Ngbaka inhabit the swampy area of the outer bend of the Congo River, in northwest DRC. Their settlements were dispersed and lack of overall political organization; a hamlet would generally be made up of an extended family or patrilineal clan. They practiced slash-and-burn agriculture growing manioc, maize, sorghum and bananas and lived off fishing and hunting. They also raise chickens and goats.Their settlements are dispersed and lack an overall political organization; a hamlet would generally be made up of an extended family or patrilineal clan. They believed in a god, Gale, creator of the first ancestor, Setu, and his sister, Nabo, and they worshipped the spirits of nature.
The Ngbaka had a special system of initiation, gaza: “that which gives strength.” Future initiates had to undergo trials of physical endurance and would attain a first level of knowledge by means of song and corporeal techniques, particularly choreographic turns. This figure could be used by the bendo (diviner) in magical ceremonies connected to the initiation.