most part not suitable for transcription.


Swahili text and English translation

1. T: minawaza bumoja: baba: ni kutafuta mbele burafiki/
F: mm/
T: pale tutaendelea na ile burafiki yetu: tutasikilizana mu burafiki yetu: tutawazana mu burafiki yetu: minawaza: siye tutakutana: kuta pamoja/ kwa sababu: kama hatukusikilizane: hatutafutane: bumoja hakutakuya/ minawaza: ule bumoja...?...burafiki/ bule bu: burafiki hakutakuya wa masimango/
F: mm/
T: ao wa mazarabu/ bule: burafiki kutakuya ba kuwekeana mawazo/
F: mm/
T: huyu atakuya kwa huyu: huyu atakuya kwa huyu/ ni pale tutaanza burafiki bwetu/ bule burafiki bwetu: kama bunakuya kwa ku chaku: ba ku: kuya na burafiki juu ya chakula/ siku ile chakula yetu itaisha: minawaza: bule burafiki yetu: butaisha/
F: [overlapping] taisha/
T: kama tunakuya na burafiki juu ya kuleta nguo ao juu ya kuleta mali: siku ile yote itaisha: minawaza burafiki: butaisha/
F: mm/
T: kumbe burafiki ni nini? burafiki ni masikilizano/ burafiki ni umoja/ ile mateso itakamata kwa baba ao kwa mama: wee wote ukuye pale/ kama kunatokea magumu: ule mama: ule baba: abebe ile magumu: ikuwe sawa yake/ pale: ule: rafiki kama ataona vile: minawaza: atawaza asema huyu anapitaka: nduku: ule tulizalikwa naye: tumbo moja/
F: mm/
T: kumbe ni kule kunaanza: burafiki: burafiki njo kunaleta umoja/
[pause; another baba arrives and is seated]

1. T: About unity, baba, I think that it is above all a matter of striving for friendship.
F: Mm.
T: When we'll make progress with our friendship, we'll find mutual understanding in our friendship, we'll share thoughts in our friendship – (and when this happens) I think we come together. Because, if we don't understand each other and don't look out for each other, unity will not come. I think that unity depends on friendship and friendship is not going to come from masimango.[1]
F: Mm.
T: Or from contempt[2]. This friendship comes from exchanging thoughts.
F: Mm.
T: If one comes to the other, that is where our friendship will begin. If our friendship were based on food (we share) I think it would end on the day when our food is finished.
F: [overlapping] Finished.
T: If we find friendship because we give away clothes or we give away (our) wealth I think that the day all this is gone friendship will end.
F: Mm.
T: So, what is friendship? Friendship is mutual understanding. Friendship is unity. The suffering that befalls a baba or a mama should get to all of you. When troubles appear, every baba and mama should bear them is if they were theirs. I think when a person realizes this he is going to think that this friend is even more important than his own sibling.
F: Mm.
T: So, that is where friendship comes in, the kind of friendship that brings unity.
[pause; another baba arrives and is seated]

2. F: ile bumuntu:
T: bumuntu ...?...bumuntu/
F: si njo kintu kikubwa ya kupita yote?
T: mm/ bumuntu wetu/
F: mawazo: mawazo kwa Baba Placide tena: bumuntu/
T: [to Baba Piere] muanzake yako/
[a short deliberation among those present about who should speak now]
F: mais ni paka pa kutukumbusha/
T: [to Baba Pierre, in Tshokwe] mwende....?...
Others: [urge Baba Pierre to begin, Mama Thérèse coaches him, but then Baba Gabriel takes the floor]...
T: ...vile: mbele ya kuyua bumuntu bwa mwenzako: tena ujue bwako/
G: mm/ njo paka ile/
F: hii njo mwanzo? mwanzo ya: mafundisho?
G: ni vile/ mwanzo alikwenda: ile mwanzo alikwenda:
F: eeh/
G: naye na mafundisho ile: ule baliweka bwa rafiki: kuikupa rafiki: vile baba anapita kumisema: minakuambia yote ile:
F: mm/
G: njo fasi utaanza kujua sasa bumuntu bwa ule muntu mwenzako/
T: mm/
G: maneno pale anapata mateso: ile mateso inageuka sawa yako/
T: mm/
G: kwa sababu nani muko naye mu bumo:
F: mu bumoja/
G: ni pale unajua/
F: mm/
G: unajua bumuntu yake: vile iko nateswa: na vile unapashwa wee kuteswa/ njo kuta: utajua asema kweli: sasa minataka kujua kabisa kabisa muntu naona bintu/ kwa kujua mawazo yake/ kwa kutolea mawazo yake/ maneno hakuwe tena na kintu kingine ile ataweza kubakia nakye hapana/
F: mm/
G: anakutolea mawazo yake na wee unamutolea kwako na munakuwa kintu hiki:
F: kimoja/
G: ni paka sasa kutakuya kujua bumuntu wa muntu mwenzako/ bumuntu wa muntu wenzako utakujua ku nini? ni paka vile ukaangaria ku mateso ku bintu bingine vile unaona bye: yee kumupita nguvu kwake: binakuwa sawa byako/ maneno bintu batakufansia: eh: wee kama unafansia bitakuwa bibaya/ na vile yee ile anabiona bibaya: na vile njo utaona bibaya/
F: mm/
G: kwa sababu ule muntu wa kufahamu mambo vile njo anatambuka muntu wa muntu mwenzake/ ni kule tunajua asema ni bule bumuntu/
F: mm/
G: kwa sababu bumuntu buko mara mbili/
T: kama unafansia sawa..?...
F: mm/
G: kwa sababu kama unamufansia mwenzako mubaya habujue bumuntu yako/
T: mm/
G: kama unajua bumuntu yako utapasha kufansia mwenzenu vizuri/
T: mm/
G: kwa sababu na wee bizuri...?...ataweza kufansia/
T: mm/
G: kwa sababu hakuna muntu anapendaka bubaya/
T: mm/
G: anapendaka ...?...:
T: mm/
G: anapenda buzu:
F: muzuri/
G: vile unapenda buzuri: unapenda na buzuri bwa muntu mwenza:
T: ...?...
G: bwa muntu mwenzako/ kumbe unajua bumuntu/
F: mm/

