HISTORY OF THE FIRST BLACK PERSON TO OPEN A SHOP AND PRIVATE SCHOOL IN BAROTSELAND
From Barotse Archives
The first person to open and operate groceries, hardware and typing business shop in Barotseland was Mr Aibae Luyanga Mufungulwa.
The father to Aibae was Inambao Luyanga, Inambao simply means “Lion” he was one of the senior Indunas that king Lewanika had trusted. Mr Inambao was from both Nalolo village and kashiko village in mutuwambwa area of Mongu.
In 1890 during the tour of King Lewanika in Sefula and surrounding areas, he was briefed about Mr Inambao. King Lewanika came to know about mr Inambao and that’s how the Litunga requested inambao to go and live near the palace in the plains.
Mr Inambao together with his brothers and his wife Mwangala left kashiko village to Lealui Royal village.
king Lewanika gave him a village called “N’anda” just at the entrance of Mongu from Lealui. King Lewanika also gave Inambao a village called “Namweti” just in the Barotse plains but near Lealui Royal village and he was installed as Induna Inambao.
After settling in Namweti village, he expanded his village and a lot of people came to live with him because he was a good hunter, fisherman and cooperative warrior. King Lewanika always used to go with Mr Inambao for hunting in liuwa national park.
After two (2) years he married about 15 wives and had almost about 100 people who were working for him. He had slaves “batanga”. He became so strong and famous in the west side of barotseland that a lot people started to persuade him to overthrow king Lewanika and take over the throne.
But unfortunately the news reached king Lewanika so fast that his arrest was ordered. Through his allies Inambao was secretly briefed about the order of his arrest from king Lewanika , that’s how he managed to send his pregnant wife Mwangala to go back to kashiko village to protect and hide his first born child. On the same day in the night warriors arrived and there was total confusion in Namweti village as Inambao’s supporters wanted to retaliate and attack the Litunga’s army.
After his intervention to cool down his supporters, He was arrested and taken to Lealui royal village. He was tied to a big tree locally knows as Mupolota just opposite lealui police post.
Because he was famous, and that he was loved by many people in western part of Barotseland, a lot of people from the surrounding villages came to lealui to witness his pending slaughter. People gathered at the Palace grounds. Others petitioned Induna Natamoyo (justice minister) and the entire Barotse government was shaken and divided with others supporting him while others wanted him to be killed. King Lewanika then ordered for his release and that’s how king Lewanika named him as “Mufungulwa” simply means being released.
He was released and given back his Indunaship of Inambao for Namweti village which is just near Zambezi river.
Within a week king Lewanika gave him a beautiful land and also installed him as sub-chief Mufungulwa for Maala village just near Zambezi river.
His wife Mwangala shortly in 1894 gave birth to his first born son and named him “Aibae Luyanga Mufungulwa” .
Mr Inambao did not live long to see his child grow as he got sick and died when the child was still young and the mother also died after having the third born child. King Lewanika heard about the demise of his warrior and that’s how his son “Aibae Luyanga Mufungulwa” was brought to live in the Palace together with his children. Aibae grew up in Lealui Palace but at sometimes he was allowed go to kashiko and Nalolo to visit his relatives.
Aibae grew up together with king Lewanika’s 40 children among them, Sir mwanawina, yeta, Imwiko, Mbikusita etc in Lealui Palace. He was among the first people to start learning at Barotse National school in 1907 which is now called Kambule technical secondary school in Mongu.
After his education he went straight to work in Livingstone as clerk and typist. Then promoted as a company secretary until his voluntary retirement. His scope of work was involved in running the operations in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa.
Aibae attended the burial for king Lewanika and also saw the enthronement of King Yeta in 1916 who he grew up with. He went back to Livingstone.
King Lewanika has always treated him like his truely son. In 1929 he come back home and king Yeta offered him to marry his sister Princess Inonge Lewanika but he refused. Princess Inonge Lewanika was very close ally of Aibae even during the times of their stay in King Lewanika’s Palace she used to always provide him with food and fruits. Aibae told King Yeta that he did not want to become a slave because he grew up with pride and respect from the palace, hence he considered Princess Inonge Lewanika as sister and family.
Aibae married to Mwangala munembo (Ma-munembo) a subiya who was coming from Namibia. Their first born daughter is Aggness Mwangala Mufungulwa, he named her after his late mother. From that wife (bo-Ma-munembo) he had three daughters and one son called Charles Anakoka Mufungulwa. Ma-Munembo was coming from Imuba village in the Barotse plains and her mother from caprivi in Namibia. She passed away in 1940s. Mr Aibae was devastated as his children were still young. He opted to go for early retirement and married another wife (bo-izabeta) and finally come back home in 1949. From Ma-izabeta he had another two (2 men).
When Aibae retired, his workmate Mr Phiri invited him to go together to open stores in Blantyre and chipata he refused and told him that Barotseland was his business place.
When he reached Barotseland, he found that Sir Mwanawina had taken over the throne from his brother King Imasiku Imwiko as the king of Barotseland. He went to see him and told him that he wanted to come back home and start business since he had gained experience and wanted to contribute to the growth of the Barotse economy. Sir mwanawina III was among the last few children of King Lewanika who saw Aibae grew up in the palace.
