Home | About Us | Mbunda People's Location | Mbunda Chiefs  | Mbunda Dialects | Mbunda Cultural Activities| Mbunda Ceremonies | Mbunda Names | Research Projects |
 

 
About Us
Mbunda People Profile
Shop
Contact Us

 

 Mbunda Language Location Map in Zambia

 

 

 

Mbunda Language Location Map in Zambia

 

In Zambia Mbundas are mainly found in Western Province and few in North Western Province and Itezhi Tezhi of Southern Province.

 

First Mbunda People Voluntary Migration To Barotseland

In 1795, some Mbunda started migrating to Barotseland.1 These Mbunda did not run away from any wars in Mbundaland. The boundary between Mbundaland to the west and Barotseland to the east then was Zambezi river. In the first immigration, some of the Mbunda with their Chiefs, Mwene Mundu, Mwene Kandala, and Mwene Chiyengele2 respectively, decided to move closer to Zambezi River under a friendship pact with Lozi Litunga, Mulambwa Santulu. Mwene Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele, the third Mbunda Chief to immigrate to Zambia came with his royal regalia as the 15th Monarch in frustration, after succeeding his father King Chingumbe cha Chioola, the 14th Mbunda Monarch instead of a nephew as per Mbunda custom. In his absence in Mbundaland, the Mbunda replaced him with King Ngonga I Chiteta as the 16th Monarch and a rightful successor to the thrown as a nephew. Mongu

By the late 1800’s the British began expanding their colonial territory northwards from South Africa through Zimbabwe into Zambia. They became aware of the Zambezi River when David Livingstone led his expedition down the river in 1869. These Mbundas became part of the Barotseland Protectorate which was recognized by the British.

The Portuguese also were expanding. They had established ports in Angola along the Atlantic coast during the 1600’s. In the late 1800’s they were extending their colonies inward toward the Zambezi River. The British recognized and feared this expansion of Portuguese territory. To counter it they established an outpost at the confluence of the Luanginga and Lweti rivers. These two rivers are tributaries of the Zambezi and lie west of the Zambezi. This British outpost was called Kalabo and it was the only British post west of the Zambezi.

Fall of The Mbunda Kingdom and Portuguese Occupation of Mbundaland

In 1914, the Portuguese colonialists abducted the twentieth (21st) Mbunda Monarch, King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova (Kathima Mishambo) and imposed Prince (Munamwene) Kazungo Shanda as the 22nd Mbunda Monarch. Little did King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova (Kathima Mishambo) know that his nephew was an ambitious traitor and would not follow the King's instructions. King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova, his Prime Minister (Mwato wa Mwene) Shwana Mbambale, his two personal physicians and special aides, Mwata Kambalameko and Mwata Vitumbi, some important courtiers as well as a number of his bodyguards were kidnapped and taken away in 1914 by Portuguese colonial troops mounted on horsebacks. This resulted in a war named "The Kolongongo War". This is a war the Portuguese Colonialists fought on horse backs against the Mbunda,3  .

The Mbunda waged a fierce armed campaigns in their desperate bid to maintain their independence of Portuguese subjugation. They new how to fight. They were a fearless, strong and brave people. However, as time elapsed, the Portuguese forces gained an upper hand in the war because they were continuously provisioned with gunpowder for their guns. The embattled Mbunda, who did not posses the know-how essential to the making of gunpowder eventually found the muzzle-loaders to be absolutely useless. They had to increasingly rely on their bows and arrows as well as a few other traditional arms which were suited for warfare only at close quarters. Superior Portuguese firepower took a heavy toll of the increasingly dispirited Mbunda, some of whom began to throw their muzzle-loaders in the rivers for lack of gunpowder. The war lasted up to 1929 and dislodged the Mbunda Kingdom and the Portuguese took over Mbundaland to be part of Angola.

Mbunda People Flee To Barotseland and South-West Africa (Namibia) - Second Migration

This caused some Mbundas to migrate to Namibia and a second immigration of Mbundas to Barotseland. However, many Mbundas in Namibia call themselves Ngangelas.