2: F: (Now about this idea of) what it means to be human, bumuntu.
T: Bumuntu, we get to bumuntu.
F: Is that not more important than anything else?
T: Mm, our bumuntu.
F: An idea, a thought (that came) from Baba Placide (Tempels). Bumuntu.
T: [to Baba Pierre] Start with your (mafundisho, instruction).
[a short deliberation among those present about who should speak now]
F: But this is only to make us remember.
T: [to Baba Pierre] Go on ....?...
Others: [urge Baba Pierre to begin, Mama Thérèse coaches him, but then Baba Gabriel takes the floor] ...
T: ... (tell us about how) before you get to know the bumuntu of your neighbor you should know your own.
G: Mm. That's the point.
F: Is that the beginning? The beginning of the instruction?
G: That's right, that used to be the beginning...
F: I see.
G: ...of the instruction about friendship, how to give friendship. As baba said to you in passing, I tell you all about it.
F: Mm.
G: That is, about the moment when you'll begin to know the bumuntu of this person who is your neighbor.
T: Mm.
G: It happens when he suffers grief and this grief becomes like you own.
T: Mm.
G: Because you are one with him in uni:
F: in unity.
G: That's when you know.
F: Mm.
G: You know his bumtuntu, how he is suffering and how you need to suffer. That's when you realize, truly I want to know this person looks at things. By getting to know his thoughts, when he offers his thoughts. Because there ought to be nothing that he should keep to himself.
F: Mm.
G: He offers you his thoughts and you offer him what is inside you and you become:
F: one.
G: Only then it happens that you know the bumuntu of your neighbor. What is it that lets you know your neighbor's? It is when you looked and saw that the things that made him suffer more than he could bear became yours.
Because what they do to you -- if you do the same, this will be bad. That way he sees what is bad the same as the bad things you see.
F: Mm.
G: Because when this person is familiar with the problems it means that one will understand those of his neighbor. That is when we know, this is bumuntu.
F: Mm.
G: Because, there are two kinds of bumuntu.[3]
T: If you do something ...[4]
G: Because if you do something bad to your neighbor you don't know your bumuntu.
T: Mm.
G: If you know your own bumuntu you are bound to treat you neighbors well.
T: Mm.
G: Because when you treat him well he can do the same.
T: Mm.
G: Because there is nobody who likes what is bad.
T: No.
G: Who likes ...?...
T: Mm.
G: He likes what is good:
F: What is good.
G: As you like what is good you also like what is good for your neighbor.
T: ...?...
G: For your neighbor. That's when you know bumuntu.
F: Mm.

3. P: kule njo unajua  bumuntu wa muntu mwenzako/
F: mm/
P: mi/ sipate kilondo ku maungu yangu/ maneno ya nini nitapata kilondo pamoya? ...?... sawa/ kama minakuumiza wee kilondo:
F: mm/
P: iko bumuntu yako/ mais yangu tutasikilizana?
T: hapana/
F: hapana/
P: juu ya nini?
T: njo ananiongeza/
P: kumbe ...?... si njo bumuntu?
T: mm/
P: kumbe bumuntu: ya kwanza kumujua mwenzako/ umuone kama: bintu yote iko unamutesa: na wee unaisha kukuteseka/ kumbe ile mateso yake uikuwe naye weye: sawa yako.
F: mm/
P: yee hatatesa mu kipeke: weye uipende umukankamisha asema dis: twende hivi: angarie hivi: tunafanye hii: kusaidiana...?...njo kule kutatoka: njia ya bumuntu/ kwa sababu muntu: bamingi habaitike umuntu: banajua paka ya kusema: Baba Jean: balisaidia pa...?.../ ahah/ lakini...?... /
F: mm/
P: njo bumuntu tunasikilizana naye/
T: mm/
P: Baba Gabriel alitufansia pa kintu kifulani/ njo banakusaidia/
F: mm/
P: alakini: kubasaidia ile hainako kubasaidia kama ni: juu ya chakula: hii habaina bumuntu/
F: mm/
P: ile ni umuntu inakukosana/ maneno: minamupenda ule muntu sababu yo minamusaidiaka ku mateso yake niko naye/
T: [whispered] niko naye/
P: sasa ule anasaidiaka: yee atajua bumuntu yake namna gani? na mi nitajua ...?... namna gani? kumbe inapasha kusikilizana na ule muntu: kwashiyo karibu na mi/ iko mbali: mateso yake: inakuwa sawa yangu/ ni yee atayua bumuntu namna yake kuwa...?... kweli:
mais muntu anayua bumuntu ni kintu gani/
F: mm/
P: ni vile tutapata njia ya kutakutana: kuwa na uzima: kama tuko kwashiyo kuyua bumuntu: ni paka sasa kutafuta/ vile yee ni muntu: sawa mi ni muntu/ inafaa nimufansie muntu/ inafaa minamusaidie: inafaa kumus: tusikilizane:
F: mm/
P: tutafute masikilizano ya bumuntu: kuwa...
F: kuwa umoja/
P: kama vile hainako:

