The Songo tribe of North Angola is thought to be descended from the Mbutis and Mbundus, who settled in the area some 2000 years ago amid the invasion of Bantu-speaking tribes. Their culture is thought to have been heavily affected by the Lunda empire of Mwata Yamwo, which ruled over the region in the 17th century, and then by the Chokwe, who took control of the territory after toppling the Lunda empire.
The Songo tribe’s cultural customs have been impacted by surrounding tribes like as Kongo, Lunda, Chokwe, and Yaka throughout its history, which explains why the governing elite is of Lunda ancestry. Anyone who does not have this ancestry is considered enslaved. Despite the fact that the territory was taken over by Europeans, the invasion had minimal effect on the Songo people’s culture.
One significant habit observed by the tribesmen is the sacrifice of male offspring to their uncles when they reach the age of five. Chiefs in Songo culture are passed down through the matrilineal system. The son is believed to be the property of the mother’s side of the family; in other words, the son-in-law has provided security to the woman with whom he married. This is why the Songo tribe values the cultural practice of children being raised by their uncles rather than their parents.
According to Gateway Africa, this activity has tremendous cultural value and is deeply ingrained in the Songo people’s customs and beliefs. One motivation for this approach is to provide a well-rounded upbringing for the youngster. The Songo believe that in order for children to become well-rounded persons, they must be exposed to a variety of opinions and experiences. It is claimed that when children are raised by their uncles, they are exposed to new personalities, life experiences, and values that they would not have encountered if they had only been nurtured by their parents.
Another motive for this practice is to preserve family line continuity. Family relationships are strongly prized in Songo culture, and the family line is regarded crucial. The family line is kept and strengthened by having uncles raise their nieces and nephews. This technique is also thought to promote a strong sense of camaraderie and collaboration within the tribe.
It encourages extended family members to collaborate and support one another, fostering a sense of unity and shared responsibility for the children’s well-being – highlighting its cultural relevance. It embodies the tribe’s ideals of community, family, and providing a well-rounded education for students. This tradition has been passed down through centuries and is still an essential element of Songo culture today.