The Yaka Tribe and Their Shamans

Shamans of the Yaka Tribe – The Messengers of the Spiritual Realm .


Yaka shamans initiation ritual

Yaka Shamanic Initiation Ritual

The Yaka tribe inhabit the southwestern territories of Congo , along the Wamba river . They are part of the Bantu ethnic group .  They have migrated from Angola during 16th century . During 18th century the lands of the Yaka are annexed by the Lunda people . The Yaka regained their independence in 19th century . The ruler of the Yaka is Kiamfu .The Kiamfu us a chief of Lunda origin . The population of the Yaka is approximately 300 000 people and is organized in separated groups led by elders  –  the Unkwagata . It is believed that  the Unkwagata is directly connected with the spiritual realm . The Yaka tribe livelihood depends on hinting , gathering and agriculture . They value their ancestors and the shaman is the direct connection with them .

The Yaka shamans are derived  of the Ngoombwa Weefwa  divination group , one of the major possession and healing cults .


The shamans are establishing direct contact with the spirits by altering his consciousness . The shaman has this power inside him and once “awaken”  he remains that way . It is common that one shaman is responsible for a population of 2000 people . The Yaka shaman can communicate with both our and the spiritual realm . Furthermore he can also communicate with the animal kingdom and their spirits .

The shamans of the Yaka tribe are highly valued in the small tribal settlements , but also in the cities .


Normally in the cities the rituals are held privately , which is rather different by the larger rituals conducted it the tribal communities . The shaman uses variety of tools to establish a connection with the spiritual realm . Depending on the situation he uses different tools in different order . The variety of tools may include animal parts , bones , shells , fur , insects and many more . The shaman also uses these to help him understand the messages of the spirits that sometimes are hard to understand .

Mask of the Yaka Shamans

Mask of the Yaka Shamans

To become a shaman Yaka member must undergo shamanic initiation . The shamanic initiation begins with a severe illness . The elders says that during this illness the true inner power of the chosen is manifested and the shaman is revealed . The “newborn” shaman is than put on a sort physical trail and if he succeeds , then the actual shamanic training begins .

The Yaka shamanism is an ancient and beautiful spiritual tradition . The Yaka shaman is devoted to help and heal the community and to communicate with all realms of existence . He is the voice of the spirits . The life of the shaman isn’t easy but he is ready to face the challenge for the well being of the tribe .


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