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The Mbunda Kingdom in Angola







The Mbunda Kingdom (Mbunda: Chuundi ca Mbunda or Vumwene vwa Mbunda or Portuguese: Reino dos Bundas) was an African kingdom located in west central Africa, what is now southeast Angola, and the western portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[2] At its greatest extent, it reached from Mithimoyi, the second river southwards after crossing Luena River, Angola from Luena, Moxico Province[3]. Others call it Sakasaji river after a Chokwe village around that area, and now called Mishimoyi River, Angola, in the central Moxico to the Cuando Cubango Province in the southeast, bordering with Namibia. The kingdom was ruled by Mwene wa Ngoma (King), and its sphere of influence extended to neighbouring countries, such as Zambia and Namibia.[4]



Oral narratives about the early history of the Mbunda Kingdom and it's people as given by their forefathers had more detailed research in modern oral traditions, initially conducted in the 20th and 21st centuries by Cheke Cultural Writers Association (edited by Dr. Robert Papstein); Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan and Emizet Francois Kisangani/Scott F. Bobb.

The Mbunda Kingdom dates back from well before the Mwantiyavwa Dynasty was established in Kola. According to the Mbunda tradition, the kingdom's origin lay in KOLA interacting with the Luba and Lunda Kingdoms, in the now Democratic Republic of Congo.[5] A dynasty of rulers from this small polity re-established their rule at the confluence of Kwilu River and Kasai river in the 15th Century.

Foundation of the Kingdom

The first king of the Mbunda Kingdom was King Mwene Nkuungu in the early 1400s. The name Nkuungu appeared in later oral traditions and is still being eulogized during Mukanda circumcision rituals.

After the death of King Mwene Nkuungu his daughter Queen Vamwene Naama became the second Monarch to reign over the Mbunda at the Palace of Namampongwe. During the reign of Queen Vamwene Naama, the following obligatory regulations for royalty were proclaimed:


  1. A King or Chief should marry a granddaughter of the royal line.
  2. The reigning Monarch and Chiefs should come from the sisters of previous Monarchs and Chiefs.
  3. When a reigning Queen or Chieftainess went into seclusion during their menstrual periods, the husband (Mukwetunga) of the Queen should avail himself of the royal regalia and act on her behalf.
  4. If the reigning Queen or Chieftainess were unmarried, then one of the brothers of the reigning Queen would take the insignia of royalty and act on her behalf.

Queen Vamwene Naama wore a large cowrie shell (mande) which hung from a ring around her neck, and also a copper bracelet (Lukano or Mushele wa vunengu) as well as ivory bracelets (mishele) around her arms. All of these were the insignia of her royal position. She was by tradition attended to by a retinue of skilled royal drummers who played an assortment of royal drums, the most important of which was the double ended drum (mukupele).


It was in the Palace headquarters of Namampongwe that all important state rituals, ceremonies or festivals were held. As the centre and focal point of the burgeoning Mbunda ethnic group and state, Namampongwe had the state armoury where, surplus weapons of war (vitwa vya ndthzita) were kept.


After the death of Queen Vamwene Naama, it was resolved that another woman should take over from the late Queen Vamwene Naama. This was in recognition of the ordeal women experience during the time of giving birth. It was further decreed that if a female Monarch was crowned, she should not get married. If she did get married then she should surrender her royal bracelet to her immediate brother.


Following the death of Queen Vamwene Naama, her son, Prince Munamwene Nkonde, married his two sisters, Queen Vamwene Yamvu and Princesses Vamunamwene Lukokesha Mema Kafu Mbwita.


Queen Vamwene Yamvu was enthroned to succeed her mother, the late Queen Vamwene Naama, as the third Monarch of the emerging Mbunda ethnic group and state. She later shifted the base within the Kola area and settled in a place more favorable than their previous habitation, Namampongwe. They found Luba people already settled in this area.[6] Later on Queen Vamwene Yamvu married a Luban hunter. At the time Queen Vamwene Yamvu went into seclusion during her menstrual period, the Luban hunter Consort (Mukwetunga), husband of the Queen availed himself of the Royal Regalia, not to act on her behalf but declared himself King and ordered everyone to pay him the royal salute. The Queen’s brother Prince Munamwene Nkonde was so incensed with her conduct that he left the area in frustration anger.

According to the Royal decrees of the time Yamvu should not have married. In the case where she did marry she should have surrendered the Royal Throne to her brother Prince Munamwene Nkonde. Instead she surrendered the Royal Throne to her Luban husband. It is from this split that the Ruund (Luunda) chieftainship developed in the 15th century;[7] the children of Prince Nkonde with Queen Yamvu descended to form the Ruund (Luunda) chieftainship of Mwantiyavwa. In 1690 the Ruund (Luunda) ruler adopted the style Mwaant Yaav [Mwaanta Yaava] from Naweji. From Prince Nkonde and his children with Princess Lukokesha was the continuation of the Mbunda Monarch (Chuundi).

Re-Establishment of The Kingdom at The Confluence of Kwilu and Kasai Rivers

Prince Munamwene Nkonde led the majority of the disenchanted populace away from Namampongwe and later settled near the confluence of the Kwilu and Kasai rivers.

The Mbunda people settlement area, where The Mbunda Kingdom was re-established at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers, from Kola, within the now Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 15th century



Prince Munamwene Nkonde was enthroned as the fourth Mbunda Monarch in a Palace called Mapamba and, before his death, his son King Mwene Chinguli was enthroned as the fifth Mbunda monarch. It was in the reign of King Mwene Nkonde that the Mbunda resolved to search and migrate to new territories where they could find fertile land and settle down to farming. A place where they could expand and consolidate the structures of their state and ethnic group.

The major factors which stimulated. their migration were as follows:


1). Tropical forests were extremely hard and for their survival.

2). There was the cutting down and stumping of the very tall trees, as well as the digging out of their numerous roots, which was a physically taxing exercise.

3). These hardships were further compounded by the botanical scenario of countless wild plants which germinated and grew so luxuriantly and quickly that it was a relentless and onerous task to maintain the fields and gardens of varied crops as required.

4). Ruminants could not be domesticated due to lack of feeding grass, complicated by the presence of tse-tse fly that was detrimental to its health.

5). The perpetual dewy atmospheric conditions (mbundu ya mucuvukila) which were accompanied by stifling, humidity and ceaseless rainfall (nyondthzi va mucuvulila).

6). The rocky soils (livu lya mamanya) and the lack of sufficient wild game and fish as relish (lisholo) of which they were so fond.

7). Finally, the rampant epidemics of smallpox (mushongo wa lyale), that took a great toll of life amongst them.


King Mwene Nkonde, unable to travel due to old age sent his son King Mwene Chinguli who had just taken over from him as the fifth Monarch to go south and search for better land for their settlement. This was the only time the Mbunda had two ruling Monarchs.


King Mwene Chinguli led an expedition which traveled in the direction of what is now called Namibia. Taking a more central route into the now Angola, from the southwest of the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers, King Mwene Chinguli traveled all the way south to the now Kwandu Kuvango fighting the Bushmen and replacing them in the new found lands with a trail of Mbunda descendants who later came to be called the Chimbandi, the Ngonjelo, the Humbi, the Luimbi and the Nyemba. King Mwene Chinguli never returned to the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers to report his new found settlement lands.

Re-Establishment of The Kingdom at Mithimoyi, in the now Moxico

After a long wait and before the death of King Mwene Nkonde the fourth Monarch, when King Mwene Chinguli cha Nkonde did not return from his expedition, his daughter, Mbaao, was crowned as the sixth Mbunda Monarch at Kwilu-Kasai to replace the father.

Queen Vamwene Mbaao was left with the responsibility to migrate the Mbunda to better settlement lands from the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers. Prior to their migration, scouts (tumenga) were sent forth to gather surveillance data and explore the geographical and other features of the territories beyond their areas of habitation. The scouting expedition, was led by two Princes, namely, Munamwene Chimbangala, and Munamwene Chombe, who were both sons of King Mwene Nkonde respectively. Two other men of noble ranks in the expedition were Nobleman Mwata Chombe and Nobleman Mwata Kapyangu.


The expedition explored a large area to the southeast and discovered an unknown river which they crossed and then went on to discover the valley of the Luena river, a tributary of the Zambezi river whose source is in present day Angola. The scouts returned to the camp where the Mbunda were settled, near the confluence of the Kwilu and Kasai rivers. The expedition then tendered a favourable report to the Queen.


After the death of Queen Vamwene Mbaao there arose a period of disquiet and tumult as a result of the contentious factions which were involved in the choosing of another sovereign ruler for the Mbunda state. One faction advocated the candidature of Prince Munamwene Luputa, who was one of King Mwene Chinguli cha Nkonde's sons. The other faction championed Princess Vamunamwene Kaamba, who was one of Queen Vamwene Mbaao's daughters. In the royal lobbying that ensued, Princess Vamunamwene Kaamba became the choice of the Chifunkuto, a group of Counselors which elected the Kings. The Princess was enthroned as Queen Vamwene Kaamba. She became the seventh Mbunda monarch.


Under Queen Vamwene Kaamba the Mbunda came across more bands of pygmies (tumonapi, whom they engaged in armed combat and vanquished. The Mbunda travelled up to a great river, whose name they did not know. In the process of crossing the river, one of the royal Princesses, Mbayi, one of the daughters of Queen Vamwene Mbaao, and who was a sister to Queen Vamwene Kaamba, drowned in this unnamed river's turbulent waters.[10]


In reminiscence of the unfortunate fate that befell Princesses Vamunamwene Mbayi, the bereaved Mbundas named that river as the Lindonga lya Mbayi. Through the passage of time, Lindonga lya Mbayi, which literally means, "the great river of Mbayi", became abbreviated to Lya Mbayi. To this day, the Mbundas still call the Zambezi river "Lya Mbayi".


After the crossing of the Lyambayi or Zambezi river, as it is known today, the Mbunda under the leadership of Queen Vamwene Kaamba continued south and entered the drier area of the now Angola. This was a very sandy area with small rivers which were all tributaries of the Zambezi River. Like the Zambezi these smaller rivers had very wide flood plains which were wonderful areas for grazing cattle. Even better the higher lands adjacent to the flood plains were ideal for planting their favorite crop, cassava. It was along these tributaries to the Zambezi river that Queen Vamwene Kaamba decided to settle in what is now Angola.


This land was also prized by the bushmen who lived there, hostile pygmies (tumonapi) who were described as very short people who did not grow any crops nor domesticate any animals, but who were expert trappers and hunters who shot wild game with poisoned arrows (mingamba ya vulembe). They were also very skilful collectors of seeds, leaves, berries, roots and the fruits of wild plants. They survived by hunting the wildebeest which lived on the flood plains. They gathered food from the trees and plants which grew along the edge of the plains. They were disturbed by the presence of these newcomers. The Mbunda also liked to hunt wild beast. They also enjoyed the fruits, nuts and grains they found growing along the plain. The bushmen found the presence of the newcomers, the Mbunda, to be intolerable. It was plain to them that both groups could not remain there. The bushmen decided to attack the Mbunda. Their problem was that they were few in number. Their hunter gatherer methods never allowed them to live in groups larger than 15 to 20. The Mbunda were already establishing villages which were larger than that. The bushmen were not warriors. Their energy was needed to hunt game. For them it had always been better to walk away from a fight. There was so much open land and their lives were dangerous enough without fighting other men. However this time they decided to fight. The Mbunda knew how to fight. They had fought skirmishes with bushmen all throughout their journey through the Congo. They expected they would have to fight to keep this new land in the now Angola. They were ready and confident. They had the bow and arrow and they were experts in its use.


The fighting did not last very long. The bushmen attacked the Mbunda in their villages and were quickly driven off. The Mbunda chased the bushmen and killed all the men. They captured the women and children. The children were raised as Mbundas while the women were allocated out as wives. The women were very desired because of their large protruding buttocks and their yellow skin. They then traveled up to a tributary of the Lwena river in the now Angola which they named Mithimoyi. They settled on the Mithimoyi, near its confluence with the Luena river, and, from that juncture, the settlement and Palace headquarters assumed the name of Mithimoyi.


After the death of Queen Vamwene Kaamba her son King Chingwanja was installed as the eighth Mbunda Monarch. Following the demise of King Mwene Chingwanja, his son Lweembe ascended to the throne as the ninth Mbunda sovereign. After their establishment in Mithimoyi and the surrounding areas, the Mbunda were again threatened by bands of Bushmen (Vashekele) who regarded the immigrant Mbunda as despoiling their land and the natural resources which sustained them in their itinerant livelihood. In the armed conflict that ensued, the Mbunda routed their Bushmen adversaries and compelled them to retreat from the areas which hitherto had been their hunting and food-gathering preserves.


King Mwene Lweembe convened his royal court (Chifunkuto) and told them of his desire to permanently occupy and protect all the new territories that came under Mbunda subjugation. An increase in the population of the Mbunda and the resultant necessity to secure more resources and develop a steady agriculture to sustain the growing population made it imperative to implement the policy of permanent settlement over what was to become Mbundaland (Lifuti lya Mbunda). In the course of time the following ten Princes and Princesses (Vana va Vimyene), two Noblemen (Vimyata) and their people were assigned to subjugate and safeguard the land:


1. Prince Munamwene Mulondola wa Kaamba was despatched to settle in the valleys of the Lushye and Lungevungu rivers.

2. Prince Munamwene Ndongo ya Kaamba and Princesses Vamunamwene Katheke-theke ka Kaamba were directed to take possession of the valleys of the Mwangayi, a tributary of the Lungevungu river.

3. Prince Munamwene Mwiinga wa Chingwanja was despatched to take control of the Luthivi, a tributary of the Luena river whose source is in present day Angola.

4. Prince Munamwene Luputa lwa Chingwanja was directed to take possession of the Kanathi a tributary of the Luena river.

5. Prince Munamwene Nkombwe ya Chingwanja was despatched to settle at the source of the Ndala, also a tributary of the Lwena river.

6. Prince Munamwene Nkonde ya Chingwanja was directed to establish settlements in the Lwantamba yet another tributary of the Luena river.

7. Prime Minister Mwato Ngongi and Prime Mwato Minister Mukila were despatched to settle in the Lungevungu river area.

8. Prime Minister Mwato Ngongo was sent to take possession of the Kwandu-Kembo confluence area.


When King Mwene Lweembe died, his son King Mwene Katete had already been enthroned as King regent because King Mwene Lweembe, who had earlier been afflicted with smallpox (mushango wa lyale) in Kwilu-Kasai, had gradually become blind with complete cataracts in both eyes. But he was still energetic enough to discharge his royal duties and shoulder his responsibilities. Hence King Mwene Katete ka Lweembe was the tenth sovereign ruler in the Mbunda Royal Dynasty as well as the first regency since the foundation of the Mbunda nationality. King Mwene Katete had no offspring and died there at Mithimoyi.


Queen Vamwene Mukenge wa Lweembe was the last female royal to be installed as sovereign ruler in the Mbunda Monarch before the advent of Mukanda circumcision ritual. Mukanda is a ritual for Mbunda Kings. Queens could not control this ritual, hence the Mbunda Monarch had to change to be for Kings only, from the reign of Queen Vamwene Mukenge.

The Mbunda Kingdom Continues to Expand Further Southeast Under King Mwene Kathangila

Upon the death of Queen Vamwene Mukenge wa Lweembe, the last female sovereign, her son Prince Munamwene Kathangila ka Mukenge assumed the role of sovereign ruler, as King (Mwene ya Ngoma) Kathangila Mukenge. He was the twelfth King in the Mbunda royal dynasty and the first reigning Monarch after the separation of male political authority from female political authority.

King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge assumed the role of sovereign ruler at Mithimoyi. Soon he displayed the new power invested in himself as ruler of the Mbunda state. His sister, Princess Vamunamwene Chioola cha Mukenge, became the first to assume the reduced female role among the Mbunda. She was only entitled to become a Chieftainess (Vamwene) but could not be considered to be King (Mwene ya Ngoma).


It was in the reign of King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge that the Mbunda again expanded and settled in new lands. He left with some of his nobility and prince-consorts (Vimyata) and a lot of people, following the trail of King Mwene Chinguli cha Nkonde and reached Namibia. He went on to cross Lungevungu, Lwanginga and Kwandu rivers, with his people, but did not find King Mwene Chinguli. King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge found King Mwene Chinguli cha Nkonde had long left for Vimbundu and Vimbangala lands. King Mwene Kathangila settled in Kueve river area, the tributary of Kavangu river, there is where he died. All the Mbunda, King Mwene Kathangila traveled with settled there, and their Mbunda language today is mixed with other languages.


During his migration, the Mbunda had once more to contend with opposition by bands of itinerant Bushmen (Vashekele or Tundthzama). The wiry Bushmen had encampments at the sources of the Lungevungu, Lukonya, Luyo, Lwanginga, Kuvanguyi, Kwanavale Kwitu, Kwime, Kwiva, Munyangwe, Lutembwe and Kwandu rivers. The Mbunda engaged them in pitched battles until the courageous Bushmen were almost annihilated. The remnants were driven across the Kwitu river.


The Mbunda narrations about the earlier travels of King Mwene Chinguli, one of the progenitors of the Mbunda royal dynasty, had been handed down through the generations. King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge wished to emulate his illustrious predecessor and directed his attention to plans for the expansion of the Mbunda Kingdom.


The migration of King Mwene Kathangila from Mithimoyi to Kueve was likened to split of the Mbunda ethnicity, because he was followed by many people. A great number of the Mbunda though, remained in Mithimoyi at the confluence of Luena and Lyambayi (Zambezi) rivers. The Mbundas that remained, remembered King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge well in the song that records the hopes of the king and how he was implored to curtail his explorations in favour of attending to the affairs of the Mbunda Kingdom.


In the course of time, King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge, dispatched Prince Munamwene Ndongo, who was a son of King Mwene Chingwanja and his followers, to settle in the valleys of the Kuando river. Prince Munamwene Ndongo went to settle on an island that to this day is still known as Lithivi lya Kandungo within the waters of the Kuando river. Lithivi refers to a species of trees which grow to huge proportions while Kandungo is the name of the discoverer of the island which is located near the confluence of the Kwandu river and its tributary, the Kembo.


