Monsignor Busimba Mikararabge (1912-September 7, 1974), the first bishop of the diocese of North Kivu was influential in helping to develop that region during the first decade of independence.
Busimba was born in the town of Rutshuru, 60 km (35 mi) north of Goma, where he went to primary school. In 1922, Busimba left Rutshuru for Rugari, 30 km (20 mi) south, to begin Latin studies which he completed at Kabagayi, Rwanda, in 1932.
Remaining in Rwanda, he studied philosophy and theology at the seminaries of Kabagayi and Nyakibanda. After graduation, he was ordained a priest on August 15, 1940 in Rugari, where he had first entered secondary school 15 years earlier. The young priest was assigned to various pastoral duties in Katana, Nyangezi, Rugari, and Goma. In 1960, when an autonomous diocese was established in North Kivu, Busimba was chosen as its bishop and, on May 8, he was consecrated in Rome by Pope John XXIII.
Throughout his pastoral life, Busimba was known for his sincerity and for his concern for community welfare. Under his direction, the North Kivu diocese developed sound scholastic, medical, agricultural, and social services vital to the region’s development. During the early years of independence, also the beginning of his career as bishop, when mercenaries operated in Kivu, Busimba displayed his courage and vision by continuing to expand the religious and social programs of his diocese.
Monsignor Busimba died during the night of September 7, 1974 after a long and painful struggle with cancer. Monsignor Ngabu replaced him as head of the diocese of Goma.
Ndaywel è Nziem
Jua (Kivu weekly) No. 44, September 14-20, 1974.
This article was reprinted from The Encyclopaedia Africana Dictionary of African Biography (In 20 Volumes). Volume Two: Sierra Leone-Zaire. Ed. L. H. Ofosu-Appiah. New York: Reference Publications Inc., 1979. All rights reserved.