King and Chief: Colonial Politics on Ijwi Island (Zaire)

Prior to colonial rule Ijwi formed a single kingdom, but colonial administrative divisions permitted two types of chiefly rule to coexist, one in the north of the island, one in the south. The two men who presently (1972-75) head the local administration in each sector are members of the same family of precolonial rulers. Nonetheless, despite their common family ties and their common position within the present administrative structures, there are important differences in the character of their rule on Ijwi. The two men are regarded differently by their respective populations, they exercise their powers differently, and they entertain markedly different relations with the political hierarchy of the Zairean state. The authors explore the significance of this relationship of the elites to the wider administrative context. They trace the careers of the two segments of the royal family during the colonial period, and then examine certain political changes affecting the status and powers of the political authorities, and their effect on political life on Ijwi. Fig., map, notes.

Title: King and Chief: Colonial Politics on Ijwi Island (Zaire)
Authors: Newbury, David S.
Newbury, M. Catharine
Year: 1982
Periodical: International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume: 15
Issue: 2
Pages: 221-246
Language: English
Geographic terms: Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Belgium
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/218548
Abstract: Prior to colonial rule Ijwi formed a single kingdom, but colonial administrative divisions permitted two types of chiefly rule to coexist, one in the north of the island, one in the south. The two men who presently (1972-75) head the local administration in each sector are members of the same family of precolonial rulers. Nonetheless, despite their common family ties and their common position within the present administrative structures, there are important differences in the character of their rule on Ijwi. The two men are regarded differently by their respective populations, they exercise their powers differently, and they entertain markedly different relations with the political hierarchy of the Zairean state. The authors explore the significance of this relationship of the elites to the wider administrative context. They trace the careers of the two segments of the royal family during the colonial period, and then examine certain political changes affecting the status and powers of the political authorities, and their effect on political life on Ijwi. Fig., map, notes.