By wizard Mukuma
To those who were 10 – 21 years between 1968 -1979 but not forgetting those who lived between 1948 – 1979 they can remember how the Litunga’s Limulunga Palace looked like. Wizard Mukuma remembers well the Limulunga Palace when he was a big boy at 10 years until in 1979 when the face of the Palace was given a face lift by the Limulunga Rural Council.
The history behind Limulunga Palace was founded by the Late Litunga Litia Yeta III the first born of King Lewanika who took over from his father after Lewanika died in 1916 due to kidney failure. Then King Lewanika had established Lubaci village near Limulunga amid opposition from his Indunas. Making matters worse Yeta III an educated Prince who took over Litungaship from his father met with heavy opposition from his Indunas when one day as he went to look for timber beyond Lubaci village in the bush and near a Cassava garden where the Palace today stands, he loved the area because he was able to see Lealui his Capital Royal Village in the plain, he decided to build his Palace there. He later convinced his Indunas that he was establishing a village that will grow into a well developed one. His indunas conceded defeat because they could not over turn what the new King had decreed.
Then in 1930 the King moved to his newly established Palace and his subjects slowly followed in suit. They settled around the bush area until a Canal was dug to the present day Nayuma harbour where Kuomboka would be the last expedition point. Then in 1933 a white man a builder constructed the Litunga’s house with an upper apartment that the King wanted to be sitting there whenever he would want to look around the plain and his Village at far end using a binoculars.
The house was named by the local people as ‘Libalala’ meaning what a beauty. The king then named his village ‘Limulunga’ meaning the Kingdom full of controversy. He prophesized that the village he had established, in future it will be over shadowed by Western culture that would carry away our children and to his prophecy Limulunga changed and many people got carried away by the Western Life style and they begun to forget slowly about the Barotse culture and its tradition.
Out side the reed fence of the Palace next to the gate was a traditional shelter called ‘Lutatai’ that was used as a resting place by the king at Kuomboka Ceremony, when coming out of the Palace to watch traditional dancers either on a special day such as a new moon and Ngomalume Ceremony could be danced. The shelter was expanded by Litunga Mwanawina III. It was a well built shelter with powerful river reeds. On it is floor grass was commonly covered. The same grass used to be covered on a well selected route from the Nayuma harbour up to the Lutatai.
Wizard Mukuma used to witness such preparations during the 1970s Kuomboka Ceremonies. Near the Palace gates was a big Mutata Tree and a few meters from the Lutatai was a Muhonono Tree under which Ngomalume used to be celebrated and by then the tar road was not yet laid from Mongu to Limulunga nor a potion reaching the Lutatai.
The Namoo Kuta was standing a few meters near the Sasikalo Local Court. It was made of Pole and Mad, a big traditional building. One day in 1970 an arsonist a man who was known as Kangamba at one evening set fire on the Kuta and Wizard Mukuma remembers the big blaze that was never contained by water and the Kuta was reduced to ashes. It was only well built into a brick and iron building in 1975.
When Litunga Mbikusita Lewanika II took over the throne after the demise of his late brother Litunga Mwanawina II KBE, he continued using the same Lutatai up to his death in 1976. Then in 1977 a New Litunga Ilute Yeta IV took over the throne after the death of his Uncle Litunga Godwin Akabiwa Mbikusita Lewanika.
In 1978 at his first Kuomboka, then Wizard Mukuma was in grade 6, there rained a heavy down pour a symbol that the new Litunga would rule longer. Litunga Ilute Yeta III also used the same Lutatai until in 1981 when a new modern Lutatai that has been painted black and white was constructed by the Limulunga Rural Council. By then a Tar road projection reached the Lutatai, thanks to Landor Burton Company for accepting to extend a portion of the road up to the Palace.
Today the Palace is made of a wall fence unlike the reed fenced one that Litunga Yeta III, Mwanawina II, Mbikusita Lewanika II used. Litunga Ilute Yeta used the reed fenced Palace from 1978 – 1989 when a brick Palace fence was constructed. In the near future we may see a modern Palace fence constructed. We may just need all Barotse people to donate money so that we construct a modern Palace fence not what is there else we may just revert to the old traditional Palace built using reeds.
In fact a few meters from the Palace near the Nayuma Museum is a spot where my grand father and Mr. Pumulo katembe used to pack their Leyland Trucks. When the Tar road was constructed up to the Nayuma harbour we found it easy to be packing our Leyland near our shop. Mr. Pumulo Katembe sold his Leyland truck.
Wizard Mukuma indeed is missing the beauty of the early Limulunga Palace traditional fence and the Lutatai. That time is gone and never again will it come. Sad that Limulunga Royal Village of today in different from the Limulunga of Wizard Mukuma’s Childhood time.
‘Wani neli Limulunga luli isin’i Limulunga yo wa Kacenu.’