In his migrations King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge journeyed up to the Kueve, a tributary of the Kuitu river and died there. King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge's reign was simultaneous with that of his sister Chieftainess Vamwene Chioola cha Mukenge who was the first royal to assume the newly lowered position of female rulership and statecraft among the Mbunda. While King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge ruled as King, Vamwene Chioola cha Mukenge could only be a Chieftainess as females were now barred from the central throne of Mbunda. Only those who had undergone the Mukanda Circumcision ritual could succeed to the Mbunda monarch. Following Mbunda custom only the maternal nephews of the reigning sovereign could succeed to the Monarch.

The Mbunda Kingdom Continues to Expand Further Southwest Under King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda

King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda ka Chioola was the first King of the Mbunda people to leave the Luena-Upper Zambezi area, which we call Mithimoyi, to move south and occupy the upper and middle Lungevungu valley and country. He was the son of Chieftainess Vamwene Chioola and her Prince Consort (Mukwetunga) Mushinge. King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge, the brother of Chieftainess Vamwene Chioola cha Mukenge was Yambayamba's uncle. He was chosen to succeed his uncle Kathangila ka Mukenge as King (Chuundi cha Mbunda), about the age of thirty years because he had the right qualities: he was a councillor (lyaako) in the court (mbania) and in Mbunda society; he was a big game hunter of elands, buffalos, elephants; he was also a great iron worker who knew smelting and black smithing and he was a brave warrior. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda was the thirteenth sovereign ruler of the Mbunda ethnic group. He left the Mithimoyi chieftainship to his young brother, Chief Mwene Chingumbe. He gathered his important councillors, (Vimvata) and his Prime Minister Mwato Likupekupe and traveled south to the Lungevungu River. Minor Mbunda chiefs and Vimyata had been sent by King Mwene Yambayamba's predecessors to settle in the Lungevungu valley and country long before King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda himself moved there from the Upper Zambezi. King Mwene Lweembe lwa Chingwanja and his regent son King Mwene Katete had sent Prince Munamwene Mulondola wa Kaamba to settle in the Lushye and Lungevungu area and Prince Munamwene Ngongo and Princess Vamunamwene Katheketheke ka Kaamba to settle in the Mwangayi-Lungevungu valleys and country, while Nobleman (Mwata) Ngongi and Nobleman Mwata Mukila were settled in the Lungevungu at the confluence of the Luyo. Nobleman Mwata Ngongo had been sent to settle at the confluence of the Kwandu and its tributary, the Kembo, at Kandungo island. Prince Munamwene Mwiinga wa Chingwanja occupied the Luthivi area while Prince Munamwene Luputa lwa Chingwanja took control of the Kanathi and Prince Munamwene Nkombwe ya Chingwanja controlled the source of the Ndala river. All of these belong to the Mbunda Mathzi (Katavola),[11] the central chiefly lineage of the Mbunda Monarch.

The Mbunda preferred red soil, they didn’t want to settled in the whitish soil to the east of Lungevungu river. The King and his people followed Lungevungu river to the west until they found the reddish Mbunda soil confluence of Luyo and Lungevungu rivers. Where Luyo joins Lungevungu river, that is where King Yambayamba built his Palace, which they named Livambi. The Palace was surrounded in a fence, hence the Palace and its fence was named ‘Chimpaka cha Livambi’ Livambi Fence.


The moving of King Yambayamba Kapanda from Mithimoyi, at the Luena area of the Upper Zambezi, to the Lungevungu River and country was an historical landmark in the history of the Mbunda people and marks the historical significance of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and his young brother Chief Mwene Chingumbe cha Chioola, their uncle King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge and their mother Chieftainess Vamwene Chioola in the period of the chiefly migration from the Upper Zambezi area to the Lungevungu valley and its tributaries.


King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda reached the Lungevungu at a place not far from its confluence with the Zambezi and stayed on the northern side of the river for some time. This was at the time that King Litunga Mboo was ruling the Aluyi.


King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and his followers decided to scout for land up the Lungevungu River. He followed the Lungevungu north-west until they found the reddish mbunda soil[12] (livu lya mbunda) at the confluence of the Luyo tributary and the Lungevungu. Livu lya Mbunda is the reddish brown soil from which the Mbunda people derive the name of their tribe Vambunda; people of the reddish-brown soil. They were known by the tribal name of Mbunda even before they came to the Lungevungu.


At the confluence of the Luyo and the Lungevungu, King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda built a fortified capital called Chimpaka cha Livambi. It was from Livambi that King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda took conquering and occupation expeditions which brought this country between the Lungevungu, Kembo-Kwandu confluence, Kwitu north area under his control the country between the Kwandu, the Lwanginga and the Lungevungu, west of Barotseland came, under King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and his Mbunda people.

King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda Expands The Mbunda Kingdom Territories

After King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda ka Chioola had settled at the Palace of Livambi he undertook expeditions to occupy more land which marked the borders of the then new country of the Mbunda people. He also despatched Chiefs and Noblemen to explore and settle new lands:

  1. Prince Munamwene Kalanda and Prince Munamwene Lupote Lwa Mbandthzimo and Nobleman Mwata Kavihu to Kwanavale, Kembo and Kuvanguyi
  2. Prince Munamwene Mukonda to Kembo
  3. Chieftainess Vamwene Mununga and Chieftainess Vamwene Chioola to Luyo
  4. Prince Munamwene Lyelu to Luthziyi
  5. Prince Munamwene Chingumbe to Lukonya
  6. Prince Munamwene Chondela to Kwandu

At this time most of the Mbunda were still at Mithimoyi and Luena areas under Chief Mwene Chingumbe, the younger brother of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda. In the Upper Zambezi the Mbunda lived alongside the Mbwela, many of whom were absorbed into the expanding Mbunda culture. Mbunda oral tradition does not mention any conflicts between the Mbunda and the Mbwela ("Mbwela" means people of the east in the Mbunda language). The new lands which King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda claimed and occupied were almost uninhabited except for camps of itinerant Bushmen living in scattered groups.


From Livambi, Yambayamba Kapanda traveled to the west until he reached the headwaters of the Lungevungu at a plateau then called Kandthzelendthzendthze, the place where the Lungevungu, Kuando and Kuitu rivers have their source. Here King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda met the Humbi, Luimbi and the Ngonjelo who were moving away from fighting with the Nyemba and the Chimbandi across the Kuitu River. *These are the five Mbunda descendant tribe from the earlier King Mwene Chinguli, the fifth Mbunda Monarch’s trail in search of good settlement land for Mbunda people from the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers.[13] King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda ka Chioola the thirteenth Mbunda Monarch engaged them in fighting and stopped them from moving eastward into the country he had already claimed and occupied two centuries later. These ethnic groups turned and followed the Kuitu River with their chiefs. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda left Nobleman (Mwata) Chuma and some warriors to settle and rule that country for him on the Kunte River which marked the western frontier of the Mbundaland.


King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and his main party continued their expedition down the Kuitu River. The people across the Kwitu scattered and ran away to the south-west upon hearing of the approach of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda. They were not followed but were just left to go away. At the Kueve stream, King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda left Nobleman Mwata Chikongo and some warriors to guard and rule that area, while Chief Mwene Tuta was left at Mavinga to rule and guard it.


King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda's party continued their expedition to the confluence of the Kuitu and Kavangu rivers, and then on to the confluence of Kwandu and its tributary the Kembo, where Nobleman (Mwata) Ndongo, who had earlier been sent to occupy that area from Mithimoyi (Upper Zambezi), was settled by King Mwene Kathangila (ku Lithivi lya Kandungo), the time that King Mwene Kathangila left Mithimoyi (Upper Zambezi to migrate to Kweve. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda did not leave another Chief or Nobleman there. The places of Kuitu, Kueve and Kwitu-Kavangu marked the western and south western frontiers of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda Kingdom and his Mbunda people.


At Lyamuya pool on the Kuando river, King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda met a party of hostile Bushmen who attacked them. These Bushmen, under their leader Chishiwile used their usual poisoned arrows in their hit and run fashion. The Mbunda hunted down the Bushmen for two days and wiped out their band. Chishiwile was captured and beheaded. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda left Nobleman Mwata Chondela with some warriors to settle and rule the Lyamuya Pool area. From that time the Bushmen have known the Mbunda as their superiors, saying: "A person of the village, because they are people of the bush" (Munu-wa-limbo, mwafwa vakevo vanu va xwata) . There have been pockets of Bushmen to the south of the Mbunda country since the days of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda, but they have not made troubles. Most Bushmen have retreated farther south and avoided contact with the Mbunda.


From Lyamuya, King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and his party made his way north towards the Luanginga river. He reached Luanginga at a point far south-east of the Tembwashange rapids. Having seen the river for the first time he explored it upstream until the party came to the rapids which the Mbunda call Chipupa cha Tembwashange. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda was satisfied that the course of the river lay through the land he had explored and claimed for himself and his people.


From the Lwanginga, King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and his party traveled back to his capital of Livambi on the Lungevungu after annexing the following rivers while crossing some of the them: Kavuyi, Mulayi (Lyumba in Kalabo), N'inda ya Kathanga, Lwati (Lweti in Kalabo), Nengu, Mushuma, N'inda ya Mwene Ngimbu, (now called Lumbala Ngimbu) Lukula, Kashwango, Lwanginga River, Lufuta, Lutembwe and then back to the Luyo confluence at Livambi. These rivers flow into the Lungevungu and the Lwanginga, which, in turn, flows into the Zambezi (Lyambayi) on the Barotse flood plain.


By this expedition King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda had won the country which later became simply known as Mbundaland, the country of the VaMbunda who now speak various dialects of the Mbunda language.[14]


When the Mbunda people who were at the Upper Zambezi and along the Zambezi itself between the Luena and Lungevungu, mainly on the western side, heard of the new land that King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda had occupied, with its mbunda soil, beautiful rivers and streams and abundance of game, they started emigrating to the new country in large numbers.

King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda's Iron Works

King Yambayamba Kapanda was a great iron worker (N'ulungu, muka kufula).[15] After he had accomplished his tasks of acquiring the new land for his people, he realized the need for its defense and security. He needed tools for tilling the soil and weapons for defending the country. He set out to survey for iron deposits all over his new country and he established iron smelters, (Malungu a ndangeka or Malutengo: lilunga lya ndangeka (singular) or Lutengo (singular) where iron deposits were found. A great deal of iron was produced from these smelting furnaces which were set all over the country.

King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda ka Chioola and his iron workers established iron smelters at these places:


  1. Along the Lungevungu: At Ngova, Longa, Lutwayi, Luthziyi and Luvweyi.
  2. Along the Lwanginga: At Luvuu, Mwokoyi, Lukalayi, Lukula and at the Tembwashange rapids.
  3. Along the Kwandu: At Kumbule, Chikuluyi, Mwolongo, Mwethe, Kululu, Lukilika and Kembo.
  4. Along the Kwanavale: At Tembwe and Nyonga.
  5. Along the Kwitu: Chinjamba and Chinyondthzi.
  6. Along the Kuvanguyi: N'okoyi and Ngemwe.

King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and his iron workers supervised the iron works which produced iron for tools, weapons and for trade with neighbouring countries: to the south: Kwanyama, Ngali and Mashi; to the east: ALuyi, Nyengo and Makoma and to the north, Lovale. In exchange the Mbunda got cattle from the Kwanyama and the Ngali, fish from the Luvale and Luyi and the Makoma. The Mbunda were not fishermen, traditionally they were game hunters and meat was their favourite relish to vilya, the staple porridge (the thick porridge made of cassava (lupa) or bulrush millet (mashangu) or finger-millet (luku); maize (mundele) was rarely grown. However, the Mbunda Yauma, who preferred to live on the plains were, and still are, great fishermen. Among the Mbunda they were also the greatest producers of maize, pumpkins, cucumbers and beans.


Yambayamba Kapanda, the thirteenth King of the Mbunda people centralized the Mbunda people from a scattered ethnic group into a strong and united tribe with an identity of their own. He acquired a large territory where they multiplied and became a dominant nationality respected and recognized by the surrounding ethnic groups. One had to think twice before he would dare to wage a war against the Mbunda Kings like Yambayamba.


Before his death, King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda called all the important heads of families and Noblemen (Vimvata) to a Royal Court (Mandthzembi) at his Livambi capital his brother Chief Mwene Chingumbe and his Prime Minister Mwato Nkombwe Lilema were there. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda addressed the Royal Court (Mandthzembi) in the following words which have been handed down by word of mouth in the Mbunda royal hierarchy to this day:


Vanike vaka thimutwila vya vanu.

Vanalume vakathimutwila vilingo,

Olojo Vimyene na Maako vakakala na matumbe.


Children discuss persons

Men discuss actions,

But Chiefs and noblemen make plans.


He explained the extent of the Mbunda country ranging from Mithimoyi, tributary of the Luena in the north, to Kuvangu at its confluence with the Kwitu in the South. To the east and north-east as far as the country of the Valuyi to the west as far as Kweve to the north-west Alto Kwitu (now called Tembwe). He instructed his councillors to take his brother, and eventual successor, Chief Mwene Chingumbe on a tour of the then new Mbunda country. Prime Minister Mwato Likupekupe, of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda who had accompanied King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda on the first journey of occupation of the Mbunda country was chosen to lead the tour of showing Chief Mwene Chingumbe the new country.


Chief Mwene Chingumbe went round the Mbunda country led by Mwato Likupekupe and other Noblemen chosen from Livambi and from Lilembalemba. When the Chief's party reached the confluence of Kwanavale and Kwitu, Chief Mwene Chingumbe saw and married a beautiful woman of the royal lineage called Chieftainess Kakuhu ka Musholo from the village of Lyapwa lya Ndemba. From then on, Chieftainess Kakuhu eventually became Lishano Kakuhu, the wife of the King, when Chief Mwene Chingumbe was made the King of the Mbunda. Her children with Chief Mwene Chingumbe were destined to make history among the Mbunda people as those who broke away from their father and went to settle amongst the Aluyi (Valuyi) during the reign of King Mulambwa of the Aluyi.


Chief Mwene Chingumbe and his party, led by Prime Minister Mwato Likupekupe went round where King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda had been on his first mission of occupying the new land; and then he traveled back to Lilembalemba capital after crossing the Kwandu River and back heading north to Lwanginga and north-west to Lukonya River where his capital was situated. Chief Mwene Chingumbe whom his brother King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda had appointed as his successor settled down to consolidating his position and to reign over the Vambunda with kindness and wisdom.


King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda, who had now reached a very old age, virtually surrendered Mbunda state affairs (Milonga ya Mbunda) to his brother Chief Mwene Chingumbe. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda died at a very old age at his capital of Livambi at the confluence of the Luyo and Lungevungu Rivers. The Mbunda people, who loved their King, would not accept his old age as the cause of his death. They accused Nobleman Nungulule of having bewitched their King.


None among his children could succeed their father as King because succession was through the mother's family lineage. Wisdom behind this is that a mother’ child is unquestionably hers.

The Coming Of Chief Chingumbe To Lungevungu

When the Mbunda elders and princes saw that King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda was getting old they decided to go to Mithimoyi at the Upper Zambezi and persuade Chief Mwene Chingumbe to come to the Lungevungu and take over from his brother King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda as ruler of the then new country. Chief Mwene Chingumbe had no choice but to accept the people's will. They brought him to Lungevungu where his elder brother had settled in the new country.


The Mbunda Kingdom Under King Mwene Chingumbe cha Chioola - Schism in The Mbunda monarch[16]

Chief Mwene Chingumbe was born at Mithimoyi, a tributary of the Lwena River in the upper Zambezi where his brother King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda had been born. His mother was Chieftainess Chioola and his father was Consort (Mukwetunga) Mushinge (same father and same mother as King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda).

When Chief Mwene Chingumbe arrived at Lungevungu his brother King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda built a new capital for him at the mouth of Lukonya River where it flows into the Lungevungu. Chief Mwene Chingumbe's capital at Lukonya was called Lilembalemba and his Prime Minister was Mwato Nkombwe Lilema. Chief Mwene Chingumbe was a good Lyaako, a man skilled in settling cases and in giving sound advice to his noblemen (Vimyata) and to his people generally, but he did not like wars. Both Mwato Likupekupe, the Prime Minister of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda based at the Livambi capital and Mwato Nkombwe Lilema, the Prime Minister of Chief Mwene Chingumbe, based at the Lilembalemba capital worked hard to consolidate the Mbunda occupation of their new land.


The Mbunda who lived at the Upper Zambezi, (at the Luena and the Lumbala rivers) heard of the fame of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and the country he had acquired to the south, at the Lungevungu, and they began to trek south to this new country. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and his brother Chief Mwene Chingumbe themselves had come from the Upper Zambezi where they were born and where their mother Princesses Chioola was born and buried.


When the Luvale under Chinyama cha Mukwamayi came to settle at the confluence of the Luena and the Zambezi, the Mbunda had already established themselves along the Lungevungu and the Luanginga. Some Mbunda had settled among the Mbwela along the Luena, the Lumbala and between the Lungevungu and the Lumbala long before the Luvale had arrived at the Lwena river in the north.


With the death of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda, Chief Chingumbe formally took over the Monarch (the Mbunda Kingship called Chuundi), the royal bracelet (lukano, the eland flywhisk (mufuka), the cowrie shell (mande), even though he had acted as the leader of the Mbunda during the last years of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda's lifetime. He reigned over the Mbunda from his capital of Lilembalemba which his brother King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda had built for him when he had called him from Upper Zambezi.

The Mbunda Kingdom Under King Mwene Ngonga "Chiteta"

As a nephew of the illustrious King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda and King Mwene Chingumbe, Prince Ngonga, was born of Chieftainess Mpande and Consort Kayongo ka Nguluve in the Lumayi valley during the reign of King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda.[17] After the death of his uncle, the renowned King Chingumbe, Prince Ngonga, who was later given the fearsome title of "Chiteta" (which is an abbreviation for "Chiteta-makoshi" meaning "The Beheader"); was crowned as the sixteenth Monarch and reigned from his palace headquarters in the Lukonya valley.

