By Risco Lumamezi
A new literature book telling the journey of the Mafwe historical ties with the Luyana–Lozi kingdom is out for sale.
The author and publisher of this book is Dr. John Makala Lilemba, a researcher, winner of Pamwe Literature Award in siLozi Short Stories in 1996 and a scholar formerly lectured at the University of Namibia for 18 years, now is a visiting Research Scholar at the newly University of Barotseland in the Western Province of Zambia, he has published the book with among other long heated debate on the original name of the Caprivi
In an exclusive interview with Caprivi Vision Dr.Lilemba revealed that the book titled “The Odyssey of the Mamili Mafwe Royal Dynasty” reflects on the Historical Ties, Liberation Struggle and the Judiciary and Social Systems argues that the first objective of the book shed some lights on the current debate of the name change of the region from Caprivi to Zambezi and who came first in the troubled region.
In his book, historical sources indicated that the early inhabitants of the Caprivi Strip, like in many parts of Southern Africa, were the San people. While the Mafwe elders’ state that some of the Mafwe clans, especially the Mbukushu, were the original inhabitants of the Caprivi and the pre-colonial name was Linyandi after Ngombala (a Lozi empire) conquered the inhabitants around 1740.
According to him, Jalla in his book recorded that Mwanambinyi found the Mbukushu at Katima Mulilo and fought and defeated them.
In 1890 the region was called Caprivi Strip, named after George Leo Graf von Caprivi de Caprere de Montecuccoli after the Anglo-Germany Agreement of 1890 , commonly known as Heligoland – Zanzibar Treaty , in recognition of the role he had played in its negotiations and consequently the awarding of free access to the original ,pre-colonial name of the area.
However, according from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, The Heligoland–Zanzibar Treaty (German: Helgoland-Sansibar-Vertrag) of 1 July 1890 this was an agreement between Great Britain and Germany concerning mainly territorial interests in Africa. Germany gained control of a strategic island covering the approaches to its North Sea naval bases and gave up control of its Zanzibar colony. Other terms were that, Germany gained the islands of Heligoland in the North Sea, originally part of Danish Holstein-Gottorp but since 1814 a British possession, the so-called Caprivi Strip in what is now Namibia, and a free hand to control and acquire the coast of Dares Salaam that would form the core of German East Africa (later Tanganyika, now the mainland component of Tanzania).
Dr. Lilemba added that the Mafwe were some of the early settlers of Katima Mulilo , as it is indicated by them that they claim to be the first since they have occupied and own a larger chunk of the land in the region.
According to Dr. Lilemba’s research, the Masubiya are maintaining that they are the earliest arrivals, while some of the traditionally inclined Masubiya believe that Caprivi should be renamed as Intenge, but the Mafwe oral traditionalists claim that this term came into use when Chikamatondo complained about the small piece of land given to him by Chief Imataa. The Mayeyi claim that the original name of the area is DiYeyi which he explained that the BaYei were the first Bantu-speakers to emigrate to the Kavango Delta from their home Diyei, also called Ngasa(Nkasa), which is the area just east of the confluence of the Zambezi and the Chobe rivers, now within the Caprivi Strip.
“This by implication does not mean that the whole Caprivi region was called DiYei. In fact, the Mayeyi only settled at Nkasa and later moved to other places in the region” noted Dr. Lilemba in his book.
He said that the Mafwe’s claim is attributed to the fact that their ancestors, especially Mwanambinyi and Ngombala were among the earliest rulers of the region.
“Naming the region Linyandi is clear and understandable because Ngombala fought and conquered all the communities and incorporated them into his kingdom that time. Through this conquest, the region and its inhabitants fell before Ngombala. Ngombala did not occupy a portion of the region, but incorporated the whole region” he pointed out.
The book has also documented that the Aluyi and Aluyana moved from the former Zaire (now DRC) into Bulozi Plain and found the territory already inhabited by the Nkoya, Totela, Subiya, and Mashi.
Dr. Lilemba mentioned that the history of the Caprivi can be viewed in four phases as follows: First Lozi Kingdom; Kololo rule; Second Lozi Kingdom and the White rule. The first Lozi Kingdom began with Mboo Muyunda Mwanasilundu, the son of Mbuywamwambwa, who is regarded as the originator of the Luyana kingdom. He had many children some of them are Mboo Muyunda Mwanasilundu, Inyambo, Ingalamwa, Yeta, Mwanawina, Mboanjikana, Nakatindi, Namakau and Mwanambinyi.
