Hulstaert, Gustaf

Catholic Church
Democratic Republic of Congo

Gustaf Hulstaert was a Catholic missionary in the former Belgian Congo. Born in Melsele, Belgium, Hulstaert studied at the University of Louvain and became a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC). Ordained in 1924, he was assigned to the Vicariate Coquilhatville (now Mbandaka, Zaire) in 1925 and was superior at the mission stations Flandria (now Boteka) and Bokuma. From 1936 to 1946 he was superior of the MSC missionaries in that district. Freed in 1950 from missionary duties, Hulstaert was allowed to concentrate on his research at Bamanya, where a group of missionaries and colonial administrators interested in the authentic traditions of the people regularly gathered around him in the institute Centre Aequatoria. In 1934 he started to work on a translation of the Bible into the language of the Mongo. This highly regarded work was completed in 1977. His numerous scientific studies cover a wide range of topics in the fields of ethnography and linguistics. Most smaller studies were published in the periodical Aequatoria (since 1980, Annales Arquatoria), which he co founded in 1937. He received honorary doctorates from the University of Mainz (1972) and the National University of Zaire (1973).

Otto Bischofberger, SMB


Among Hulstaert’s major studies are Dictionnaire Français-Lomongo (Lonkundo) (1952), Dictionnaire Lomongo Francais (1957), Prous Mongo (1958), Contes Mongo (1965), and Fables Mongo (1970). Short biographies were published in Africa Tervuren 16 (1970): 107-112, in ZMR 57 (1973): 33-38, and on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, with the bibliography of his publications up to 1980, in Annales Aepuatoria 1, no. 1 (1980):3-57. This was updated and expanded in Annales Aequatoria 12 (1991):1-75.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.