January Livingstone Toka Leya Lwiindi



N’cwala Traditional Ceremony of the Ngoni People Nc’wala is an annual traditional ceremony where the Ngoni people of the Eastern Province of Zambia come together during the last weekend of February to pay homage to their chief Mpezeni and God for the gift of the first fruits and food. The N’cwala ceremony takes place every year on the last Saturday of February at Mtenguleni Village in Chipata. The Ceremony was revived in 1980 by Paramount Chief Mpezeni III, to enable the Ngoni people to pay homage to their ancestral spirits, commemorate their victories during their tribal wars when they migrated from the current day South Africa. The ceremony is also meant to praise God for giving them fresh crops in the fields. The Nc’wala traditional ceremony sparks various activities which are centered around the ceremony including the Ungoni Exhibition which is presented by the Ministry of Tourism and Arts at Luangwa House and visits to the Nsingo Community Museum where people turn up in numbers to learn more about the History of the Ngoni people. The Museum has various Ngoni cultural items on display and has a lot of history about the migration of the Ngoni speaking people from present-day KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to Chipata, Eastern Province – Zambia. Guests from South Africa, Lesotho and Swazilan chiefdoms also attend the ceremony as they share a common ancestry. Other descendants also come from Tanzania. Many Zambian chiefs also grace the ceremony. A regular attendee is The Mwata Kazembe of the Lunda. The ceremony is spectacular with energetic dancing and high kicks. The little boys are a thrill to watch with their perfectly synchronised dance moves. Little warriors in training!