King Ngonga I Chiteta, was famed for his cruelty and acts of brutality which he carried out during his infamous regime. Summary executions, by beheading, of persons found guilty of various crimes stands out as the hallmark of his rule and is the origin of his nickname, "Chiteta" the Beheader. In spite of his cruelty he is said to have maintained the agricultural and military achievements of his predecessor, the revered King Chingumbe, the fourteenth Mbunda sovereign. He encouraged the food production of his subjects, and kept his nation state at an uncompromising level of combat readiness. As a result of this preparedness, surrounding groups like the Lovale, Lunda, Nyemba, Ngonjelo, the Humbi, Luimbi, Luyana, Herero, Akwanyama, Ovambo and the Ovimbundu were deterred from conducting military adventures or incursions into Mbundaland, Lifuti lva Mbunda.


King Ngonga I Chiteta also maintained trade links with most of the aforementioned. He reigned over a consolidated state in which his subjects held him both in high esteem and awe until his death. King Ngonga I Chiteta left behind a legacy befitting a cruel and despotic personality which had in turn earned him the fearsome nickname "Chiteta Makoshi". Inspired by his pioneering predecessors like King Kathangila and King Yambayamba Kapanda, he maintained a firm hand on the Mbunda nation state. He did not tolerate any laziness, treason, nor infringement against established Mbunda traditional values. His Palace fence, the way to the royal well and the royal well itself were surrounded with the skulls of his victims. But the reign of Ngonga I Chiteta had grave effects for the Mbunda Monarch. It is during the reign of Ngonga I Chiteta that more Mbunda began to drift away to form the branches of the Mbunda Mathzi and the unity of the Mbunda chieftainship was threatened. Some of the Mbunda left Mundaland because of the cruelty. They passed a message to King Chiteta in a song that, we are going to Mbalango in search of another livelihood.

The name "Chiteta" was given to him because of his cruelty of beheading subjects found guilty of committing offences. Mbalango is an area around the confluence of Lwanginga, Lwati and Lutembwe rivers to the east towards Lyambayi river (Zambezi river). King Ngonga Chiteta did not reign for many years and he died. After the death of King Chiteta, his military men (Vakamanda) and Beheaders (Vitapa) went looking for men to accompany the King Chiteta in his grave. They abducted the now Chief Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele’s medicine man (chikola), Kapyangu ka Vilondo. When Chief Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele and his Noblemen head that medicine man Kapyangu ka Vilondo has been abducted and killed by Beheaders to accompany King Chiteta in his grave, they were very annoyed. They met to discuss the embarrassment of Valishano (King Chingumbe wife) the mother of Chief Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele and the cruel abduction and beheading Kapyanga to accompany King Chiteta in his grave. These frustrations made them decide to migrate to Barotseland and live amongst the Aluyi during the reign of Litunga Mulambwa.


The same year that Chief Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele was planning to leave, locusts invaded Mbundaland and destroyed all the crops so that a great famine hit the entire Mbundaland and many people left to go to look for food elsewhere and a great number of people went into Bulozi. This group of people that left Mbundaland included the Mbunda-Nkangala who were among the first people to get to Mwana Mungela's area where they camped at Tushole in the Makomaland. The Nkangala, who came from various places, settled along the banks of the following rivers, Kembo, a tributary of the Kwandu, the Kumbule, Chikuluyi, Lwela, Kuthsiyi and Kuntuva in Mbundaland. As they camped at Tushole in Makomaland it was at the same time that Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele was passing through on his way to Bulozi and they gladly welcomed him and paid homage so that when the Chief was finally ready to leave their camps they also decided to accompany him.

The Mbunda Kingdom After Schism in The Mbunda monarch

When King Ngonga I Chiteta died his brother, Nyumbu Luputa son of Chieftainess Mpande and Console (Mukwetunga) Kayongo ka Nguluve took over the Mbunda monarch (Chuundi). Before his uncle King Chingumbe died, Nyumbu Luputa Lwa Mpande had proved to be a brave warrior, and he had a tough character. His bravery and toughness made his uncle King Chingumbe cha Chioola give Nyumbu Luputa the western country of Lutwayi and Mwangayi and the sources of Kuitu and Lungevungu rivers to rule and guard against external intruders. He was still a young man of about thirty years when he was given this duty of guarding the western frontiers of the Mbunda country. He was there for a long time until the death of his uncle King Chingumbe at Lilembalemba capital.

King Nyumbu Luputa left the frontier area and came to take over the Chuundi cha Mbunda after the demise of his brother King Ngonga I Chiteta and built his capital at Luvweyi. It was common practice for a new King to shift from the capital of a deceased King and establish his own capital within the kingdom.


King Nyumbu's task was that of protecting the country against external aggression. It was heard that the Chokwe, the Luvale and the Vimbali or Ovimbundu slave traders might invade the country in search of slaves and even land to settle. He called the family heads and noblemen (vimvata) and all the Princes and Princesses(vana va Vimyene) and Prince Consorts(Vakwetunga) to a Royal Court (Mandthzembi) at his capital at Luvweyi. At this assembly they decided to post chiefs and Noblemen (Vimyata) to all the border areas of the Mbunda country and along all the main rivers. It was also resolved that enough weapons should be made; bows and arrows, spears, shields and the hand-to-hand fighting axes (vukama). Guns would be bought or confiscated from the Vimbali or Ovimbundu who were the main source of guns and these to be kept in the King's armouries (vithala).


The sons of male and female Chiefs and the Noblemen (Vimvata) who were sent to border areas and along main rivers throughout the country were the following:

These Chiefs were sent all over the country to guard it and to rule it on behalf of the Mbunda Monarch (Chuundi Cha Mbunda). the central kingship in which all sovereign authority was vested. At this time King Nyumbu Luputa was the holder of the Monarch (Chuundi). These representative chiefs were sent with the following rules and instructions from Mbunda Monarch (Chuundi Cha Mbunda):

  1. The Mbunda should protect their country, even going to war for this purpose.
  2. The Mbunda should not take into other people's countries any wars of territorial occupation or claims.
  3. Every chief's village must have an armoury for keeping weapons at the ready in case of war. There should also be a warehouse for general goods for the Chief and his noblemen.
  4. The people should settle down to growing crops and stop going on journeys unnecessarily.
  5. Every Chief must have security servicemen (vitungutungu) for spying on behalf of the Chiefs and the people to detect internal and external threats of war.

King Nyumbu Luputa settled down and undertook tours of all the Chiefs in his Kingdom. He reigned and kept his Kingdom in peace. All Chiefs prepared to protect their country. Chokwes and Luvales came and fought with King Katavola Musangu and King Mbandu Kapova, but that was long after the death of King Nyumbu. Other tribes did not invade his Kingdom in war or abducting people for selling to Vimbundus or Whitemen as slaves during his reign. The Vimbundus used to interact with the people for business purposes, but never brought war in Mbundaland.


Following the death of King Mwene Nyumbu Luputa, his nephew Prince Linjengele Kawewe, the son of Chieftainess Ngambo Lyambayi and Consort (Mukwetunga) Nduwa, who was born in the Lumayi valley during the reign of his great uncle King Chingumbe, was enthroned as King Mwene Ngonga II Linjengele Kawewe. He was the eighteenth sovereign ruler of the Mbunda and continued to foster his Kingdom's military strength and trade relations with the adjacent countries. During his reign King Ngonga II Linjengele Kawewe is said to have made a trade pact with a Vimbali (Vimbundu) chieftain and trade expedition leader appointed by the Portuguese remembered as Sova Kapitango.


Kapitango, presented various gifts like guns, gunpowder, cloth and, one gift which engendered enormous curiosity, the gift of pigs. The Mbunda it is said, had hitherto not known a pig. When Kapitango presented the King with some pigs the people remarked on the striking resemblance to the wild warthog (Chombo) which was familiar to them. Sova Kapitango was by no means the first, nor the only expedition leader to head a large column of Vimbali traders as agents of Portuguese colonists and merchants, on a trading itinerary into Mbunda country. Vimbali traders plied between Mbundaland and points farther west in Portuguese colonised areas. They sought to exchange merchandise like guns, gunpowder, salt, woollen blankets, beads and clothing fabrics for beeswax, wild rubber, ivory and slaves. His pigs were the first to appear in Mbundaland.


During these times, and in the subsequent years, the Vimbali traders operated under the heel of Portuguese colonialism. They related tales of the fierce wars they had waged to no avail against their powerful white opponents, who had eventually gained the upper hand, routed and conquered them, and brought them under their brand of rule and culture. The enterprising Vimbali traders had warned their Mbunda trading partners that the identical cruel fate that had befallen them farther westwards, all the way to the Atlantic coastline, would eventually become the lot of the Mbunda as well. In riddles they said:


"Eni vakwetu, ‘chamwene Shonge na Kapaji n’ele akucimona’"


‘Our friends, "what Shonge (a valley animal) saw, a Kaji (a forest animal) will also will see"


The Vimbali (Vimbundu) further explained their riddle that; they were the Shonges (valley animals) who live near the water, near the ocean in the western towns. They said; what they saw in the towns, of their Biye homeland, the Mbunda will also see in their Mbundaland like Kapaji (forest animal). They mean’t that those white men, the Portuguese who entered their homeland and occupied it will one day enter Mbundaland and occupy it and persecute the people.


For their part, the Mbunda are said to have dismissed such unwarranted sentiments with their typical contempt for defeat or domination, all of which they had as yet not tasted. They just could not visualize themselves being subjected to occupation and colonialisation by the white men, who were disparagingly referred to as Vashekele, the same word used to describe the light skinned Bushmen whom the Mbunda regarded as weak.


The reign of Mwene Ngonga II Linjengele Kawewe was epitomized by expanded trade, which next to adequate food production and defensive capability, became another important sphere of activity in the Mbunda state. Especially important was the barter trade connections with the Vimbali, who brought a range of manufactured goods which they had obtained from the Portuguese merchants and colonists who had set up trading stations, warehouses and forts in the hinterland of Biye highlands and along the coast of the Atlantic ocean. The Mbunda started dressing in cloth material and covering with blankets. They started using plates, dishes and drinking using cups. They also started using guns. That is the year the ardent was pronounced:


"Kwambulula Chimbali, na mwongwa".


"Reporting an encounter with a Chimbali, is with proof of their salt (in that Vimbali or Vimbundu traded in salt).


Great hunters like Chief Kaundula and Mulandula, used to kill elephants and removing the tasks. The right task, they would give to the King and the left one, they would sell to Vimbundu in exchange with goods. Chiefs became very rich because they also used to buy goods from Vimbundu (great hunters like Chief Kaundula and Mulandula’s fame was known through dance songs the Mbunda perform in Makonda or Manyanga dances.


This trade had been pioneered during the reigns of the courageous and sovereign rulers, King Yambayamba Kapanda and King Chingumbe and their fearsome nephew Ngonga I Chiteta as well as King Nyumbu Luputa, right up to the anti-colonialist King Mbandu I Lyondthi Kapova.

When Mwene Ngonga II Linjengele Kawewe died in the Lwanginga valley he left behind an industrious and resourceful nation state which played a significant role, as one of the major supply sources of raw materials to the Portuguese merchants and colonists farther west of Mbundaland (Lifuti lya Mbunda).


With the passing away of King Ngonga II Linjengele Kawewe, his brother Prince Katavola I Mwechela wa Ngambo was enthroned as the nineteenth Monarch of the Mbunda state. King Katavola I Mwechela was born in the Lumayi valley, in the reign of his great uncle King Chingumbe. Like his predecessors, King Katavola I Mwechela, continued to maintain the crucial balance between sufficient food production, military alertness and expanded trade.


The advent of increased major trade with the Vimbali, and the lesser trade with the surrounding nationalities brought about an unprecedented level of interaction between the Mbunda and the other ethnic groups. That state of affairs, could, if left unchecked, increase and pose serious insecurity with far reaching repercussions to the fabric of the nation-state: Such an intermingling, could, it was feared, only foster a scenario of multiple loyalties, patriotism and potentially even a "Fifth Column" within the Mbunda Kingdom. It was also feared. from another perspective, that the accelerated. degree of interaction could spell disaster to the social fabric of the Mbunda as an ethnic group. The administration of society was founded on, and encompassed a wide spectrum of Specific cultural dimensions, which were in turn translated into language, customs, rituals, taboos, oral tradition, social traditions, social conventions and social security.


It was feared that the existence of unbridled inter-marriages could only facilitate the non-observance and alienation of those qualities and standards which were fundamentally and profoundly dear to the hearts of the Mbunda as an ethnic group. Therefore, the reigning sovereign of the Mbunda State, the shrewd King Katavola I - Mwecela and his inner circle of courtiers resolved to check the situation. They only foresaw political and social upheavals emanating from the relentless onslaught of the Portuguese merchants and colonists westwards, operating through the Vimbali. King Katavola I Mwechela decided to protect the sovereignty of the Mbunda people.


King Katavola I Mwechela, in consultation with his inner circle of advisors, promulgated a royal decree which forbade intermarriages with other nationalities. Other royal decrees made adultery and the use of abusive language by womenfolk punishable by execution. These royal edicts, affected a large percentage of the populace, especially the nobility and royals, who apparently felt oppressed (and out-manoeuvred) by their Monarch, with such an uncompromising attitude, as reflected in his statutes. These restrictions caused a spirit of disgruntlement and discontent which fermented slowly and secretly in the Mbunda society of King Katavola I Mwechela's era.


In the sequel that followed the application of those unpopular laws, a split occurred within the royal establishment with two opposing factions, the one advocating the support of the King's measures whilst the- other faction advocated the annulment of the unpopular edicts at issue. In the disaffection that ensued, the abolitionist cabal, clandestinely plotted against and finally assassinated King Katavola I Mwechela during a hunting expedition. The conspirators in the royal entourage did not wish to publicly disclose what precisely had brought about the death of their ruler therefore, the royal entourage, particularly the security men known as vitungutungu conspired to give a fabricated version claiming that their Monarch had been killed and eaten by a ferocious lion whilst he was relieving himself at night.


The palace conspired assassination of King Katavola I Mwechela abruptly ended the reign of the nineteenth Mbunda Monarch, who had reigned from his palace headquarters in the Kutupu valley. The king's fatal error had been the preservation of his people's standard cultural identity as an ethnic group and as a nation-state. Later the third dispersion of Mbunda groups took place.


Following the assassination of Mwene Katavola I Mwechela, his grandson named Prince Musangu was installed as King Katavola II nicknamed, "Musangu," in his palace located in the valley of the Kovongo river. King Katavola II Musangu, was the son of Chieftainess Kanyenge who in turn was the daughter of Chieftainess Musoka, one of Chieftainess Ngambo Lyambayi's daughters. He was the twentieth Mbunda sovereign ruler.


King Katavola II Musangu, could very likely have had a role as one of the royal actors behind the political scenes in the secret conspiracy and assassination plot against King Katavola I Mwechela, prior to his ascension to the throne as successor. He contravened the royal decree of his predecessor by his passion for a Chokwe slave beauty named Nyakoma, who was owned by the Chokwe Senior Chief called Mwa Mushilinjinji (pronounced as Mushilindindi by their Mbunda cousins) who had been allocated land to settle at the Luwe, a tributary of the Nengu river, with his fellow chieftainship and Chokwe subjects by King Katavola II Musangu, after their emigration from the Chikapa (a Chokwe area, Chokwe wa Chikapa) and Minungu (a variety of Chokwe: Chokwe wa Minungu) areas of northeast Angola. That eventually led to the Mbunda - Chokwe war and ended up sacrificing his life unnecessarily against the Chokwe.

The Mbunda Kingdom Under King Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova

Peace returned to Mbundaland again after the war with the Chokwe. Prince Lyondthzi Kapova, was instaled Mbunda Monarch, replacing King Katavola II Musangu and named him "Mbandu" meaning he is the wound of King Katavola II Musangu which was inflicted on him by the Chokwe before killing him.

After his ascendance to the throne as the twenty first Mbunda Monarch, King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova the son of Chieftainess Vukolo Ngimbu Kanchoongwa, one of the daughters of the famed

King Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova, the 21st Monarch of Mbundaland


Chieftainess Ngambo Lyambayi, appointed an impressive group of eminent administrators and royal courtiers to give assistance in ruling his Kingdom. Consort (Mukwetunga) Shwana Mbambale was his Prime Minister (Mwata wa Mwene) with Nobleman (Mwata) Kambalameko and Nobleman Vitumbi as his personal physicians and special aides. The following were among his royal courtiers namely: Chief Shwana Kapandi, Chief Shwana Mutangala, Chief Chinkumbi, Consort Chipolwa, Consort Mundthzindthze, Nobleman Mupala, Nobleman Munyawa, Nobleman Kandendu, Nobleman Mayokeka, Nobleman Ndindindi, Nobleman Kathiki, Nobleman Mafwaku, Nobleman Kan'andu, Nobleman Chingamba, Nobleman Pwatha and Nobleman Sinkwe.

King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova's capabilities were immediately shown in his handling the Mbunda affairs, by conclusively quelling the Mbunda-Chokwe war and the Luvale-Mbunda war led by Masambo. In recognition of King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova's capability in quelling threats against the Mbunda he was affectionately given the soubriquet: Kathzima Mishambo which means the "extinguisher of flames".


The Mbunda nation remained unconquered and in a state of full military preparedness. So when the prideful Mbunda heard of the military adventures of the Aluyi under Litunga Lubosi-Liwanika, they were ready for them, just in case they ventured into Mbundaland.


In those years of King Nyumbu Luputa, King Ngonga Linjengele Kawewe, King Katavola Mwecela, King Katavola Musangu and King Mbandu Kapova; it would have been difficult for Aluyi to attack Mbundaland in the time of King Lubosi Liwanika because Chief Mundu, Chief Kandala, Chief Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele and their people had already left Mbundaland to migrate to Kalabo, Mungu, Sinanga, Sisheke, Lukulu of the Chief Kandombwe. Those Mbunda people who were already settled in Barotseland would not have accepted to have allied with Aluyi to fight there brothers in Mbundaland.


