Cosam Paipo Kyenda Kaluhala (1900–1970)

By Ngili Muloko Mutombe, Robert Kaluhala, and Denise Kaluhala

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Ngili Muloko Mutombe, D.Min. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan), is the Mampala district leader and a professor of theology at Philip Lemon University in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He previously served as the first president of Philip Lemon University and president of West Katanga Field, North Katanga Mission, and Maniema Mission. He has authored L’Adventiste du Septième Jour: Histoire et Bataille d’Expansion de l’Evangélisation en RD Congo.

Robert Kaluhala

Denise Kaluhala

First Published: October 6, 2021

Cosam Paipo Kyenda Kaluhala was the first Congolese ordained minister, and he played a key role in spreading Adventism in Congo.

Early Life

Cosam Paipo was born around 1900 at Katubija village, Kongolo territory, in the district of Tanganyika. His father, Kaluhala Kyenda, married Katenga. From this union came four children (Kyenda Kaluhala Paipo, Kyenda Mukalamusi, Fatuma Ngonge, and Mbuyu Kaluhala Joel). Cosam grew up in Katubija. He stayed with his uncle Kasangunua. When the first missionaries came to Kikamba, Cosam was among the first recruits and became the first convert. He attended the primary school at Kikamba Mission. Later he pursued the teacher evangelist class at Katanga Mission. He moved to Gitwe when the seminary was transferred to Rwanda. Mutentu Titus affirms that Cosam was the first to accept Adventism in this mission, and he was followed by Solomon Lupanda.1

Training and Marriage

While schooling at Katubija, Cosam married Kalumbi Balimwatsha Etinala in 1929. Next Cosam continued his training at Gitwe. He and his wife had six children of whom four are deceased.2

Ministry

Starting as a teacher, Cosam served the church in many capacities. He worked as an evangelist, school director, and station director. He was ordained in 1942 by the union president, Pastor Campbell, who went to the ceremony in Kikamba following a teachers’ convention which was led by Anderson.3 As the first ordained Congolese minister, he traveled a lot, baptizing new converts all over Congo. From Katanga province, he would travel to distant places such as Lowa. Eventually he was transferred from Kikamba to Kirundi Station which was very far from Kikamba in Katanga.

The Impact of Cosam’s Ministry on the Mission

Being the first Congolese ordained minister, Cosam played a key role in spreading Adventism in Congo. Mutentu affirms that his ordination took place after he had challenged a Roman Catholic priest who wanted to officiate at the burial ceremony of Jones Llewelyn, an Adventist missionary. In those days, before the Congolese independence, Cosam did everything in the presence of white people. When Mr Vail from Kirundu Station met the Kongolo territory administrator, he was shocked to learn that Jones Llewelyn had passed away. The administrator boasted about the way the Adventist church missionaries trained the African workers. He was astonished by the way Cosam conducted the burial ceremony and how he preached. This news reached Gitwe, headquarters of the Congo Union and the division.4

When Joel Kaluhala, Cosam’s younger brother, was attracted to the Seventh-day Adventist truth, he became the first Adventist teacher of the Mulozi Primary School in the Maniema province near Wamaza station. The influence of the two brothers has resulted in many of their family members still being in the church today.

Cosam’s Impact on the Community

Cosam will be remembered as the first Congolese to be ordained to the gospel ministry, but he will also be remembered as a teacher-evangelist of many classes and schools. He became well-known by students who many years later still remember him.

During the Katanga Civil War, the Denmark and Canadian Dorcas Societies sent goods to help the population. The Congo Union Mission officers made arrangements with Moise Tshombe, the Katanga president. A plane was lent to the Seventh-day Church to transport clothes and food. Cosam Kaluhala, the Kikamba Mission director, along with Elijah Lutambwe, represented the church to the Kongolo territory administrator and Simuku, the community chief. Leonard Robinson, the union department director, landed in the Kongolo airport.5

When Simon Muhune came to the Bigobo Station, Cosam Kaluhala was retired. When rebels wanted to burn the station in 1963, as they were doing all along the main road from Mbulula to Lengwe, the two leaders stood before the rebels. They talked friendly with the group and by doing so the mission was rescued.6 Cosam died October 31, 1970, in Konglolo and was buried there in a Roman Catholic cemetery because they considered him a good man. His wife died March 27, 1982, in Kalemie.7

Sources

Mutombe, Ngili Muloko Jean de Dieu. L’adventisme du septième jour: Histoire et bataille d’expansion de l’évangélisation en RD Congo [Seventh-day Adventism: History and Fight for Evangelism Expansion in DR Congo]. Lubumbashi, 2019.

Pierson, Robert. And so You Want to Be a Leader? Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

Robinson, Leonard. “Mercy Flight to Katanga,” Southern African Division Outlook, April 15, 1961.

Valentine, Davies. “Bikobo Hill Mission: Congo Union,” Southern African Division Outlook, January 15, 1943.

Notes

  1. 1Jean de Dieu Ngili Muloko Mutombe, L’adventisme du septième jour: Histoire et bataille d’expansion de l’évangélisation en RD Congo [Seventh-day Adventism: History and Fight for Expansion in DR Congo], (Lubumbashi, 2019).

  2. Robert Kaluhala, interview by the author, July 27, 2019.

  3. Davies Valentine, “Bikobo Hill Mission: Congo Union,” Southern African Division Outlook, January 15, 1943, 1.

  4. Titus Mutentu, interview by Martin Mayenze, in Songa Mission, March 24, 2004.

  5. Leonard Robinson, “Mercy Flight to Katanga,” Southern African Division Outlook, April 15, 1961, 3.

  6. Robert Pierson, And so You Want to Be a Leader? (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association), 16, 17.

  7.  Robert Kaluhala, interview by the author, February 14, 2020.

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Mutombe, Ngili Muloko, Robert Kaluhala, Denise Kaluhala. "Cosam Paipo Kyenda Kaluhala (1900–1970)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. October 06, 2021. Accessed November 23, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CI9A.

Mutombe, Ngili Muloko, Robert Kaluhala, Denise Kaluhala. "Cosam Paipo Kyenda Kaluhala (1900–1970)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. October 06, 2021. Date of access November 23, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CI9A.

Mutombe, Ngili Muloko, Robert Kaluhala, Denise Kaluhala (2021, October 06). Cosam Paipo Kyenda Kaluhala (1900–1970). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved November 23, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CI9A.