THE KUOMBOKA CEREMONY OF THE LOZI PEOPLE Every year on the Barotse Plain, as summer gives way to winter, the Kuomboka procession makes its way down the Zambezi River, proceeding in a flurry of vibrant colours, beating drums and chanting voices. This annual procession marks the move of the Litunga (king) from his summer to winter residence, which is located on higher ground, away from the seasonal flood plains. The exact date changes every year, depending on the ebb and flow of the river. It is kept a secret until right before the procession to ensure the safety of the king. It usually takes place at the end of March/ beginning of April when there is a full moon. A few years ago it was cancelled for 2-3 years running because of low water levels. Origins of the Procession The Kuomboka is steeped in legend and myth but originates from the annual arrival of the floods. The legend goes that hundreds of years ago, there was a mighty flood called Mezi ya Lungwangwa that swept across the land, taking with it almost all the animals and villages. Those who survived feared the flood and asked for a way to escape the waters. Their High God Nyambe ordered a man called Nakambela to build the first great canoe, or Nalikwanda, to help the people escape. In the boat, they carried with them seeds and animal dung, which were spread at the first place they landed, giving rise to the plants and animals we know today. Now, every year, for the past 300 years, during this season when the moon is full the procession takes the Litunga to the safety of higher ground, calling for everyone to follow. Full Moon for the Kuomboka Procession DAY ONE: Echo of the Royal Drumbeats The first day begins with the beating of the special Moama drum, which is used to signal important occasions. First, the Litunga beats the drums to signify the freedom from the suffering brought on by the floods and call for the royal paddlers to assemble at the Barotse Royal Palace. The drum is then beaten by the Natamoyo (Chief Justice), members of the royal family and the Indunas (local area chiefs). After that, the king returns to his palace, leaving the drum to be continually beaten until 11pm by men who have come to celebrate. Against this continual drumbeat, other festivities unfold, including a royal canoeing regatta between male and female paddlers. DAY TWO: Feathers of Strength As a new day breaks on the Barotse Plain, members of the extended royal family are chosen by Queen Mboanjikana (sister to the Litunga) to pluck feathers from the lustrous tail of a long-tailed widow bird. It is not clear whether the bird is killed. From February to April, the males of this species sport long, elegant, glossy black feathers in their tails to help attract females. Mating in a polygamous way, the top males can have up to 10 different nests in their territory. The Lozi people concluded that any male with this many ‘wives’ must have great strength. It is believed that carrying one of these feathers will give the paddlers the strength needed for the long journey ahead. Before receiving their feathers, the royal paddlers participate in a refresher course at the palace and the strongest are selected. Afterward, the local Induna will present each paddler with their ceremonial headdress, each complete with one of the feathers plucked earlier by the royal family. On the final night before the Kuomboka procession begins, the royal paddlers spend the night at the Lealui Palace away from their wives according to the tradition of Lozi etiquette. Royal paddlers may not be with their wives before boarding the Nalikwanda. Rather like the same way football players are coralled in camp before a big match. DAY THREE: The Procession Departing Lealui Palace In the early hours of the morning, before dawn has broken across the plains, a drum is beaten to signify the eminent departure of the Litunga from the Lealui Palace. When the sun finally rises above the horizon, the Mwenduko drum is leaned against a pole facing east, signifying that all is ready, and the ceremony is about to proceed. Smaller canoes and scout crafts go ahead to check the depth of the water and to make sure the channel is free of any obstructions. In the past they would scout for enemy tribes. First to appear and board the Nalikwanda are the 180-200 royal paddlers, clad in traditional siziba attire that features red, the colour of warriors. A magnificent sight, the Nalikwanda is painted with bold black and white stripes – black for the Lozi people and white for spirituality. Representing authority of power, a towering statue of an elephant sits atop the first barge, complete with moveable ears operated from inside the barge dome. The Litunga’s wife travels on the second boat, which is topped with a statue of an elegant crowned crane, whose wings are flapped from pulleys inside the dome. Finally, once everyone else has boarded, the Litunga makes his way onto the first boat of the Nalikwanda against the rhythmic chanting of praise for him. Once settled, a chorus of drums begin playing a song called the Ifulwa, which marks the official start of the journey to the Limulunga Palace. For the last ceremonial step before departing, the paddlers sing songs about how the great Nalikwanda was built by the Lozi people, and songs of praise for the strength, bravery and tact of the paddlers. The Procession As the full Nalikwanda flotilla departs, the royal musicians on board continue the festivities. Smaller barges join the procession, travelling in beautiful displays of alternating circles, perfectly synchronised, on either side of the main barges. Throughout the journey, a fire burns on board the Litunga’s boat – the smoke being used as a long-distance signal that the king is alive and well and underway. Halfway through the Kuomboka procession, the barges, boats and canoes dock at Namutikitela to allow the paddlers to rest and enjoy a traditional Lozi meal of meat and ilya (a thick maize porridge made with sour milk). Music of the Kuomboka Music plays a fascinating role in the procession, acting as a form of beautiful, complex communication between those on the boats and those they pass by. The royal paddlers sing continuously, with the melodies changing depending on the needs of the group. The lyrics tell the story and history of the tribe. If a paddler is lagging behind the rhythm of the others, the melody changes to inform him. If he fails to keep up, he will be transferred to a smaller barge, and in extreme cases, if he resists, he will be thrown overboard. Throughout the journey, the royal musicians play the Maoma drums and Lozi silimba (a wooden xylophone), calling for people to follow them to higher ground. The Kuomboka is said to be the largest and most spectacular marine ceremony in southern Africa, if not on the continent. It has been filmed many times for travel and tourism programs and by tourist, both local and international who post it on You Tube, giving it international coverage. The story of the ceremony is long and illustrous. There is so much more to the ceremony, for instance, the traditional dress of both men and women and the Litunga's resplendent British Admirals uniform. that's a whole story by itself. 


