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Facts About National Language Mbunda,

Mbunda People and

The Mbunda Kingdom in Angola





Mbunda 23rd Monarch Restored in Angola


Following the successful restoration of the twenty third (23rd) Mbunda Monarch on 16th August 2008 in Lumbala Nguimbo, Moxico Province of Angola, it is only inevitable that the Monarch has established that out of the seven hundred and thirty six (736) chiefs in Municipio dos Bundas and Municipio de Kangamba only fifty five (55) are bona fide Mbunda Chiefs, two Hundred and eleven (211) are non Mbunda Chiefs and four hundred and eighty two (482) are Vimiata (Noble Men and or Prime Ministers). Some of these so called Chiefs are believed to be political and left on thrones by the Portuguese Colonialists.


A total of fifty eight (58) bona fide Mbunda Chiefs have so far been identified and are found in their respective Palaces in six (6) Districts of Municipio dos Bundas, which are: Comuna de Lumbala Nguimbo, Comuna de Ninda, Comuna de Chumi, Comuna de Lutembwe (Lutembo), Comuna de Xexe and Comuna de Luvuei. Others are found in their respective Palaces in five (5) Districts of Municipio de Kangamba, which are: Comuna de Kangamba, Comuna de Kangombe, Comuna de Mue, Comuna de Kasamba and Comuna de Tembwe, all of Moxico Province and three (3) in Comuna de Cutuilo and Municipio de Menongue of Cuando Cubango Province.


Mbunda Chiefs In Four Municipalities of Two Angola Provinces


Mbunda people group have one (1) King and fifty eight (58) bona fide Chiefs so far identified in Moxico and Cuando Cubango Provinces of Angola. Thirty six (36) in Municipality of Bundas, nineteen (19) in Municipality of Luchazes (Kangamba), one (1) in Municipio De Mavinga, two (2) in Municipio De Menongue.


Mbunda History and Dislodging of The Mbunda Kingdom


King Mwene Mbandu III is the twenty third (23rd) Mbunda Monarch from King Mwene Nkuungu, the first (1) monarch in KOLA now Congo DRC of the 1400s and successor to Mwene Mbandu II Kazungo Shanda, who was imposed on the Mbundas by the Portuguese Colonialists. That was after the twentieth (21st) Monarch, King Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova was abducted by the same colonialists in 1914.1 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 Mwata (Prime Minister) 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 Mbundas.


Mbundas waged a fierce armed campaigns in their desperate bid to maintain their independence of Portuguese subjugation,2 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. Read More...............


Ngangela Or Mbunda Group?


In the earlier years before 1500’s a group of Bantu people left what is now Sudan,3 during the Bantu migration. Among these were the Mbunda,4 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.5


The Mbunda trace their origin from Sudan,6 trekking southwards through Kola where they came in contact with the Luba and Ruund people,7 where a misunderstanding between the third Monarch Yamvu and forth Monarch Nkonde led to a split after Yamvu married a Luba Hunter. One faction gave rise to the Mwata Yamvwa Kingdom after adopting the name Mwata Yamwa in 1695, while the other faction led by Mwene Nkonde retained the Mbunda dynasty and moved eastwards and settled at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai Rivers where the Mbunda Kingdom was re-established.8


At Kwilu/Kasai, because of the hostile weather conditions, King Chinguli the fifth Monarch was sent by the father Nkonde to look for better land for settlement.


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.


King Chinguli took a more central route into the now Angola, fighting the Bushmen all the way to Kwandu Kuvango, leaving Mbundas behind in his trail who were later called, Lwiimbis, Chimbandis, Ngonjelos, Humbis and Nyembas. He never returned.


At Kwilu /Kasai after the death of Nkonde, Mbaao was installed as the sixth Monarch. After the death of Queen Mbaao, her daughter Kaamba was ethroned the seventh Mbunda Monarch and moved Mbundas, taking a southeastern route into the now Angola. During this immigration expedition, Kaamba finaly settled the Mbundas at Mithimoyi near Luena.


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.9 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 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.