3. P: ...that's where you recognize the bumuntu of your fellow muntu.
F: Mm.
P: Me, I am not alone when when I am wounded. Why is it that I am going to share the wounds. If I injure you.
F: Mm.
P: Are your bumuntu and mine then in harmony?
T: No
F: No.
P: Why?
T: Because he and I complement each other.
P: So, ...? that not what bumuntu is about?
F: Mm.
K: Therefore bumuntu means above all that you know neighbor. You should see that everything that you do to make him suffer will cause you suffering. Therefore his suffering shoud be your suffering.
F: Mm.
P: He will not suffer in solitude. You should care and give him support. Hey, let's go now, have a look at that, let's do this. Just helping each other. That is where the way of bumuntu will apear. Because there are many who don't respect umuntu, all the knows is that Baba Jean[6]...?... Yes, but ...?...
F: Mm.
P: It is through bumuntu that we understand each other.
P: Baba Gabriel may have done something for us. That is helpful.
F: Mm.
P: Hower, being helped is no help if it is (only) about food. That is not bumuntu.
F: Mm.
P: That is something where both of you lack umuntu. Because I love this person and that is why I help him in his suffering which is (also) mine.
T: (whispered) Is mine.
P: Now how is the one who is helpful going to know his bumuntu? An how am I going to know it? What it takes it to come to mutual understanding with a person (even) he is not close to me. He may be far away, his suffering is like mine. He will know about bumuntu, he knows what bumuntu is.
F: Mm.
P: That is how we'll find the way to meet each other and become whole. If we don't know about bumuntu yet, we should search for it right away. He is muntu as I am muntu. I must do something for him as muntu. I must help him, we must understand each other.
F: Mm.
P: Let's seek the mutual understanding that comes from bumuntu and becomes...
F: ...becomes unity.
P: If there is nothing like that...

4. T: [interrupting] sawa mufano:
F: mm/
T: sawa mufano: vile tuko mu Jamaa/
F: mm/
T: beko bengine: beko inje ya Jamaa/
F: mm/
T: si vile?
F: ni vile mama/
T: sawa mupagano/
F: mm/
T: ule muntu: tunapashwa kwanza kusaidiana naye: tujuane naye bumuntu/ si vile?
F: mm/
T: aha/ pale nitaona mateso kwake: ananiona mi niko karibu kwake/ ?siku ananiangaria:
F: mm/
T: kwa mufano: tuli: tuko na mama moja/ ule mama tuko naye: ndani ya Jamaa/
F: mm/
T: baba wake: hana mu Jamaa/
F: mm/
T: sasa: siku balipata mateso: minawaza: bamama na bababa balifanya kazi/ ule baba: aliona ya kwamba kama: sina ndugu: angaria bale bantu nilikuwa nabo mbali/ mi sikuwe kuwaza asema kule kuko nini? hapana/ angaria pale minakuwa na mateso: bale bababa na bamama balinibeba/
F: mm/
T: minakuwa nabo kintu kimoja/ bananisaidia/
F: mm/
T: pasipo kubalipa/ pasipo ku: ba: bapa kintu fulani: kumbe miye nitazalika kwabo/ si ni bitendo vile weliona?
F: mm/
T: ule baba/ si aliona bitendo yetu?
F: mm/
T: sasa ule baba shee tunamuzala/ maneno matendo ile tulimusaidia/
F: ndiyo/
T: tunazalamo/ kumbe ni ile bumuntu kwa kusema: hatutaweza kusaidiana na: [pauses] na jamaa huyu zangu ule tunayua naye tu/
F: mm/
T: tutasaidiana ...?...[noise]
F: mm/
T: sawa mupagano kwa mufano/ naweza kumusaidida/ naweza kumuonyesha kitendo yangu/ na wee kumuonyesha: mifano yote/ ni yeye/ kama anapata mateso: minakuya karibu/ [noise] kuna muntu? shee tutapatana naye? shee tutayuana naye?
F: mm/
T: eh/ sasa: kama mi minaonyesha mufano pake mule mu Jamaa/ sasa bapagano: hapana/ minawaza: bataitika? habataitika/ bumuntu kumbe: ni: kusasaidiana/ kusaidiana pa nini? paka pa mateso pale/ kama kunakuya mateso: ao kunakuya mangumu: mi niko karibu/ kama yee anakuya: rafiki: ni kusema: kitakuya nguvu wa kujuana?
F: mm/
T: haitakuwa nguvu hapana/ kumbe ya kwanza ni masikilizano/ masikilizano na masaidiano katika mateso/ minawaza/ Bwana Yesu alisema: kama uko na kipaji: hii mu kipande ya muti ndani ya licho yako:
F: mm/
T: unakiacha unakwenda/ utaweza kwenda kutosha kya mwenzako pasipo mbele kujiangaria wee moya? ya kwanza utajiangaria wee moya/ kiisha njo unakwanza kutosha: mwenzako/
F: ndiyo/
T: kile kipo mu licho/ kumbe na shee bamama na bababa: kipande ya bumuntu ni kusikilizana/
S: ...?...
T: ni kuangariana pa mateso/ ni kule uko kuwa naleta bumuntu: kwa kujuana/ kwa sababu kama ...?... mu mateso: hunapatikana mu mateso: kunaonekana burafiki ao kusikilizana hainako/
F: mm/
T: kumbe ni ile/

