THE BILENGE YA MWINDA INITIATION AND ITS EVANGELICAL CONTRIBUTION UNDER THE ASPECT OF THE VALUES OF THE NEGRO-AFRICAN CULTURE

By Laurianne Mwinga

 

  1. Nature of the Bilenge y’a Mwinda initiation

The Bilenge y’a Mwinda (BYM) initiation is not a simple Catholic youth movement like scouting, etc. Or a simple service group like a choir, let alone a particular devotion, is in reality a major youth ministry, an evangelization, an initiation of young people to live the values of Christ the Initiator.

  1. Deep intuition of the founder and purpose of the BYM

The founding intuition of the BYM, is inspired in the text of Acts 3:6 where Paul says “I have neither gold nor silver to offer you, all I have is Jesus Christ”. Thus, offering Jesus Christ naked and crucified to young people is the basic criterion of the authenticity of this BYM ministry.

Bishop Matondo Ignatius, the founder of this ministry, said, “To be an initiator of youth implies two values: to love Jesus the light (John 8, 12) and to love the youth, that is, to present Jesus to the youth as he is without any superficial bait (promise of job, marriage, success, travel,) and to accompany the youth towards Jesus Christ”.

The goal of BYM is the complete transformation of the young person into a new personality, a deep conversion that requires a continuous accompaniment towards the assumption of responsibilities, a discovery of one’s vocation and human and Christian mission. To put on the new man, to reach an affective maturity and a solidity of being with the objective of radiating this light and making this temporal world a just, ordered world, a world of light.

  1. Inculturation of the initiation, the Negro African values of the initiation Bilenge ya mwinda (IBYM)

Bishop Matondo was inspired by three models to constitute the IBYM:

A. The fundamental model with reference to the first Christian community. The BYM is a pastoral ministry, it refers to the initiatory teaching of Jesus the main initiator; it is a Christocentric spirituality.

B. The model of the psycho-social laws, the IBYM considers the growth of the needs and potentialities of the young people. Thus, the initiation extends over the following growth: getting to know oneself, cleaning up one’s behavior, unravelling one’s childish lucidity, living in communion and dialogue, loving freely, taking responsibility, discerning one’s vocation, preparing for one’s engagement, one’s marriage, one’s professional life and one’s Christian commitment; in short, an initiation that takes into account the real life of young people and adapts itself to their situation

C. Inculturation. This is about our Negro-African cultural values that are compatible with evangelization. Among others:

a) Initiation by age group: lucidity for 15 years.
b) Initiation by stages: Lucidity, Fundamental Option and Outreach.
c) Initiation of boys separated with that of girls.
d) Transmissible initiation: after two years one becomes an elder or Yaya.
e) The African palaver: dialogue supported by a consultation.
f) The initiatory hut: consultation of a wise man.
g) Human relationship impregnated with respect, harmony, peace, and fraternal communion.
h) Communion with the invisible world of God and the sacred values expressed in mystical language.

Example: mysticism of banana tree, language and words: Yaya, Abugaza, Bagaza, Gaza, initiatory forest, initiatory experiences and trials, symbolism (fire, rooster crowing, midnight bath, solitary walk-in forest, ecstasy, identification with nature).

i) Adoption of local values: transmission of the initiation in the native language of the region, using local songs and traditional methods.

NB: IBYM rejects the following incompatible models:

  1. Excessive clericalism that reduces the layperson to a mere implementer.
  2. The military model.
  3. The customary chief who owns the group.
  4. The clan feudal model: kimboutism (the elders have all the rights and the youngest have no initiative, creativity or criticism to offer them).

 

Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo)
June 14, 2022.

 

 

Translated by DeepL

Revised by Mario Kevin R. Armijo CMF

 

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