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History of the Mbunda Speaking People


Bantu Migration Routes from Cush and the Island of Meroe

The Mbunda Migration Routes from Sudan


The history of Central Africa recognizes the major migration groups who trace their origin from Sudan and the Congo. The Bantu in Ancient Egypt     Among these migrations are those of the Bantu Kingdoms of Southern Africa.

Around 1600 Most of southern and central Africa was sparsely populated. The Bantu ethnic groups were agricultural people. They kept herds of domestic cattle and goats. They knew how to plant and cultivate crops like millet, sorghum and cassava.

Central and southern Africa were far more sparsely populated. The people here were not mostly Bantu but the San or bushmen. They lived as hunter/gatherers. They roamed in small groups over large areas of land in order to hunt game and collect the fruits, nuts, grains and plants which they needed for food.

The agricultural skills of the Bantu allowed them to live in larger villages and their population grew. Inevitably as populations grew disputes would arise between different groups of people within the same ethnic group. If these disputes could not be resolved to the satisfaction of both sides then it was common that the disaffected group would decide to leave.

In the 1500’s a group of Bantu people left what is now Sudan during the Bantu migration. Among these were the Mbunda, Almanac of African Peoples & Nations page 523, Social Science By Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan, Transaction Publishers, Putgers - The State University, New Jersey, ISBN: 1-5600-433-9 one of the oldest and biggest ethnic grouping in Southern Africa.

The Mbunda Kingdom dates back from well before the Mwantiyavwa Dynasty was established in Kola.   Robert Papstein The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, 1994, ISBN 99 820 3006X

The Mbunda trace their origin from Sudan, Terms of trade and terms of trust: the history and contexts of pre-colonial pages 104 & 105...By Achim von Oppen, LIT Verlag Münster Publishers, 1993, ISBN: 3894732466, 9783894732462 trekking southwards through Kola where they came in contact with the Luba and Ruund Kingdoms. Almanac of African Peoples & Nations page 523, Social Science By Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan, Transaction Publishers, Putgers - The State University, New Jersey, ISBN: 1-5600-433-9. While in Kola, the Mbunda people's first Monarch was King (Mwene) Nkuungu. When King (Mwene) Nkuungu died his daughter Naama took over as the second Mbunda Monarch at the Palace of Namampongwe. During the reign of Queen (Vamwene) Naama, the following obligatory regulations for royalty were proclaimed:
First, that a king or chief should marry a grand-daughter of the royal line.
Second, that the reigning monarch and chiefs should come from the sisters of previous monarchs and chiefs.
Third, that when a reigning queen and chieftainesses went into seclusion during their menstrual periods, the Mukwetunga (husband of the queen) should avail himself of the royal regalia and act on her behalf.
Fourth 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.
Robert Papstein The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers Association, 1994, ISBN 99 820 3006X

Queen (Vamwene) Naama had four children; Nkonde (male), Chinguli (male), Yamvu (female) and Lukokesha Female).

It was also during her reign that 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 armory where, surplus weapons of war (vitwa vya ndthzita) were kept.

The Mbunda were talented iron (vutale) and copper (vunegu) 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 in Kola.

After the death of Queen (Vamwene) Naama and after deliberations among the royal advisors it was resolved that another woman should take over from the late Queen (Vamwene) 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 (Vamwene) Yamvu was enthroned to succeed her mother, the late Queen (Vamwene) Naama, as the third sovereign of the emerging Mbunda ethnic group and state. Following the death of Queen (Vamwene) Naama, her son, (Prince) Munamwene Nkonde, married his two sisters, respectively called Queen (Vamwene) Yamvu and Princess (Vamunamwene) Lukokesha.