4. T: [interrupting] For example.
F: Mm.
T: The way it is with us in the Jamaa, for example.
F: Mm.
T: There are others who are outside the Jamaa.
F: Mm.
T: Right?
F: Right, mama.
T: Take a pagan.
F: Mm.
T: We and this person must above all help each other, we should get to know each other's bumuntu, right?
F: Mm.
T: Yes. When I'll notice the suffering in him he will see that I am close to him. He looks at me.
F: Mm.
T: For instance, we have a mama who is with us in the Jamaa.
F: Mm.
T: Her baba is not in the Jamaa.
F: Mm.
T: Then, on a day when they met with suffering, I think, the mamas and babas (of the Jamaa) did their work. This baba (I mentioned) saw (what happened). I am not their relative, (he told himself), look at what those people (are doing for me), people with who I had nothing to do. Am I not going to reflect (on this), what is this? No (I am going to think about it). Look, when I was suffering those babas and babas supported me.
F: Mm.
T: I became one with them. They helped me.
F: Mm.
T: Without having to pay them, without giving them whatsoever. Therefore I am going to be born among them.[7] Were our deeds not observed?
F: Mm.
T:  Did this baba not see our deeds?
F: Mm.
T: When we acted and helped him, that is, when we gave life (lit. give birth) to that baba.
F: Yes.
T: That's where we give life. Therefore, bumuntu means that helping each other should not be limited to my family that I know.
F: Mm.
T: We are going to help each other...?...[noise]
F: Mm.
T: Take a pagan, for instance. I can help him. I can show him how I act. And you this to him in all sorts of ways. When he suffers I come to be nearby [noise] There is a human being. Are we not going to meet each other? Are we not getting to know each other?
F: Mm.
T: You see. When I behave that way only inside the Jamaa and not among pagans, are they going to follow my example? I don't think they will. Bumuntu, then, means to help each other. Helping each other with what? With the suffering then and there. If there is suffering, if there are problems, I am nearby. If he is already a friend is this going to be something that gives me the strength to get to know each other?
F: Mm.
T: There will be no strength. Therefore, the first thing is mutual understanding. Mutual understand and helping each other in suffering. I think The Lord Jesus said, if you have a piece of wood in your eye.
F: Mm.
T: You leave it there and go on. Could you go and remove something from (the eye) of your neighbor without first looking at you yourself? First you should look at yourself, then you may remove for your (the eye of) you neighbor.
F: Yes.
T: The piece in his eye. So, for us, mamas and babas, understanding each other is part of bumuntu.
S[8]: ...?...
T: It is about looking after each other in suffering. That is what brings about bumuntu, knowing each other. Because if you don't come together in suffering, obviously there is no friendship or mutual understanding.
F: Mm.
T: So that's it.[9]

