Her Royal Highness Queen Diambi Kabatusuila, monarch of the Bakwa Luntu People of Kasaï in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Monday, met climate and business leaders in Exeter to discuss plastic pollution in the oceans. The plastic-free ocean meeting was held at the University of Exeter and had in attendance climate community groups, university researchers and business leaders.
Queen Diambi, who is very concerned about plastic pollution issues, was at the meeting to launch a collaborative program to support plastic-free oceans. According to Business Live, Queen Diambi is connected with UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program, to “safeguard livelihoods while protecting natural ecosystems, and this has formed an alliance with Plastic Free North Devon to improve water quality and tackle single-use plastics.”
Queen Diambi at the meeting said the problem is “not just plastic”, BBC reported. “There is also pollution of all kinds of chemical waste and all kinds of biological waste that are really, really causing harm to not only the environment but also to people”, she said, according to BBC.
For five years that she has been the ruler of the Bakwa Luntu people, Queen Diambi has not only been focusing on plastic and climate issues but has also been interested in the cultural heritage of Africa and in issues about the restoration of the African identity through the study of the continent’s history.
Bearing the title of Diambi Mukalenga Mukaji Wa Nkashama (Queen of the Leopard Order), Queen Diambi is not only the ruler of the Bakwa Luntu who are part of the Luba People of Kasaï, one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, but she is also an Honorary Queen to the Bantu People of Brazil. The Bantu cultural influence in Brazil was introduced by the Congolese.
Queen Diambi is the daughter of a Belgium mother and a Congolese diplomat father. Even though she was born in Belgium, she grew up in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo until the ’80s when her parents had to flee from the Mobutu regime. Queen Diambi said growing up, her father never told her or her siblings that they were of royal origin until they were in their 40s.
“Because my mother is a white Belgian I grew up in two worlds, one was “wonderful” white, the other the “ugly” black,” she told Voice-Aid Magazine in an interview.
She said while living in Europe, she started to discover her true love of Africa as she missed her life in Kinshasa more and more. “Life in Africa was characterized by a very special spirit of community, of solidarity, neighborhood, mutual help, and we did everything together,” she said in the interview. “It was very different in Europe. The people were less helpful and more individualistic and materialist.”
Queen Diambi said she was also teased while schooling in Belgium due to the color of her skin and the texture of her hair. But she didn’t let that bring her down and with time, she started making friends and began appreciating her life in Belgium while enjoying the cultural differences. After her high school education, she went to the U.S., where she began studying the 5000-year-old history of the continent of Africa, she said.
Queen Diambi initially had no idea about how rich and prosperous the history of the African continent was but she learned quickly as she read black history books and attended seminars and lectures by renowned speakers. This was while she was in her 20s. She later moved back to Belgium to be close to her family. There, she got married and had two sons. But her parents soon left Belgium and went back to the Congo. And 11 years after, Queen Diambi and her family also left and relocated to the U.S.
In 2016, while working as a psychotherapist, she visited her father in Dimbelenge in the Congo to know more about her background and identity. While there, she was warmly welcomed by the entire community, including the elders and the chief who, after a few days, asked her if she was now ready to take responsibility for her people.
“They didn’t say I was going to be crowned or that I’d be queen. As if I just responded to an impulse, I just said yes, without even asking what those responsibilities entailed. A few minutes after that, to my great surprise, I had the crown of my head,” Queen Diambi recalled in an interview with Right For Education. She would also get to know that Diambi means that she is the one that brings good news to the people.
Today, Queen Diambi is not only using her voice to promote Africa in its true values but also campaigns worldwide for humanity and the protection of the planet. Queen Diambi, who identifies as a Pan-African, holds a Doctorate of Public Administration, a Doctorate Honoris Causa of Philosophy in Humanities, a Professorship in International Law and Order, a Master of Science in Applied Psychology, a Master Of Science in Mental Health Counseling and also hold a Bachelor Science in Business-Finance and Economics, her bio says.