The Mbunda who lived in Barotseland prospered. They were welcomed and respected by the Aluyi. The Aluyi and their leader, the Litunga especially prized the Mbunda for their ability to fight. When the Luvale also known as Lovale invaded Barotseland from the north the Litunga instructed the Mbunda to counter the invasion.4  The battle was a complete victory for the Mbundas They killed all of the Luvale warriors except for a few. These few were left alive so they could return to the Luvale villages and report about what happens when you do battle with the Mbunda.

The rejoicing Mbunda warriors then cut off the heads of their victims and carried them on top of sticks. They ran singing all the way to Lilundu, the capital of Barotseland and the home of the Litunga Mulambwa. When the Aluyi saw this crowd of the Mbunda warriors carrying sticks with the heads on top they panicked and ran away. They didn’t realize the Mbunda were coming to celebrate with them. They thought they were the next victims.

After this defeat the Luvale never attacked the Aluyi for their cattle. King Mulambwa now knew of the fighting ability of the Mbunda and confirmed Mwene Chitengi Chiyengele's right to stay in Bulozi as the Senior Mbunda Chief. King Mulambwa decided to cement the bond of friendship between the Aluyi and the Mbunda.

The Mulambwa/Chiyengele Treaty In Barotseland

On a specially appointed occasion, in the presence of King Mulambwa, Aluyana and Mbunda royalty, Aluyana and Mbunda elders and Aluyana and Mbunda public, Mwene Chitengi Chiyengele was ceremonially given a sharp pointed pole called mulombwe while the following ten points were explained orally, forming the famous Mulambwa/Chiyengele Treaty:

1). We give you this sharp-pointed pole to replace those poles with rounded tops for your royal palace. It is only your palace which will be built with sharp poles called milombwe.

2). Your royal drum (Kenda na Vafwa) and royal xylophone (Kamuyongole) should be played in your palace, when you visit others and whenever you come to this capital.       

3). It is only you who will use a royal flywistch of the eland.                                 

4). You are free to continue to teach your people your language and culture; you will not be forced to take our language and culture.                                                             

5). There shall never be an Aluyi person who enslaves a Mbunda and no Mbunda shall enslave an Aluyi.

6). You are not forced to live on the Barotse plain but free to live in the forests.

7). You are free to cultivate cassava, yams and millet in the multitude that you wish.

8). In military and political matters you should be allied with the Aluyi.

9). Never fight among one another, but love one another. Finally.

10). Respect chieftainship and the elders.

In this way the relationship between the Aluyi and the Mbunda was defined and developed and continues to this day. The views of King Mulambwa recognized the Mbunda contribution to the historical development of Bulozi.5 This and other factors earned Mbunda to be represented on the Barotse National Council.6

Secondly, the Mbunda fought alongside Aluyi7 in the Aluyi/Makololo war in 1830, which ousted the Makololo rule on the Aluyi.8 This led to the establishment of the Mbunda Chieftainship at Lukwakwa under Senior Chief Sikufele9 now in Kabompo District, being a descendant of Mulambwa and a Mbunda wife. The Makololo from the south introduced the Lozi language spoken not only in Western Province today but also Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Caprivi Strip.

In the 1880’s the Litunga decided he wanted to grab the cattle which belonged to his neighbors to the east, the Tonga.10 He sent all his warriors eastward to chase off the Tonga and return with their cattle. The heart of his army were the Mbunda.11 Again the Mbunda were successful as the Tonga could not compete. The Tonga had no defense against the Mbunda‘s skill with a bow and arrow. The Tonga fought only briefly before they ran away. The Lozi’s with the Mbunda in the lead returned to Barotseland to present the Litunga with over one million cattle. This is where the Lozi/Mbunda and Tonga Cousinship originates from.

Later the Kaonde/Lozi war which Lozis lost in the first battle, but warn with the help of the Mbunda war machinery, where Mbunda Chief Kasimba of Kalumwange played a major role resulting in the Mbunda Chieftainship having firmly been established there at the confluence of the Lalafuta and Kyamenge in 1893, opposite Chief Mushima Njivumina of the Kaonde.[12][13]

All this proved the fighting supremacy of the Mbunda in fighting alongside the Aluyi14 and in honoring the Mulambwa/Chiyengele Treaty, Mbundas remained the true allies of the Aluyi both in military and political matters.