5. S: ile mufano: baba: kuta: kwiko mufano kidogo:
F: mm/
S: ku hii mambo ya mafundisho ya bumuntu/
F: mm/
S: mita: patia: exemplaire moya/ tazama: humu mu cité twiko mu camp ya Gécamines Musonoi humu/
F: mm/
S: hii manyumba hii banajenga: na manyumba ile mwiko mu ville: iko inye ya kuachana/ hii banaweka modèle ingine: ile iko mule mu ville banayenga modèle ingi:
F and others: ingine/
S: alakini ule muntu baliingisha ndani ya ile nyumba: [pauses] ni muntu paka namna moya/
sasa muntu kama imekwisha kuingisha mu ile nyumba yake:
F: mm/
S: iko mu ville: anaangaria asema aaah: hii nyumba yangu iko muzuri/ kushinda ile ya mu: mu Musonoi/
F: mm/
S: sasa anaanza kujisifu juu ya nini? juu ya nani: juu ya nyu:
F and S: ya nyumba/
S: anajisifu juu ya nyumba/ alakini ule muntu iko mu nyumba ya Musonoi: na ule muntu iko nyumba ya monpère: ni muntu paka namna hii:
F and others: moja/
S: sasa ni kile Mungu alisema: minaumbe muntu kwa mufano yangu/ anaumba muntu katika mawazo: ile mawazo atamuingisha mawazo makubwa matatu/ Mungu ku: muntu alimupata masikilizano: masaidiano: na mu: na mapendo/
F: mm/
S: bile bintu tatu: Mungu anata?weka na wee muntu wake/ kiisha kuumba muntu: anamutuma duniani humu: njo anabebe ile mambo anamupatia asema: minakupatia sasa bumuntu: minakupatia masikilisano: masaidiano na mape:
F: na mapendo/
S: alafu anakuya sasa kumuingisha manyumba ya kuacha: ya kuachana/ ni kule sasa munaona kunatoka: huyu: iko mweupe: huyu iko mwekunda: iko murefu mufupi/
F: mm/
S: alakini sasa: ile manyumba ile: tumekwisha kupata ile manyumba: tunaanza kujisifu naye/
Others: ...?...
vile huyu: na ule iko mu ville anajisifu asema mi niko na chambre moya muzuri: iko malata muzuri/ u: uliko Musonoi iko na: iko na kanyumba kabaya/ alakini ule muntu iko ndani ni paka muntu namna hii:
F: moja/
S: sasa kile kilikuwa kutuharibisha bumuntu bwote ni nini? kwa sababu ile mwili tunaanza tutembea nayo: ni ile inakuwa kutu: kutuharibisha bumuntu/ alakini bumuntu ni nini? Mungu aliumba muntu paka na mawazo hii matatu/ alimuambia: usikilizana na muntu mwenzenu/ hivi utayua mingi/ musaidiana na muntu mwenzenu: utajua mi: upende na muntu mwenzenu/ hii njo mambo makubwa mata:
F: matatu/
S: matatu/ inapashwa kuyenga muntu katika bumuntu bwake/
F: mm/
S: kumbe bule bumuntu: ni kule kulitangulia kwa Mungu/
F: mm/
S: pale kulitangulia kwa Mungu: njo banasema: inafaa na mwee muko kwenu/ pale Mungu ana: analeta nguvu mu dunia...?...asema: ile mambo vile mi nilikuwa naye kwangu: na wee minakupatia ile mambo/ kumbe na wee kwenda ukapenda muntu mwenzenu/ sawa vile anajipenda wee: mwenyewe/ ni kule baliuliza baYuda banamuuzi asema: utuambia amri kabisa kabisa: kushinda ya ku byote ni amri gani? Mungu alibaambia utamupenda Mungu na ma:.mawazo yako na roho yako yote/ ya mpili: utamupenda muntu mwenze: mwenzenu/ iko ...?...unajipe: unajipenda/
F: unajipenda/
S: sasa leo pale tunakuwa kamata ile manyumba: hii manyumba ya mwili tunaanza kutembea nayo: tunatoka kila mawazo ya Mungu: bumuntu bunafanya bunaharibi:
F: and others: bunaharibika/
S: kumbe kama tunatafuta asema tujenge Jamaa kabisa kabisa: inafaa kila muntu ajue bumuntu bwa: bwake/ kama unajua bumuntu bwako: utajua bumuntu ya muntu mwenzenu/ ni kule Mungu yee wa ku nguvu: aliona ya kama duniani hii mi ni kuweza na sifa/ ni juu ya kuumba dunia mwenyewe? anaumba na mu: na muntu katika mawazo/ [pause] kumbe pale aliumba na muntu katika mawazo: yee ni Mungu wa uzima: anaumba na muntu katika mawazo: pa kushusha muntu hatukumuacha vile anamuambia asema na weye ukapendana muntu mwenze: mwenzenu/ kumbe inafaa kujua bumuntu: muntu ni nini? ni masikilizano: masaidiano: na mape:
F and S: na mapendo/
S: vile unajitakia wee mwenyewe: utakia na muntu mwenze: mwenzenu/ alakini pale tunafikia hapa mu duniani: pale banatupatia manyumba: mufano minakupatia/ huyu iko na nyumba murefu: huyu na nyumba mufupi: huyu na nyumba ekunda asema aah: mi niko na nyumba mwekunda/ ao murefu/ njo nikasema ule: ule: kale kanyumba kafupi/ mais unaanza kujisifu juu ya: juu ya nyumba/ alakini ule muntu iko ndani unamusaha: unamusahabu/ alakini kama tunafahamu muntu iko ndani ya mawazo ile: ule muntu na tuko ginsi sema: ku ginsi asema: kwiko Mungu: hauweze kujisifu ya: ya: ya mwili hapana/ c'est pourquoi uliona mangumu ...?... kutoka na mateso ingine: juu ya nini? juu bantu habakuyue bumuntu:
S and others: hapana/
S: hata eklesia katolika/ bababa bale ba: baskofu balitufundisha na bengine: kama balijua bumuntu bwabo: habakutafuta uta...?... bubaya hapana/ tazama/ yeye Mungu ule vile minatoka mukuambia: Mungu: haikuwa mutajiri/ comment ?kumbe yee: yee mwenyewe? aliumba na muntu/ bon: Yesu: pa kufika duniani: habakombole yee mwenyewe? anasema nikupe kala ba: na bantu/ anachagula bamitume/ na Baba Placido: pa kufundisha hakuya yee peke yake/ alisema bababa na bamama kuyenga tujenge kani: kanisa/ ni tu wenye mawazo ya Mungu/ tunatumika naye/ na yee alikamata mawazo ya bantu: anaweka ndani ya moyo: mpaka anaweka ndani ya moyo: huku ni kuwa sasa kuungana asema: tunakuya kuonyesha mawazo ya Mungu/ lakini kama leo Baba Jean iko hapa/
F: mm/
S: sasa: wee unasema mi niko: kama uko ...?... bukubwa kwa mufano/ sasa hii bukubwa yako unakuwa kuibuweka ndani ya muntu/ sasa ukiutaona muntu ...?... asema ni muntu?
F: mm/
S: hauwezi kujua/ maneno kile kinakupatia: eeh: eeh: butajiri ni nini? ni mwili/ pale unakuwa kubeba ile mwili unasahabu bumu: bumuntu/ njo sasa eklesia katolika alisahabu bumuntu/ kama alijua bumuntu: hakutafuta leta ma mangumu namna hii/ njo pale ile sauti tunasema: si tu iko bantu mwenye kufunza/ baaskofu/ comment tuenee kwenu kwenu kushikia mambo ya ka: ya muntu chini kwashipo kufunza?
F: mm/
S: banapoteza nini? banapoteza bumu:
F and others: bumuntu/
S: ile mapendo: masikilizano: est-ce que iko inye kuachana?
Others: hapana/
S: ni paka mapendo namna mo:
F and others: moja/
S: balileta ku mutajiri na mashiki: na mashikini/ murefu na mufu:
F: mufupi/
S: muzungu na mweu:
F and others: na mweushi/
S: si paka mapendo namna moya? paka hatubujue bumuntu bwetu: njo paka tunaharibisha ile mapendo/ kumbe ya hapa sasa tunakwenda ndani ni nini? ni kutafuta mawazo ya bumuntu/ ile inapasha kujenga bumuntu/ kama haujue bumuntu bwako: Mungu [claps] hautakumuya/
T: sawa njo pale/
F: ni vile/ ni vile baba/
[short interruption]