The Aluyi who were acquainted with the military capability and sagacity of the Mbunda, never undertook a military campaign against the Mbunda of Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthi Kapova Kathzima-"Mishambo-the extinguisher of flames". In those days there was no Northern Rhodesia, Zambia and Angola, there were no white men. Angola boundary was only up to Biye of the Vimbundu from the Ocean. Mbundaland was not part of Angola during the reign of King Mbandu I

Angola 1906 before the Portuguese occupation of Mbundaland in 1914

Lyondthzi Kapova. It was only after the abduction of King Mbandu in 1914, that Angola boundary was extended beyond and including Mbundaland. Mbunda Kings didn’t know about the boundaries which whites demarcated African countries. In 1885, White colonialists met in Berlin, Germany and demarcated Africa according to their own wish. No African Kings were represented. Mbunda Kings fought for their land because they didn’t want to be colonized, that is why Mbundaland was only colonized after the Mbunda/Portuguese war, named Kolongongo war.


The Mbunda - Chokwe War

King Katavola II Musangu, the successor to the assassinated King Katavola I Mwechela contravened the royal decree of his predecessor by his passion for a Chokwe slave beauty named Nyakoma, who was owned by the Chokwe Senior Chief called Mwa Mushilinjinji[18] who had been allocated land to settle at the Luwe, a tributary of the Nengu river, with his fellow chieftainship and Chokwe subjects by King Katavola II Musangu, after their emigration from the Chikapa (a Chokwe area, Chokwe wa Chikapa) and Minungu (a variety of Chokwe: Chokwe wa Minungu) areas of northeast Angola.

In the year following the arrival of the Chokwe people, the Mbunda King decided to pay a visit to his counterpart Mwa Mushilinjinji. During his visit he became attracted to a certain Chokwe woman called Nyakoma. On his return home he sent messengers to go to Mwa Mushilinjinji so that things were done in a way that would enable the Mbunda King to marry Nyakoma. But Mwa Mushilinjinji turned down the request from the Mbunda King to marry Nyakoma. The Mbunda King wasn't content so he again sent messengers, but Mwa Mushilinjinji still refused.


Senior Chief Mushilinjinji diplomatically said that he could not accept King Katavola II Musangu's marriage proposal because it was a universal taboo for a royal personage like the King to marry a slave, no matter how attracted he was to her because the offspring of such a marriage could never qualify as royals. He begged for the Mbunda King's patience while he made appropriate arrangements for a suitable royal choice to be selected back in their homeland. But this went unnoticed and was unknown to King Katavola II Musangu because the Mbunda Monarch's crafty and unscrupulous chief envoy in this matter, a personality by the name of Consort (Mukwetunga) Lifwembu and the other messengers, chose to misrepresent the responses and views of Mwa Mushilinjinji.


On their way back, the messengers thought of creating a misleading story which would prevent King Katavola II Masangu from sending them again. They also thought that the message they were told was an insult to their King, since it suggested that the King had fallen in love with a slave woman, which would displease Katavola greatly. So they made up their own story. They made a "knife" out of a reed (linenga). When they arrived in the capital they went to the palace. They then said, in the traditionally respectful way, "Your Majesty, you have been insulted by the Chief of the Chokwe." and they presented the reed "knife" as the gift of Mwa Mushilinjinji. Offering such a pathetic gift was a great insult to the King according to Mbunda custom. The reed knife signified a person it is presented to had never been to Mukanda (circumcision camp); in other words never been circumcised.


When Mwene Katavola II Musangu saw this "knife", he became furious. He then called for his counsellors (maako) and his senior elders to talk over the matter. After deliberations they decided to declare war against the Chokwe people and chase them out of the Mbunda country. Owing to the highly inflammatory reports tendered to the impassioned Mbunda Monarch, he did not spare much time to prepare for battle with Mwa Mushilinjinji and his tough Chokwe subjects.


Consort (Mukwetunga) Mbambale consulted some of the people at the capital and some of the men then brought their old guns with ammunition and gunpowder, others carried bows and arrows. When all had gathered in the capital experts in war were called upon to lead the army of fighters. These were Prince Liolo, Nobleman Vitumbi and Consort Mbalu who wanted to confront Chief Mushilinjinji personally because he knew him well since he had been the one who had interpreted for King Katavola II Musangu at the time the Chokwe first arrived at the Mbunda capital in the Kovongo area.


Mwene Katavola II—Musangu had an established custom of dispatching his army ahead of his departure for battle and then he would take the form of an eagle and glide to the battleground. After the battle he would order his army to return to the palace ahead of him while he would again change into an eagle and soar back to his palace. On this occasion he told part of his army to rush to the Luwe area and teach the insolent Chokwe a lesson, and that he would join them in no time at all.


The Mbunda started shooting at the surprised Chokwe upon their arrival in the Luwe area. As a tactical manoeuver, the Chokwe withdrew their forces within the stockade where most of the gunshots and arrows from the Mbunda could not reach them. The Chokwe therefore had an advantage because they could shoot their guns and arrows accurately through the spaces of the stockade. The Chokwe had no alternative but to put up their best resistance to save themselves in a battle that had been literally forced upon them by the unpredictable Mbunda of King Katavola II Musangu.


For their part, the Mbunda realized that they had to change their military tactics and so they retreated for a considerable interval of time. Meanwhile the stubborn Chokwe were jubilant in the hope that the Mbunda had earned themselves a worthwhile lesson at their hands. Subsequently, the Mbunda cut grass which they made into bundles and also used it as camouflage themselves. They then crawled down while pushing the bundles of grass in front of them until they finally got to the stockade and set the houses and granaries inside on fire. The Mbunda surrounded the stockade and started to shoot at the Chokwe with their guns and arrows while they also occupied themselves with the task of breaking and uprooting parts of the stockade. The Chokwe were in a state of panic and confusion inside the stockade because they had put their best effort in defending themselves against the rampaging and vengeful Mbunda. King Katavola II Musangu, by way of traditional magical powers, made himself invisible and sat beside a granary while taking a toll of the Chokwe with his gun. Eventually the Chokwe found themselves out maneuvered and had no option but to surrender to the Mbunda.


The Chokwe, who could not understand why they had been attacked, then explained to the triumphant Mbunda what had actually happened between Mwa Mushilinjinji and the Mbunda envoys. The Mbunda also explained how they had been misled. The Mbunda warriors then left for their capital at the Kovongo area. All this time; King Katavola II Musangu continued to shoot at the Chokwe inside the stockade, while basking in his invisibility. The terrified Chokwe got the sister of Mwa Mushilinjinji to divine the precise whereabouts of the unseen gunman. The sister of Mushilinjinji uncovered the location of King Katavola II Musangu and he was conducted to Mwa Mushilinjinji who ordered that King Katavola II Musangu be escorted, under guard, back to his palace in the Kovongo area. The Chokwe swore that, had they found Consort Lifwembu at the granary, they would have killed him. Somewhere along the way the guards met with the Chokwe who had run away from the war, but now returning. An argument issued between the two parties, proposing that the King should be killed, instead of taking him back to his palace!


They finally decided to kill the dangerous Mbunda Monarch. But they discovered that neither their guns, knives, axes nor arrows could kill him. But the Chokwe could inflict terrible wounds on King Katavola II Musangu and he suffered greatly. Eventually, when the suffering was too great, King Katovola II Musangu told them if they wanted him dead, they had to fetch a young girl who had not yet reached puberty. Then have her break an egg on his head with a pestle and they would have their desire. They did that and King Katavola II Musangu died there and then.


The Chokwe guards realised that they could not go forward to the Kovongo capital of the dead Monarch. In a quandary as to which action to follow they also realized they could not go backwards to the Luwe area of Chief Mushilinjinji, as they could not know what fate would meet them there. They tried to burn the body of the slain Mbunda Monarch but each time they tried to set it afire it jumped to another location. The Chokwe guards then ran away, all the way back to their original homeland in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


When King Katavola II Musangu did not arrive at the palace in Kovongo within a few days of the Mbunda-Chokwe battle, the Mbunda went to enquire of their Monarch in the Luwe area. They met a Chokwe group which had been dispatched to ascertain whether the Mbunda King had reached his capital safely. Both groups then discovered the body of the dead King Katavola II Musangu.


King Katavola II Musangu's uncle, the tough Prince Lyondthzi Kapova, in return made Mushilinjinji to pay five cattle and thirty slaves, promised a systematic war of vengeance against the Chokwe for his nephew's death. It is as a result of these battles, as well as those unleashed by Prince Lyondthzi Kapova on the Chokwe that the cousinship (vutekulu) between the Mbunda and the Chokwe developed.

The Mbunda re-engage the Chokwe in war in Mbundaland

After the unusual death of King Katavola II Musangu at the hands of the Chokwe, his uncle, known as Prince Lyondthzi Kapova played a significant role in the reprisals against the Chokwe together with another Prince Limbuti. Prince Lyondthzi Kapova and Prince Limbuti had marshalled their forces and personally led them in destroying and wreaking a bloody trail of vengeance against the fortified stockades (vimpaka) of the Chokwe chiefs and their subjects. The stockade (cimpaka) of Mwa Ndumba in the Kwitu valley, the stockade of Mwa Kanyika and the stockade of Mwa Chinjenge in the Kwandu valley were all attacked. Most of the Chokwe encountered in those areas and in the locality of the Kovongo valley were killed and their bodies thrown in rivers, burnt or beheaded and impaled on stakes. The Chokwe chief Chinjenge surrendered to Prince Lyondthzi Kapova. Mostly only the youthful and attractive Chokwe females were taken and spared as captives.

The war that followed during the mourning of King Katavola II Musangu gave birth to the Mbunda and Chokwe cousinship, up to today, and extended to Zambia. However, the Chokwes who did not migrate to Mbundaland and remained in their country of origin (Democratic Republic of the Congo), do not know about this cousinship that came about because of the King Katavola II Musangu war, because their forefathers did not witness that war. Some are only imitating the cousinship and applying it in a different way from the Chokwe and the Mbunda of Mbundaland. It is customary for most Africans to have cousinship relations after a war. It is a good custom because it heals the wounds of war and promote peace and friendship among the warring parties.


Long ago, Kings used to be war marshals, they used to die in wars, because they used to fight themselves physically. The Mbunda Nkangala also participated in the Katavola Musangu war. They are the ones that destroyed mwa Chinjenge stokades, in Kwandu, for the Chokwes to surrender.

The Luvale Mbunda War Led By Masambo - Slavery and royal rivalries

During that era there used to be abduction of people in many African countries, to be sold as slaves. The Vimbundu and some white nationals used to abduct people and sell them to white men. Confusion engulfed African as ethnic groups fought each other in a quest to abduct people for sell, in exchange with cloth, guns, blankets and other goods.

In Luvale there was a nobleman who used to abduct people for sale to Vimbundu, in turn Vimbundu would sale to white men. This nobleman had his military men who used to fight and abduct people, his name was Masambo.


Masambo entered Mbundaland at Lunjweva river fighting Mbunda villages to abduct slaves for sale. He jumped about at the banks of Lunjweva river, with his war head gear, boasting and threatening to behead all the Mbunda. The Luvale were anxious to break the military power and independence of the Mbunda state and wanted to capture slaves for sale. King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova also led the Mbunda in their armed confrontation with the Luvale. The two opposing military forces engaged each other in armed combat in the Lunjweva area and King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova shot and killed Masambo,[19] the leader of the invading Luvale forces. With the elimination of Masambo, the invaders were put to rout and forced to beat a hasty and disorderly retreat back to their homeland.

Portuguese Incursions in Mbundaland

With the passage of time, the Portuguese colonists were cajoled by their merchant representatives into developing a keener interest in the uncolonized territories in the interior and those farther east of their immediate occupation. This pressure on the Portuguese colonists was sustained for a long time because the commercial interests of the Portuguese merchants in these territories had escalated and hence they greatly desired to bring them under sole Portuguese control before the English, farther east, laid their hands on Mbunda country and other territories.

The Portuguese merchants of the brand such as the famous Antonio Francisco da Silva, otherwise known as Silva Porto, realized that it was to their own benefit and advantage as well, as of Portugal that the Portuguese hastened to bring the remaining territories under their firm control. As it became obvious that, Angola or Portuguese West Africa would eventually be surrounded by non-Portuguese controlled territories thus making an impossibility of the presumed union of Angola and Mozambique, the Portuguese merchants grew more embittered and desperate. They begged the Portuguese authorities to use their power and influence to establish missions and forts in the uncontrolled territories’ such as Luchazi, Nyemba and Mbunda so as to forestall foreign agents acting on behalf of better organized foreign European powers or competitors.


As an introductory step towards the implementation of the policy of colonizing Mbundaland, the Portuguese authorities dispatched a number ofPortuguese traders to set up trading posts under the escort of armed pombeiros, mulattoes and assorted groups of various ethnicities which originated from the western, southern and south-western hinterlands and coastal areas under the heel of the brutal Portuguese colonialism. Portuguese merchants of the likes nicknamed as "Kamulingi" (meaning small gourd), "Saluwe" in Nengu at its confluence with the Luwe river, "Kapiyo" in Kashwango, "Chayevala" in N'inda of Lumbala Ngimbu, another "Kapiyo in Kembo," Kamuku (meaning 'little rat') in Lwati, "Lima Samakaka" at the source of the Kashwango, in the area of Chief Likina, "Pelela", and many other merchants established trading posts in other areas of Mbundaland. The Portuguese traders established themselves with endless expeditions that were sent to replenish the requisite merchandise; from the hinterland of the Biye plateau and from points farther afield on the Atlantic coastline where the Portuguese had already installed themselves as unscrupulous conquerors and colonialists, after fierce wars of resistance against Portuguese colonialism.


As time went by, the Portuguese traders and their pombeiros experienced the resistance of the Mbunda led by their Monarch, King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova also called Kathzima Mishambo (the Extinguisher of Flames) against Portuguese colonialism and its avarice. Notwithstanding the flourishing commerce with the Portuguese traders, the Mbunda remained firmly opposed to the loss of their sovereignty through colonization. King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova and his subjects were well aware of the approaching Portuguese authoritarianism, of which their fellow African compatriots to the west, south-west, to the north, north-west and along the coastline had not been able to keep off their territories despite stiff armed resistance.


From their experience with the Portuguese and knowing the experience of others, King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova and his Mbunda people knew that they would probably have to shed blood in armed opposition to the relentless on-march of Portuguese colonialism in order to retain their freedom.

Establishment of Cities and Paying Tax

After Portuguese traders, there came other Portuguese white men who wanted to settle in Mbundaland. These turned out to be Portuguese Government officials, whose aim was to occupy the land and build cities. They requested for permission from Chiefs to built, and they were allowed. They brought with them gifts such as guns and cloth fabrics and gave King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova. The King and his subjects were convinced that these white men like Kamuku and other traders, opening trading shops. Those cities had white and black soldiers. There was neighborliness between whites of the cities and traders.

After a few years, those white visitors, went to find out from King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova, the population of Mbundaland. The King was ignorant about figures but just asserted that they were quite many. They requested the King if he would allow them to count the people in the land, so that they would give him the exact figure. A subtle move, like a Mbunda ardent "Chitakaya akakovela mu vunjandu" (jiggers enter human flesh as a flea). The King permitted them and the white men counted all the people in the land, starting with the Palace.

Two years later, the white men returned to the King with a proposition that people should pay a specific quantity of rubber each, which the white men would eventually sell to coastline cities and Portugal, to raise money for development of his Kingdom. The King objected, contending that, his subjects give royal gifts to him only. He reminded the white men that they also had to pay royal gifts to him when they settled in his land. They conquered with the King but also reminded him that, that was not for their benefit, but development of the land. The King permitted them, but with a lot of doubts.


The white men of the cities, went throughout the land collecting the rubber tax. There was no money at that time. People never understood the reason for the white men’s settlement in their land. They had no relative and they had to force them pay rubber tax annually. They started realizing that the white men came to persecute them.


During the white men’s visit in villages, collecting the rubber tax, they found some people who could not afford to pay the rubber tax. Those white men started to arrest them, beating them with flat shaped wooden nobs in the palm of their hands, throwing them in prisons and forced labour without any payments, as if they committed serious offence. They remembered the Mbunda ardent, "Chitakaya, wa kovelele ngwe njandu, alyoni mixuni ya munu, nalishetula", (jiggers, entered as a flea, now eating human flesh, well established).


Realizing the persecussion, people reported to the King the white men’s cruelty. The King and his Noblemen (Vimyata) got very furious. They sounded the war drums, to call people to assemble at the Palace. People assembled to discuss the problem. King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova and his Noblemen, resolved to chase the white men from their land.


When the white men heard about the resolution to chase them from the land, they schemed a way to abduct King Mbandu I Lyondthzi kapova from Mbundaland and have him killed elsewhere, because he is the one powerful enough to chase them from the land. They also sort for a King’s relative whom they would convince to would allow them to remain in the land. In their quest, they found Prince Kathzungo Shanda, a nephew to King Lyondthzi Kapova and one earmarked to succeed him, according to Mbunda custom. Secretly they promised to help him in any ways he wanted in his Kingdom.

The Cause Of The First Mbunda Uprising Against Portuguese Traders

The Portuguese colonial administrative officials had the practice of holding as hostages, wives of those Mbunda villagers who could not afford to pay the pole tax Lithimu)'. At a circumcision camp (Mukanda) at Chikunga village, at Luwe stream where a Portuguese trader, who was locally called 'Saluwe,' had a shop. The Portuguese officials who were on tour of tax collection had taken women whose husbands had not been able to pay the pole tax as hostages in order to force their husbands to pay. These Portuguese officials decided to do the most barbaric thing to the women hostages. They made kraal that resembled a circumcision camp(where women were not even allowed to venture) and persecuted them there, to force their husbands to pay the pole tax. The women were only pinched and not circumcised. The act shocked the people of Chikunga a Chokwe village in Luwe inside Mbundaland and the other villages. They beat the tax collectors to death, took their arms and went on a rampage, beating the Portuguese traders and burning the trading posts. Saluwe was killed. When the shocking news of persecuting women at a Mukanda circumcision camp reached other Mbunda chiefs areas the reaction was the same violent one. Traders Samakaka, Kapiyo of Kembo, Chayevala of N’inda ya Ngimbu were killed, their shops were looted and burnt. The other Kapiyo of Upper Kashwango was rescued by the local Chief Likina because they had been on very friendly terms.