May Solwezi Kaonde Kufukwila

May Senanga Lozi Kuomboka Nalolo

May Kalabo Lozi Kuomboka Libonda



Chief Mukumbi celebrates 60 years on the throne


June Mbala Mambwe / Lungu Mutomolo

June Kasempa Kaonde Nsomo 06JUNE

Juba ja Nsomo Ceremony of the Kaonde People The Kaonde are a matrilineal tribe from north-western Zambia who are known for their salt-making practices and unique houses. The Kaonde trace their origins to the Luba Kingdom in Katanga in present day Democratic Republic of Congo – the birthplace of many Zambian tribes. The Kaonde migrated to present-day Zambia from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The Kaonde are made up of three main sub-groups who possess their own unique identities. What Does ‘Kaonde’ Mean? It is widely believed that the name “Kaonde” means ‘the thin one’ [ka-ondi]. One explanation given is that the river where the Kaonde settled was called Kaondi because it was narrow and thin, hence the people living around it being called ‘a Kaondi’ by the Lunda people. The second explanation given is that when Mushima was defeated, his large number of subjects was reduced to a “thin” number and the victorious Lundas ridiculed him as “Mushima the thin one” [Mushima kaondi] due to his loss. It appears that the Kaonde people did not resist this new name, despite the fact that it came as a result of a war defeat. Homeland The Kaonde are concentrated in the north-western Province of Zambia, in Solwezi, Chizera, and Kasempa which is their traditional capital. There are also a smaller number of Kaonde who reside in the Western Province of Zambia, particularly in a town called Kaoma. Traditional ceremonies Due to the Kaonde being spread out across the country, they celebrate different traditional ceremonies including Kufukwila, Kupupa, Makundu, Kunyanta Ntanda, Ntongo, Lubinda and Musaka or Jikubi. The main traditional ceremony celebrated by all Kaonde is hosted by the Senior Chief Kasempa of Kasempa district called the Juba ja Nsomo. Chieftaincy passes through the matrilineal line, which is similar to other Zambian tribes such as the Bemba. The Juba ja Nsomo ceremony is held during the first week of June in Kasempa district. Like many other traditional Zambian ceremonies, it is mostly held to celebrate a new harvest. In the book Ceremony! Celebrating Zambia’s Cultural Heritage by Tamara Guhrs (2007), Chief Kasempa’s son, Benson Mushitala Kasempa states, “On this ceremony the chief blesses the food and the land. In his blessing the chief indicates to the people that all fierce animals should sleep and should not go and feed on human beings. The chief prays to the ancestors and asks for protection for his people. Whoever is on that land is protected.” In the same book, Gladson Matabishi Shantaba from the council of chiefs states, “When the chief tastes munkhoyo (traditional beer) some of it is spilt on the ground as libation to the spirits. The chief drinks and sprays some in the air to give praise to the heavenly God for having given them the strength to cultivate and have the chance to harvest and brew beer. They drink at intervals and then go back to work. Then we dance!” Music and Dances The Kaonde have several dances that are performed at the various traditional ceremonies. Katembo is performed by men and older women. The music is described as similar to reggae. The mutomboko is a special dance that honours hunters after a successful hunt. The shonongo dance requires a partner and is similar to ballroom dancing. It is also performed at the Juba ja Nsomo ceremony. Clans and Kinship The Kaonde are a matrilineal tribe, meaning kinship is carried through a mother’s line. Typically a wife and her new husband would live in her mother’s village after marriage, although today, as a result of urbanisation and the rise of inter-cultural marriages, modern couples may choose to live in larger cities around the country. There are eight forms of kinship recognised by the Kaonde. According to The Fractured Community: Landscapes of Power and Gender in Rural Zambia by Kate Crehan, these are: “inanji (mother), mwisho (mother’s brother), kolojanji (older sibling), nkasanji (younger sibling), mwana (child), mwipwa (nephew or niece), nkambo (grandparent), munkana (grandchild).” Food and Drink Sorghum is considered the staple food of the Kaonde. Sorghum is used as the main ingredient in the production of traditional beer called munkhoyo, which is mostly consumed at the Juba ja Nsomo ceremony. Other foods consumed include millet, cassava, beans, maize and fish. The Kaonde would practice a form of slash and burn farming method similar to the Bemba tribe’s chitemene. Traditional salt-making is unique to the Kaonde people and is a skill passed on to younger generations. According to Guhrs: “The women who know this art have gathered soil from Kaimbwe Salt Pan. They burn the earth and put the ash through a dish with holes. Water is then sieved through until it comes out clear. They then boil the mixture on the fire until all the moisture evaporates, leaving the salt. The salt is then made into cone shapes and heated until it is solid, making a type of salt rock called nsumba.” Greetings Men clap hands. Women slide their palms together, clapping three to four times. Source: https://theculturetrip.com/.../an-introduction-to.../ Source: https://kaondewordpress.wordpress.com/ Source: Ceremony! Celebrating Zambia’s Cultural Heritage by Tamara Guhrs (2007)