Origin of the Luchazi In Mbundaland
A group from the Luimbi group led by Mutunda wa Ngambo, a Mbunda descendants of the 5th Mbunda Monarch, King Chinguli cha Nkonde revolted against Chief Malaho in an attempted coup. Later they escaped but were captured by the Mbunda at Lukilika who took them before the Mbunda 13th Monarch, King Yambayamba Kapanda. They were almost executed but they yielded under his authority.
Who is Mutunda wa Ngambo? Mutunda is Ngongola’s father with Kanunga and Kanunga was born of Vitumbi (Ngongola wa Kanunga, Kanunga ka Vitumbi). These are all Mbunda descendants through the Luimbi group descending from the 5th Mbunda Monarch, King Chinguli cha Nkonde.
After surving the execution, Mutunda was taken to Lutengo, an iron smelter in the middle of Ngova and Nalunga by King Yambayamba Kapanda and Chief Chingumbe. That is where he lit a fire which brought about his self praise that, “yange civweka, nja vwekele tuhya mungongo, va Miangana valisangala kwota (I am the fire lighter, who lit the fire in the bush and Royalties enjoyed warming themselves, in reference to King Yambayamba Kapanda and Chief Chingumbe).
Mutunda a captive from the Luimbi ethnic group was eventually allowed to stay in the Yambayamba capital. In the process, Mutunda fell in love with Kanunga, daughter of Vitumbi in the Royal lineage of King Yambayamba Kapanda and impregnated her betrothing a Royal blood. That led to the Mbunda of King Yambayamba Kapanda settling the Luimbi/Mutunda group and their daughter in the Chathzi-Luena river just before Mithimoyi river now renamed Sakasaji by the Chokwes. Consequently, as they frequently identified themselves to neighbourly natives as being from Chathzi river, this original Luimbi group were subsequently named after their Chathzi river settlement as Luchazis
10. Today, both that Luimbi group and the river of settlement are called Luchazi.
Later, some of this group led by Chiefs (Miangana) Kwenya and Chitimba cha Sali, leaving Chief (Mwangana) Mutemba decided to return to Luimbi, but there finding the Chimbandi, the other descendants of King Chinguli who chased them. In their flight they crossed the river Kuandu, sunging a song, "Mutemba twatuye, vaile ku Chimbandi vanakatunta lusi"
11. That group split into two sides, with one led by Chief (Mwangana) Kwenya ended up to seek settlement land from Mbunda Chief Kangamba and allowed him to settle along river Lindi12. After the death of Chief (Mwangana) Kwenya, his Prime Minister Kanguya succeeded him. After the death of Chief (Mwangana) Kanguya, Chikuku Nsamba succeeded him. That is how the name Chikuku Nsamba became famous in Kangamba and that is why the only Luchazi Senior Chief (Regedor) in Kangamba is Chikuku Nsamba, confirming that Kangamba as renamed Luchazes by the Portuguese colonialists is part of the Mbunda jurisdiction and not Luchazi.
The other group led by Chief (Mwangana) Chitimba cha Sali went to seek land of settlement from Mbunda Chief Ngimbu ya Vukulo which was rejected by Chief Ngimbu. That rejection culminated in Chief (Mwangana) Chitimba cha Sali being levied to pay in form a slave for a piece of settlement land. That event was coined by a song; “Ngeci mwange lika Chitimbeee, njatendwile ndungo njalanda musenge”(”for me Chitimba, I got a slave to buy a settlement land”). With that background, the Luchazi originate from the Luimbi group being the descendants of the Mbunda King Chinguli first migration route.


Eastern Angola today is mainly occupied by this thirteen (13) family Mbunda descendant group: Mbunda Mathzi, Chimbandi, Humbi, Luimbi, Ngonjelo, Nyemba, Luchazi, Sango, Mbalango, Yauma, Nkangala, Ndundu and Mashaka.


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.13  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.14   As a result, 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.15


Status Of Mbunda language In Angola


Mbunda language was chosen as one of the six National languages in Angola for development of orthographies and facilitate teaching it in schools in 1980 by the Institute of National languages in Angola.16,17,18,19,20,21,22 The Mbunda desk at the Institute of National languages in Luanda, Angola was represented by Camarada Justino Frederico Katwiya, a teacher of Mbunda National language.23 However, after Camarada Justino Frederico Katwiya's retirement, the Mbunda desk at the Institution has remained vacant to-date. The lack of representation by the Mbunda people caused other ethnic groups with representation at higher levels of decision making to substitute Mbunda language with Ngangela language, and systematically,  Mbunda programming as a National language ​​was removed from the Public Television of Angola (TPA), even on National and some community radio stations and replaced with Ngangela.  However, recent pronouncements from the authorities indicate that the anormally is receiving some attention.24,25

Alphabets of Angola Six National Languages Developed in 198023

The language area of MBUNDA modified:26    Initially it was between the right bank of the river Lungue-Bungo on the way to the border with the Republic of Zambia, and along the rivers Luconha, Cuvangui up to Cuando, namely the munipality of Cuando, the commune of Cangombe, along the Cuando River to the border with the current Republic of Zambia.