Small traders shops were equally looted and burnt; their wives were taken as part of the loot and were 'married' by their captors. Some traders managed to escape to Kangamba administrative centre (Mbongi) where the Portuguese had first established themselves as colonial rulers of the Mbunda country. It was named after Chief Kangamba, the Mbunda local chief whom the Portuguese colonial officials found in that area when they first came and built their colonial centre there. This episode was followed by a war of reprisals against the Mbunda waged by the Portuguese colonial masters and their supporting forces.

King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova and the Portuguese

The surviving Portuguese traders and Portuguese colonists were greatly alarmed by this situation and hastened to bring the kingdom of King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova "Kathzima Mishambo" under their colonization and tight control. Portuguese officials accompanied by armed soldiers and escorts were dispatched to set up forts (vimbongi) in various areas of Mbundaland. Subsequent to the establishment of these administrative centres, the Portuguese colonialists introduced a controversial poll tax throughout the endangered Kingdom of King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova "Kathzima Mishambo". King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova and his subjects realized that their kingdom had been penetrated by a malignant race and a malevolent system which desired the usurpation of their freedom and the occupation of their motherland. The Portuguese colonists, for their part, were cognizant of the fact that even though the Mbunda Monarchs detested colonialism, especially King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova Kathzima Mishambo, they could assert their authority by undertaking strategies which would undermine coordinated Mbunda opposition to Portuguese rule. Since King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova would be bound to play major role in any future armed revolt against Portuguese colonialism, the Portuguese colonists discretely set about finding an amenable Mbunda royal who would support Portuguese ambitions. The Portuguese colonists found just the appropriate royal option to King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova in the figurehead of Prince Kathzungo Shanda who was a nephew of the Monarch. Prince Kathzungo Shanda was the son of Chieftainess Kameya Kashukwe who in turn was the daughter of Chieftainess Vukolo Ngimbu Kanchungwa. Behind the scenes he was promised a favoured royal status if he acceded to the will of the Portuguese colonialists. The Portuguese colonists had counted on exploiting Chieftainess Kathzungo Shanda's position and eagerness to influence King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova and the majority of his subjects into abandoning their abhorrence to Portuguese rule in preference to its accommodation which was tantamount to an unconditional capitulation to colonialism. But they were not to have their way so easily as the Mbunda were not resigned to give away their Kingdom and freedom.

The Portuguese colonists decided to make a preemptive move against this opposition to their rule. They privately collaborated with one of the Portuguese merchants in Lwati, where King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova's Kalyamba palace was based, to summon the King on their behalf. This Portuguese trader nicknamed "Kamuku" (the little rat) by the indigenous people was a friend of the King due to the reciprocal trade ties between them. King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova, who had on many occasions shared cordial conversations and business transactions with "Kamuku" did not have cause to suspect the jeopardy attached to the acceptance of Kamuku's request for him to discuss some routine points of commerce. King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova, accompanied by Prime Minister, Consort (Mukwetunga) Shwana Mbambale, his two personal physicians and special aides, Nobleman (Mwata) Kambalameko and Nobleman Vitumbi along with some members of the royal guard did not know that Kamuku's trading post was entirely ringed by hidden Portuguese soldiers, some of whom were mounted on horseback, with a band of veteran troops posted inside the house itself. The King of the Mbunda and his escort were duly conducted inside the house where his friend, the Portuguese merchant nicknamed Kamuku and the Portuguese troops were waiting for him.


After Kamuku greeted the King and his entourage, the white commander of the Portuguese troops, who was nicknamed "Kahombo", asked the King if he was King Mbandu, the King affirmed. Kahombo then got a chain from his pocket and put it around one of the King’s hand, as an identity. He then politely, but forcefully, told King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova that the Portuguese Governor (Nguvulu wa Kama) demanded an audience with the King and had dispatched his troops to escort the "Great King" for that very purpose. The Mbunda Monarch calmly replied that the commander should make it clear to the Governor that, as he was the sovereign ruler of the Mbunda country, he had the right to counter-demand that the governor should instead travel to the Mbunda country since he was the one who wished to have an audience with the Monarch. For his own part King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova had no desire whatsoever to see the governor in far away Luanda.

The Portuguese abduction of King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova

The Portuguese commander and his subordinates insisted that they could not go back without the "Great King" because the governor simply demanded to have an audience with him and it was within his right and power to do so and, besides, his troops were available to give the "Great King" safe conduct to the governor. Then suddenly, Portuguese soldiers came from other bedrooms with guns to abduct King Mbandu.

While the polemics between King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova and his Portuguese opponents were going on, the Mbunda found out that their sovereign was under duress from the Portuguese. The Mbunda quickly organized themselves and their battle-tested warriors were only too ready to rescue their Monarch by taking on the Portuguese troops and liquidating them to the last man. Apparently taken aback and furious that the Portuguese colonists (Vindele Tuluvambi) would lure their Monarch into something which amounted to a trap, the assembled Mbunda warriors, royals and courtiers from the Kalyamba Palace and its environs were debating as to whether an onslaught on Kamuku's trading post, with the aim of rescuing their King, would be too dangerous and jeopardize his life. While some of them were for an immediate attack to rescue the King, yet others were for restraint so as not to endanger his life while he was closeted with Portuguese desperadoes who would do anything.


For the Mbunda warriors who tucked gunpowder kegs under their head rests at night and slept with their guns, bows and arrows as well as double-edged machetes (mikwale) close at hand, it took all the composure they could master not to attack the Portuguese when provoked to such an extent. In the midst of all this activity, Prince Kathzungo Shanda, nephew and ambitious heir-apparent to the King, accompanied by Prince Mumbamba Lyondthzi and Prince Limbwambwa Kalyangu and by a number of important courtiers was summoned to confer with King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova inside Kamuku's house within the trading post fortifications. It is alleged that Prince Kathzungo Shanda had urged his uncle the King to exercise caution and compromise with the Portuguese by allowing himself to be peacefully conducted to the governor to hear his views as well as to negotiate for his position. As a tactical maneuver the King appeared to have agreed to go along with the Portuguese demands that he be escorted to see the governor. In actual fact, he did not intend to succumb to Portuguese pressure nor to capitulate lamely without shedding blood for blood. Within earshot of his courtiers King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova Kathzima Mishambo (the Extinguisher of Flames) instructed his nephew Prince Kazungo Shanda that after he had been taken away by the Portuguese troops, Shanda should take the King's special loaded gun (vuta vwa Mwene) with magical powers and fire it at the midday sun. The King told his nephew and the courtiers that when the esoteric ritual had been carried out as directed he would then become invisible to the Portuguese troops who would be escorting him and he could make his way back to the Kalyamba Palace headquarters in Lwati.


Little did King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova Kathzima Mishambo know that his nephew was an ambitious traitor and would not follow the King's instructions. King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova, his Prime Minister Shwana Mbambale, his two personal physicians and special aides, Nobleman (Mwata) Kambalameko and Nobleman Vitumbi, some important courtiers as well as a number of his bodyguards were kidnaped and taken away in 1914 by Portuguese colonial troops mounted on horseback.[20] Some of those kidnaped with the King were released at Kangamba and returned, but some were taken to Bie and their capital city and beyond. King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova kathzima Mishambo’s fate at the hands of the Portuguese is not known to date. All what is known is that he went forever and never returned to his Kalyamba palace in Lwati. No one has ever attempted to explain exactly what happened to King Mbandu. The Portuguese kept what they did to him as a secret!


King Mbandu was abducted from his Kingdom, other Mbunda Chiefs and their subjects did not know what happened at King Mbandu’s Palace in Lwati. They were shocked to hear that King Mbandu was abducted in Kamuku’ house and shop near the King’s Palace.


People gathered at King Mbandu’s Palace after his abduction to Kangamba. Prince Kathzungo Shanda was reminded to follow the Kings instructions of shooting at the sun using the King’s magical gun. But Prince Kathzungo Shanda refused to follow the instruction so that the King would return to his Palace in Lwati.


Thereafter, the Portuguese started taking more soldiers to Mbundaland and forcing people to pay poll tax. People suffered but nothing was known to have been done by King Kathzungo Shanda who supported the white men in encouraging his people to accept the poll tax instruction. Some white men of the cities used to sleep in the Palace of King Kathzungo Shanda, from there they would go in villages arresting people over poll tax and eventually taking them to cities where they were beaten and thrown into prisons. Even his participation in the war that followed King Mbandu’s abduction is not known.

City of Kangamba in Mbundaland

Kangamba, where King Mbandu was taken was part of Mbundaland under Mbunda Chieftainship which is still existing to date. Chief Kangamba is a Mbunda chief. In Chief Kangamba’s area, that is where the Portuguese built their first city in Mbundaland. Chief Kangamba and his Noblemen were subjugated by the Portuguese without a fight. However, though Kangamba was occupied by the white men without a fight, it was later given to their allies the Luchazi who helped them fight the Mbunda, in a typical Portuguese divide and rule tactics. This is as given in a Mbunda, ardent which says: "Kathzila ka vinjamba na vate", (an elephant bird trap). This explained says; a bird would go to a hunter and warn, "see the elephants are there!". It will then go to the elephants and warn, "see the hunter is there!" That was how the Portuguese divided the Luchazi from their brothers, the Mbunda of Chief Kangamba and other Mbunda people in general.

The Portuguese started by tricking Chief Kangamba before they went to trick Prince Kathzungo Shanda who eventually became King Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda. These Royalties thought the Portuguese have uplifted their Chieftainship by giving them great respect. In the turn of events, the Portuguese appointed their own Sobas (Chiefs) to occupy and govern Mbundaland.


Some white men of the cities used to sleep in the Place of King Kazungo Shanda, from there they would go in villages arresting people over poll tax and eventually taking them to cities where they were beaten and thrown into prisons. Even his participation in the war that followed King Mbandu’s abduction is not known.


When King Mbandu Lyothzi Kapova was taken to Kangamba during his abduction, the Sobas there did not defend the King because they were Portuguese stooges, who were already subjugated by the white men. They never even took part in the Kolongongo war (the Mbunda/Portuguese war).[21] The Sobas and the Portuguese suppressed Chief Kangamba’s people from taking part in the war.

Kolongongo War - Mbunda/Portuguese War Following abduction of King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova

Messages of distress had already been dispatched throughout Mbundaland to the numerous Mbunda princes who ruled as chiefs to prepare to face the Portuguese colonists who had abducted "Kathzima Mishambo." The Mbunda royalty, warriors and courtiers converged on the Kalyamba palace headquarters in Lwati to the sound of war drums which pulsated in all directions. They had come to devise a strategy of resistance in the light of the abduction of their Monarch by the loathed Portuguese colonialists.

Prince Kathzungo Shanda was reminded to perform the ritual as directed by the kidnaped King Mbandu Kapova Kathzima "Mishambo" (the Extinguisher of Flames) in order to facilitate his escape from the Portuguese forces which had taken him and his compatriots away. To their chagrin he was not prepared to do anything of the sort. He argued that such action would only endanger his uncle's life. Emotional arguments were raised against Prince Kathzungo Shanda's treasonous sentiments. Nevertheless, he refused to change his position and would not carry out the ritual as directed by "Kathzima Mishambo."


It is believed that King Mbunda Lyondthi Kapova and his compatriots were taken on horseback to Kangamba Boma and into the hinterland of the Biye plateau and then onwards' to Luanda on the Atlantic coast (Mbaka ya Kalumga-mema) and into oblivion.


After looting shops and beating up white men, Portuguese came with soldiers composed of different ethnic groups to fight the Mbunda in Mbundaland, to occupy and make it part of Angola. White men and other ethnic groups from the coastline including the Luchazi, the Luimbi, the Ngonjelo, the Nyemba and Milatu were recruited as soldiers to fight against the Mbunda in Mbundaland. These are ethnic groups in the west of Mbundaland, whose lands were earlier occupied by the Portuguese without resistance, and therefore joined the Portuguese forces to help them occupy other ethnic groups lands. In those days, native ethnic groups looked at white men like gods and their fellow natives, like animals.


The whole Mbundaland was engulfed in war with the white men and their soldiers, except for few areas and Kangamba, which was earlier occupied and built a city in a Mbunda Chief Kangamba’s land. This was the time when King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova "Kathzima Mishambo" had already been abducted, and taken to their place. Prince Kathzungo Shanda had also been installed as the 22nd Mbunda Monarch. However, the Portuguese did not fight him in the war that raged in Mbundaland. People suffered in the land, but their King was in a peaceful relationship with the Portuguese.


The enraged Mbunda warriors led by Chief Katota, Prince Thinganyeka, Prince Shwana Nyumbu, Prince Njamba, Prince Shwana Lyelu, Prince Mumbamba, Prince Kalyangu, Chief Lyelu, as well as war leaders like Mwata Kaliki and some Chokwe warriors applied war paint on their bodies and faces, took up their arms and embarked on the warpath against anything Portuguese in their land. Those few Portuguese traders who survived the first uprising, along with Portuguese Boma officials and their henchmen were promptly killed, beheaded and impaled on stakes in various areas of Mbundaland. The Portuguese Bomas and trading posts were ransacked and burnt down with frightening vengeance. In the general insurrection that ensued the Portuguese colonists dispatched troops to deal with the Mbunda. The Mbunda who had been making special slugs to go with the gunpowder of their muzzle loaders also employed bows and arrows which were effective at long ranges with deadly accuracy. They set up ambushes at various vantage and strategic points which were unknown to the Portuguese forces. They displayed remarkable skill and ferocity vis-a-vis the Portuguese forces, most of whom were felons, outcastes, fortune-seekers, adventurers and criminal elements of various shades, either deported or imported from Portugal, Brazil and many other such places.


The Mbunda warriors lay flat on their bellies within good range of the Portuguese forces, clutching their muzzle loaders. They took aim at the Portuguese troops and fired all at once, then the arrays of gunners would shove back the fired guns to yet other arrays of warriors who loaded them with alacrity before shoving them back to the gunners for another round of fire. In the midst of this frenzied activity yet another array of expert archers also took heavy toll of their Portuguese foes. In the initial waves of Portuguese onslaughts they were soundly routed and compelled to retreat for reinforcements. The fallen and wounded Portuguese captives were beheaded with a double-edged sword (mukwale) and their heads impaled on sharp sticks and displayed in many parts of Mbundaland. Chief Katota earned his bloody soubriquet of "Katota kalya Vwongo" which means "Katota the Brain Eater" due to the fact that he cracked open Portuguese skulls in his battles against them. Chief Katota kalya Vwongo (Katota the Brain-Eater), a number of other Princes and warrior leaders (vantwama va ndthzita of the likes of Nobleman Kaliki were the central figures of the armed resistance against Portuguese colonialism.

The Portuguese Invite Horse Back Fighting Mercenary (Kolongongo)

When the Portuguese saw that the Mbunda resistance was getting stronger, they invited a very experienced white man soldier in horse back fighting technics. As the Mbunda fought the white man on a horse back, they were astonished to see his technic, as he was shooting at them while the horse was running. The Mbunda asked themselves questions; What sot of a white man is this? Where is this white man coming from? That was because all the other white men they fought previously, were not as strong as that one. That white man was therefore nicknamed "Kolongongo, Kakundukundu (whirlwind)!

Kolongongo, in this context represented Portuguese colonialism, whereas Kolongongo was the name which the Mbunda gave the white chief field commander of the Portuguese forces who happened to be mounted on a dashing white horse. As the war wore on, the Portuguese colonists mobilized more and more white troops, a substantial portion of which were mounted on horses brought in from the coast and the hinterlands in order to carry out other military engagements against the embattled Mbunda. In their desperation to defeat the anti-colonialist Mbunda, they drafted fellow Africans into their forces. Various ethnicities like the Vimbali, Kimbundu, Kikongo, Luchazi, Nyemba, Humbi, Ngonjelo, Luimbi, Holo, Hungu, Imbangala and Mulattos were deployed against the besieged Mbunda for the purpose of breaking their armed resistance as well as to sow the seeds of political discord and animosity between them.


Some of these African ethnicities had, like the Mbunda also fought against the Portuguese colonists while some of them had capitulated to Portuguese subjugation without much armed resistance.

The Mbunda Call Upon The Nkwambi As Allies

When the Mbunda, saw that the Portuguese forces had increased in number. The Mbunda were surprised to see fellow blacks teaming up with the white men to fight the Mbunda. Even the Luchazi who came to settle in Mbundaland were also among the whites fighting and beating up people in the Mbunda villages. It was shameful in the land! That prompted the Mbunda to also invite ethnic groups from Chivanda (Namibia). For their part, they invited the Nkwambi to fight alongside them in their struggle against Portuguese domination. Vakwambi means mercenaries. The Mbunda like Katota Kalya Vwongo recruited Vakwambi, mostly from southern Angola/Namibian areas. They were promised a share in the spoils should the Portuguese be driven from the country. Unfortunately the Nkwambi were not very good soldiers and contributed little in the military encounters against the colonialist forces.

The Vakwambi did not come with guns, they came with bows and arrows with flammable material tied around the arrows, which would set the Portuguese houses on fire when shot at. The Mbunda and Vakwambi fought and burnt the Portuguese buildings with these arrows. The Mbunda refer to this war as Ndthzita ya Kolongongo or Ndthzita ya Nkwambi. The Mbunda refer to all mercenaries as Vakwambi, even those who fought with the Portuguese. The word itself is not Mbunda, it appears to originate in western Angola.


The Mbunda continued to wage fierce armed campaigns in their desperate bid to maintain their independence of Portuguese subjugation. Chief Katota kalya Vwongo (Katota the Brain Eater), Prince Mumbamba Lyondthzi, Prince Limbwambwa Kalyangu, Prince Shwana Nyumbu and Prince Thinganyeka journeyed to present day Namibia in order to enlist the military support of other nationalities. It appears that they were unsuccessful. 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 possess the know-how essential to the making of gunpowder eventually found the muzzle-loaders to be absolutely useless. The Mbunda used to buy gunpowder from the Vimbundu and the white men, that time they had nowhere to turn too, to buy the commodity.


