Lese, Lissi in Congo, Democratic Republic of

Joshua Project has identified the Lese only in Congo, Democratic Republic of





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Lese are agriculturalists who have lived in the Ituri Forest of northeastern Congo for more than 400 years. They are believed to have been the first of the wave of Central Sudanic immigrants from the Nile valley. Traditionally they have raised plantains (their staple crop) in forest clearings, on a seven-year rotation. Now they have introduced other crops, such as rice, beans and peanuts. Traditionally, Lese homes are dome structures woven tightly with forest leaves. They have also adopted the mud and wattle structures that other Congolese groups construct.

The Lese have been resistant to change and are widely scattered in small villages and hamlets over a vast area of tropical rain forest. They have an economic relationship with the Efe (pygmies) who have lived in the surrounding forests for thousands of years following a hunting and gathering lifestyle. The Lese receive agricultural labor and forest products (game, nuts, housing material, and honey) from the Efe in exchange for produce.

Limited inroads by Christianity have been made in some areas. The Lese are still largely tied to their traditional religion, which is a mixture of witchcraft and spirit appeasement. Some Lese are becoming interested in schooling, but many remain unaffected by the country's struggling education system. A disappearing road infrastructure limits movement within most of their territory. Health services are very limited in this remote area and there is a high infant mortality rate (80%) among them. The trade languages, Swahili and Bangala, are both used in the Lese area. Many Lese, however, are still monolingual, and some are being assimilated by neighboring groups.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Lese
People Name in Country Lese, Lissi
Population in Congo, Democratic Republic of 93,000
World Population 93,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Lissi, Mbuti
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Pygmy
People Name General Lese
Ethnic Code BYG12
People ID 13043
Country Congo, Democratic Republic of
Region West and Central Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Orientale Province, Watsa, Djugu, Irumu, and Mambasa territories.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Lese (93,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Lese 93,000
For Primary Language: Lese

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Roman Catholic

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 12.00 %)
55.00 %
Ethnic Religions
45.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
12.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
25.0 %
Roman Catholic
63.0 %
Map Source: Anonymous  
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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