Luba of Shaba - Orientation

Identification. The patrilineal Luba of Shaba differ in their descent system from the Eastern Luba (the matrilineal Luba-Hemba, living east of the River Zaire); by their culture and language, they are distinct from the Western Luba (Luba of Kasai).

Location. Luba country stretches from the River Lwembe to about 50 kilometers east of the Zaire River, between 6°30′and 10°00′ S in north-central Shaba, in southern Zaire. Except for the Upemba Depression, where the Zaïre River flows through a system of marshes and lakes, the area is a wooded savanna. Annual rainfall exceeds one meter; the rainy season begins in October and ends in May, with a short break in January. The temperature keeps close to its annual average of 24°C.

Demography. The Luba form the largest ethnic group of Shaba. Their population is estimated at 1,100,000, which would represent an average density of 12 people per square kilometer. Outside urban centers, high densities are found in the northern end of the Upemba Depression.

Linguistic Affiliation. Kiluba is a tonal language. It is classified in the Western Bantu Language Group.

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