The Zairian/Congolese Abahutu (abantu) people live in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the border with Uganda and Rwanda. They resemble the Hutu people in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. Their mother tongue is Kihutu a language similar to Kinyarwanda spoken in Rwanda, to Kirundi spoken in Burundi and to the gikiga spoken in Bufumbira, south-west Uganda. They form less than 5% of the entire Congolese population. They are found in the Kivu region in the actual districts of Nyiragongo, Rusthuru, Masisi, Walikale, Kalehe, Lubero and the town of Goma (the provincial capital city).

Abahutu at creation recognized and identified themselves as “abantu” (singular “Umuntu”) meaning a “human being”. A human being is called “umuntu” in the language spoken by Abahutu. However the word “Umuntu” (plural “Abantu”) used in capital letter would as realized above mean a “Umuhutu” (plural “Abahutu”). Linguistics have studied the Abahutu mother tongue and languages of many other African people in eastern, central and southern Africa. They have discovered that these people shared with Abahutu the expression “ntu” when relating to a human being including Swahili “muTU”, Shona (muNHU”), Bemba, Nyanja,Ndebele, Zulu, Xosa, etc.

Linguistics agree that in the African philosophy the language is named after the kind of tribe who speaks it. Thus Kihunde is spoken by Bahunde ( in Masisi-eastern Congo-DRC), Kinande by Banande(eastern Congo-DRC), Kikuyu by Kikuyu people(Kenya), Kikongo by Bakongo (western DRC& Congo-Brazzaville & Angola), Tshiluba by Baluba (in Kassai and Katanga-DRC), kibemba by Babemba (DRC & Zambia), Kinyanja by Banyanja (Zambia), Kishona by Bashona (in Zimbabwe) , Kindebele by Bandebele(in Zimbabwe), Kizulu by BaZulu (in South-Africa), Kirega by Barega (in Eastern DRC),Kishi (Mashi) by Bashi (in Eastern DRC),etc. Based on the roots of the word Abantu discussed above, most of linguistics and scientists agree that the original language of Bahutu people is “Kihutu” (i.e. Kibantu spoken by Abahutu). Seemingly the Kihutu is the language spoken by the Bahutu people (in Eastern DRC).

Abahutu people are naturally farmers. They love farms and are hard workers. They are loyal. They love to have children even in most difficult situations. They cherish procreation. They believe in God, the Almighty. God is called in Kihutu (African language spoken by Abahutu) “Imana”. They believe God is the creator “RUGIRA” “RUREMA”; God “provides children “NIYIBYARA”; God is the Almighty “NIYONKURU”; God can be talked to and can answer prayers” IRUMVA”, etc. Abahutu believe the name affects the future of the owner. Thus a child is always named after certain circumstances surrounding his birth or his conception. The name in the Abahutu philosophy has always a reason and an essence to be. As the child grows he learns his name. Abahutu believe that the name natures the person “IZINA NIRYO MUNTU”. They are very open to Christianity. The majority are Christians. With Christianity children are mostly given African “Christian names”, abahutu names that are in Kihutu but specifically praise and/or glorify or state the power and the name of God “ISHIMWE, NIYIMPA, NIYONSABA, NDAYAMBAJE, NIYIBIZI, etc. They naturally respect human life and believe only God the creator of the human being has the right to terminate a human’s life- “iyakaremye niyo ikamena”.

Reporter Correspondent

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