5. S: There is this example, baba. There is a little example.
F: Mm.
S: Which is relevant to the instruction on bumuntu.
F: Mm.
S: I'm going to give you an example. Look, here we are in the settlement, the (workers') camp of the Gécamines here in Musonoi.
F: Mm.
S: The houses they built here and those you have in town, they are different. Here they used one model, there in town they built another:
F: and others: Another one.
S: However the (kind of) person they moved into those houses [pauses] is muntu just the same. Now, when a person has been moved into his house.
F: Mm.
S: (A house) in town. He looks at it and says ah, this how of mine is beautiful, it beats the one (I had) in Musonoi.[10]
F: Mm.
S: So, what does he praise himself for? For the hou:
F and S: For the house.
S: He is proud of the house. But the person who lives in house in Musonoi and the one who lives in the residence of a missionary, they are muntu of the same kind.
F and others: Of the same kind.
S: Now this is what God said, I am going to create muntu after my likeness. He created muntu in His thoughts. That idea was that he would endow muntu with the three great thoughts. God gave him mutual understanding, mutual help, and love.
F: Mm.
S: Those three things God gave to you, his muntu. After he created muntu he sent him here to earth so that he would carry the thing he gave him. (God said) I give you bumuntu now, I give you mutual understanding, mutual help, and lo:
F: And love.
S: However then he put him into different houses. That is why you see you see that this one turned out white, that one red, tall or short.
F: Mm.
S: So, to return to the (example of) the houses we were assigned. We begin to praise ourselves for them.
Others: ...?... Someone who lives in town praises himself, I have a beautiful room, a decent roof. The one who lives in Musonoi has a tiny, shabby house. But the person who lives inside it is muntu of the same kind:
F: The same kind.
S: So what was it that completely ruined bumuntu for us? I has been this body we walk around in. That's what ruined bumuntu for us. What is bumuntu? God created muntu with those three thought. He told him, come to a mutual understanding with your neighbors,[11] that way you are going to know a lot. (If) you and your neighbors help each other, you are going to know a lot. Love you neighbors. Those are the three things that count:
F: Three (things).
S: The three (things) that are bound to form a person according to his bumuntu.
F: Mm.
S: So, this bumuntu was how we were before God.
F: Mm.
S: So that was how we were before God. Then they said, you should have this where you live. God then gave (us) strength on earth. The things I kept to myself, He said, I am giving to you. Therefore you should go and love your neighbors as you love yourself. So then the sons of Juda kept asking him, tell us, what is the commandment that is more important than all the others? God told them, you should love God with all your thoughts and with all your soul. Second, you should love your neighbors as you love yourself:
F: As you love yourself.
S: Now, when we take those houses – the houses which are the body we walk around with – (but) as soon as we leave the thoughts of God (our) bumuntu is ruined:
F and others: Is ruined.
S: Therefore, if we really seek to form the Jamaa everybody should know his bumuntu. If you know your bumuntu, you know the bumuntu of your neighbors. God Almighty saw that he would be praised for this on earth. For creating the world by itself? (No) he also created man in his thoughts. [pause] He created muntu in his thoughts – He is God who gives life – and when he had this put muntu down on earth he did not just leave him there like that. He told him you and your neighbors should love each other. That is why it is necessary to know bumuntu. What is muntu? Mutual understanding, mutual help, and lo:
F and S: And love.
S: What you wish for yourself you should wish for your neighbors. But when we arrived here on earth, we were given (our) houses as (I told you) in the example (I talked about). One had a tall house, the other a short one, yet another had a red house. Ah, (he tells himself) I have a tall house, or a red one. And I also mentioned a short, small house. But what happened then was that you began to praise yourself for the house (you have) and you forgot muntu who is inside the house. However, if we recognize muntu inside the thoughts, that muntu who resembles God, you cannot praise yourself for your body. Therefore you saw problems and suffering coming about. Why? Because people didn't know bumuntu:
S and others: No, (they didn't).
S: Take the Catholic Church, the bishops and others who taught us. Had they known their bumuntu they would not have sought to treat us badly. Look, God, as I just told you, God was not like a rich man (who kept his wealth) to himself. He also created muntu.
Jesus, when he arrived on earth, was he a savior for himself? He said, let me live among the people. He chose the apostles. And Baba Placide, when he taught he didn't do it all by himself. He said, babas and mamas, let us build a church. That was in accord with the thoughts of God with which we do our work. He took the thoughts of people and put them in their hearts. That is where it came from that we got together and show the thoughts of God, as we do today when Baba Jean is here.
F: Mm.
S: Nowadays you say, I am...[12] For instance if you hold a high position you identify your high position (lit. put inside) with (your) person. When you see someone who (is poor[13]) are you going to say that he is muntu?
F: Mm.
S: You are incapable of recognizing (him). Because what is it that makes you rich? It's the body. Once you flaunt your body you forget bumuntu. That is how the Catholic Church forgot bumuntu. If it recognized bumuntu it would not seek to cause those problems. That is what we talk about (when we say) we are people who learn. Take the bishops. How can we understand what you are after when what we hear are things that come from a low person without learning?
F: Mm.
S: What is it they lost? They lost bumu:
F and others: Bumuntu.
S: Does love and mutual understanding come in different kinds?
Others: No.
S: There is only one kind of love:
F and others: (There is only) one.
S: It was given to the rich person and the poor, the tall and the short:
F: The short.
S: The white and the bla:
F and others: And the black.
S: Is it not love of the same kind?  If we ignore our bumuntu that is when we destroy that love. Therefore, what is it that keeps us going right now? It is searching for the thoughts of bumuntu. That is what is needed to form bumuntu. If you don't know your bumuntu [claps] you are not going to know God.
T: That is the point.
F: That's how it is, baba.
[short interruption]

