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Reading a concoction of the Luyi/Lozi History posted on http://www.barotseland.com/earlyhistory.pdf , the piece of fairytale stories make an interesting and disappointing account held as history today by scholars of history. It reveals a lost generation, caused by missionaries and colonial masters with intent to black out a missing link and blasphemy.

Mbunda history Mbunda Origin,  is elaborate and a missing link in all these stories. Check Kingdom of Lunda and Traditional polities  with the Kola narration in Bold Italics

1)    1500, Ruund (Luunda) state founded.

2)    A Luba hunter Chibinda Ilunga married not “Lueji, the granddaughter of a minor Lunda Chief and later became the Mwata Yamvo” , but Queen Yamvu, alas, “a princess from an area to the south. Their son became the first paramount ruler of the Luunda creating the title of Mwanta Yaav  as recorded at http://www.barotseland.com/earlyhistory.pdf , and dropped the title “Naweeji”.

Now here is a brief origin of the Mbunda history as a missing link to the “Kola History”.

The Mbundas trace their origin from Sudan, trekking southwards through Kola , centuries before the establishment of the  Mwanta Yavwa dynasty, the later Kingdom that developed and flourished after the consolidation of the Luunda - Luba merger.

The First King (Mwene) Whilst in Kola, Mwene Nkuungu became the first King of the Mbunda royal lineage to be installed as sovereign ruler of his people .

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.

Vamwene Naama had the following children: 

 Nkonde (male). Chinguli (male), Yamvu (female) and Lukokesha (female)

During the reign of Vamwene Naama, the following obligatory regulations for royalty were proclaimed:

1)         that a king or chief should marry a grand-daughter of the royal line.

2)         that the reigning monarch and chiefs should come from the sisters of previous

              monarchs and chiefs.

3)         that when a reigning Queen and chieftainesses went into seclusion during their

              menstrual periods, the husband of the queen should avail himself of the royal regalia

              and act on her behalf.

4)       that if the reigning queen and chieftainesses were unmarried, then one of the brothers of the reigning queen would take the insignia of royalty and act on  her behalf.

At this time a saying (cambo) was created in the Mbunda language. The saying went thus:

 Chivala Ngonga hi Ngonga, mukwetunga hi Kalamba.


This means:


A Queen (ngonga) remained what she was.

The Mukwetunega was the actual monarch kalamba).


Queen 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.


 During her reign the Mbunda fought off groups of 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.


 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.


 The Mbunda were talented iron (vutale) and copper (vunengu) workers and proficient hunters and soldiers. They were also remarkably skilled at the art of making  pots and jars of baked clay. The Mbunda cultivated the tropical forest which was found  in where they grew assorted crops. They also kept domestic stock.


Queen Vamwene Naama died at the capital of Namampongwe at Kola.

After the death of Queen Naama and after deliberations among the royal advisors it was resolved that another woman should take over from the late Queen Naama. It was felt that a woman ought to succeed to the throne. 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.


 Queen Yamvu was enthroned to succeed her mother, the late Queen Naama, as the third sovereign of the emerging Mbunda ethnic group andstate. 


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


Queen Yamvu bore the following offspring with her brother Prince Nkonde:

Katongo (male), Chiti (male) and Nkole (male)


Her sister Princesses Lukokesha Mema Kafu Mbwita also bore the following offspring with her brother Prince Nkonde:


Chinguli (male), Chimbangala (male), Yambayamba (male), Nkonde (male) and Chombe (male)

After some time the Mbunda shifted their base within the Kola area and settled in a place more favourable than their previous habitation, Namampongwe. They found Luba people already settled in this area.


 Later on Queen Yamvu married a Luban hunter, Chibinda Ilunga. At the time Queen Yamvu went into seclusion during their menstrual periods, the Luban hunter  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 Nkonde was so incensed with her conduct that he left the area in frustration anger.

According to the Mbunda custom of the time Yamvu should not have married. In the case where she did marry she should have surrendered the chieftainship to her brother Prince Nkonde. Instead she surrendered the chieftainship to her Luban husband.

It is from this split that the Ruund (Luunda) chieftainship developed in the 15th century; the children of Prince  Nkonde with Queen Yamvu descend 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 comes continuation of the central Mbunda chieftainship (Chiundi) at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers, still in Congo.