June Kabompo Luchazi Chivweka


July Kawambwa Lunda Umutomboko

July Solwezi Kaonde Kupupa

July Solwezi Kaonde Kunyanta

July Monze Tonga Lwindi Gonde

July Kaoma Nkoya Kazanga


The Mutomboko Ceremony of The Lunda People of Luapula Province ZAMBIA’s rich cultural heritage is often exposed through traditional ceremonies. The ceremonies highlight the unique cultural values of a particular people or province where they are celebrated. The country boasts of numerous traditional ceremonies that include; the Kuomboka of the Lozi people of Western Province, Nc’wala of the Ngoni people of Eastern Province, Mutomboko of the Lunda people of Luapula Province, Ukusefya Pa Ng’wena of the Bemba people of Northern Province, Likumbi Lya Mize of the Luvale people of North-Western Province, and the Kulamba of the Chewa people of Senior Chief Gawa Undi’s area in Eastern Province among others. These traditional ceremonies are not the only ones the country celebrates but are among the most prominent and most attended, attracting visitors from all over the country and beyond borders. The Mutomboko ceremony of the Lunda people of Luapula Province was unique in 2017. This was because the ceremony was incorporated in the Luapula Province tour and investment expo as one of the major tourism events in the province. Apart from that, it was also dubbed 19:19 because the 19th Mwata Kazembe Paul Mpemba Kanyembo was celebrating his 19th year on the throne. It also marked the opening of the cultural museum which showcases the history of the Lunda people and displays artefacts. Large crowds of people gather in the main arena early from far and wide, including local and international tourists. Various dance troupes both from Zambia and the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the Lunda Kingdom stretches, perform dances as they await the arrival of the Mwata later in the day. The ceremony, in some years, is graced by the head of state and chiefs from across the country. These include, Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people, Senior Chief Ishindi of the Lunda people, Senior Chief Chiwala of the Lamba people, Chief Luembe of Nyimba district, and Chief Imwiko of Lukulu district in Western Province. Others were chiefs Chikanta and Chipepo of Kalomo and Chirundu districts, Chief Ntambu of Mwinilunga, Chieftainess Muwezwa of Itezhi-Tezhi, Chief Kasoma Bangweulu of Samfya, Chief Nzamane of Chipata and Chief Kashiba of Mwense district. Chiefs support each other. The diversity of people cutting across backgrounds and beliefs signify the unity of purpose associated with traditional ceremonies. After waiting for many hours, the Mwata finally arrives at the main arena much to the amazement of the cheering crowd. He is carried on a royal sedan on the shoulders of strong tribesmen known as the ‘muselo’ with all regalia of Mwataship placed on it. There is jubilation and gunshots to signify the arrival of the chief. The local people eulogise their chief whom they refer to as ‘bakapale’. The bearers then take the Mwata round the arena, while lifting him high on the sedan. He later takes his place on the royal seat. Paramount Chief Mpezeni and his Ngoni impis also add flavour to the event when they go around the arena showcasing their culture and dancing skills with their famous high kicks and clad in traditional attire. After the performance, official speeches follow from the Mwata Kazembe through his representative and guests of honour also gives a speech. Thereafter members such as Mwata Kazembe’s sister as well as his son also performed royal dances before the chief himself gets up to perform his royal conquest dance which is spectacular as he high kicks in his sweeping blue, red and white skirts, brandishing a small axe in one hand and a short sword in the other. The Mutomboko is a conquest dance that symbolises the victories the Lunda people recorded in conquering the various tribes they defeated on their way from the Democratic Republic of Congo before finally settling down in Mwansabombwe district. The Mwata was armed with an axe, or mbafi as they call it, and a sword, locally known as mpoko. After performing his dance, the Mwata retires to a waiting muselo and is lifted back to his palace from the main arena as the crowd follows behind, signifying the end of the ceremony. Earlier, scores of people present various gifts to the chief both in material and financial form. One of the notable gifts in 2017 was a speed boat from the President. Although almost all the traditional ceremonies alluded to earlier are celebrated year every, there are unique features each subsequent ceremony. For example, one striking feature about the Mutomboko ceremony is how the royal family in that area has used the Lunda maidens, dressed in white and blue, to preserve the history of Mwata Kazembe’s kingdom from the time it was established in 1740 up until Lunda people crossed the Luapula and finally settled in Mwansabombwe. The maidens, who poetically eulogise the Mwata before he performs his royal conquest dance, are a preserve of knowledge regarding how the Lunda people who are believed to have hailed from Kola, moved from their original settlement in Sudan and settled in Kola before finally crossing into Zambia. In line with the saying that a nation without a culture is dead, the Lunda royal family has done well to invest its knowledge in the young girls (the maidens). They can be guaranteed that it is the same knowledge that will preserve the rich Lunda cultural heritage for generations to come. Only then can young ones appreciate their culture and value it. The maidens narrate what each of the Mwata Kazembe’s, starting from Ng’anda Bilonda (first Mwata) to the current Paul Mpemba Kanyembo, did towards the growth of the kingdom. And most importantly, they also explain the difference between the Lunda people of North-Western Province and the ones from Luapula and how the two groups went their separate wayss, the North-westerners led by Mwata Yamvwa. ( the spelling varies). Without doubt, the Mutomboko ceremony is a rich cultural event that celebrates not only the victories of the Lunda people’s conquest of the smaller tribes along the Luapula valley but it also celebrates their history and entire being. These specially selected young maidens are custodians of the Lunda culture


