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Location of The Mbunda Speaking People in Namibia



 Mbunda Speaking People are found in Rundu District, north of Namibia near the Angola Border.


In 1914, the Portuguese colonialists abducted the twentieth (21st) Mbunda Monarch, King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova (Kathima Mishambo) and imposed Prince (Munamwene) Kazungo Shanda as the 22nd Mbunda Monarch. Little did King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova (Kathima Mishambo) know that his nephew was an ambitious traitor and would not follow the King's instructions. King Mbandu Lyondthi Kapova, his Prime Minister (Mwato wa Mwene) Shwana Mbambale, his two personal physicians and special aides, Mwata Kambalameko and Mwata Vitumbi, some important courtiers as well as a number of his bodyguards were kidnapped and taken away in 1914 by Portuguese colonial troops mounted on horsebacks. This resulted in a war named "The Kolongongo War". This is a war the Portuguese Colonialists fought on horse backs against the Mbunda,1  .

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

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

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

However, many Mbunda people in Namibia call themselves Ngangelas.

Ngangela Or Mbunda Group? 

What Is Ngangela and The Origin of The Name?  


Today some unofficial Angola Tribal maps show Eastern Angola as occupied by Ngangela.


Ngangela As A Tribe: These tribal maps are misleading because Ngangela is not a tribe but a derogatory name which also means Eastern.2 It is also reflective of Portuguese colonialists' oppression on Mbunda and clear intent to wipe out the ethnic group completely out of Angola.


Ngangela As A Language: Missionery Emil Pearson created Ngangela as a standard language by mixing Mbunda, Luchazi, Luvale and Luimbi languages, to allow a single translation of the Bible for the four communities.3   As a result, Mbunda as a National Language in Angola[4][5][6][7][8][9] has been disappearing from a list of six: KIKONGO, KIMBUNDU, UMBUNDU, CHOKWE, MBUNDA AND KWANYAMA according to the Official Gazette No: 3/87 of May 23, 1987 following a resolution adopted by the Council of Ministers.10


In National Language Mbunda in Angola, the Ngangela simply means the direction to the east - the rising of the sun. The worst is that in the National Language Umbundu, "Ochi-ngangela 'means something that is worth nothing. The Ovimbundu (which is a neighboring province of Bie) call Mbundas as 'Ovi ngangela-' (plural) since Mbundas rendered their political support to the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA)11 during the fight for national independence against the Portuguese colonialists, while another political movement that was founded by leaders of the same origin Umbundu expected political support. And then, after achieving national independence in 1975 the Ovimbundu continued to mock the Mbundas as 'Ovi-ngangela' because the liberation movement they supported, the MPLA was then in power, and had forgotten  to reward Mbundas in exchange for political support given during the struggle. It was in the same vein that the Portuguese derided as the Mouse, Kimbundu (like a little mouse), and will be offensive to replace the National Language of the Kimbundu with a term 'Mouse.

Who Are The Mbunda people Group?

First Settlement Along Mithimoyi River, Re-Establishment of The Mbunda Kingdom and The Beginning of Mbundaland

The Mbunda set their first capital at Mithimoyi. However, the need for more settlement land was still vital to the quickly growing population. Queen (Vamwene) Kaamba decided to send some more Mbunda to search for more settlement land to the south. That group of Mbunda settled at nearby river region called Luchathzi. These were later called after that river as Luchazis. However, some of this group moved westwards to Chimbandi, finding the descendants of King (Mwene) Chinguli who chased them. In their flight they sung a song, "Mutemba twatuye, vaile ku Chimbandi vanakatunta lusi, meaning, "Mutemba let us leave, those that migrated to Chimbandi came running in their flight". During this flight, they also made a fire in a process called "Chimvweka".

The Mbunda prospered and the land along these western tributaries of the Zambezi was their home. During this expansion they gave way to branches such as the Sango, the Mbalango, the Yauma, the Nkangala, the Ndundu and the Mashaka. Bantu-Languages.com describes these languages as a variety of Mbunda, also a K.10 Bantu language, citing Maniacky 1997.12 These languages are not to be confused with Ngangela. Infact "Ngangela" is one of the ethnographic classification categories invented during colonial times in a series of African countries invented during colonial times in a series of African countries which do not correspond to one people held together by a common social identity.

The Mbunda eventually moved southwards to a larger settlement, where the Mbunda Kingdom continued to flourish in what became known as Mbundaland from Lungwevungu river to Kwandu Kuvango Province, with Lumbala Nguimbo becaming their capital. His Majesty King Mbandu III Lifuti is King regnant of Mbundaland today.



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

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

 2   Alvin W. Urquhart, ''Patterns of Settlement and Subsistence in Southwestern Angola'', National Academies Press, 1963, p 10.

 3   Robert Papstein, "The Central African Historical Research Project", in Harneit-Sievers, 2002, A Place in the World: New Local

     Historiographies from Africa and South Asia, p. 178

 4   Colin Baker and Sulvia Prys Jones' (1998) Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education- Multilingial  Matters Ltd. pp.


 5   Minority languages and cultures in Central Africa

 6   The Cultural Peculiarity - About Angola

 7   O desafio de harmonizar os alfabetos das linguas locais de Angola

 8   Ethnic groups and national languages

 9   Linguas Nacionais

10   Resolution adopted by Council of Ministers - Official Gazette No. 3/87 of May 1987

11  Gerhard Kubit (2003) Minority languages and cultures in Central Africa Page 3

12   Bantu-Languages.com 



Further reading


Mbunda Origin


The Luchazi of Southern Africa... By Orville Jenkins

Tusona- Luchazi Ideographs - a Graphic Tradition of West-Central ... - Page 34 & 47 - Google Books Result

From Ethnic Identity to Tribalism: The Upper Zambezi Region of Zambia, 1830–1981




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