By Saleya Kwalombota
The town of Livingstone has and will always be significant to Barotseland. The home of Musi-o-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) the history of Barotseland can never be complete without Livingstone. Livingstone is inhabitant of the Tokaleya, one of the tribes of Barotseland. Batoka were the numerous people of Livingstone and linguistically grouped with Baleya as Tokaleya. It must be emphasized that the Tokaleya paid tribute to the King of Barotseland but in 1838 the Kololo, a Sotho tribe from South Africa displaced by Zulu wars, migrated north and conquered the Lozi who were divided over succession.
The piece of land historically known as the Barotse Park was designated thus because it was the site on which numerous protocols between King Lewanika and his successors on one part and the agents of British South Africa Company and later the British Crown on the other part were negotiated and sealed. Due to Zambia’s demonic politics, the park was renamed Mukuni by tribal obsessed Chiluba led government in 1996 which introduced even the teaching of Tonga in Livingstone with the agenda to displace Silozi language.
In 1855 Scottish missionary traveller David Livingstone became the first European to be shown the Zambezi in the Livingstone vicinity and to see Victoria Falls when he was taken there by a Kololo ruler, Sekeletu of Barotseland. In 1864 the Lozi threw off the Kololo and re-established their Kingdom in the vicinity of the Falls including the tribes of Subiya and the Tokaleya , which were the south-eastern margin tribes of the greater Barotseland kingdom.
It is worthy noting that in 1902, the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika was invited to attend the coronation ceremony of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria in England. The Barotse Centre at the heart of the Constitution Hill (which is Livingstone today) is where the Litunga bade farewell to his council and the people who wished him a safe journey. It was at this same site where Lewanika assured and impressed the crowd that feared for his safety, by planting his royal walking stick into the ground as a sign that would predict whether his entourage was safe.
Gradually, more settlers arrived in the Victoria Falls area, the administrators at the Old Drift or Sekute’s Drift (which was unhealthy) decided to have a new township planned at the Constitution Hill. By the end of November 1904 the new township was being surveyed and the roads were marked. The township was layed out as a rectangular grid of streets and sanitary lanes forming fifteen blocks in all covering an area of rather less than one square kilometer. The central street main way (now Musi-O-Tunya road) was to be 43 metres wide. The central block was to be an open park known as THE BAROTSE CENTRE, which still survives.
In 1904, when the railway line from Bulawayo reached the Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls, the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika came to the Victoria Falls for the official opening ceremony of the bridge held on 12th September 1905 by Professor George Darwin, President of the British Association. It was at this very important event that the first curio shop was put up by Lewanika in the new town at the Barotse Centre.
Two years after the official opening of the bridge in 1907, a decision was made by the White Administration of North-Western Rhodesia headed by Sir, Robert Codrington, in consultations with the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika of Barotseland, to shift the capital from Kalomo to Livingstone.
In 1909 King Lewanika travelled to Livingstone to welcome the new Administrator Mr. Wallace, who replaced Robert Codrington who died. He was accorded a reception by the White Administration and Africans at the Barotse Centre.
In 1911, the British South Africa Company with the approval of the British Government passed an ORDER-IN-COUNCIL to facilitate the amalgamation of the two territories of North-Western and North-Eastern Rhodesia into one but for Barotseland of the Litunga, was reserved as a state within a state. Livingstone became the capital of Northern Rhodesia. The Barotse Centre was where the celebrations took place involving the peoples of the said territories backed by the two bands of the Barotse Native Police and the North-Eastern Rhodesia Constabulary which also amalgamated to one Northern Rhodesia Police which today is known as lawlessness, incompetent and brutal Zambia police (ZP).
The Barotse Centre in Livingstone further served as a recruitment point for native labour and as a venue for activities which involved the BAROTSE NATIVE POLICE and the BAROTSE NATIVE POLICE BAND, where Africans were actively involved.
The aforementioned is given in order to educate many misguided Zambians over Barotseland boundary that includes Livingstone district.
Bulozi fasi la bondata Luna


  1. Livingstone is part of Zambia and not Barosteland. Let us not live in the past. Black People were once slaves. Does this mean white people should come back and claim us. Barosteland existed in the past not now. People move on.

  2. Barosteland = NWR. It is that simple. You don’t need those complicated explanations. I am from southern but I know we all belong to Barosteland.

  3. Don’t delve in what Lewanika did in the past.He was a king and well respected with rich historical background. Don’t forget that Chiefs Sipatonyana, Singani, Nyawa, Moonga and Sekute are Lozi’s . People in these areas speak fluent Lozi and use Lozi names.Barotseland was a vast territory.

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