Currently its area in Angola was restricted due to:
  •  Migrattions in the 18th century to Barotseland areas of Kalabo and Mongu, where they were nicknamed Mbunda/Shamuka, after modifications of their Customs and Traditions.
  • Migrations in 1914, following the abduction of King Mwene Mbandu, to additional Barotseland areas of Senanga, Kaoma and Lukulu where they preserved their traditions and customs.
  • Migrations caused by the wars of National liberation.


The current Mbunda language area in Angola is confined in the city of MBundas in Lumbala Nguimbo, comprising the communes of Luvuei, Lutembo,Mussuma, Ninda and Cumi.


The Mbunda Kingdom Area


Mbunda Kingdom is composed of southern Moxico and Cuando Cubango Provinces of Angola,27 comprising four Municipalities of Bundas (Lumbala Nguimbo) Luchases (Kangamba), Menongue, and Mavinga. It would be mis-representation of facts to assume that The Mbunda Kingdom area was modified or restricted.28 What was supposedly restricted is Mbunda language area. Sociolinguistic research indicate that people and language are different, therefore Mbunda people and its Kingdom is different from Mbunda language.29




 1  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.

  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

 3  "The Bantu in Ancient Egypt, citing sources: Alfred M M'Imanyara 'The Restatement of Bantu Origin and Meru

     History' published  by Longman Kenya, 1992 - Social Science - 170 pages, ISBN 9966-49-832-X"

 4  Almanac of African Peoples & Nations page 523, Social Science By Muhammad Zuhdī Yakan, Transaction

     Publishers, Putgers - The State  University, New Jersey, ISBN: 1-5600-433-9

 5  Robert Papstein The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People, Lusaka Cheke Cultural Writers

      Association, 1994, ISBN 99 820 3006X

 6  "The Bantu in Ancient Egypt, citing sources: Alfred M M'Imanyara 'The Restatement of Bantu Origin and Meru

     History' published by  Longman Kenya, 1992 - Social Science - 170 pages, ISBN 9966-49-832-X"

 7   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

 8   Almanac of African Peoples & Nations, page 523. By Muhammad Zuhdī Yakan, Transaction Publishers, Putgers -

     The State University, 35 Berrue Circle, Piscataway, New Jersey 008854-8042, ISBN 1-56000-433-9,

 9   Bantu-Languages.com

10, 11  Mwata Maimba Maliti oral research
12 As narrated by a Luchazi, Samasela Chikwama in Lumbala Ngimbu

13  Alvin W. Urquhart, ''Patterns of Settlement and Subsistence in Southwestern Angola'', National Academies Press,

     1963, p 10.

14  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

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

16  Colin Baker and Sulvia Prys Jones' (1998) Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education-

     Multilingial Matters Ltd. pp. 355-367

17  Minority languages and cultures in Central Africa

18  The Cultural Peculiarity - About Angola 

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

20  Ethnic groups and national languages

21  Linguas Nacionais

22  The Council of Ministers (Angola Government Gazette First Series No. 41 dated Saturday 23 May 1987)

23  Tusona: Luchazi Ideographs : a Graphic Tradition of West-Central ... - Page 290-292

24  Angola Harmonização das línguas bantu dificultada pela fonética e grafia

25  Elaboração do Atlas Linguístico de Angola

26  História da criação dos alfabetos em línguas nacionais, edições 70 - Portugal (History of the creation of alphabets

     in National languages, 70th editions - Portugal)

27  A área linguística do MBUNDA tem-se modificado

28  Robert Papstein The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People, Lusaka Cheke Cultural

      Writers Association, 1994, ISBN 99 820 3006X

29  A área linguística do MBUNDA tem-se modificado

30  Ethnologue.com: Mbunda - A language of Angola;  see "Other comments" 


Further reading

 Ngangela Name Origin,

 Language History in SE Angola- The Ngangela-Nyemba Dialect

 Mbunda Origin,

 Other Books,





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

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
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