He also added that during Mboo Muyunda Mwanasilundu’s rule, his brother Mwanambinyi moved down the Zambezi and established his kingdom at Senanga. He later waged war against the Mbukushu at Katima Mulilo and at Longa Island. He also attacked and defeated Liswani and his Subia, who fled to Kazungula, while Cheete and his followers fled Butoka.
He said the Few sources state that Mwanambinyi expanded his authority to parts of the present region , the Mafwe inhabited the Caprivi ( Linyanti region) possibly since the sixteenth century and named the Luyana kings, Mboo Muyunda Mwansilundu and Mwanambinyi as historical departure point. They maintain that Caprivi was part of the kingdom of Luyana.
Thereafter, incorporating the Mafwe into Luyana kingdom, Ngombala appointed mandunas to guard the fords at the Kwando and Mashi rivers (Nalonge, Imusho, Ngendalonda, Sikau, Masiala and Mwambwa Siluka)
Dr. Lilemba narrated that through this process, Caprivi became part of the Luyana kingdom under Ngombala during the early half of the eighteenth century. “The groups in this area had to pay taxes to the Lozi king. Since this conquest, the region was under the Luyanas (Aluyi and Aluyana) rule, and later on under the rule of the Kololo (a Bafokeng clan of Sebitwane from the former Orange Free State).”
The second historical phase of the region began with the invasion of the Luyana kingdom by the Kololo in 1823. Before defeating the Luyana, Sibitwane clashed with many groups such as the Tswanas in South Africa and Botswana.
He also fought with the Matebele of Mzilikazi before crossing the Linyanti and Chobe rivers and defeating the Lozi, finally settled in the Linyanti area. At the request of Subia (under Nsundano) Sibitwane became involved in a tribal dispute between the Subia and Leya, crossed the Zambezi river at Kazungula (with the help of the Toka of Masokotwani) and started to subjugate parts of Bulozi. After conquering Bulozi, Sebitwane moved southwards and in the process punished the Subia and Toka for helping the Matebele of Mzilikazi during the attack on the Kololo. He finally settled at Linyanti (Sangwali) in 1850 and died on 7 July 1851 after meeting David Livingstone.
The third historical phase began with Luyana conquering the Kololo and regaining their rule.Sipopa and other Lozi fighters defeated the Kololo and returned their rule in 1864. He was killed in 1876 during a rebellion and was succeeded by Mwanawina.
In 1878 Mwanawina fled to the Toka area. Prince Lubosi (the escaped one) or Lewanika (the conqueror) ascended onto the Luyana throne the same year. He was in turn overthrown by Mataa and Tatila Akufuna, the supporters of Mwanawina in 1884, but fought back and regained his chieftainship the following year. He ruled Caprivi as an integral part of Bulozi until 1909 when Kurt Streitwolf, first German Resident Commissioner arrived in Caprivi.
Mafwe Litungas (Kings) in the Caprivi
1. Imataa (Kabende) Kabainda Mamili I (1864 -1909) he is the first Mafwe Litunga in the Caprivi formerly called Linyandi region, a descendant of the sixth Luyana/Lozi King, Ngombala.
He was a resident of Imatongo (Katongo) near Senenga (Western Province of Zambia) after serving as chief at Lwena in Bulozi. His Father, Kabainda and Kabuba the mother were of royal blood of the Luyana/Lozi Royal House. His father Kabainda Muyongo was a first cousin to King Lewanika of the Lozi Empire.
His mother, Kabuba, was a descendant from the Luyi Paramount Chiefs (Yubya and Ngombala). He was appointed as Chief at Lwena and later at Linyandi (now Zambezi)
2. Lifasi Imataa Mamili II (1909 -1931), he was the eldest son of Imataa Kabainda; he then succeeded his father as Chief Mamili II of the Mafwe. His Ngambela (Prime Minister) was Mutumuswana Sankondo, who later replaced by Mulele Mutumuswana Pizo.
3. Simataa Lifasi Mamili III (1931 -1944)
4. Noah Simasiku Imataa Mamili IV
5. Richard Temuso Muhinda Mamili (1972 -1987)
6. Boniface Bwimo Bebi Mamili (1987 -1998)
7. George Chikandekande Simasiku Mamili (1999 – to date)