During the inter-tribal wars, the Lunda won many battles and naturally, that called for merry-making and great excitement. Dances of victory were performed and songs of jubilation were sung. The Mutomboko formed the climax of the day when the chief dressed in traditional paraphernalia danced to the beating of traditional drums.
Mwata Kazembe XIV Chinyanta Nankula or Mwata ‘Tachililwa-kubaya’ was the first Lunda ruler to receive western education. He discontinued the custom that required each Kazembe to build a new house in the palace grounds, by putting up a permanent two-storey house, which he roofed with aluminium sheets. This became the permanent palace for the Mwata and his successors. Unfortunately, he did not live to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He died in October 1950, two days before he was to move into this house.
During the last week of July, the people of the lower Luapula Valley in northern Zambia gather in the village of Mwansabombwe to celebrate their Lunda traditions and their paramount, Mwata Kazembe. For days prior to the main event, pubs serve bottled beer, much of it imported from nearby Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to quench the thirst of guests who have arrived in the hot, dusty village; women from different village sections deliver pots of millet beer to Mwata Kazembe's palace; and the youth organize special sports competitions and cultural events. Toward the weekend when the main festivities are to take place provincial, and on occasion national political and military dignitaries dressed in their suits and ties arrive. On Saturday afternoon, following the performance of certain rituals in the morning, chiefs, headmen, state dignitaries, and the villagers crowd together in a stadium on the outskirts of Mwansabombwe. A dignitary delivers a speech that highlights the importance of culture and tradition for progress, development, and national well-being. Listening to the national leadership's calls for the preservation of these traditions are chiefs and headman, who appear in the traditional Lunda garb of long imikonso skirts (sing. umukonso), leather inshipo belts and ututasa crowns (sing. akatasa). After the speeches, on the instruction of Mwata Kazembe, selected aristocrats and members of the royal family dance. The day's events culminate in Mwata Kazembe performing the Lunda dance of conquest, the Mutomboko.
Reigns of the Kazembe
Kazembe I Ng'anga Bilonda Ng'anga I (1710-1740)
Kazembe II Kanyembo Mpemba Kanyembo I (1740-1760)
Kazembe III ILunga Lukwesa Ilunga I (1760-1805)
Kazembe IV Tchibangu Kanyembo Mayi Kanyembo II ((1805-1850)
Kazembe V Muonga Kapumba Mfwama Kasawo Muonga I (1850-1854)
Kazembe VI Chinyanta Munona Chinyanta I (1854-1862)
Kazembe VII Lukwesa Mpanga Lukwesa I (1862-1862)
Kazembe VIII Muonga Sunkutu Muonga II (1862-1868)
Kazembe IX Kafuti Chinkonkole Kafuti I (1868-1872)
Kazembe VII Lukwesa Mpanga Lukwesa I (1872-1886)
Kazembe X Kanyembo Ntemena Kanyembo III (1886-1904)
Kazembe XII Muonga Kapakata Muonga III (1904-1919)
Kazembe XIII Chinyanta Kasasa Chinyanta II (1919-1935)
Kazembe XIV Kanyembo Chibu mbu "Chinkonkole" Kanyembo IV (1936-1941)
Kazembe XIV Chinyanta Nankula Chinyanta III (1941-1950)
Kazembe XV Brown Ng'ombe Chofwe Ng'ombe I (1951-1957)
Kazembe XVI Kanyembo Kapema Kanyembo V (1957-1961)
Kazembe XVII Kanyembo Lutaba Kanyembo VI (1961-1983)
Kazembe XVIII Munona Chinyanta Kabosha Munona II (1983-1998)
Kazembe XIX Paul Mpemba Kanyembo Kanyembo VII (1998-
Other things to visit during the Mutomboko in the same area:
3. The third Lunda-Kazembe capital was established by Mwata Kazembe Kanyembo Tshibangu ‘Keleka’ near Kasankila stream where he lived until his death. This was between 1805 thru 1850.
4. The fourth and present Lunda-Kazembe capital was established at the present site by Kanyembo Ntemena near Ng'ona river.This was between 1886 -1890 when the Luapula Valley was going through prolonged attacks from the Yeke under Msiri from Katanga. The prolonged attacks were initiated by kaindu mushimakakantu who wanted to take over the Mwatiship. Mwansabombwe the capital of the Luunda-Kazembe was and still remains the seat of the Lunda dynasty in Luapula Valley to this day.
Statue of Mwata Kazembe XIV located at a round about in Kazembe.
Origin and Significance
Mutomboko means a dance of victory. In narrating the origin and importance of Mutomboko, one has to link this important ceremony with days when the Lunda crossed over the Luapula river from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into Zambia, fighting their way through and in the the process conquering weaker and smaller tribes. It has been recorded in several history books that the Lunda crossed the Luapula river into Zambia near Chief Matanda's village of Mansa District.
There are seven different traditional events that happen during the Mutomboko ceremony.
1. The bringing of beer and the journey to the battle ground of Ketele--Time:8am to 12am--Date Last Friday of July each year.
2. The installment of new headmen or Chiefs--Time: 4pm to 6pm -- Date: Last Friday of July each year.
3. The visit to the shrine of Nakabutula--Time: 10am to 10:30am --Date: Last Saturday of July each year.
4. Meeting the Ancestral Mwatas and receiving their blessings--10:30am to 11am--Date: Last Saturday of July each year.
5. Giving reverence to the Animal spirits--11am to 11:15am--Date: Last Saturday of July each year.
6. The visit to the shrines of Chinianta and Kasombola--Time: 11:30amto12:30am --Date: Last Saturday of July each year
7. The Mutomboko dance--Time: 1:30pm to 5pm -- Date: last Saturday of July each year.
We encourage each of our visitors to come to all seven events to experience the full rich Lunda history. To view pictures,directions and walk thru's for each event that you are interested in, click on the photos below.
1. The first Lunda-Kazembe capital was established by Kanyembo Mpemba Mwata Kazembe II after crossing the Luapula river into Zambia from Kola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The capital was built near Chief Katele's Village, a Shila Chief who had surrendered to him. This was between 1740 and 1760. This area is now under Chieftenes Kanyembo who is the subject of Mwata Kazembe. Katele is now the burial site for the Mwatas. Katele is now the burial site attendant.
2. The second Lunda-Kazembe Capital since crossing the Luapula, was established near Lake Mofwe (in Nchelenge Boma), by Mwata Kazembe Ilunga Muonga Lukwesa between (1760-65) and 1705.