Tetela love poem
Dedi daye lo talatala,
Deko lembo lami loleki dimena,
Koko sala esadi ayodimo,
Ele dimi nkolangaka kami ka nkomelo!
→ French poem ←
A small Tetela love poem in (Kitetela, Sungu, Otetela, Kikusu, Kikitatela), the Bantu language of the Tetela people, spoken in the sankuru region, around the basin of the Congo River in Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo).
The Otetela, a Bantu language, is part of the Mongo group of languages, and name Tetela, designates both the language and those who speak it, and who mainly live in the districts of Sankuru (Lubefu, Lodja, Lusambo, Katako Kombe, Lomela) and Maniema (Kibombo and Kindu).
The differences between the various Tetela dialects are generally not very important; they are inter-comprehensible, and together have a little less than 2 million speakers.
In the past the language was used by missionaries, and served for teaching.
Otetela proverb : Ndukudihulediololouku la ngelukaye = There is no better place than home.
The Tetelas (Batetelas) claim to be descendants of "Mongo" the common ancestor! Their tradition reports that they lived further north on the side of the equator, and came to their present territory, a long time ago. They say their ancestor Onkutshu wa Men1bele had three sons who divided them into several tribes.
The Batetelas are farmers (cassava) who lived in villages lying along a track; Several villages formed a community. Villages and hamlets corresponded respectively to clans and lineages, which were patrilocal and patrilineal.
At the local level, authority was vested in a chief surrounded by a council of deans of lineage, capped at the higher level by chiefdoms with important ritual functions. For the arts, the masks, their iron work, and their musicians are recognized.