When Chibinda Ilunga married Queen Yamvu, she already had three sons with her brother Nkonde, Katongo, Chiti and Nkole.

In a quest to have a daughter to take over the thrown, Chibinda Ilunga and Yamvu had Chiti and Mwansa both males. From a Luba wife, he had a daughter called Mumbi. However, she was not eligible for Yamvu’s thrown. From a Chokwe wife he had another daughter Yamvu, who again was not eligible to Yamvu’s thrown. Finally, Chibinda Ilunga and Queen Yamvu had the most sort out heir to Yamvu’s thrown, a beautiful daughter, whom their Arab friends named Rowzi, as a rose flower because of her beauty.

However, aware that her brothers Chiti and Mwansa will not be happy for Rowzi to take over the thrown and the likelihood of them killing her, the King arranged for Rowzi to be given a Kingdom elsewhere. The King decreed to give her all the land from his footstool towards the south.

Clans of Aluyi, Aluyana, Mbowes, Kwandis and Kwangwas  were chosen to guard her on her trip to form a kingdom. They migrated as for as Kaleni Hills in Mwinilunga to the source of the great river. They were warned of Nkonde’s people, the brother to Queen Yamvu to have passed through and that they named the great river Liambayi because of Princesses Mbayi who drowned during crossing, and have gone westwards. From Mwinilunga, they went on to the now Kabompo area, Nakalomo, now Lukulu and finally Nalolo, where they set up their first capital, along the river banks.

The settlement on river banks scared away tribes that were found in that area like Mbukushus, Subias, Nyengos, Makomas, Ndundulus, Mwenyis, Simaas, Mashis etc. As these tribes came hesitantly for fishing, the new group would always welcome them to get closer to them. When they were asked who they were, the new group always respomded that they were Rowzi’s people, and so they were eventually called Rowzis. Failing to pronounce letter “R” they were pronounced as Lozis or Aluyi.

Meanwhile in Kola, Chiti became the first paramount ruler of the Luunda creating the title of Mwanta Yaav  as recorded in the attachments, and dropped the title “Naweeji” in 1690. From there all other Kola descendant tribes originated.

3) “It seems that Kinguri and Chinyama, brothers of Lueji, were not satisfied with the alien leadership of Chibinda and left to form new areas of influence elsewhere”. Other school of thought show that, they were dead scared of the possibility that, Nkonde the warrior brother of princesses Yamvu’s coming back.

4)    “According to Oliver and Atmore, Chinyama is credited as having gone to the Zambezi valley”. Other school of thought show that, when Chinyama reached Luena in Angola now, he received reports that Mbundas have passed through and trekked south. He therefore decided to go eastwards to avoid confrontation with Nkonde’s people, the Mbundas.

5)    “Creation myths”According to some Lozi myths and legends, the Lozi God, Nyambe (literally ‘no speaking’ or ‘one who does not speak’), was living in the Libonda area with his wife, Nasilele (‘one associated with long things’), and mother, Ngula”. This is not myths but blasphemy.

6)    The complete silence of the writers off course with censorship from the Lozi Kings on the Aluyi/Mbunda interaction on the Makololo War in 1830 and establishment of Sikufele Chieftainship at Lukwakwa, now in Manyinga, Kalabo district is a deliberate move to wipe out the Mbunda History, just like the Missionaries and colonialists did in Kola. Mbundas are reported negatively to have been in conflict with Aluyi as follows:

                                           i.         In much of the tradition on Mboo, mention is also made of the  ‘Andonyi’, an enemy that came from the west that proved a formidable foe. The notion of enemies and bad witchcraft emanating from the west was to become a recurring theme during this era.   The Andonyi, with whom the Luyi must have clearly been in some sort of attritive conflict, now started to be seized by fever and this rendered them powerless permitting the Luyi to kill them in large numbers.64 Thus the Andonyi were repulsed from the Luyi homeland although they retreated only as far as the western boundary of the flood plain, where the Lukona forest begins from where they continued to harass all those who passed through. It is suggested here that the Andonyi might well have been the Mbunda who were to share much of Luyi/Lozi history in the ensuing years, indeed, right up to the present day. Meanwhile all peoples from the west were termed Wiko or Mawiko, a term (sometimes used depracatingly) in use up to the present day as far east as Kaonde”.

