By News Editor, Barotseland Post
Through a program called The Home Coming Project, which helps African-Americans trace their original roots, some who reportedly traced their roots back to Barotseland are scheduled to arrive home today for a two-week-long pilgrimage to commemorate 400 years since the first slaves arrived in English America.
The team of ten African-Americans led by Eric Antony Sheppard, the President and Founder of The Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS) Inc. (USA), arrived in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday 6th August en route to Barotseland, where they will be received by the King of Barotseland, Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II, the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and their brothers and sisters in Barotseland for two-week-long festivities that will be organized in many districts across the Kingdom.
The first documented Africans to arrive in the English-speaking colony of what would become the state of Virginia in America, arrived in August 1619 on the “White Lion,” a Dutch man-of-war ship carrying enslaved cargo from the West Coast of Africa, and this August 2019 will be exactly 400 years since.
And to commemorate this special event, many African-Americans, and some from the Caribbean, are travelling back to Africa to reconnect with their ancestral homeland, with many deciding to relocate there permanently!
The commemorative pilgrimage is taking place in countries such as Ghana, Gabon and Barotseland (Western Zambia) to name but a few.
Yesterday, the team visited the American Embassy in Lusaka with another courtesy call on Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Arts this morning before embarking on the journey home to Barotseland!
As they journey home, the team, in the company of some Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) Induna (ministers), the Homecoming Organizing Committee and some Zambian Government officials, are expected to stop in selected places along the way to greet their brothers and sisters in Mumbwa, Itezhi-tezhi, Kaoma, Nalwei and Kande until they reach the Community Development Hall in Mongu before heading to the Limulunga Royal Capital.
Along with the 400 years commemoration activities, there will also be a commissioning of the planned construction of the Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS) Inc. multi-million US Dollar state of the art Restoration Center Headquarters for Africa at Sefula.
Also to take place will be the official recognition of Captain Moses Grandy and King Mulambwa of Barotseland for their respective roles in ending the slave trade!
Moses Grandy (c. 1786 – unknown), was an African-American author, abolitionist, and, for more than the first four decades of his life, an enslaved person while King Mulambwa of Barotseland is reputed for his stance against the Arab slave trade in his Kingdom and surrounding territories in the 17th Century.
King Mulambwa, who started his long and illustrious reign (date unknown but before 1812 – 1830) as Maimbolwa Santulu, became so nicknamed for having scoffed at the idea that someone could buy humans and thus, directed the slave buyers, the Arabs (Mambari) and others, to buy dogs instead!
“Mulese kuula anu, muule ambwa!*” – ‘Stop buying humans, buy dogs!’ a statement from which the name ‘Mulambwa’ was directly derived in the Alui language!
*The phrase muule ambwa became Maimbolwa Santulu’s nickname ‘Mulambwa’.
To this day, Barotseland still holds a national policy that forbids any Arab to settle or conduct any trade in the Kingdom!
COVER PICTURE: Eric Antony Sheppard with a team of African-Americans on arrival at the KKIA, Lusaka – Photo courtesy of Bulozi London