July Solwezi Kaonde Kupupa

July Solwezi Kaonde Kunyanta


August Katete Chewa Kulamba August Chienge Bwile Ubuilile


August Mansa Ushi Makumba

August Mungwi Bemba Ukusefya Pa Ng’wena

August Luwingu Bemba Mukulu Pembe

August Mwinilunga Lunda Chisemwa Cha Lunda

August Mufumbwe Kaonde Makundu

August Zambezi Luvale Likumbi Lya Mize -end August

Kasempa - Kaoma Dirt, fairly well graded. Don’t need 4wd. No pontoons. 220km - 3.5hrs. Kasempa junction on the M8 - Zambezi…5.5hrs Kasempa - Mufumbwe - 1hr Mufumbwe - Manyinga 1.5hrs Manyinga - Kabompo - 1/2 hr Kabompo - Zambezi - 2.5 hrs

August Solwezi Kaonde Lubinda Ntongo

05 August 2023 -first Saturday of the month

Chief Mumena (just outside solwezi on the Kabompop road at the palace)

August Kalomo Toka Leya Lukuni Luzwa buuka



THE Lubinda Ntongo traditional ceremony of the Kaonde-speaking people of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo is not only a celebration of the hunters’ prowess and a good harvest, but of a society’s unity. The ceremony has been celebrated in the Mumena kingdom since 1992, when it was initiated by the late Chief Mumena V, whose real name was Peter Kajoba. Before then, the community always set aside times to celebrate various occasions and seasons. Some of the festivals which over the years have been observed by the Kaonde people include the rite of passage to adulthood, known as kubelula or kisungu; the installation of a new head person, called kusanga or mitanda; and restoring names of the dead, which in local parlance is mitanda. There is also the tasting of a new crop, called kusomona, and celebration of marriage, which is referred to as masongola. Sometimes people would gather food and drinks just to enjoy oneness, as well as to maintain relationships. Some popular references such as ‘bantu baswa mema’ and ‘ba Kaonde nekipale kyabo kibawamina’ attest to the solid relationships and humour shared by the Kaonde people, whose clans are defined by totems such as ba lembu (bees), ba longa (river/water), ba tembuzhi (lion), ba yanga (black ants), and ba pumpi, for wild dog. Other totems are ba samba (snakes/serpentine), bena kyowa (mushroom/thunder), bena nge (leopard), bena kasaka (sorghum/grain), bena kyulu (anthill/earth), bena mbuzhi (goats), bena luo (monkeys), bena nzovu (elephants), bena mbwa (dogs), and bena ng’onyi (birds). The Lubinda Ntongo is a unique traditional ceremony which signifies the hunting skills of the Kaonde people. It is time when new crops are also tasted. Some of the highlights of the ceremony are the worship of the creator God and when the king Lion (Chief Mumena) majestically appears in his royal mukundu (long skirt) on the stage to the public to charm the crowd with his tantalising performance with his kutomboka. This is the climax of the event when the headmen and head women also emerge to support him and surprise the audience when they equally mesmerise the audience with their traditional and contemporary manifestation of kutomboka dance punctuated with live music. The manchancha dance performed by women, the display of game by selected hunters, heroic traditional salutation by selected headmen, and the sound of the muzzle loaders, called mututula and shonongo, also form part of the activities at the glamorous occasion. What further makes the ceremony attractive is the involvement of everyone, that is, the men, women, and young people who all have roles to play. During this year’s commemoration, Chief Mumena the 11th blessed the land through God, and declared that there should be no hunger, sickness, and poverty among his subjects. “Let good health prevail, let there be bearing of children, successful marriages, and the preservation of tradition and culture,” the traditional leader said.

