Kele people (Congo)

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Regions with significant populations
Democratic Republic of the Congo160,000
Kele language

The Kele people (or Lokele) are a Bantu ethnic group of about 160,000 people, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They mainly live on the south bank of the Congo River between Kisangani and Isangi.[1] The New Testament was first published in their Kele language in 1918.[2]

Drum language[edit]

The Kele were known for their drum language, described by the English missionary John F. Carrington, who spent his life in Africa. His findings were published in his 1949 book The Talking Drums of Africa. The Kele people used drum language for rapid communication between villages. Each village had an expert drummer, and all villagers could understand the drum language. Carrington studied the drum language at a time when it was already falling out of use, and today it is extinct.[3]


  1. ^ "THE KELE (LOKELE) OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO" (PDF). Jesus Film. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
  2. ^ "loKele". World Scriptures. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
  3. ^ Freeman Dyson (March 10, 2011). "How We Know". NY Books. Retrieved 2011-10-25.