Lopango ya Banka (meaning Land of the Ancestors in Lingala) was formed in 1997 by Wabuza Lemvo (Nka1). Their objective was to open the ‘ezibeli’ (gate) to wisdom amongst the African diaspora youth in Germany about their history and culture. They started with meetings in the community, and then Wabuza found that through rap in his first language Lingala, young people were more attuned to hearing about the culture, traditions and life of Kongo. So in 2003 Wabuza started rapping, using hip-hop as a powerful instrument to bring the Afrikan youth closer to their own culture and gain a deeper understanding of their own identity. All Lopango ya Banka's songs are in Lingala, and the videos have English, French and sometimes German subtitles, meaning their message can reach a wider audience. The focus on using Lingala language exclusively was also to promote a language that colonialism wanted to destroy.
In 2008 they released the album 'Kongo Bololo' the first ever hip hop album sang in Lingala, including a version of the national anthem, for the first time also sang in Lingala. This led to a European tour with Dead Prez, Ice Cube and then Patrice. Lopango ya Banka has developed over the years and they continue to sing about Afrikan unity, self-determination, justice and about not only the struggles in Afrika but of its beauty and its positive culture and traditions. Lopango ya Banka as a group of young united Kongolese people based in Germany, Belgium, UK and Kongo, are still fighting for what they believe and using their voices as a catalyst for change both in the diaspora and at home in Kongo, with Nka1 leading the music side of their movement. Continually working towards their collective goal of a unified, strong and free Afrika.
Nka1 from Lopango ya Banka says; “I am standing with FORWARD’s Musicians Unite to End FGM project to say LISTEN my brothers, my brothers the world over, in all societies, REMEMBER where you came from, remember that women are the ones working hard to progress our great continent Africa, whilst still suffering unnecessary abuses such as child marriages and FGM. If our girls are to reach their full potential these harmful practices must end! We should respect women as they deserve and lift them up not try to keep them down. We men need to stand with women not against them.”