Queen (Vamwene) Yamvu bore the following offspring with her brother Nkonde:
1. Katongo (male)
2. Chiti (male)
3. Nkole (male)

Her sister Princess (Vamunamwene) Lukokesha also bore the following offspring with her brother Nkonde:
1. Chinguli (male)
2. Chimbangala (male)
3. Yambayamba (male)
4. Nkonde (male
5. 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 Ruund (Luunda) people already settled in this area. Later on Queen (Vamwene) Yamvu married a Ruund (Luunda) hunter Kingdom of Lunda and her brother Prince (Munamwene) Nkonde was so incensed with her conduct that he left the area in frustration anger and coined a song as follows:

Ngungu elelo tambula kwendeye lelo,                                                                        Woo, tambula kwendeye!
which means:
The insult forced them to depart.

According to the Mbunda custom of the time Queen (Vamwene) Yamvu should not have married. In the case where she did marry she should have surrendered the chieftainship to her brother Prince (Munamwene) Nkonde. Instead she surrendered the chieftainship to her Ruund (Luunda) husband. It is from this split that the Ruund (Luunda) chieftainship developed in the 15th century;Almanac of African Peoples & Nations page 523, Social Science By Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan, Transaction Publishers, Putgers - The State University, New Jersey, ISBN: 1-5600-433-9 the children of Prince (Munamwene) Nkonde with Queen (Vamwene) Yamvu descend to form the Ruund (Luunda) chieftainship of Mwantiyavwa.

In 1690 the Ruund (Luunda) ruler adopted the style Mwaant Yaav [Mwaanta Yaava]

From Prince (Munamwene) Nkonde and his children with Princess (Vamunamwene) Lukokesha we find the continuation of the central Mbunda chieftainship (Chiundi).

Prince Nkonde led the majority of the disenchanted populace away from Namampongwe and later settled near the confluence of the Kwilu and Kasai rivers. Prince Nkonde was anxious to seek the guidance of his ancestral spirits concerning his leaving Kola in protest of Yamvu's violation of Mbunda custom. He went hunting and killed a roan antelope (meengo). The killing of such a magnificent beast signified that the ancestral spirits approved of his action and served as a censure of Yamvu's conduct.

It was in the reign of King (Mwene) Nkonde that the Mbunda resolved to migrate to new territories where they could search for fertile land and settle down to farm. A place where they could expand and consolidate the structures of their state and ethnic group. Almanac of African Peoples & Nations page 523, Social Science By Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan, Transaction Publishers, Putgers - The State University, New Jersey, ISBN: 1-5600-433-9

The major factors which stimulated their migration were as follows:                              They found the tropical forests an extremely hard and difficult place in which to struggle for their survival.                                                                                          

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.                              

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.       

Ruminants could not be domesticated, due to lack of grass for them to feed on, complicated by the presence of tse-tee fly which could be detrimental to their health.

The Mbunda also disliked the perpetual dewy atmospheric conditions (mbundu ya muchuvukila) which were accompanied by stifling, humidity and ceaseless rainfall (nyondthzi ya muchuvulila).                                                                             

They also disliked the rocky soils (livu lya mamanya) and the lack of sufficient wild game and fish (lisholo) of which they were so fond.                                                  

Finally, they feared the rampant epidemics of small pox (mushongo wa lyale), which had taken a great toll of life amongst them.

The Mbunda language spoken by the Mbunda group that remained in the DR Congo, entirely separated from the rest of their people, is of course a special case. Due to passage of time and interaction with other languages, it has become quite different from the variants spoken in Angola, Zambia, and Namibia, and is today even considered as belonging to a different linguistic category.

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 lead by two Princes, namely, Prince (Munamwene) Chimbangala, and Prince (Munamwene) Chombe, who were both sons of King (Mwene) Nkonde respectively. Two other men of noble ranks, who comprised the expedition were, Mwata Chombe and Mwata Kapyangu.

The expedition explored a large area to the west and discovered an unknown river which they crossed and then went on to discover the valley of the Lwena 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 king.

King (Mwene) Nkonde and his subjects built a shrine for offering to their ancestral spirits and authored the salutation as follows:

Mbunda ovoo!
Mbunda va thon'o
Yafuta na ninga
Yakatavu ka ndongo
Mbunda ya Naama ya Nkuungu
Vakulu voshe kamunungathane
Kwithu, kwithu
Muyilya muvinena
Mbunda oyoo.