He was given a land in Moombo area to settle his business empire. Despite most Indunas laughing at him. His Majesty the king of Barotseland, Litunga Sir Mwanawina III authorised him to setup and operate his businesses in the entire Barotseland, but the competition was hard because only the whites were running the shops at that particular time such as susuman stores.
He first opened his shop in Nakanya where his shop was rooted and burnt down by the local People who were mocking him that he can not sale sugar , salts and milk because he was black. He moved to Mongu and open a big shop which is currently in Mazima area, extended to Lealui, Sefula, Nalolo, Usha, Mushitwambumu, Mbanga and Nangula areas. He brought his 109 Land Rover, and bought also two tractors and 110 Land Rover. He had about 1,000 head of cattles as at 1960 and he was also a farmer.
He was approached again by his uncle who was also his former school then retired teacher from munali secondary school late Mr. Yuyi Mupatu, they opened the first ever private school in Barotseland which was called “Makapulwa” currently Mupatu primary school. And his Majesty the king, Litunga Sir Mwanawina III gave the school land and personally visited the school and encouraged people of Barotseland to go and learn as it was a night school.
Mr Aibae Luyanga Mufungulwa also helped and mentored a lot of people in Barotseland. He was Christian by faith as he used to worship at “Keleke ya Bulozi” the church of Barotseland. He encouraged other people to open their shops and conduct businesses so that the economy for Barotseland could be improved.
Later on, local people started opening theirs businesses including then king of Barotseland Litunga late Sir Mwanawina III. The people who opened were as follows; Lyambai, Ngulu and Sir Mwanawina M/Hotels, Kashumba and Mwala bakeries, Ikambwa Mukumbuta, Malala, Simandi, Mubonda, Kulwawalelo, Cheers stores.
Additionally after Zambia independence new businessmen come on scene such as; Kwaleyela Evans, Lubinda Nooyi, Kapyololo and Madzima groceries and Bottle Store.
Cold Storage, Zamhort and Zamcashew industries, Gandire, Washala-Washala, Kashembe Motorways, Nyati, Bupilo ki Masunda, Mutu Yo Munsu, Mooyo Brothers, Kashembe, Sinakama, and Chebe Chebe buses, Mukubesa, Jacinto, Simioti, Pereira, Muyangana, Mambwe, Pardon, Regina and Scono Boy.
Mr Aibae Luyanga Mufungulwa’s first born daughter Mwangala who did her education from the white missionaries taught by mr and Mrs Jalla and group in Mabumbu missionary school and went on to Finnish at chipembi was a designer and secretary by professional. She was married to a typist and accountant late Mwibea Mundia from Sefula and Naende village of mongu district, Mwangala divorced her husband in 1970 and went to start her own business empire in Limulunga. She was one among the first black women to operate businesses in Barotseland and the only one who was authorised by the Barotse Royal authorities to exchange business trade with masame “Indians” items such as groceries and hardwares as Indians were totally banned to operate or trade in Barotseland since time immemorial.
She built her business and expanded by venturing into timber trading ( she employed mbundas and luvales from Namitome, ikwichi, Makapaela, Ikabako and surrounding areas) , cattle rearing, farming, milling agents and tailoring. She opened her own biggest store in Limulunga were a lot of people were shopping from. She also opened a tailoring school centre with late mr Kasiwa Kasiwa of Nangulwe village in Moombo area, where women and men were been trained. Late Kasiwa was the only designer for Litunga late Ilute Yeta IV and Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II until his death in 2003.
Mwangala retired from doing businesses in 2014 at the age of 84 years old.
Mwangala is famous known as “Bo-Ma-Luyanga ” took over the business concept from her father.
The late Mr Aibae Luyanga Mufungulwa was born on July 1894 in Mongu and died in April 1982 at King Lewanika General Hospital in Mongu. He is buried at his village of Limulunga’s Moombo area.
He had six (6) children’s, three (3) men and three (3) women. Namely; Ms Aggness Mwangala Mufungulwa, late Ms Grace Sishwati Mufungulwa, Late Ms Mbangweta Mufungulwa, Mr Charles Anakoka Mufungulwa, late Rev. Kabakatunda Mufungulwa and late Mr Gerry Mufungulwa Mufungulwa.
Only his first born daughter Mss Aggness Mwangala Mufungulwa aged 91 years and fourth born Mr Charles Anakoka Mufungulwa aged 84 years old are still alive.
Mr Charles Anakoka Mufungulwa is Induna Mufungulwa for Maala village. He is former councilor for Mushitwambumu (1996-2000) a farmer and a businessman. Anakoka was the senior advisor to Linyungandambo freedom movement (2008-2015) who was on the most wanted list by MMD’s Rupiah Banda regime and PF government. He is retired and currently staying at his house in Limulunga Royal village.
The current UPND Luena Constituency of (Limulunga district) Member of parliament Hon Mubita Anakoka is son to Mr Anakoka Mufungulwa and grandson to late Aibae Luyanga Mufungulwa.