By Saleya Kwalombota
I write this article out of personal conviction, without element of hatred of Bembas and further, with no element of tribalism but can’t help to ignore the erasing of Barotseland’s Lingua franca, silozi by the tribe of acronym for identification purposes. The people of Barotseland through the Kuta leadership must protect pur hard won cultural ethos. Roman empire collapsed, not because of fulfilling bible prophecy, but of allowing other cultures which infiltrated its cultural ethos.
My visit to Mungu in January this year left me wondering whether I visited muchinga or Barotseland. Every office I entered into, from cleaners to office workers were communicating in Bemba. Along the streets, Bemba also happens to be the second major spoken after Silozi. It is worthy mentioning that there is no nation that does not protect itself from bad influence, in this case Barotseland is no exception. Barotse people are not tribal but hate to be dominated. Tribalist is the person imposing his or her language on others.
If Barotseland is GRZ’s last frontier of the Bemba campaign then their strategy is amiss because it is going to be the death of their evil scheme. Taking advantage of employment of new stuffs in the PF created districts and other sectors like police, teachers and health workers, the GRZ is running a scheme of recruiting Bembas only. Does it mean the people of Barotseland have no necessary required qualifications to take-up vacancies in government departments?
Depriving of Jobs to Barotse people in Barotseland is not only practiced by GRZ departments but has been extended to NGOs and private institutions. For example, Radio Liseli, totally the Radio has no character of being a community radio in terms of its manpower and music programs, all Bembalized! People should know that Catholics have age-old relationship with Bembas , this is witnessed through the church’s hierarchical structures, Bemba dominated, this includes language of songs and communication.
When the kingdom of King Mbemba -a -Nzinga of Congo now part of Angola disintegrated, the small nomadic tribal groups hustling and scrounging for survival fled the Kingdom. It is not surprising to note that Bembas and their cousin Mbundas have similar names and parallel character because they lived together in Mbemba – a – Nzinga Kingdom. While Bundas are specialized in art of making weapons, the Bembas on the other hand are masters of chasing monkeys from tree to another for meat consumption.
The relationship between Bembas and Catholic as earlier alluded to is of age-old, traced back at the time of King Mbemba – a – Nzinga. For now, I will not mention of the historical part of the Catholics with King Mbemba – a – Nzinga as my focus is mainly on the manner Bembas conduct themselves of imposition of their language on people who don’t even want to hear it.
History states that the people of Barotseland through their King Ngombala conquered the line of rail and chased the Katanga’s from the Zambezi valley in the 1100 AD. Ngombala also conquered the whole of the west of the Zambezi river up to the Atlantic coast. At that time, the current Tongas and many other tribes were not there. They were still filtering through from Mozambique on trek from Kenya and Tanzania. Historically, Lozis have better and strong claim in the formation of Zambia than any other group of people.
The Ngonis entered Zambia in 1835, the Bembas entered Zambia in tribal groups in 1870 from Angola through Congo. The tribal groups were the Mwerus, Rungus, Tabwas, Ngumbos, etc. Historical facts put it that when these tribal groups reached Northern part of Zambia, Kaputa in particular, they found Kazembe of the Lunda people who welcomed them and gave them a settlement.
These tribal groupings even failed to identity themselves, when confronted, said they were from King Mbemba – a -Nzinga, hence the nickname Ba Bemba meaning they were from King Mbemba. Elderly people also used to identify themselves as Tuli Ba Mbemba Mukulu which now they have shortened as Kulubemba. Therefore, Bembas are not superior to be imposed on other people through government jobs and music exposition.
Barotse authority must wakeup and live-up to the challenge, Barotseland has cultural and lingua franca that should not be polarized by foreign language, not beneficial in any way to the cultural and social developmental of the territory. The scheme of uprooting barotseland culture and its lingua franca is ment to destabilize Barotseland culturally, mentality, physically and socially.The onus to stop this nonsense is with the Barotseland authority to reject appointments of people outside Barotseland.
. Bulozi fasi la bondata Luna