August-The Bemba Ukusefya Pa Ngwena

Zambian Heritage Traditional Ceremonies

The Bemba Ukusefya Pa Ngwena is a traditional ceremony held under Chitimukulu by the Bemba people in Mungwi District, Zambia

The event is held every in August. It was held where the Bemba People first settled after they migrated from present Angola, then called Kola. Angola. You could say it is a thanksgiving ceremony of arrival to where the Bemba's chose to settle permanently after after decades or even a century of migration. Much like the thanksgiving ceremony the Pilgrims of the Mayflower had when they landed in America, a ceremony which is now encaspulated in American tradition. There is a massive trench that surrounds the area built in the 17th century to protect from war with the neighboring Ngoni Tribe. Its believed that they filled the trench with poison tipped spears and then covered the trench with branches to hide it. When the Ngoni Tribe rushed across they fell into the trench and were killed. Bemba history is long and colourful. It requires a whole tome to tell😁 The Bembas had many fierce Battles over territory with the Ngonis. The Ngoni had fled Shaka's Mfecane, led by Zwangendaba and after a migration of 20 years, fighting and conquering their way up north, they run into a brick wall of stubborn, boisterous Bemba and were soundly defeated. Zwangendaba, the great chief, was killed by a poison arrow. His grave is in Bembaland, about 4km from Nakonde on the Mbala-Nakonde road. Last time I heard, the Ngoni had requested for Zwangendaba's remains to be repatriated to Ngoniland for reburial amongst his decendants. I believe the requesr was approved but I haven't heard if it was carried out. If it were to happen, they would be a mighty big ceremony between the Bembas and the Ngonis, who fondly call themselves traditional cousin who can playfully tease and insult each other, all in jest. Nowadays, there are permanent structures within area surrounded by the trench and each year grass huts are built surrounding the trench to act as accommodation for attendees. AbaBemba trace their origin from Kola (modern-day Angola) in the 17th Century. From Kola, they went to Luba (present day DRC). From Luba, they crossed Luapula, Chambeshi, and Kalungu Rivers. When they reached the banks of Milando, they came across a dead crocodile. Since Bemba rulers belong to the Crocodile Clan, the discovery, earmarked Bemba-land. A village was set up at this very spot -and it was named Ng’wena Village. On 1 August, lots of dancing and singing is done. Different groups of people are invited to the stage to dance and sing for the crowd. Then, a group of people representing the Ngoni Tribe came onto the stage and perform a traditional dance. Festivities are characterised by singing (various genres of traditional Bemba songs), prayers, speeches by Mwine Lubemba and invited guests.


Manyinga- swallows

Chingola- Luvale

District/ tribe/cermony

Mkushi Bisa / Swaka / Lala Inchibwela Mushi

Mumbwa Kaonde Musaka / Jikubi

Kafue Goba Kailala

Mpika Bisa Chinamanongo

Isoka Tumbuka Vikamkanimba

Isoka Mfungwe Chambo Chalutanga

Nakonde Namwanga Mulasa

Chilubi Island Bisa Chisaka Chalubombo

September Mpika Bisa Bisa Malaila

September Mufumbwe Kaonde Ntongo

September Solwezi Lamba Kuvuluka Kishakulu


October Kalomo Tonga Maanzi Aabila Lwiindi

October Chibombo Lenje Kulamba Kubwalo

October Mumbwa Kaonde / lla Likumbi Lyamalumbe

October Petauke Nsenga Tuwimba

October Mambwe Kunda Malaila

October Chama Tumbuka Kwenje

October Samfya Ng’umbo Kwanga October Chienge Shila Mabila

October Kawambwa Chishinga Chishinga Malaila

October Mansa, Milenge, Chembe Ushi Chabuka Baushi