The old Mbunda ardent came to be a reality to them, which said: "Akunyila njamba co ukajwela ku ndonga, oshe akunyila ndonga ukajwela kuli?" (If an elephant defecated on you, you will go and wash at a river, what if a river defecated on you, where will you go to wash?). This old ardent means; the Mbunda felt like a river has defecated on them and they had nowhere to go and wash. If it were like nowadays, they would have dispatched some to go and purchase gunpowder from other countries, to continue fighting the Portuguese. 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 Portuguese forces embarked on a campaign of vengeance against the Mbunda. They engaged Mbunda forces led by Prince Shwana Nyumbu in N'inda area. In the pitched battle that followed it was said that there were proportional casualties on both sides. Consort (Mukwetunga) Lyato was among those who lost their lives in this epic military encounter where a traditional strategy specialist named Vushuka Isha Kathzila also featured prominently. The Portuguese forces also converged on Mbunda forces led by Prince Lyelu in Kashwango area. The besieged Mbunda fought fearlessly, but despite that, Prince Lyelu was captured whilst his courtiers Nobleman (Mwata) Hungu, Nobleman Chitakala and Nobleman Kathuta were killed. The colonialist forces confronted Mbunda forces in the other N'inda where they killed Prince Njamba, his courtier Mwata Mufungula and many other people. Meanwhile Prince Ngoveka was left unscathed in Mushuma area while Prince-Consorts Mundanya and Kupwakwanjeke as well as large numbers of people were killed in Lwati area. The triumphant colonist forces descended on many areas of Mbundaland exacting untold atrocities in their wake. Multitudes of women, children to the extent of stuffing babies into mortars and pounded to death or disemboweled or shot in the head, men and their livestock were slaughtered and their granaries and villages plundered and burnt. The Mbunda were overwhelmed despite the many early victories. The superior firepower of the Portuguese turned the tide of military waves in their favour.


Dispirited as they were, the Mbunda nevertheless fought on to the bitter end even though they realized that their cause and crusade

against Portuguese subjugation was now lost. With the Mbunda defeat, the Portuguese finally colonialised Mbundaland and added it to the other colony Angola to make it one country in 1917.[22] The majority of Mbunda Princes or chieftains and their people, resigned themselves to their fate and decided to stay on in their homeland. A minority elected to emigrate into present day Namibia and Zambia. Some of the princes and chiefs who emigrated into the Barotse Protectorate were as follows: Prince Katota kalya Vwongo (The Eater of Brains), Prince Lindeho or Mulyata, Prince Kankanga, Prince Shwana Ngimbu, Prince Kangombe, Prince Shwana Mutenga, Prince Shwana Njamba, Prince Kavuvi, Prince Mumbamba Lyondthzi, Prince Lyangengela, Prince Chinyundu, Prince Ngunga, Prince Chiputa and Prince Limbwambwa Kalyangu.


Chief Katota kalya Vwongo settled in Zongwe in Barotseland now Zambia, where he died. He left Mbundaland after the Kolongongo war. He was not in their administration with Sobas. Katota kalya Vwongo was known by past white men in the town of Kaoma (Mankoya), that he was a powerful personality who gave a lot of respect to chieftainship. Even the Lukena chieftainship of Mwene Mutondo in Kaoma (Mankoya) knew him.

The Mbunda Kingdom Under King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda - In Portuguese Ruled Angola

King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Xaanda, the 22nd Monarch of Mbundaland


The subservient Prince Kathzungo Shanda, a nephew of the kidnapped King Mbandu Lyondthzi Kapova was quickly recognized as a traditional chief, (soba, in Portuguese) of the entire Mbunda nation by the victorious Portuguese colonists. He was the son of Chieftainess Kameya Kashukwe, the daughter of Chieftainess Vukola Ngimbu Kanchungwa, and mother to King Mbandu I Londthzi Kapova. He built his own palace at Lwati and reigned as the twenty second Mbunda Monarch even though his own people did not enthrone him in accordance with the established, traditional royal ritual. Meanwhile the colonists rewarded him with colonial uniforms and the privilege to be carried about in a hammock like some colonial administrator. This was against traditional privilege which entitled Mbunda Monarchs and chiefs to be carried about on the backs of ox bulls which were adorned with ringing bells.

King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda built his palace named Kalyamba, near the palace left by his uncle King Mwene Mbandu I Kapova. After the first palace he built a second one named Livingi, with a distance of twenty kilometres between them. In each palace he had four wives.


His cabinet consisted of the following:

Though he ruled during the Portuguese occupation from 1914 to 1974, he was a Mbunda monarch for all the Mbunda people and their chieftainships in Angola, Zambia, Congo and Namibia. The Portuguese colonialists did not give King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda political governance over his chiefs, but he had the birthright monarch governance. He was given respect as a Mbunda monarch in the whole country, including those in the diaspora like Zambia. That respect gave him authority to govern all his chiefs in their respective palaces in Mbundaland.


Atrocities of The Portuguese Colonialists and Their Mercenaries

Subsequent to the defeat of the Mbunda, Portuguese colonialism displayed the barbarism which is gradually associated with Portuguese colonialism in Africa. Perhaps it stemmed from the fact that the Portuguese back home in Portugal itself were, at that time, a backward European nation in many aspects of human endeavor. The colonialists employed divide and rule methods of pitting the Mbunda against their fellow Africans in their quest to consolidate their suppression of them. Those fellow Africans of the Mbunda who were deployed against them as mercenaries were people who had surrendered to Portuguese subjugation without armed opposition or people who, like the Mbunda, had been vanquished by colonial forces after waging bloody battles against them. It was those fellow Africans of the Mbunda, led by some of the most criminal elements of white and mulatto buccaneers, who committed massacres against defenseless children and women. Babies and children were stuffed into mortars and pounded to death or disemboweled or shot in the head. Beautiful women were taken as wives under duress whereas the youth were drafted into wageless construction labour and dissidents were shot on the spot. Repression washed over Mbundaland as the colonists strove to bring the resistant Mbunda under their subjugation.[23]

Most of the Portuguese white men who occupied Mbundaland were not credible from their country of origin. Very few were credible. Most of them were of questionable character, who were sent to Portuguese occupied lands. Some were thieves, rapists, criminals, murderers of their fellow white men, unemployed roaming about causing despondency, poor without means of living. Such are the ones the Portuguese Government used to send to their occupied lands, in order for them to find a new way of life. They were rejected by their country of origin. These rejected white men, when they arrived in the Portuguese occupied lands, saw the natives of the land as animals. They even regarded the chiefs of the land they found as inferior. The criminal activities which caused their rejection from their country of origin increase! The Portuguese aim in sending these characters was to subdue and break the resolve of the black man to defend his land! That was the type of white Portuguese men who fought the Mbunda. When war came to the end, that was the kind of characters who assumed the administration responsibilities in occupying the land. That in itself worsened the development of the land, resulting in cruelty and anarchy, perpetuated from administrative towns.


Royal family chiefs lost their honor and respect, and replaced by soldiers allies. Those war leaders were called "Soma" or "Sova", meaning chief in Portuguese and gave them authoritative power to rule Mbundaland as tools for local Government administration. Those Sova and soldiers persecuted the Mbunda in villages. They used Luchazi soldiers and other ethnic groups close to Luchazi. Little did these ethnic groups realize that, the Portuguese used them as tools, they thought they regarded them as the wise ones.


The poll tax persecution increased in Mbundaland, men and women were made to build roads with whips like oxen! Beautiful women were abducted from their husbands and parents in villages and forcibly married or made servants by soldiers and messengers. Men who tried to resist were shot at in the head or taken to their cities for bloody corporal punishment.


Most of the people who were taken from villages to big cities like Lumbala Nguimbo by soldiers and messengers perished there. Once a person is taken to such cities, the relatives and friends would get very worried. The Mbunda, with their military power and collective spirit and prestige broken and scattered, feared those cities because of the constant disappearance of many people there.


Lumbala was an administrative center where a bigger city was built by the Portuguese and named it; Gago Countinho, which today is called Lumbala Nguimbo. It became the centre for torture and liquidation. Those who were sent there never returned to their villages. Because of this, yet more disillusioned Mbunda emigrated to Barotseland (ku Njenie) which is in present day Western and Northwestern Provinces of Zambia and some went as far as present day Namibia (Chivanda). That is the area where Chieftainess Vukolo Ngimbu, the mother to King Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova, who was abducted by the Portuguese, built a Palace. Up to today in Mbunda language, if someone was sick and they say he has gone to Lumbala, it means he is dead.


The Luchazi who had earlier settled amongst the Mbunda were generally victimized by the Mbunda. Hence when opportunity for vengeance presented itself through the Portuguese colonists, some Luchazi, certainly not all, took this opportunity to settle old scores with the Mbunda, encouraged by the Portuguese policy of divide, exploit and rule. The Portuguese took advantage of the strained relationship which existed at that time between the Mbunda and the Luchazi.


In the period that followed the entrenchment of colonialism in Mbundaland, a burning hatred for the Portuguese colonists developed among the Mbunda because of their policy of rewarding those Luchazi (recompensa in Portuguese) who had lamely surrendered to the colonists without any armed resistance and who came to settle in Mbundaland especially in the following bomas: Kwitu-Kwanavale, Mpili, Kunjamba, Mavinga, Lwenge, Likinya, Livungu, Nankova, Muuye, Kangombe, Sheshe, Kashamba, Mwangayi, Tembwe and Kangamba. This recompensa also took the form of a deliberate and calculated imposition of the Luchazi language as the official native lingua franca in form of Ngangela in seven out of the more than fifteen Mbunda speaking bomas, namely: Muuye ruled by Chief Ngandalo and Chief Mbambo Kangombe, Kashamba ruled by Chief Kangombe ka Thapeyo ya Thingithingi and Chief Nyundu and Chief Limbuti lya Mungindu, Sheshe ruled by Chief Likupe, Mwene Lyelu, Mwene Chameya Kanyanga and Mwene Kambindomyoko, Mwangayi ruled by Chief Soma, Tembwe, Kangamba ruled by Mwene Kangamba Kalilonge, Mwene Kangamba Kaloloki Palata, Mwene Kangamba Liti lya Vwanda, Mwene Kangamba Chinkelenga, Mwene Kangamba Sumpu and Mwene Kangamba Loloji Chimbayi.


Lutembwe and Lumayi on the Luvweyi river also belonged to Mbundaland. The divisions were made by Portuguese colonialists. The establishment of Muuye was preceded by Chikuluyi where Chief Kalimbwe I reigned.


Some of the Mbunda princes or chiefs who had not yet emigrated elsewhere were divested of their titles, as former collaborators brought in were appointed as Sovas or Chiefs in their stead. These appointee chiefs were nothing more than colonial instruments, lackeys and adventurers who were imposed on the vanquished Mbunda in order to break and brutalize their rebellious spirit.

King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda Achievements As a Mbunda monarch

The barbarism of Portuguese colonialism represented by white boma administrators was manifested in its total lack of a sense of social obligation in respect to educational, economic and social policies for the colonized people. It was content to provide the most elementary facilities like basic reading and writing in the vernacular through mission built and funded schools.

In 1948, King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda went with three Mbunda Chiefs to Silva Porto Biê, which today is called Kwito, to meet Government officials; Hortrêncio de Sousa and Idelfonso dos Santos of Moxico Province. This visit was for him to appeal to the Government to build schools in Mbundaland. Chiefs who accompanied King Mbandu II Kazungo Shanda were; His nephew Chief Kalyangu ka Lyapingwa and Chief Kambungo Samukunga. All those came from N’inda in Mbundaland.


That meeting with the Government officials in Luena was sanctioned by the administrator for Lumbala Ngimbu named Lovato Farai and João de Nascimento Rodrigues of Vili Luso, which today is called Luena. This appeal by King Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda was approved on 15 August 1948, by the sending of the first teacher Barnabe José Maria to N’inda.


The Portuguese also tolerated white, mulatto and African brigands who held to ransom people who had returned to Angola after serving their labour contracts in the South African mines or in nearby Namibia or Southern Rhodesia. Ex-workers in these countries had their newly acquired items like: smart shoes, stockings, suits, jackets, shirts, bicycles, hats, scarves, coats, watches, sewing machines and other things, even wives and livestock grabbed from them by white Portuguese administrators in exchange for pitiful token payments which were much less than the value of the confiscated items. That was the best one could expect, to be forced to surrender hard earned goods for token payments. Gratuitous incarceration, corporal punishment or imprisonment awaited those who were unprepared to give away their goods.


Incidents of this type exacerbated the existing tension between the Mbunda and their white colonial masters. One example (of many) comes from the village of Chitenga in N'inda. Three men and women from that village were beheaded by Prince Shwana Ngimbu Kapatiso at his palace after they had been accused of treachery for leaking information to Portuguese officials to the effect that the Mbunda planned to mount attacks against the Bomas. These six victims of Mbunda dissent had their severed heads impaled on the stakes around the royal graves (vingina) of Chief Livenga and Chief Shwana Vitumbi which are located in Lulambo, a tributary of the Lukula river.


Luchazi soldiers and Sovas were still allied to the Portuguese white men! Mbunda Noblemen also urged their youthful sons and nephews to join the military and police service, but that did not help, because persecution and brutality and reached advanced levels. The Mbunda started to migrate to Barotseland again.


Those years, Barotseland was already under the control of the British South African Company, this was before the occupation by the British Government. Even though, the Company was a rich mining exploration company, it never brought confusion in King Liwanika’s land like what the Portuguese brought to Mbundaland. That caused a lot of people to migrate from Mbundaland to Barotseland, because of the peace that prevailed there. Mbundaland was occupied by poor white men.


Those Mbunda chiefs that remained in Mbundaland were stripped of their power and authority. The Mbunda remained astonished by the stripping of power and authority from their royal blood chiefs, and given to foreigners who occupied their land. The Portuguese never brought anything to develop Mbundaland. They forced people in the villages to speak Portuguese language, without schools only a few missionary schools which taught in Luchazi. In addition to Portuguese language, only Luchazi was allowed to be spoken in Cities and Missionary centers.


The Portuguese never wanted to educate local ethnic groups for their enlightenment, but in all the lands they occupied, they only wanted to plunder the natural resources such as: rubber, wax, ivory, animal skins and slaves for sale to South and North America.

The Portuguese Use Luchazi

Some of the Luchazi migrated to Mbundaland and settled among the Mbunda villages. Mbunda chiefs welcomed them and allowed them to settle. They settled in areas such as:

Kwitu Kwanavale: Land of Mbunda Chief Kavalata Kawewe and King Yambayamba Kapanda the thirteenth Mbunda Monarch, that is where King Chingumbe the fourteenth Mbunda Monarch married Lishano Kakuhu ka Musholo during his familiarization trip of visiting all areas his predecessor King Yambayamba Kapanda passed in Mbundaland.

Mpili: Land of Mbunda Chief Ngunga ya Mbalaka ya Musoka.

Mavinga: Land of Mbunda Chief Tuta. King Yambayamba Kapanda left Chief Tuta and Nobleman (Mwata) Kweve in Mavinga, while Chief Likithi lya Muwawa settled in Kwete, during the reign of King Nyumbu Luputa the seventeenth Mbunda Monarch.

Likinya: Land of Mbunda Chief Chiyongo from the time of King Nyumbu Luputa.

Muie: Land of Mbunda Chief Ngandalo and Mbunda Chief Mbamba.

Kangombe: Land of Mbunda Chief Thapeyo ya Thingithingi, along Kavanguyi river, with Chief Nyundu, Chief Limbuti lya Mungindu, Chief Kaliki ka Mambeli and Chief Kambindomyoko.

Kashamba: Landa of Mbunda Chief Thoma.

Mwangayi: Land of Chieftainess Katheketheke and Chief Ndongo, children of Queen Kaamba the seventh Mbunda Monarch who led the Mbunda to Mithimoyi. That is the land King Nyumbu Luputa, Katongotongo likithi lya Mbunda succeeded before he was installed as the seventeenth Mbunda Monarch, when his predecessor King Ngonga Chiteta was installed as the sixteenth Mbunda Monarch and built his Palace in Luvweyi. He came from Mwangayi and Lutwayi where he was sent by his uncle King Chingumbe to succeed the land.

Kangamba: Land of the Mbunda Paramount Chief Kangamba along rivers Kuvanguyi, Kangombe Tembwe, Kashamba and Muuye.

Ntyengu: Land of Mbunda Chief Lyelu lya Makuwa and Chief Chinjanga cha Malemu.

Chikuluyi: Land of Mbunda Chief Kalimbwe.

Chumi: Land of Mbunda Chief Katuya and Chief Kanjonja.

Mushuma: Land of Mbunda Chief Makayi Lyawema and Chief Shwana Mbambi

Sheshe: Land of Mbunda ChiefLikupe and Chief Lyelu.

N’inda Kasanga: Land of Mbunda Chief Kathanga, Chieftainess Kalipate, Chieftainess Malao, Chief Ngongola and Chief Mulyata in Tundombe.

Kunjamba: Land of Mbunda Chief Mbandwa ya Chikeva.

Other lands where Mbunda chiefs reigned were: Lwenge, Nankova, Kashamba, Livungu, Tembwe, Lumbala Ngimbu, Lumayi and Mitete.

The Mbunda and Angola Liberation War

The Mbunda continued to resist Portuguese colonialism, right up to the time of the national liberation struggle against Portuguese colonialism in Angola. They embraced this struggle, with other Angolan peoples, and prosecuted it with vigor and valor. To the present day, in tribute to their abducted great King, Mwene Mbandu I Kapova "Kathzima Mishambo" (The Extinguisher of Flames), the Mbunda still symbolically say:

Na Mwene Mbandu ka vithethzele.

This means,

This was unknown by Mwene Mbandu, the hero.


When the liberation war started, King Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda decided to work with MPLA, a Party led by Augustino Neto, committed to liberate Angola. He became the leader of Sector I, Zone C.