6. F: bon/ tunaanza kuchoka/
T: twende pale ...?...
P: [overlapping]... manyama nabo banaweza kujua bumuntu yao?
F: mm/
P: manyama?
F: manyama hapana/
P: anaweza kujua bumuntu?
Other: hatafahamu/
P: sasa namna gani muntu anajua bumuntu: anachukia muntu mwenzake?
F: mm/
P: kwa kuchukia muntu mwenzako: kwa sababu haujue bumuntu ya:
F and P: yake/
P: unafanana mufano na nyama/ kama ulijua bumuntu: hautaweza kuchukia muntu mwenzako/ hauweze kusema huyu ni mweushi: huyu ni mweupe: huyu ni mubamba: huyu ni mwekunda: huyu ni mufupi/
F: mm/
P: kwa sababu muntu iko paka namna hii:
F , P and others: moja/
P: bumuntu njo iko kunakosakana mu dunia/
F: mm/
P: ni ile kintu balileta balichagula Baba Placide ku: kusema ingishe bumuntu kwiko bantu bafahamu/
F: mm/
P: bafahamu bumuntu yabo: kuuana itaisha: mashimango itaisha: chuki itaisha/ kwa sababu ile byote binaleta juu ya nini? juu ya vile banakufuatilika ku baba jibu inaleta vile/
F: mm/
P: butajiri:[pauses] bunaua bumuntu/
F: paka vile baba/
P: bunaua bumuntu/ mutaweza kujua kama uko mutajiri hauwezi kujua mwenzake asema ni yee ni muntu/ anajijue yee juu ya nini iko muta: mutajiri/ ajue tele bumuntu wa muntu mwenzake/ anamutakia sasa kutaka mubaya/ ni paka lufu/ ni vile unaona dunia inaharibika/
bantu ba mule: mwee mu dunia muzima: habajue bumuntu/ kama balijua bumuntu kama hakuna mavita: hakuna bintu bya kuuana: hakuna bya hivi/ kama bantu/ ni vile Mungu anaweka bantu humu mu dunia/ [pauses] alibatakia paka buzuri/ vile Mungu iko muzuri: aliweka tena muntu mu paradiso akuwe muzu:
F and P: muzuri/
P: pale bantu balikosa bumuntu sasa unaona kunakuya sasa: kukatolelana kukatolelana kukatolelana: kunakuya sasa domination/
F: mm/
P: kukosa kujua bumuntu/
F: ni vile/
P: kwa sababu mafundisho ya bumuntu ni kintu nguvu Baba Jean/
F: eyo/
P: kintu nguvu sana zaidi/
F: [overlapping] kweli/
P: kwa muntu kukibakie naye...
F: ...tulijikaza tulijikaza: tunazeka:
Others: [chuckles and comments]
T: bado kupata/
F: bado kupata/
P: eheh/ [chuckles]
T: eyo baba/
P: mm/ ni kintu kya nvuvu sana: bumuntu/
F: oui/
P: mm/ bumuntu ni kintu kya hatari kwa sababu kama unajua bumuntu...
F: ndiyo/
P: ...?...
F: aaah/ bon: [pause] nakupikia aksanti tena...