This means:
Here is your meat and red-brown soil!
Delicious cooked meat is good
With pounded groundnuts added to it.
The soil and meat of Queen Naama and King Nkuungu.
May all the ancestral spirits unite and consolidate themselves.
Be blessed and further blessed.
You consume the meat and then return it.
Here is your meat and red-brown soil!

Prince Nkonde was enthroned as the fourth Mbunda monarch in a palace called Mapamba and, before his death, his son Prince Chinguli was enthroned as the fifth Monarch of the Mbunda.

King (Mwene) Nkonde, unable to travel due to old age sent his son Chinguli who had just taken over from him as the fifth Monarch to go south and search for better land for their settlement. This is the only time the Mbunda had two ruling Monarchs. King (Mwene) Chinguli was commissioned by his father to go out and seek new lands for the people. He led an expedition which travelled southwestwards (Mumbwela) in the direction of what is now called Namibia.

Taking a more central route into the now Angola, the southwest of the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai river, 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 Lwimbi and the Nyemba. King (Mwene) Chinguli never returned to Kwilu/Kasai to report his new found settlement lands.

Chinguli's children were:
1. Mbaao (f)
2. Nkonde (m)
3. Luputa (m) 

After a long wait and before the death of King (Mwene) Nkonde the fourth Monarch, King (Mwene) Chinguli's daughter Mbaao was installed as the sixth Monarch to replace the father. Queen (Vamwene) Mbaao was left with the responsibility to migrate the Mbunda to better settlement lands from Kwilu/Kasai.

During Queen (Vamwene) Mbaao’s reign, the Mbunda embarked on their second migration expedition to the southeast of Kwilu and Kasai rivers.

Vamwene Mbaao bore the following children:
1. Kwandu (m)
2. Chondela (m)
3. Kaamba (f)
4. Mbayi (f)
5. Lilu (m)

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 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, which elected the Kings. The Princess was enthroned as Queen (Vamwene) Kaamba. She was the seventh Monarch to preside over the affairs of the Mbunda people.

Vamwene Kaamba bore children as follows:
1. Chingwanja (m)
2. Mulondola (m)
3. Ndongo (m)
4. Katheketheke (f)
5. Muyeji (f)

Under Queen (Vamwene) Kaamba the Mbunda had explored and settled new lands. During one of their migrations, they 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, Princess (Vamunamwene) 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.

In reminiscence of the unfortunate fate that befell Princess (Vamunamwene) Mbayi, the bereaved Mbunda 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 Mbunda still call the Zambezi river “Lya Mbayi”. The Mbunda are also reminded of that fateful crossing of their distant forebears, with the praise coined thus:

“Lya Mwenembayi lya mukindakinda alijavuka ali na chikathi kuwethi na chikathi ku umujavuka”

which means;
You dare not cross the turbulent great Lya Mwenembayi river, without the use of a paddle.

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 that the first Mbunda decided to settle in what is now Angola.

This land was also prized by the bushmen who lived there. 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 village 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 Mbunda while the women were allocated out as wives. The women were very desired because of their large protruding buttocks and their yellow skin.

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. These languages are not to be confused with Ngangela. In fact "Nganguela" 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".

The two route migrations of the Mbunda from the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers gave way to a thirteen (13) Mbunda descendant family of Mbunda Mathzi, the Chimbandi, the Humbi, the Ngonjelo, the Lwimbi, the Nyemba, the Luchazi, the Sango, the Mbalango, the Nkangala, the Yauma, the Ndundu and the Mashaka.

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, with Lumbala Nguimbo becaming their capital. His Majesty King Mbandu III Lifuti is King regnant of Mbundaland today.

