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The Luba-Kasai people are the Bantu-speaking cluster of people of south-central Congo (Kinshasa) or the Democratic Republic of Congo (see below). Also known as the “Baluba”, the Luba-Kasai number about 5,594,000 in the late 20th century and inhabit a wide area extending throughout much of southern Congo. The name Luba applies to a variety of groups who, though of different origins, share closely related languages, exhibit many common cultural traits, and share a common political history founded on the origins and disintegration of the Luba empires. Three main subdivisions may be recognized: the Luba-Shankaji of Katanga, the Luba-Bambo of Kasai, and the Luba-Hemba of northern Katanga and southern Kivu. All are historically, linguistically, and culturally linked with other Congo peoples.
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