“And she brought forth her…son …” Luke 2:7
Chapter 2…Humble Beginnings
My humble beginnings began with Kalonga Ntolo Mushimba, my father, the son of an African chief. In his youth, my father went to work in the town of Tshikapa, a diamond city in the Kasai region. There he married his first wife and had four children. However, in African tradition, the son of a king inherits the kingdom of his father, so my grandfather called upon my father at the appointed time to return to our village to inherit the kingship. At first my father refused his father’s command. Shortly thereafter; he mysteriously lost his entire first family; a wife and four sons. He then returned to the village of his birth and took his Kingship. Shortly thereafter, he married his second wife.
This wife only gave him one son and in African tradition that’s not enough. So the pressure of the kingship, and his wife’s barrenness, pushed my father to make another decision, marry multiple wives or one wife that could bear multiple children. He chose the second option. After divorcing his second wife, he married my mother, Mbombo Mujanyi who was much younger than he.
Age differences between my parents and the pressures associated with being the son of a king, the next in line for the kingship, created some dissatisfying moments, but in due time things changed. The marriage became harmonious and produced fourteen children. I am the third eldest of those children.
In 1910, the American Presbyterian missionaries came to Kananga, the central region of Africa and made a deal with my grandfather to use a portion of our land. He agreed and allowed them to construct a church, hospital, and schools for their children. We benefited from these new developments. For us, the local people, they built a high school, a carpentry school, a nursing school and a hospital. I was born in that hospital on July 5.
In the 1960s there was a revolution among African people to be free from European colonialism. During this time, I left my village and went to live with my older brother, Samuel KaBeya, in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the time I was there it was called Zaire. Since my brother was in the Congolese Army, I experienced freedom from European rulership. The Congolese Army had an African government. Inside my brother’s military camp, there was a church where I started singing in the choir, Center for Kokolo Military Parachute Protestante Church. Later I became the choir director. When I was sixteen, my father died and my brother took on the responsibility of raising his own four children plus my younger brother, Danio and me. It was really too much for him. So at the age of seventeen, without finishing high school, I entered into the Congolese Army. After basic training, I completed my formal education. Three years later, I was a sergeant training new recruits. With such quick promotion in military rank, the army general chose me to attend officer’s training school. Shortly after that I became Chief Warrant Officer and married my first wife, Kapinga Tshionga, the mother of my first three children.