Daniel Mbele Manteka was born on October 25, 1915 in Swa-Yamvu Kitiba. He was the fourth son of Manda Manteka and Yinda, from the territory of Kasongo-Lunda in the Bandundu province (now Kwango province) in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Mbele Manteka believed in God and was baptized in 1939 at Kimvwamba, the Protestant mission of the Communauté Evangélique des Frères Mennonites du Congo (CEFMC) in Panzi. In 1940 he married Louise Mayinga and the couple received the nuptial blessing. Mbele Manteka and his wife had nine children.
Mbele Manteka completed his primary education in 1937 at the Catholic school in Panzi. He then attended the American Mennonite Brethren Mission (AMBM) teacher training school in Panzi. He also attended the AMBM pastoral school. He began his ministry in 1948 at the Mbandu mission in Kisadi, where he was in charge. In 1955 he was consecrated, thus becoming the first ordained pastor in the area. Thereafter, he exercised the pastoral and teaching ministry.
When Mbele Manteka began his ministry, the AMBM missionaries saw that he was capable, because in his area he worked hard, well, and with integrity, even though he was alone. The missionaries trusted him because he was a man of great understanding on all levels. Mbele Manteka became a missionary among the Baluwa-Bayaka people in the area of Swa-Tenda and Kizamba in the Holo tribe who came from Angola. He also established more than twenty-five protestant churches for the CEFMC (4th community of the Church of Christ in Congo). He even penetrated the Kasa area for the expansion of God’s work.
Mbele Manteka suffered in his work of expanding and planting churches. He risked fierce animals such as elephants, leopards, lions, snakes, and others. Sometimes he got sick while traveling to evangelize. But God protected him.
In 1972, he relocated the CEFMC Protestant mission from Kisadi to Mbandu, where it remains to this day. He did this because Mbandu is more central than Kisadi. After planting the first church in Kizamba, he called Rev. Abraham Moyo Boloko to lead this part of the Kizamba area as pastor. Mbele Manteka was accompanied by Mr. Roy (a white non-Mennonite Canadian missionary).
Mbele Manteka sent several people for theological training, such as Ngwesi Pelo, Séraphine Nduwa Kimwanga, Ndala Pasi, Maurice Bilembi Batumenga, and others. He also contributed to education by opening elementary school in the region. When he did all this, he was visited, accompanied, and encouraged by Arnold Prieb, John Esau, and other missionaries of the Mennonite Brethren Mission (MB Mission – the new name of the AMBM).
Mbele Manteka participated in the opening of the Mankete Institute at the CEFMC Mbandu Protestant Mission, and the opening of the Nzasi-Mwadi Bible Institute under the management of John Esau. He was a member of the CEFMC Central Executive Committee. He became the chief representative of the CEFMC in Baluwa-Bayaka.
As a father, Mbele Manteka was gentle and easily understood the concerns of his children. He did not like his children to be away from the word of God. He required all his children to be Christians, to pray and to share the same faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and this was successful. He guided his children in good ways, and one of his children became a pastor in a CEFMC church.
In his spiritual life, Mbele Manteka was worthy of the word of God. He supported the apostle Paul’s recommendation in 1 Timothy 3:1-5. He wished no harm on anyone. He advised others to follow his good example. Before he died, he called Pastor Matthew Malunga, blessed him, and gave him his rod. Now Pastor Malunga has been consecrated as a servant of God and is working in Angola.
Mbele Manteka was firm about the word of God. He did not want anyone to joke with his ministry. If anyone (such as government officials) took his ministry lightly, he would curse them, and the effects would be apparent.
Pastor Daniel Mbele Manteka died in 2011 at the age of 96, following an illness.
Michel Ardan Kayibanda Nkandi
Nduwa Kimwanga, Séraphine. Grandson of Daniel Mbele Manteka. Interview by author on July 25, 2021 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mbele, Djanana. Son of Daniel Mbele Manteka. Interview by author on August 17, 2021 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bilembi, Maurice. Grandson of Daniel Mbele Manteka. Interview by author on August 22, 2021 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
This article, received in 2021, is the product of research by Michel Ardan Kayibanda Nkandi, a third-year undergraduate student at the Université chrétienne de Kinshasa (UCKin – Christian University of Kinshasa) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, under the supervision of Dr. Anicka Fast.