Story & Trivia
In the ancient Kingdom of Kongo, Nzondo was the deity of the Congo. She was a one eyed fish from the river that is identified with the serpent producer of the rainbow. There is yet another rainbow serpent which is supposed to live in the waters of the Congo. This one is supposed to be evil and its reflection too can be seen on the waterfalls it is said.
The people around the Congo believe that this river deity is half woman and half fish. Though she lives in the water, she can fly through the air and even cries. If a person catches sight of her while she is on a palm tree enjoying the nuts, she dives back into the water. Here she shreds the little fish which she eats. If attacked she can even eat humans.
This mermaid like creature hibernates in a vase wrapped in a cocoon. If someone looks at her while she is hibernating, a madness called fonoli afflicts them and they get lost in the forests around only to die eventually. Over time, this water spirit has also been called the Mami Wata, but this creature also takes on forms which walk the roads of towns and cities. She is very contemporary, beautiful and elusive.
The people around the Congo’s waterfalls also believe that four serpents live beneath the waters. These are the spirits Kuitikuiti, his wife Mboze and their two children. In times when there were just bushes and nothing else on Earth, Kuitikuiti created all the tailless creatures and his daughter the tailed ones. It is said that they still live in the waters under the river.
Mokèlé-mbèmbé: meaning "one who stops the flow of rivers"
Many people believe that a large imaginary creature lives in the Congo River. Its name is Mokèlé-mbèmbé. Over the years many expeditions have tried to find proof of the existence of this creature, but with little success.
Welcoming Friends – just a water tale
The people around the Tanganyika say that the Sun and Moon, married to each other, lived on Earth. The Sun who was friends with Water, often visited him. Typical of good friends, Sun invited Water over for a visit. But Water said that his was a large family. If they all came, Sun and Moon would be driven out of their home.
So Sun asked if Water would visit, when he had a bigger house. Not wanting to disappoint, Water agreed. Sun and Moon built their big new house and invited Water over. He came and along with him rushed in the fish, water snakes and rats. The water got knee deep. Sun and Moon got closer to the roof. Gently Water asked Sun if he still wanted his entire family over.
Sun insisted that Water get his entire family. So Water flowed in some more. The water now touched the ceiling. Sun and Moon got onto the roof. Again Water gently asked if Sun really wanted to have his entire family over. Sun again insisted that they all come.
Water then got his entire family in and the water level rose to the roof, submerging the house. Sun and Moon were forced into the sky and that is where they are found even today, while the water covers the land.
Near Kinshasa, there are the Crystal Mountains also called Mountains of Light, made of quartz. These are very sacred to many of the old African tribes and are considered the source of all knowledge on Earth. To the Zulu knowledge is like a living force. According to them, all knowledge flows out of the mind, flows to the Mountains of Light, crystallizes and attaches to the mountains.
Through these mountains the Congo flows and at the foot of the Mountains of Light it forms a Lake of Knowledge. The Zulu also believe that light from the mountain, causes the lake water to evaporate. The dew from this evaporation falls into the minds of people, thus increasing their knowledge.
1. The Congo was formerly called the Zaire River.
2. It is the most powerful river in Africa, with its speeds and turbulencies outdoing even the Nile.
3. The Congo is the deepest river in the world.
4. Its source is the East African Rift along with Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru.
5. The Congo empties out into many tributaries along its course.
6. The river has many cataracts, or waterfalls, over its length.
7. It is a vital navigation system for Africa.
8. The Congo houses many animals including the hippo, tortoise, and crocodile.
9. It is a source of water for its surrounding residents.
10. Through its course, the Congo has more than 4,000 islands.