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Religion in Republic of the Congo

Population

According to Countryaah data, Congo's average population density was estimated to be 15 residents per km 2 in 2019, but the population is unevenly distributed; About 70 percent live in the southern parts. Population growth in the urban areas is high; In 2017, the share of the urban population was estimated at 67 percent. The largest cities are the capital, Brazzaville (1.6 million residents, 2012) and the port city of Pointe-Noire (822,800).

Religions of Republic of the Congo

Congo's population is distributed to some 60 ethnic groups, all of whom are Bantu people, with the exception of 28,000 aka and 4,000 gundy pygmies in the country's northernmost, at the border with Cameroon and the Central African Republic.

In the relatively densely populated southern part of the country, the Congo-speaking people (see Congo), which make up 48% of the population, dominate. They traditionally feed on chopping with root vegetables (cassava, jams and taro) as a base crop. Society is organized into matrilinear clans.

The groups in the north include mboshi (146,000), kuyu (1,000) and sanga (90,000), who likewise feed on agriculture with root crops such as basic crops, but among which hunting also plays a certain role, both for the livelihood and symbolically. The social organization also differs in that the clans are organized according to a patrilineal lineage principle.

Between these two main groups there are teke, which make up 17% of the population. Both geographically and socio-culturally they form a transition between the aforementioned groups; their social organization is based on the combination of matrilinear and patrilineal principles, and the more flexible clan organization provides room for a more individualistic character of leadership.

The socio-cultural differences are also reflected at the national political level. The traditional rivalry between "Northerners" (who have a crocodile as a political symbol) and "Southerners" (whose symbol is a rooster) has since manifested its independence in the fight for the presidency. However, this rivalry at the same time includes a complementarity, which has been expressed by the fact that the president often has a representative for the opposite side as his "strong man". In this dualistic system, teke falls side by side, and they are considered the "primitive" elements of the country.

Language

In Congo, some sixty Niger-Congo languages ​​are spoken, most of which belong to the Bantu languages ​​zones A, B, C and H. About half of the population speak Congo or some closely related language. Some smaller groups speak the adamawa – ubangi language. There are a number of interpersonal languages. The official language is French. The constitution also mentions lingala and kituba (a creolized variant of Congo) as national languages. See also Population and Ethnography above.

Religion

In 1482, Portuguese Diogo Co came to the mouth of the Congo River, which commenced Portuguese Catholic missionary work in the Congo. The relations between the Portuguese and the Congolese were good at first, but as early as the 1530s the slave trade led to them being undermined. The Spiritans, a French Catholic missionary organization, began their mission in the 1880s. Protestant missionaries, including from the Swedish Missions Association (from 2003 Mission Church), came a little later.

Today, 90% of the population is Christian, of which 68% are Catholics. The rest is made up of Protestant communities (11%) and independent and independent religious communities (26%). It is estimated that approximately 16% of Christians are affiliated with two or more Christian churches.

In the country there are almost 2% Muslims. These mainly consist of immigrants living in cities from North Africa and Lebanon, from West African countries such as Mali, Benin and Senegal and from Chad.

It is estimated that 5% of the population professes to indigenous traditional religion. There are also small groups of Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Kimbanguists, a syncretistic movement with roots in neighboring Congo (Kinshasa).

The occasionally radical socialist politics that characterized Congo's history after decolonization has caused conflicts between state and religion. In 1978, a large number of religious organizations were banned and only seven received legal status. The Constitution of 2002 defines Congo as a secular republic and religious freedom is enshrined in the Constitution. However, all organizations, including religious ones, must be registered and approved by the government.

There is no religious education in the public school, but it occurs in private schools. Christian holidays are national holidays. Both Christians and Muslims have the right to leave during religious holidays. The tolerance between different faith communities is high. In 2011, a law came into force to provide legal protection for the country's indigenous people. The law is the first of its kind in Africa.

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