Ngangela Or Mbunda Group?  - What is Ngangela    The Origin of Ngangela Name

Language History in SE Angola- The Ngangela-Nyemba Dialect

Eastern Angola today is mainly occupied by this thirteen (13) family Mbunda descendant group: Mbunda Mathzi, Chimbandi, Humbi, Lwiimbi, Ngonjelo, Nyemba, Luchazi, Sango, Mbalango, Yauma, Nkangala, Ndundu and Mashaka. Today some unofficial Angola Tribal maps show Eastern Angola as occupied by Ngangela. These tribal maps are misleading because Ngangela is not a tribe but a derogatory name which also means Eastern Alvin W. Urquhart, ''Patterns of Settlement and Subsistence in Southwestern Angola'', National Academies Press, 1963, p 10. It is also reflective of Portuguese colonialists' oppression on Mbunda and clear intent to wipe out the tribal group completely out of Angola. As a result of this, Mbunda as a National Language in Angola 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, Idiomas Nacionais - Ministério da Administração do Território   Tusona: Luchazi Ideographs : a Graphic Tradition of West-Central ... - Page 290-292 and systematically being replaced by Ngangela . Surprising,  Mbunda programming in national languages ​​was removed from the Public Television of Angola (TPA), even on some community radio stations. Languages of Angola - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

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

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

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, ref; 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.

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.

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

The Mbunda who lived in Barotseland prospered. They were welcomed and respected by the Aluyi. The Aluyi and their leader, the Litunga especially prized the Mbunda for their ability to fight. When the Luvale also known as Lovale invaded Barotseland from the north the Litunga instructed the Mbunda to counter the invasion. Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File, Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760. The battle was a complete victory for the Mbundas They killed all of the Luvale warriors except for a few. These few were left alive so they could return to the Luvale villages and report about what happens when you do battle with the Mbunda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10). Respect chieftainship and the elders.

In this way the relationship between the Aluyi and the Mbunda was defined and developed and continues to this day. The views of King Mulambwa recognized the Mbunda contribution to the historical development of Bulozi. This and other factors earned Mbunda to be represented on the Barotse National Council. Mupatu, Y. Mulambwa Santulu Uamuhela Bo Mwene, London, 1954,     Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File, Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

Secondly, the Mbunda fought alongside Aluyi in the Aluyi/Makololo war in 1830, which ousted the Makololo rule on the Aluyi. This led to the establishment of the Mbunda Chieftainship at Lukwakwa under Senior Chief Sikufele now in Kabompo District, being a descendant of Mulambwa and a Mbunda wife. The Makololo from the south introduced the Lozi language spoken not only in Western Province today but also Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Caprivi Strip . Bull M.M., Bulozi Under The Luyana Kings, London 1973,     White, C.M.N. "Notes on the Political Organization of the Kabompo District and its Inhabitants," African Studies, IX, (1950), pp. 185-93,    Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File, Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

In the 1880’s the Litunga decided he wanted to grab the cattle which belonged to his neighbors to the east, the Tonga. He sent all his warriors eastward to chase off the Tonga and return with their cattle. The heart of his army were the Mbunda. Again the Mbunda were successful as the Tonga could not compete. The Tonga had no defense against the Mbunda‘s skill with a bow and arrow. The Tonga fought only briefly before they ran away. The Lozi’s with the Mbunda in the lead returned to Barotseland to present the Litunga with over one million cattle. This is where the Lozi/Mbunda and Tonga Cousinship originates from. Bull M.M., Bulozi Under The Luyana Kings, London 1973,       Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File, Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

Later the Kaonde/Lozi war which Lozis lost in the first battle, but warn with the help of the Mbunda war machinery, where Mbunda Chief Kasimba of Kalumwange played a major role resulting in the Mbunda Chieftainship having firmly been established there at the confluence of the Lalafuta and Kyamenge in 1893, opposite Chief Mushima Njivumina of the Kaonde. Bull M.M., Bulozi Under The Luyana Kings, London 1973,      Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and Middle East, Facts On File library of world history, Facts On File, Incorporated, Social Science, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN: 143812676X, 9781438126760

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

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

The Mbunda that remained in Mbundaland which was now part of Angola continued with hardship of the Portuguese colonialists. In 1961 an uprising against forced cotton cultivation, culminated into liberation war. With encouragement from Agostinho Neto, leader of the 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

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

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

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Reference Books


The Luchazi of Southern Africa... By Orville Jenkins

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

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




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