Yaka people

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The Yaka are an ethnic group of Southwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. They number about 300,000. They live in the forest and savanna areas between the Kwango and Wamba rivers. They are very artistic. Many of their religious and cultural customs transcend ethnic boundaries, and are shared with the Suku and Lunda.Yaka is also the surname that is used in South Africa and Swaziland, including its clan-name called Dlunge



The Yaka are very artistic. They make statues, portraits, masks, tools for cooking, building, hunting, fishing or entertaining with additions of instrumments such as drums. Masks were frequently used in various ceremonies such as circumcision; initiation; celebration of birth of a child; marriage; or death of an important chief. Masks varied in styles based on their usage and the details on each mask conveyed an important message.


  • Bourgeois, Arthur P. (1985) The Yaka and Suku. Leiden: Brill.

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