In 1972 King Mbandu II Kathzungo Shaanda, voluntarily and temporarily left his land to give way to the gallant liberation forces of MPLA. In Zambia, King Mbandu II Kathzungo Shaanda reached Lusaka, Kaoma and Mongu, visiting his Mbunda subjects who had migrated earlier. During his stay in Zambia, the King was also invited by MPLA there, to update them on reported Mbunda persecution by the Portuguese, of among others, fumigating crops with chemicals to rot. The King also had the honor to meet the Zambian first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda.


King Kathzungo Shaanda, died in exile, late in August 1974 in the Kalabo District of Zambia. King Mbandu II Kathzungo Shaanda's grave is in the Lyondondo village of Kaole area.

The Restoration of The Mbunda Monarch

Due to the liberation and civil wars that ravaged Angola, the Mbunda people could not install a monarch to replace King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda who died in Zambia, for thirty four years. After attaining peace in Angola, the Mbunda people in Angola and Zambia and others realized it conducive time for the restoration of the Mbunda monarch.


Search For The Right Successor To The Mbunda Monarch

On 26 August 2002, Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge in Angola wrote to the Mbunda people in Zambia, in response to a letter written to him earlier by the Cheke Cultural Writers Association, in which he was asked about the nephews, sons and grand children of the immediate past Mbunda monarchs, eligible to the Mbunda throne, who could be found in Zambia.

In his response, Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge wrote that it was difficult to know which one of them are in Zambia, because;

1) Some migrated during the time of Chief Mwene Limbwambwa Kalyangu ka Mbandu and others in 1927, and as a consequence they have had sons, grandsons and grand grandsons;

2) Some migrated during the liberation war from 1960 and they also have had sons, grandsons and others sons only;

3) And therefore it would have been easier for the Mbunda people in Zambia to know each other better;

4) However, as regards King Mwene Mbandu Kathzungo Shanda, the nephews he knew were only two, as follows:

i) Mwe Katolo Makuwa

ii) Mwe Thempyeka Nyembu (António).

5) King Mwene Mbandu II Kathungo Shanda, only one son:

i) Shanda Kathzungo

6) Sons of his nephews:

a) Sons of Prince Mwene Maliya Muleji were Kapova Kapova and Thzingitha Kapova

b) Prince Mwe Lyula had one son, Mwe Malali Lyula

c) Prince Mwe Katuya had four sons; Fernando Kapova Katuya, Guilherme Kathzungo Katuya, Mande Katuya, and José Nguvo Katuya (in Angola)

d) Prince Mwe Luneta Lifuti had one known son, Prince Mbandu

7) The task of installing a King on the Mbunda throne became a responsibility for all the Mbunda people of Angola and Zambia. It became difficult before the war ended because many were scattered in other countries. Even in Angola, many took refuge in other cities. With the war ended and many people returning to their areas of original habitation, plans for the restoration of the Mbunda monarch also made easy. Both names in Angola and Zambia were considered.

8) The father of José Nguvo Katuya is Mwe Katuya ka Thivi of Lwathothi. The mother of Mwene Katuya was Vamwene Thivi ya Kalimbwe, and Kalimbwe is the son of King Mwene Mbandu. Mother of Mwene Kalimbwe was Ngimbu ya Vukolo, with Prince Consort Mukwetung Mwini. Mwene Kalimbwe had the last born brother, Mwene Kamweya Muyeji and that was the father to the mother of Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge, his brother King Mwene Kathzungo and others.


On 27 August 2003, the National Executive Committee for Cheke Cultural Writers Association held a meeting to appoint a Mbunda Kingdom Advisory Committee, which will work together with the other similar committees in Angola and Kaoma in Zambia, to organize the restoration of the Mbunda monarch.


On 3 December 2003, a group of Mbunda people in Luampa, Kaoma District of Zambia and their leaders: Elijah Matheka Kavita, Julius Kathzima Lyawema, Amandio J. Kayoka, Fama Chinjenge and John Kalenga Chitumbo; wrote a letter to Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge, requesting him to succeed on the Mbunda monarch throne. Alternatively, if he was not ready to succeed, then Prince Mwe Thempyeka Nyembu would succeed, because those two were not only eligible but new people in Angola very well. The Luampa group then sent Elijah Matheka Kavita and Julius Kathzima Lyawema to the Angola Mongu Consulate, in order to facilitate the sending of that letter electronically.


In response to the Luampa group letter, on 11 February 2004, Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge wrote that for himself, his relatives and the majority of the Mbunda people had carefully considered their letter, and were all waiting for Mwe Katolo Makuwa and Mwe Thempyeka Nyembu, so that they could choose a successor amongst them. He advised though that, he was unable to succeed because of the accident he had which left him lame, pausing a challenge for him to perform adequately as a monarch. He was agreeable with the Luampa group recommendation or Mwe Thempyeka Nyembu to succeed. He further assured to announce on Angola Radio (Rádio Ngola) for the Mbunda fraternity to be informed.


After those letters and on 7 May 2007, the Chairman for the Committee For The Restoration of The Mbunda Monarch (Comissão Organizadora Para Restauração Do Reino Mbunda) Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge wrote a letter to the Cheke Cultural and Writers Association in Zambia, informing them that preparations for the restoration of the Mbunda monarch in Angola had started. He bemoaned in the letter that because of the long time of the absence of the Mbunda monarch, his committee wanted to meet other associations in countries sharing borders with Moxico Province of Angola, promoting traditional chiefdoms such as: Chisemwa Cha Lunda, Likumbi Lya Mize, Lunda Lubanza, Chivweka, Kazanga, Kuomboka, Lukwakwa, Lienya, Cheke and Vakaonde. That meeting was to share knowledge with those that have been organizing traditional and cultural values of their chiefdoms and people in general.


The National Chairman for Cheke Cultural and Writers Association in Zambia then, Geoffrey Muyonga Kaliki, on 29 May 2007 wrote a letter to the Government of the Republic of Zambia, enlightening about the restoration of the Mbunda monarch in Angola. The letter also requested the Zambian Government to permit the Mbunda fraternity in Zambia to work together with their counterparts in Angola in preparation for the restoration of the Mbunda monarch.


After that letter to the Zambian Government, National Chairman for Cheke Cultural and Writers Association then, Geoffrey Muyonga Kaliki, on 19 June 2007 wrote a letter to the Chairman of The Commission For The Restoration of The Mbunda monarch (Comissão Organizadora Para Restauração Do Reino Mbunda), Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge in Angola informing him of the commitment by the Mbunda fraternity in Zambia to work together with their brothers in Angola. He also informed him of the pledge by Cheke Cultural Writers Association in Zambia to provide the Mbunda monarch regalia as follows: 1) Litanda (Throne), 2) Vuthzalo vwa Mwene (The King’s Robe), 3) Mufuka wa Shefu (An Eland Fly Whisk), 4) Mukwale (Sword), 5) Vingoma vya Mukupele (Two sided drums, 6) Malimba (Xylophone) 7) Chilongo (Crown) and 8) Chimbuya (ceremonial axe).


A meeting was called in Lumbala Nguimbo, Angola for three days from 22 to 24 September 2007 to discuss the successor to the Mbunda monarch. Present among them was the Administrator for Municipality of Lumbala Nguimbo, an Angolan Government official, Júlio Augusto Kuandu and Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge. The meeting resolved that the eligibility of Mwe Thempyeka Nyembu to succeed was marred by his illiteracy and luck of acumen to represent the Mbunda people. It was argued that governance in the world had changed, in that government wanted a literate one who would be able to interpret government policies accurately to all different ethnic groups in Mbundaland. Thus, the government challenged the Mbunda people to reconsider their monarch succession eligibility requirements and move closer to finding a literate candidate.


A manhunt for a literate and eligible royal candidate was started throughout Angola and Zambia, which ended up in discovering the grand son to King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Shanda by the name of Mbandu Lifuti in Zambia to succeed on the Mbunda monarch throne. Prince Mbandu Lifuti was a son to the nephew of King Mwene Kathzungo Shanda. War in Angola made him to flee with his father into Zambia. When the father died in Zambia, he was kept by Munamwene Kalyangu Kenneth, son of Prince Munamwene Limbwambwa Kalyangu, and grandson of King Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova, who facilitated his education until he started working. During his stay in Zambia he participated in activities to help liberate his country of origin, Angola. He joined the liberation movements and became a leader of the MPLA Branch in Kanyama coumpound of Lusaka, Zambia, until the Mbunda people selected him to succeed as the Mbunda Monarch.


After that three days meeting in Lumbala Nguimbo, Angola, Prince Justino Frederico Katwiya Kanyenge wrote a letter to the National Chairman of Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association in Zambia, informing the Mbunda fraternity in Zambia through the association about the selection of Prince Mbandu Lifuti as the Mbunda monarch candidate. In the same letter, he also reminded the National Chairman of Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association, who was Ndandula Libingi then, about what his predecessor Geoffrey Muyonga Kaliki pledged in his letter, concerning the provinding of the monarch regalia such as: Litanda (Throne), Vuthzalo vwa Mwene (The King’s Robe), Mufuka wa Shefu (An Eland Fly Whisk), Mukwale (Sword), Vingoma vya Mukupele (Two sided drums, Malimba (Xylophone) Chilongo (Crown) and Chimbuya (ceremonial axe). The Prince in his letter concluded that all matters concerning the monarch restoration would be delivered by a two-man delegation who would be sent to Zambia.


In preparation of the monarch restoration, the National Chairman for Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association in Zambia wrote a letter to the Government of The Republic of Zambia on 22 January 2008, informing them about the two man delegation expected from Angola, sent to inform the Mbunda fraternity, their chiefs and the Litunga of the Lozi people in Western Province, about the restoration of the Mbunda monarch in Angola. The letter was also meant to request the government permission to allow the Mbunda fraternity in Zambia join in preparations with the two man delegation.


As expected The Commission For The Restoration of The Mbunda monarch (Comissão Organizadora Para Restauração Do Reino Mbunda) in Angola, sent Nobleman Pedro Kameya Chavaya and Chief Mwene Julius Kathzima Lyawema, with a letter written on 12 November 2007, which contained detailed explanation regarding the Mbunda monarch restoration preparations.


The two man delegation did their work diligently together with Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association in Zambia. The association prepared all royal regalia for the monarch such as: Litanda (Throne), Vuthzalo vwa Mwene (The King’s Robe), Mufuka wa Shefu (An Eland Fly Whisk), Mukwale (Sword), Vingoma vya Mukupele (Two sided drums, Malimba (Xylophone) Chilongo (Crown) and Chimbuya (ceremonial axe).


A challenge to get the Mbunda monarch to Angola arose because of the floods between Zambia and Angola. The National Chairman of Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association in Zambia, Ndandula Libingi wrote a letter to The President of the Republic of Angola, His Excellency, Edwado Dos Santos, requesting for the assistance of his government in facilitating the transportation of the Mbunda monarch designate and his delegation by air and road for his goods, and dancers from Zambia.


The Mbunda people saluted the Angolan Ambassador in Zambia then, His Excellency Pedro Neto for having delivered the letter to the President in Luanda and the request was approved. The government sent money for road travel logistics and bought air tickets for the Mbunda monarch designate and the Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association, National Executive Committee members who escorted him. Those that escorted the Mbunda monarch designate were as follows:


1) Ndandula Libingi (National Chairman then).

2) Geoffrey M. Kaliki (Former National Chairman) and responsible for security.

3) Christopher Lihuxa (National Coordinator then).

4) Claire Kashukwe Limbwambwa (Economic, Finance and Fundraising Sub-Committee Chairperson then).

5) Makuwa Kapanda (Economic, Finance and Fund-raising Sub-Committee Vice Chairperson then) and responsible for security.


The monarch designate delegation left for Lumbala Nguimbo via Luanda by Angola Airline (TAAG) on 8 August 2008. In Luanda, the delegation was received by the Angolan Ambassador to Zambia, His Excellency Pedro Neto. The next day, they were transported by two hired aircraft to Lumbala Nguimbo, where they were received by the Administrator Júlio Augusto Kuandu.


The delegation had to be in Lumbala Nguimbo for a week before the restoration ceremony, in order to enable them discuss and put final touches to the preparations with The Commission For The Restoration of The Mbunda monarch (Comissão Organizadora Para Restauração Do Reino Mbunda).


The major challenge identified in those discussions was a luck of a palace in which to install the Mbunda monarch. That challenge was partly overcome by a self-sacrificing and committed son of the Mbunda community and Administrator of Lumbala Ngimbu by the name of Júlio Augusto Kuandu, who offered one of his houses as a temporal palace, before the Angolan Government built one which was pledged.


The other Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association delegation traveled by road to Lumbala Nguimbo. That delegation was headed by Agness Fundulu, Felix Kashweka and Emmanuel Musenge. Also on the delegation were two Mbunda Chiefs Mwene Chiyengele Nyumbu and Mwene Kandala Sakwiba Livimba, whose chieftainships migrated to Barotseland, now part of Zambia at the end of the 18th Century. That delegation also included cultural dancers from Lusaka, Kalabo and Kaoma of Zambia.


The Mbunda monarch restoration ceremony took three days to celebrate. Early morning at cockcrow on 16 August 2008, King Mwene

23rd Mbunda Monarch His Majesty, King Mwene Mbandu III Mbandu Lifuti at His coronation and restoration of The Mbunda Kingdom in 2008.

Mbandu III Mbandu Lifuti was invested as the 23rd Mbunda monarch, away from the public eye as per Mbunda custom and tradition.

At day break, people from all works of life gathered at the main arena, away from the palace, to catch a glimpse of the newly invested king and join the celebrations, capitalized by the Mbunda Makithi artifacts and different kinds of Mbunda dances. The Angolan Government officials and other ethnic groups from Luanda, Luena and other Angolan cities attended the occasion.


The Angolan Government officials who attended the ceremony in Lumbala Nguimbo were: Senhor Garciano Sunday, Deputy Minister of Territory then; Senhor João Ernesto dos Santos "Liberdade",the Governor of Moxico Province; The Angolan Ambassador in Zambia Senhor Pedro Neto and the Administrator of Lumbala Ngimbu Júlio Augusto Kuandu.


Finally, the Mbunda monarch was restored in Lumbala Nguimbo on 16 August 2008.


Military structure

The Vambunda knew how to fight. They were a fearless, strong and brave people.[24] Long ago, Kings used to be war marshals, they used to die in wars, because they used to fight themselves physically. When they were going to war they prepared their weapons for battle. There were war experts (van'ulungu) which included the following:


1) There was the chief himself or a traditional medicine man who carried medicine that was magical so as to make them invisible in the presence of their enemies.

2) There would be a magical basket (lishewa) which would collect bullets or arrows of their enemies. When their enemies shot the arrows or bullets they would find their way into the basket only and not hurt anyone in the Mbunda army.

3) The seconders (myato) to the medicine man (chimbanda) or Chief were leaders of war or commanders.

In preparation for war, inter alia was the taboo that a man going to war should not meet his wife. Even while at war the wife should not "see" another man. This allegedly enabled the Vambunda to triumph over their foes.


The weapons used at war were axes, spears, bows and arrows and muzzle loading firearms, (vitwa vya ndthzita). On the arrow heads they tied some rags and other materials which they would light on fire and shoot onto the roofs to burn the houses and granaries, thus causing confusion and panic among the enemy. Another tactic they used was to encircle their enemy's area at night and attack it. The captives of war were often taken as slaves if they were women and small children, the enemy warriors were killed.


Political structure

The Mbunda system of traditional rule had been such that sovereign rule of the entire Kingdom was vested in the King who had to come from the central matrilineal line of the royal hierarchy. This somewhat limited the number of aspiring royals to the central throne. At the same time there was an effective, decentralized system of traditional rule in the numerous areas and localities which composed Mbunda country. Here numerous princes and princesses fulfilled their roles as chiefs and chieftainesses of the people under their jurisdiction. This system of traditional rule had been one of the fundamental factors which had contributed to the relative stability and consolidation of the Mbunda national state ever since the era of the renowned founder King Yambayamba Kapanda.


The King (Mwene wa Ngoma) or Chief had absolute authority so that when he made a decision his or her decision was not questioned but was to be carried out. The two main functions of a Chief were to legislate rules and govern the community.


When he wants to make decisions he told his Prime Minister (Mwato). The Chief told the Mwato what he intends to do. Then the Mwato goes to tell the elders about the Chiefs plan. The people are summoned to the palace by sounding mwondo or livulu. The former is a special drum which is sounded to carry out certain messages. Its sound can be heard several kilometres away. Livulu is a bull's horn that is used for the same purpose of calling people. When the people have gathered, the Chief, through the Mwato, then explains his decisions.


The Chief also regulates the settlement of people. When a person shifts from his own place to a different place he reports to the authorities of that place. He sees the elders or the senior elder in the palace of the chief of the country he has come to live in. The request for a place to live in is taken to the Mwato who takes it to the Chief. When the request is granted, the immigrant is asked to choose the place he wishes to set up his village. The results are taken back to the Chief for confirmation. When the Chief agrees, the immigrant is accepted as a member of the community in that area. He is entitled to the rights enjoyed by the local dwellers. Anyone, even non-Mbunda enjoyed these rights when granted by the King.


Receiving strangers, travelers or visitors is the work of the Mwato wa Mwene. He takes the traveler to the Chiefs palace. When they arrive at the palace the Mwato performs what is called either kulamba or kukumbuka. It is a traditional way of approaching the Chief respectfully. It is a praise performance before the Chief. It is important that when choosing a Mwato he has to have a good memory because he needs to recite the words of praise precisely. At the Chiefs palace the Mwato speaks in the language of respect to the Chief. He does this accompanied by the traveler. He says the following verse:


This is the way the Mbunda address their Chiefs with respect.


VWAAKO (Administration and Justice)

Ruling and governing people in any country is not easy. It requires a courteous, wise and upright man. A man of wisdom, one who knows and can get along with people and be in a position to know what they want. The Mbunda are a people who know how to administer themselves from the Chief at the top, down to the village.


All decisions pertaining to administration were made at the capital. Men are often the main rulers who held powers at the villages in courts (vimbania) in trying cases and reigned in the capitals of the country at large. Female chiefs also exercised powers and controlled areas allocated to them. Female chiefs have the same powers as a male chief except they are not allowed to succeed to the central Mbunda chieftainship.


