The Kingdom of Kazembe


The Court of Mwata Kazembe consists of 'kilol' who constitute the nobility.They are respected

by the people in the same manner that they themselves respect the Kazembe (sovereign). The following are the principal kilol:

Mwana-bute, heir to the throne

Kalula, Mwata's uncle

Nswana Mulowe, Mwata's nephew

Nyina - Mwana, Mwata's mother

Nambasa, Mwata's sister (the last two titles are purely honorary)

? Mwine Mpanda, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces

? Mwaniansita, responsible for the maintenance of roads; he also investigates cases before they are presented before the Mwata for adjudication.

The other kilolo whose titles are preceded by the term Mfumu belong to the second grade of dignitaries. These second grade kilolo are charged with maintaining the clothing and insignia of the Mwata. Each object has its guardian who thus derives his title from there. Thus, the Mfumwa-Mukonso takes care of the mukonso, a flowing and ample outfit worn by Mwata; the Mfumwa-Tunseko takes care of the pearls; the Mfumwa-Mabwe is responsible for the precious stones; etc, etc.

The National Language

The local language is the primeval shila, which is very similar to Wsa; but in the court, it is Kampokolo that is used. During the six months that the Portuguese expedition spent in Lunda, not one single member of the expedition could get to understand this language. It was completely incomprehensible to those of us who are whites, and even to the interpreter himself who knows other languages spoken in the interior very well. The language seems very dificult to leam; it is totally guttural and is based more on the sounds than on articulation of words. It is sweet and harmonious to the ear, and I presume that thevocabulary is rich for it is spoken without gestures. Directives are formulated and announced with the sound of drums in kampokolo. \ learnt only two words of their language: cupso and mame, "fire" and "water".



The Mwata has monopoly over commerce. He exercises this power over the traders who come to his territory and export goods meant to be sold elsewhere. The Bisa and the Impoane are the East Africans who visit Kazemba regularly for commercial transactions. 

The Kazembe country abounds in ivory and has rich copper mines. Malachite is also found in these mines. There are red ochra (haematite) and gypsum mines. The Chimpili hills have a lot of antimony which people simply collect from the surface of the soil.

Gamitto,A. King Kazembe and the Marave, Cheva, Bisa, Bemba, Lunda, and Other Peoples of Southern Africa (1831-1832). Lisbon, 1960. Vol.ll. pp.111-112.