6. F: Alright. We start getting tired.
T: Let's go on where....
P: [overlapping] ...can animals know their bumuntu?
F: Mm.
P: Animals?
F: Animals, no.
P: Can an animal know bumuntu.
Other: It won't know about it.
P: So then, how come that a person who knows bumuntu hates his neighbor?
F: Mm.
P: You hate your neighbor because you don't know his bumuntu.
F: His (bumuntu).
P: You behave like an animal. If you knew bumuntu you could not hate your neighbor. You couldn't say this one is black, that one is white, this one is big, that one is short.
F: Mm.
P: Because muntu is only of one kind:
F, P and others: One kind.
P: Bumuntu that is what we lack on earth. That is what Baba Placide was chosen for: to bring bumuntu to people so they would know about it.
F: Mm.
P: Once they know their bumuntu there will be an end to killing each other, to rejoicing over another's misfortune, to hate. Why was all this brought up?  So that people would heed the answer Baba (Placide) had (for that question).
F: Mm.
P: Wealth [pauses] kills bumuntu.
F: That's how it is, baba.
P: It kills bumuntu. When you are rich you are incapable of knowing your neighbor, of recognizing him as muntu. He should know himself and understand why is it I am rich. And also he should know the bumuntu of his neighbor. Should he wish him ill then it's the death (of bumuntu). So see, this is how the world goes to pieces. The people – all of you all over the world – don't know bumuntu. If they knew bumuntu there wouldn't be wars, killing each other, and all the things people do. When God put people here on earth [pauses] he wanted for them only that there be goodness. As God is good so he put man in paradise to be good:
F and P: To be good.
P: Then people sinned against bumuntu and now you see what happens, nothing but abusing each other. There is [in French] domination now.
F: Mm.
P: Failing to know bumuntu.
F: That's it.
P: Because the teaching of bumuntu is difficult, Baba Jean.
F: Yes.
P: Something very difficult.
F: [overlapping] True.
P: For a person to keep it...
F: ... we tried and tried (lit. exerted ourselves) and now we are old...
Others: [chuckles and comments].
T: And still don't have it.
F: And still don't have it.
P: Yes. [chuckles]
T: Yes, baba.
P: It is a very difficult thing, bumuntu.
F: Yes.
P: Mm. Bumuntu is (also) something dangerous because if you know bumuntu...
F: Yes.
P: ...?...
F: Aah, well, [pause] I thank you ...[14]




[1] Masimango is difficult to translate and paraphrases such as "rejoicing in another person's misfortune" only catch part of the meaning. When Mama Thérése opposes it to burafiki this must have reminded her listeners of Jean Bosco Mwenda's popular song: masimango ni mubaya, burafiki na milele, masimango is bad, friendship lasts forever. See also vol. 11, Text 1, end of par. 24 in
[2] In Katanga the ECS verb dharau is pronounced zarabu; mazarabu means (expressions of) contempt.
[3] Lit. bumuntu is twice, which could also be translated as "bumuntu is his and yours."
[4] Here Mama Thérèse prompts Baba Gabriel, giving him the next line.
[5] A brief exchange between several speakers omitted.
[6] Baba Jean (Johannes) was my name among the the Jamaa in the sixties. Because Baba Pierre is often difficult to understand – I remember that he always had a reputation of being difficult to follow -- the transcript of his contribution has gaps. Here it is not clear why he refers to me.
[7] Meaning: I am going to be initiated in the Jamaa.
[8] Here and later in par. 5, "S" stands for a speaker whose name I cannot identify.
[9] Mama Thérèse was followed by Baba Gabriel and later by Baba Pierre with more teaching; Baba Nyembo Kayaba Thomas told the story of his way into the Jamaa and I, confronted by the meeting with questions about my position regarding the Jamaa, made a long statement. To keep to the purpose of Text Five, which is to document teaching on bumuntu, these passages were skipped.
[10] He refers to mining company policy after the end of colonial rule when some higher-ranking African employees were assigned houses in town that used to be reserved to Europeans.
[11] Instead of the expected (and grammatical) muntu mwenzako, your fellow human being, or the biblical "your neighbor," the speaker (here and later) says muntu mwenzenu, wich I translate as "your neighbors."
[12] Sentence unfinished.
[13] The phrase is incomprehensible on the recording but the context suggests that this must be its meaning.
[14] Baba Pierre was about to go on talking about bumuntu when I signalled to him that we had heard enough.The rest of the recording, omitted here, was conversation rather than teaching.


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Deposited at APS: 19 April 2013