 56 A. Jalla, Silozi-English Dictionary [Revised and Enlarged] (United Church of Zambia, Lusaka, 1982), p. 224.

57 Interview with Buxton Simasiku (Induna Amulimukwa), Mwandi, 01-09-2001

58 Interview with Wakuňuma Wakuňuma, Headmaster of Libonda Basic School, 14 to 16-08-2001

59 A.D. Jalla History, Traditions and Legends of the Barotse Nation, translated copy of original Sikololo manuscript located in document archive of the Institute of Economic and Social Research (INESOR [old Rhodes-Livingstone Institute]), Lusaka, dated 1909, p. 1

60 Ibid.

61 The original Ikatulamwa was washed away but another village of the same name now also stands on the banks of the Zambezi to the west of the original.

62 Jalla, History, Traditions and Legends…, p. 5.

63 M. Mainga, ‘Origin of the Lozi: some oral traditions’ in Eric Stokes and Richard Brown (eds.), The Zambesian Past: Studies in Central African History (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1966), p. 244.


Mbunda History clearly shows that Mbundas have never taken war to anyone. The tribe spoken of here is Luvale-Andonyi cattle raiders, (check following link on page 60) Terms of trade and terms of trust- the history and contexts of pre-colonial ...By Achim von Oppen who were repulsed from Barotseland by help of Mbundas, upon arrival of Chief (Mwene) Chiyengele in Barotseland during the time of King Mulambwa. Otherwise, how can this be explained?: “Mwanambinje (who was endowed with great powers of magic) is credited with having been the first Luyi/Lozi leader to subdue peoples south of Bulozi including the Mbukushu on the right bank of the Zambezi in what became Caprivi, who were apparently fracturing under the stress of succession disputes. It is from these succession disputes that the Subia are said by the Lozi to have emerged. Mwanambinje, but took this further by extending the lands under Luyi influence beyond the Victoria Falls and up to Hwange in present-day Zimbabwe. Returning from the Falls, Ngombala then sailed up the Kwando, subduing peoples such as the Yeyi, and Mbukushu, posting sentinels on the way and finally making allegiances with the Mbunda in present day south-eastern Angola, offering them hospitality in Bulozi should they ever need it before re-entering the Bulozi plain from the west. The great Litunga Mulambwa is revered by in Lozi history, not least by the Mbunda who dwell in Barotseland alongside the Lozi. It was Mulambwa who welcomed two branches of the Mbunda to move to the kingdom after they left their homeland beyond the Kwando River to the west, honouring the offer first made by Ngombala. A section of the Mbunda peoples, sometimes known as the ‘Old Mbunda’ have lived in Bulozi ever since and their two chiefs, Kandala and Ciengele, hold high office in the Lealui Kuta paying regular homage to the Litunga although, while there are Mbunda Indunas, there are few opportunities for Mbunda progression in the traditional establishment”.

                    ii.        “The first barge, called Njonjola, was constructed of local reeds called Mefalingi, which were sewn together using Makenge roots and fibres. Locally available bitumen-like glue called Lingongwe (made from the bark of certain trees) was then used to seal the holes. The other school of thought say, the first Nalikwanda was constructed by the Mbunda out of makenge roots. Think about it, where did the Luyi, people of the valley find Lingongwe (glue from tree backs)? What language name is “Lingongwe”? Is it not Mbunda?

                   iiii.        “This did not stop at least two sons from being spirited away, however, and when Ngalama died, one of these, Yeta Nalute, was appointed Litunga but he turned out to be very unpopular due to his penchant for eating human flesh. This is interpreted as a habit picked up while in exile with the Mbunda to the west (Wiko), where all bad things were said to emanate from”.


75 Mwanambinje had attempted to share these with Ngalama who became his son-in-law through marriage to the former’s daughter, Notulu. However, it is said that Ngalama could not be satisfied with only one of these symbolically powerful drums, closely associated with the ability to bring rain which Mbukushu chiefs were believed to be endowed with since earliest known times and so turned on his father-in-law.

76 Interviews with Chief Sikwa and his people, Nambinje, 21-07-2001.

Therefore for the history of our friends from “Kola” to be elaborate like the Mbunda History, the missing link “the Mbunda History” should be included, otherwise it will remain a jargon with a lot of contradictions.

Ndandula Libingi.


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