When a case was to be tried, the people in that village tried it before the headman. If the court, which was made up of the senior village men as judges, failed because the case was particularly difficult, the headman took the case to the palace and related it before the Chiefs Councillor who took it to the Chief. His judgement, made in conjunction with his advisors, was final.


From the capital came all decisions, rules, laws and regulations in regard to the government of the whole country for the people to follow in order to maintain peace (chovu) in the chiefdom.


In the capital's Mbania (court) was found a Council of Counsellors or advisors who helped the Chief make decisions in line with the governing of the chiefdom. This council was called Chifunkuto (royal court). Here the Counsellors and elders sat to discuss matters of ruling the country. These discussions were called mandthzimwe (politics). In the Council were also those who are called vitutumwi, people who went out and collected news and stories from the countryside and brought this information before the Chifunkuto. When this was done the Prime Minister was sent by the Council to tell the Chief what was taking place in the countryside. It was here in the Mbanja that vithzilamo (matangwa a cithzila or public holidays) were set.


Holidays were declared, for example, when a Chief died and the people were ordered to mourn their Chief and abstain from heavy work. Also when the first rains fell the people didn't work, they were told not to "cut" with the hoe. The first rains are called chikaluvula.


All this was part of administering justice and governing the country so that peace reigned in the country.


KASHITIKO (Punishment)

The Mbunda system of punishment was under the power of the Chief. Punishment differed in accordance with the kind of rule that had been violated, whether big or small. When a person had breached a small rule like stealing a chicken, goat or a quantity of cassava or millet or some one's animal from a trap in the forest, he was subjected to punishments which included having his feet placed in shackles or 'fetters (kakunju), having his head tied between two sticks (chingwali) and then left in the sun for him to repent or renounce what he did and pay compensation.


If one had broken a considerable rule, assault for example, he was made to pay. Often the relatives of the offender paid for him in the form of a goat, cow, bull or oxen. Sometimes even such things as clothes were paid.


If the offense 'committed was very important, maiming for example, the relatives had to pay considerable sums or the offender was sold as a slave. In the olden days a slave might be given in payment. If a person did not pay he could be beheaded. If the offence was adultery with the Chiefs wife the guilty man was beheaded.


VUNDUNGO (Slavery)

Enslavement in the Mbunda conception was selling away somebody or giving him or her away as a payment for a fine, charge or offence so that he or she left his or her own people to go and stay with people who were not relatives. The following were the reasons that brought slavery into the Mbunda country:



The female and children captives of wars were made slaves to serve as servants of the victorious people. Even some men were spared as it was often the Mbunda custom to behead male captives.


Love of riches

The Chief often wanted to get rich so he would buy disobedient people. People were sold for cloth and guns to the Chief.


Crime Offenses and Fines

These created slavery because when one had committed a serious offense, or in the case of the death of a wife one was forced to give away a person in compensation. If not he was often taken away into slavery. It should be noted that in the case of a wife's death the widower was not taken to be enslaved, he could only be taken after his nephew or niece. Sometimes a kidnapped person held for ransom was not ransomed and so he or she would become a slave of the offended people.


Stranger (Mungendthzi)

when the Mbunda met a person at some place or on a journey, especially if he was alone, he was asked some questions and if he didn't say clearly where he came from, he was taken for a slave because it was believed that he was a fleeing slave because he could not say where he/she came from.


Most of the slaves were often treated very kindly, like members of the family of their masters. It would be noted that the slave trade in the Mbunda country was primarily introduced by the Vimbali people who were the slave agents of the Portuguese. But few Mbunda became slaves, far fewer than other ethnic groups because of Mbunda bravery and fearlessness. At war they were the ones who took slaves.


Economic structure

The Kings maintained trade links with the Portuguese merchants in the hinterland of the Bie plateaux and on the Atlantic coastline through their long time agents the Vimbali or Ovimbundu traders. Trade was carried out on a large scale in such articles like partly processed wild rubber, animal skins, beeswax and ivory, which were exchanged for guns (mata), gunpowder (fundanga), salt, woolen blankets and splendid clothing fabrics.


The Vimbali or Ovimbundu used to camp near local chiefs' capitals or the villages of important Noblemen (Vimyata). The Vimbali conducted their trading activities from these camps. Bigger groups of Vimbali traders used to come in caravans (vin'ola) with ox drawn wagons loaded with European trade goods. The wagons were loaded with products from Mbundaland before returning to Bie in the west. This trade made the Mbunda prosperous by the standards of those days. Well to do men had big stocks of cloth, blankets, guns, gunpowder and enamelware utensils in their houses. In those days the Mbunda did not like to wear trousers and scorned anyone who wore them, calling them a "naked walker." This trade was later disrupted by the Portuguese war of occupation in 1914, which brought the country of the Mbunda within the borders of Angola.


Trade connections also thrived with the adjacent nationalities like the Akwanyama, Ovambo, Chokwe, Luvale, Aluyi, Lwimbi, Herero, the Humbi, Chimbandi, Nyemba, Ngonjelo, Lunda, the Vangati, Mashi, Mbukushu, Makoma and Nyengo. This was before the Sesheke road, which white men used to bring their merchandise into Barotseland existed. This road came into existence during the reign of King Lubosi Liwanika, thereafter.


The Mbunda also started trekking to Bie and beyond taking their bee wax and elephant tasks for sale. They used to travel on foot spending lots of nights during their journeys. They used to travel in large groups of strong men, not individually. Their merchandise of bee wax, elephant tasks and animal skins were carried on their heads and shoulders. They all traveled together, guarding each other against wild animals and slave abductors who sold them into slavery to Portuguese on the coastal line cities. On their return, they traveled the same way in large groups, back home, to the ululation of their relatives.


It is said that it was at this juncture that the Mbunda began to own substantial herds of cattle which they mainly obtained through bartering with the Akwanyama of Kowa area, as well as the Herero, Vangali and Mbukushu of present day Namibia which was known to the Mbunda as Chivanda.


Art of the Mbunda Kingdom

The Mbunda people are divided into many subgroups including the Katavola, Mbalango, Sango, Yauma, Nkangala, Ndundu, Mashaka and Ciyengele (Shamuka)[25] but share a common language, Mbunda. These groups have many cultural similarities, including that they all produce a huge range of sculptural art. The most notable feature of this region’s figurative style is the relative naturalism of the representation of both humans and animals. "The musculature of face and body is carefully rendered, and great attention is paid to items of personal adornment and scarification. Much of the region’s art was produced for social and economic benefit."


Art of making pots and jars of baked clay

They collect clay from the plain or the river banks, put it in a special container called liwati and wet it with water, after pounding it they then mix it with burnt clay powder called vunga vwa vitambi.



Men cut pieces of trees and carve them into pounding sticks, mortars, spear and fish-spear shafts, knife-handles, walking sticks, axe and hoe handles, poles, curios, canoes and oars and also musical instruments, vithandthzi, a type of harp, vinkuvu, drums, stools, bowls, pounding troughs and other utensils.


Weaving, bark-cloth making

Men peel off the bark of big trees such as mushovi and munyumbe and hammer them on a plank with mallets called vithano till they become soft. These bark cloths are called vifundo and when the work is completed, the vifundo or maina! can be worn around the waist and also used as blankets.



Women make winnowing baskets, small bowl baskets called vingalo for food and big bowl shaped baskets called mendeko for keeping mealie meal and other things out of the roots of mijalu trees and small roots called tujalu. Men make fishing baskets called matambi out of a species of reeds called manenga, mats out of mateve (papyrus) called manala, also manala or mats out of long grass called n'olokoko as well as mavoya and kambanga water grass.



Long ago the Mbunda people introduced their own salt called mukele. Mukele is made out of the following grasses: mulele, stalks of maize and millet, mateve (papyrus) and cassava stalks.


Plant and animal oil-making

This is mainly for women again with the help of men. Oil is made out of wild fruits that bears fat and some of them are edible.


Social structure

The Mbunda pay tribute to their Chiefs in accordance with what a person may have. When hunters go out hunting and they kill an elephant or a leopard, they take the right elephant tusk or the leopard's skin to the Chief. Those who specialize in bee-keeping would take the Chief amounts of honey. Farmers would take part of what they have harvested from their fields.


The Chief also gives gifts to his people, especially visitors. He may give them food in the form of meat, livestock, dried relish or meal i.e.-meal. The Prime Minister (Mwato) takes them to the people concerned and he says this is liiumbu (an offer in the form of food) from the Chief.


Chieftainship depends upon its own people in order for it to grow, be respected and be of good character and for other tribes to acknowledge its dignity and self-respect.


Matrilineal succession

Enthronement to chieftainship is very important because it is very special as it is the most senior position in the leadership. Counselors, elders and wise men gather to choose a successor. Preferably a nephew of the deceased chief is sought more than a prince. But sometimes even a son or a nephew born of a male cousin or brother can be enthroned to rule over the people.

Succession is considered when the chief is very old or has died. When the chief is very old he is given the name Muthsi, that is to say "deceased" to indicate that he is old and near to be succeeded. The successor is called Shwana (one who inherits) or Chiinga (one who takes over).


On the day of succession it is a great event. The Prime Minister (Mwato wa Mwene), the Counselors and the Prince (Munamwene) prepare beforehand a lion's skin and fat, a leopard's skin and then the throne. The Mwato wa Mwene and the counselors of the capital rub the lion s fat on the one they have chosen to be the successor and he is taken into the palace where the lion's skin is placed on the floor. The Throne is placed there on the skin and the successor is made to sit on it with his feet on the hide. His shoulders are draped with the leopard's skin and again more lion's fat is rubbed on him. If it is a female chief a cowrie shell is worn around her neck. The cowrie shell signifies royalty, belonging to the royal blood. Female chiefs usually like to wear the shell as part of their female ornaments. Male chiefs wear it on special occasion, not everyday.


In a minor chieftainship, a female chief would succeed another female chief but in the main chieftainship, the Chuundi is for male chiefs only. The reasons for choosing a female over a male are the same as for choosing a male to succeed another male: First, seniority in age, second, closeness in the line of succession, third, fairness in satisfying the chiefly families, fourth, integrity of the candidates and lastly, stability (or lack of it), of the previous chiefs reign.


The chief is then told by the Noblemen (Vimyata) in accordance with the traditional system how to reign and govern the chiefdom. The lion's skin and fat as well as the leopard skin are chosen by the Mbunda people for the installation of the chief for the reason that these beasts are thought to be brave, strong and great. So it is thought that by using their hides and fat it signifies that the Mbunda Chiefs have to be strong, courageous, fearless and great as well as frightening to the people, like a lion.


Succession To Other Positions of Authority (vushwana or chiingo)

Vushwsna is inheritance. That is taking over from someone his property, his position or even his name. Succession among ordinary people is such that when a person is very old he chooses among his relatives the one that his heart desires to succeed him, based on his capabilities. The successor is called and the predecessor takes his copper bracelet and places it on the chosen successor and tells him what is expected of him. If a person has died without a chosen successor the people who remain have to choose from the deceased's kin one who is eligible to take his place. The successor takes the name of the deceased.


The succession of a village headman (vushwana vwa limbo)

This takes place when the people of that village sit together and the issues pertaining to succession are discussed. A person who is mature in age and wise enough to govern the people is suggested. Beer is brewed specifically for this function. A goat or a cow is killed and the people who have come for this important event celebrate by partaking in the drinking of beer and eating the food offered. All the honorable people, i.e. the headmen and their elders come to the newly appointed headman and counsel him on all matters pertaining to village government in accordance with Mbunda tradition.


Choosing a Mukwetunga (Consort)

Mukwetunga means one who has married a Chiefs daughter or niece. To be a Mukwetunega in the palace is not an easy thing for anyone. If a person is to be appointed a Mukwetunga there has to be a Council which sits down to choose a man who is courteous enough to be appointed. The person to be chosen is kept ignorant of what is going on in the capital. The Council is held before the Chief in the evening. The Chief may suggest that in this Chiefdom or in a particular village there is a young man eligible to be Mukwetunega. He may even demand that this person be "caught" and brought to the capital.


Often three Counselors are appointed to go and "catch" the man suggested. When the messengers arrive at the place of the person selected they talk with him softly and persuade him. When he is persuaded he is brought to the capital. The Chief is told and then as soon as they arrive he is taken to the house of his new wife.


The reason the Mukwetunga had to be persuaded before being brought to the capital was because, in olden times, the customs in the capital were often very difficult and hard to keep for many men, when one law was broken the offender was beheaded. That is why many men didn't want to be Vakwetunga.


Also, a Mukwetunga had no authority over his royal wife, like other men had over their ordinary wives. In public a Mukwetunga was respected and had his royal wife's prestige. But as a husband he was not a free man, hence the consortship was something usually accepted only with reluctance. If a Mukwetunga failed to fulfill his functions he was removed and replaced with a man with suitable qualities. Ordinary people who lived in chiefs villages or in ordinary villages were beheaded if they committed crimes or acts of disobedience to the chief.


The chief would choose his own wives and people would be sent to bring the women he had chosen to the palace to become Mashano (queens). The chief often had many wives because he could select for himself.





[1] Robert Papstein, The Zambia Journal of History, Central African Oral History Project, University of Zambia, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


[2] Almanac of African Peoples & Nations, page 523. By Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan,


Transaction Publishers, Putgers - The State University, 35 Berrue Circle, Piscataway, New Jersey


008854-8042, ISBN 1-56000-433-9,

  • [3] Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People,


    Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, pages 9, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [4] Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People,


    Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [5] Almanac of African Peoples & Nations page 523, Social Science By Muḥammad Zuhdī


    Yakan, Transaction Publishers, Putgers - The State University, New Jersey, ISBN 1-56000-433-9


    [6] Historical Dictionary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, By Emizet Francois


    Kisangani, Scott F. Bobb, page 336, 2009 - History, Published by Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-5761-2


    [7] Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People


    Page 9, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [8] Bantu-Languages.com describes these languages as "a variety of Mbunda, also a K.10 Bantu


    language, citing Maniacky 1997. These languages are not to be confused with Ngangela. In fact


    "Ngangela" is one of the ethnographic classification categories invented during colonial times in a


    series of African countries which do not correspond to one people held together by a common


    social identity"


    [9] Terms of trade and terms of trust: the history and contexts of pre-colonial pages 133...By


    Achim von Oppen, LIT Verlag Münster Publishers, 1993, ISBN 3-89473-246-6, ISBN 978-3-




    [10] Bantu-Languages.com describes these languages as "a variety of Mbunda, also a K.10 Bantu


    language, citing Maniacky 1997. These languages are not to be confused with Ngangela. In fact


    "Ngangela" is one of the ethnographic classification categories invented during colonial times in a


    series of African countries which do not correspond to one people held together by a common


    social identity"


    [11] Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People Page 32, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [12]http://books.google.com/books?id=gUgwAQAAIAAJ&q=luvale+war&dq=luvale+war&hl=en&sa=X&ei=SMf-Ue3IMJL64APXgoHgAw&redir_esc=y Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, pages 63-64, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [13] Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People Page 46, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [14]http://books.google.com/books?id=gUgwAQAAIAAJ&q=chokwe+mbunda+war&dq=chokwe+mbunda+war&hl=en&sa=X&ei=SMf-Ue3IMJL64APXgoHgAw&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, pages 79-81, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [15]http://books.google.com/books?id=gUgwAQAAIAAJ&q=masambo&dq=masambo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=SMf-Ue3IMJL64APXgoHgAw&redir_esc=y Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, pages 84, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [16] 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


    [17] Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People Page xv, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, ISBN 9982-03-006-X


    [18] 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 1-4381-2676-X, ISBN 978-1-4381-2676-0


    [19] Bantu-Languages.com, citing Maniacky 1997




    • Jacky Maniacky, 1997, "Contribution à l'étude des langues bantoues de la zone K: analyse comparative et sous-groupements", Mémoire pour l'obtention du DEA de langues, littératures et sociétés, études bantoues, INALCO (Paris - France), 101p.
    • Robert Papstein, 1994, The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, ISBN 9982-03-006-X
    • José Redinha, 1975, Etnias e Culturas de Angola, Luanda: Instituto de Investigação Científica de Angola; reprinted fac-simile by the Associação das Universidades de Língua Portuguesa, 2009, ISBN 978-989-8271-00-6






    Follow Us On



    His Majesty King Mbandu IV,
    João Pedro Mussole
    of The Mbunda People

    The Mbunda Kingdom
    Sovereign Kingdom (1400–1914)
    Vassal Kingdom of
    Angola (2008 - Current)

             Flag        Advisory Council
    The Mbunda Kingdom (The Mbunda people settlement area from the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers in the now Democratic Republic of the Congo to Mbundaland, now Angola in the 1600s)
    Capital Lumbala Nguimbo, Moxico Province
    Languages Mbunda language
    Religion Christianity with some traditional practices
    Government Monarchy
     •  c. 1400s King Mwene Nkuungu (The first Mbunda monarch)
     •  1400–2014 King Mwene Mbandu III Mbandu Lifuti (The 23rd and current Mbunda monarch)
    Legislature King's Council of 16
    • Conquest of Bushmen and Driving them southwards beyond the Angolan border
    16 - 1700s
    • War with the Chokwe
    • War with the Luvale
    • Warding off slave trade in Mbundaland
    Early 1900s


    • Resistance to Portuguese occupation of Mbundaland (Moxico and Cuando Cubango Provinces
    Early 1914
    Currency Traded in bee wax, ivory trade and rubber, in exchange with guns and cloth material.[1]

    Independent Angola, Provinces and People

    Mbunda Kingdom In Mbundaland Before Portuguese Occupation and Mbunda/Portuguese War "The Kolongongo War"

                                                            Probert Encyclopidia
    Angola Map 1906, Before Mbunda/Portuguese War "The Kolongongo War"

    Probert Encyclopidia
    Angola Map 1932, After Mbunda/Portuguese War "The Kolongongo War"

    Areas Inhabited by
    The Mbunda Speaking People

    Ethnic groups of Angola 1970 (with areas where the so-called "Ganguela" groups are dominant, marked green)

    Map extracted from the book: "history on the creation of alphabets in languages", by the National Institute of Languages lda, INALD-1980

    Supposedly Modified Mbunda language Area
    Copyright © 2008-2022 The Mbunda Kingdom Research and Advisory Council. All rights reserved.