Queen Diambi (1970s – )

Queen Diambe
Queen Diambe
Image Attribution: Facebook

Diambi Kabatusuila is the traditional Queen of the Bakwa Luntu people of the Kingdom of Luba, located in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also holds the title of Mukalenga Mukaji wa Nkashama wa Bakwa Luntu wa Baluba wa Congo, which means “The Woman King of the Order of the Leopard People of the Bakwa Luntu People.” The Luntu people of the Kingdom of Luba live in the Congo’s Kasai region. The Kingdom of Luba was a pre-colonial Central African state existing from 1585-1889.

Diambi Kabatusuila Tshiyoyo Muata was born in Belgium. Her name means “the bearer of good news.” Her birth date and year are unknown. Her mother was Belgian. Her father was a Congolese diplomat to Belgium. She grew up in Kinshasa until her parents fled from the Mobutu regime (1965-1997) and relocated to Europe in the mid-1980s.

Valedictorian of her 1992 class, she graduated with a B.A. in business finance and economics from the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and earned her M.A. in psychology and mental health counseling from Lynn University in Florida. After earning her doctorate in public administration from Adam Smith University of America, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, she returned to Belgium to be close to her parents. While in Belgium, Queen Diambi married and had two sons. Although her parents returned to the Congo, she remained in Belgium for 11 more years before relocating to Florida, where she worked as a children’s mental health therapist, a substance addiction specialist, a psychotherapist, and a professor, teaching both math and French for an international baccalaureate program.

While visiting her father in 2016, on her first visit to Dimbelenge, Kasai, she was greeted by the entire village, including elders and the chief. She was told that her grandmother was Princess Tshilomba, the daughter of King Tshiyoyo Muata, and that she was named after her great-grandmother, Queen Diambi. Her father, a descendant of six tribal houses of power, chose not to accept his appointment as King in 2006. The elders of the Bakwa Indu tribe conducted a review of eligible leaders and chose Diambi as their next ruler, above her siblings. The elders asked her if she was ready to accept the responsibility of leading her people, and, in her excitement, she accepted, without considering what the position might entail. Minutes later, the elders crowned her, making her a modern-day Woman King of her people.

In July 2017, Queen Diambi was crowned by the Bakwa Luntu Chiefs and was invested and enthroned in Kinshasa by the Association of Congo Tradition and Customary Authorities on August 5, 2017. She was crowned Queen Mother of the Bantu People of Brazil on March 3, 2019, in Salvador de Bahia. Additionally, she was given the Tiradentes Medal, the highest honor from the Parliament of Brazil, and the title of Grande Mãe do Povo Bantu do Brazil, Honorary Queen to the people of Brazil. Her reign now covers Africans in both the Congo and Brazil, approximately ten million people.

Queen Diambi is a philanthropist who is involved in numerous organizations. She founded The Elikia Hope Foundation, which provides water, medical resources, and education to more than 40,000 homeless children in Kinshasa. A passionate environmental activist, Queen Diambi spoke to environmental leaders at the University of Exeter saying, “It’s not just plastic. There are other kinds of chemical and biological waste that cause harm to the environment and the people surrounding it.”