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Discover the Amazing Cultural Safaris of Zambia
June 23, 2006
June 22, 2006 Issue #0016


Written by Enestle Zimba,
Founding Editor
Africa’s Best Kept Secret Ezine
(c) copyright 2006 Zambia African


Learn to write for your hobby or market your business
on the Internet. I learnt all this from SiteSell...

================== TABLE OF CONTENTS ===================

o Africa’s Best Kept Secret
o Just My Thoughts
o Resource Centre
o Free Trials


o Why is Zambia Africa’s Best Kept Secret?

... Because of its colourful traditional ceremonies.

Zambia is amazing. There are 73 ethnic groups who
celebrate more than 21 traditional ceremonies every
year. To say the ceremonies are colourful is an
understatement. The people themselves are “Africa’s
most friendly people.” That’s colourful too!

Some of the most colourful traditional ceremonies are...

Kuomboka – meaning the moving out of the floods to
higher ground is a celebration of the Lozi people. They
migrate en mass from the flooded Zambezi River plains to
higher ground between February and March each year. They
use a flotilla of boats led by their king, the Litunga
in a royal barge called the Nalikwanda. Behind it comes
the Litunga's wife, the Moyo, in her own barge.

The paddlers of the Litunga’s royal barge wear traditional
scarlet hats and dance to the rhythm of the African drum
as they row. The ceremony starts at dawn and ends at
dusk. Then the Litunga, dressed in a royal British admiral
uniform disembarks and walks majestically to his palace.
This signals the start of the dancing, the drinking of
traditional beer and the modern lagers too. These drinks
wash down the various traditional foodstuffs the people
feast on.

Umutomboko, a very colourful war dance by the Lunda
people of Luapula Province. It’s both a victory
celebration and a thanksgiving. On the morning of the
ceremony Senior Chief Mwata Kazembe IV leaves his palace
seated on his throne fixed on a hammock. Traditional
warriors carry the hammock using two long poles. The
Mwata, as he is popular known, first duty is to spend
sometime blessing shrines of his ancestral spirits.
Thereafter he’s carried into the main arena.

As he embarks from the throne and takes to the floor
for his royal dance you can imagine the excitement.
The Mwata opens the ceremony with his slow motion
royal dancing while wielding an axe and followed by
a senior citizen holding a long cloth tied to the
chief. This dance is the Mutomboko.

Then the arena goes agog. Everyone joins in the
dance. The dressing is colourful; red and white
for the chief and reds, blues and whites for the
maidens who assist the senior chief to dance. The
maidens gyrate their hips making the dancing
colourful indeed. The ceremony is celebrated at
the end of July.

N'cwala, a thanksgiving for the first fruits of harvest
takes place at Mutenguleni Village a few kilometers
west of the picturesque Chipata Town. The religious
ceremony is a traditional warrior dance of the fierce
Ngoni people now settled in eastern Zambia. The Ngoni
people are descendants of the Zulu people of King Shaka
of the 19-century South Africa.

The celebrations start with the arrival in the main
arena of the Paramount Chief Mpezeni IV. And the dress?
Chief Mpezeni wears a lion’s skin to symbolise his post
as “Nkosi Yama Nkosi” meaning the king of kings. The
men who are Ngoni warriors wear different types of
animal skins. They hold long knobkerries (clubs) and
shields in either hand while dancing by foot stomping.
They dance, without the beat of a drum, to the clapping
of bare breasted women. The bells tied to the warriors’
feet complement the singing and clapping of women.

At the height of the ceremony a black bull is
slaughtered in the arena. The blood of the bull is
given to the Nkosi who symbolically drinks it. The
roasted bull’s meat is eaten by those strong enough
to “get a piece of the cake.” In the end, lots of
drink and food is consumed. The ceremony is conducted
at end of February.

Likumbi Lya Mize ceremony of the Luvale people takes
place at Mize, the official palace of Senior Chief
Ndungu seven kilometers from Zambezi Town located on
the Zambezi River in northwestern Zambia. The Luvale
perform this ceremony of rigorous dance routines and
spectacular dress code.

It is believed that a group of ancestral spirits arises
from the graveyard early in the morning. These spirits
are peaceful and are happy to join the living once a
year. They join the crowds at the main arena. Firstly
they praise Senior Chief Ndungu seated at his throne.
Then the spirits break loose and take to the arena’s
floor to dance. Their dance routines are amazing!

The dressing depicts fierce animals some of them quite
rare. As they troop in into the main arena one is made
to realize the variety of animal life and some dressing
are just a figment of the dresser’s fantasy. But that’s
what makes the day.

Likumbi Lya Mize combines the annual graduation of
boys to adulthood. This marks the end of the annual
circumcision ceremony when the boys reappear to join
their parents after a seclusion lasting a month or so.
The people join the spirits in dancing to celebrate
both the coming of age of the boys and to join the
ancestral spirits in praising Chief Ndungu. This
ceremony happens at end August.

But there are many more traditional ceremonies,
over 21 of them! Visit here...

o Just My Thoughts
What is it that has never stopped to amaze me? But the
Victoria Falls! It is really a seventh wonder of the
world. This waterfall on the mighty Zambezi, Zambia’s
as well as Africa’s fourth largest river is awesome.
Its mystic and a world heritage site too. No wonder the
Toka-Leya people of Chief Mukuni who have always lived
nearby have built many shrines for their deities and
traditional ceremonies. The Lwindi Ceremony takes place
when the year draws its curtain (year end.)

Because of the continuous booming thunder from the
largest curtain of falling water and the accompanying
mist that plumes from the bottom of the gorge the people
have called the waterfall “Mosi-Oa-Tunya” meaning the
“smoke that thunders”. But I like the other name,
“Shungu na Mutitima.” It means the same thing, smoke and

It’s not surprising that the famous Scottish missionary
doctor and explorer of all times Dr David Livingstone on
November 16, 1855 could not resist writing in his dairy,
“...scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels
in their flight.” Because the beauty is outstanding.

At the bottom of the falls there is red Kalahari sands.
One of the Sun International Resort hotels, the Zambezi
Sun, has borrowed the red colour and the pre-historical
drawings and used them on the hotel buildings.

On the cliff opposite the waterfall it rains 24 hours a
day 7 days a week (24/7). This nurtures a small rainy
forest. And two rain bows. One is seen during the day
and the second occurs at night on a full moon. These
are the popular solar and lunar rainbows of Victoria
Falls, ...but that’s another story!

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Written by: Enestle Zimba
Africa’s Best Kept Secret Ezine
73 Eucalyptus Avenue,
Luanshya, Zambia
(c) copyright 2006 Zambia African

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