Tribal warfare was discouraged during the colonial rule by the British. The Mbunda lived peacefully. They tended their cattle and grew cassava, maize and rice. Many of the men left their homes to work in the mines of South Africa. When independence from British rule came in 1964 this practice was discouraged. The men were then recruited to work on the sugar plantations of Zambia. They were much sought after due to their reputation as reliable workers.

Under Portuguese Colonial Persecution Mbunda People Join MPLA In Liberation War - The Third Mbunda Migration

The Mbunda that remained in Mbundaland which was now part of Angola continued with hardship of the Portuguese colonialists. In 1961 an upraising against forced cotton cultivation, culminated into liberation war. With encouragement from Agostinho Neto, leader of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the Mbunda were determined to avenge the persecution they experienced at the hands of the Portuguese colonialists. Most of the Mbunda joined the ranks of the MPLA and gave up their lives for the liberation of Angola and their Mbundaland which was mainly fought in their home territory. The liberation war caused the second wave of the Mbunda fleeing to other Provinces of Angola, Zambia and Namibia.

Mbunda People Fight Alongside MPLA In Angola Civil War In Their Territory - Fourth Mbunda Migration

Independence came to Angola in November 1975 and with independence came civil war Angolan Civil War. Again many Mbundas fled Angola to relocate in nearby western Zambia, this marked the third and fourth wave of Mbunda immigration to the now Western Province of Zambia. These refugees were related to those Mbundas who were already living around Kalabo, Senanga, Mongu, Kaoma, Lukulu and Kabompo in Zambia. They were welcomed there and fit in easily.

The Mbunda have maintained most of their old traditions. They still respect their ancestors. They have “coming of age” rituals for both boys (Mukanda and their not less than fifty (50) Makishi artifacts) Read…..  and girls (Litungu or Bwali) Read…..  They still rely on cattle and cassava for their food. Men carry weapons such as bow and arrows, spears or machetes when they travel away from their villages. Women still create baskets from the root of the makenge bush and of course these baskets are the finest in the world. See…..

Read More.......

References

 

 1 The elites of Barotseland, 1878-1969: a political history of Zambia's Western Province: a. Gerald L. Caplan ISBN 0-

     900966-38-6 Publisher: C. Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd, 1970

 2   Bantu-Languages.com

 3   René Pélissier, La révolte des Bunda (1916-1917), pp. 408 - 412 (French for "the Mbunda revolt"), section footnotes

      citing sources: Luís Figueira, Princesa Negra: O preço da civilização em África, Coimbra Edição do autor, 1932

 4   Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File,

      Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760.

 5   Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File,

       Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

 6  Mupatu, Y. Mulambwa Santulu Uamuhela Bo Mwene, London, 1954

 7  Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File,

        Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

 8   Bull M.M., Bulozi Under The Luyana Kings, London 1973

 9   White, C.M.N. "Notes on the Political Organization of the Kabompo District and its Inhabitants," African Studies, IX,

         (1950), pp. 185-93

10   Bull M.M., Bulozi Under The Luyana Kings, London 1973

11   Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File,

        Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

12   Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File,

        Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

13  Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File,

       Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

14  Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File,

       Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

                                                                                                                                           

Further Reading

 

Mbunda Origin,

Bantu-Languages.com

Mupatu, Y. Mulambwa Santulu Uamuhela Bo Mwene, London, 1954

The Elites of Barotseland, 1878 - 1969 a political history of Zambia... By: Gerald L. Caplan

Bull M.M., Bulozi Under The Luyana Kings, London 1973

White, C.M.N. "Notes on the Political Organization of the Kabompo District and its Inhabitants," African Studies, IX, (1950), pp. 185-93.

 

 

Follow Us On

FacebookTwitter

 

 

 
His Majesty King Mbandu III Lifuti
of The Mbunda People
Copyright © 2008-2018 The Mbunda Kingdom Research and Advisory Council. All rights reserved.