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Libaka, Tree of Covenants


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(Ngombe/DRCongo)

Libaka, the sacred tree (the word means union), is a symbol of the unity of the seen and the unseen, of the living community and the ancestors who have died. When a village is built on a new site, it cannot be really recognized as a village until the chief has planted Libaka, this silk-cotton tree, in front of his house. Libaka is consecrated by hunting. At the end of the final hunt, each hunter cuts a special stick that he plants in the ground close to Libaka. They are all tied together and to Libaka with a special cane, tied with seven knots. Libaka is treated with respect. Two important covenants are those of peace and of friendship. It is essential that these covenants be made at Libaka, for then the ancestors are witnesses to and sharers in them. See also: Akongo, Mbokomu.

Subjects: Religion.


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