Livingstone, Zambia

Livingstone is a city in Zambia.[1] Until 2012, it served as the capital of Southern Province. Lying 10 km (6.2 mi) to the north of the Zambezi River, it is a tourism center for the Victoria Falls[2] and a border town with road and rail connections to Zimbabwe on the other side of the Victoria Falls. A historic British colonial city, its present population was enumerated at 134,349 inhabitants at the 2010 census.[3] It is named after David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer and missionary who was the first European to explore the area.[4]

Livingstone is located in Zambia
Location in Zambia
Coordinates: 17°51′S 25°52′E / 17.850°S 25.867°E / -17.850; 25.867
Country Zambia
ProvinceSouthern Province
DistrictLivingstone District
 • MayorMapuwo Eugene
986 m (3,235 ft)
 (2010 census)
 • Total134,349
Time zoneUTC+2 (CAT)
WebsiteLivingstone City Council


  • Tourist Capital[5]
  • Named after the famous explorer – David Livingstone[6]
  • Population: 142,000
  • Growth rate: 3.1%
  • Area: It covers a land area of 695 Sq km.
  • Wards: Total of 17 Wards
  • Constituencies: 1
  • Ethnicity: main ethnic group in the district is Toka – Leya.
  • Languages: English (official language)Toka – leya, Nyanja, Luvale and lunda.
  • Home of the Victoria Falls
  • Elevated to City status in 1997

Pre-colonial HistoryEdit

Munokalya Mukuni is the embodiment of the ideology of the perpetual parental line of the Bene Mukuni princely, tributary and subordinate kings. He is undoubtedly the link that creates the solidarity among and between the Lenje kingships of Mukuni Ng’ombe, Chitanda, Mukubwe, Chipepo, Mungule, Liteta, Chamuka, Ngwabwe and their Lenje People, the Lala kings of Chembe and its Lala people, the Soli/Lala/Goba kings of Nkomeshya, Bundabunda, Mpashya, Shikabeta, Chiawa and their Soli people the Sala kings of Shakumbila, Mumba, Mono, Chibuluma and their Sala people, the Nsenga chieftains of Nyanje, Sandwe, Kakumbi and their Nsenga people, the Tonga kings of Mwemba, Chipepo and their Tonga people, the Leya kings of Sekute and Be-Dyango and their Leya people and the Nanzwa/Nambia/Dombe/Shangwe chieftains of Hwange, Shana, Nalukoba, Nekatambe and their people. Undoubtedly, Mukuni gave all these kings and their peoples a common legacy of memory and historical heritage that they all received from him.Thus, efforts to unite the Bene Mukuni family of kings under one sovereign, whose traditional jurisdiction stretches from northern Zimbabwe to central Zambia and in the east to the border with Mozambique, is logical. In deference to the fact that Mukuni, the founder of the Mukuni Royal Dynasty and the precursor of Munokalya Muchelewa Mukuni, is buried at Mukuni Royal Village within the Victoria Falls environs, Southern Province, Zambia, all the Mukuni Dynasty’s kings outlined in chapters 1 to 3 of "The Mukuni Royal Dynasty’s Short History and the Munokalya Mukuni Royal Establishment’s Ritual and Political Sovereignty"[7]

Memorial to David Livingstone

The Subiya paid tribute to the Lozi of Barotseland but in 1838 the Kololo, a Sotho tribe from South Africa displaced by Zulu wars, migrated north and conquered the Lozi. The Kololo placed chiefs of their subordinate Subiya people of Sesheke over the Tokaleya. 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 the Subiya/Kololo Chief Sekeletu.[8]

In 1864 the Lozi threw off their Kololo masters and re-established their dominance over the Subiya alone. And claimed to the British South African company to be in control of the region half of current Zambia, which in reality was never there’s.[7]

Munokalya MukuniEdit

The Mukuni Royal Dynasty is a traditional nation of the Bene Mukuni who are today the sum total of the following peoples:

  1. Lenje, headed by Paramount king Mukuni Ng’ombe of Chibombo, Kapiri, Chisamba , Kabwe and Lusaka Districts, Zambia.
  2. Sala, headed by King Shakumbila of Mumbwa, Shibuyunji and Lusaka Districts, Zambia.
  3. Soli/ Lala/Goba, headed by Queen Mukamambo II Nkomeshya of Chongwe, Lusaka and Kafue Districts, Zambia.
  4. Tonga, headed by Senior King Mwemba of Sinazongwe District and Chipepo of Chirundu and Gwembe Districts, Zambia.
  5. Lala, headed by King Cheembe of Luano District, Zambia.
  6. Nsenga, headed by queen Nyanje and Chief Sandwe of Petauke District, Zambia.
  7. Kunda, headed by King Kakumbi of Mambwe District, Zambia.
  8. Leya, headed by King Sekute of Kazungula District and Be-Dyango of Zimba and Livingstone Districts, Zambia.
  9. Nambia/Nanzwa/Leya, headed by King Hwange of Hwange District, Zimbabwe
Munokalya of Bene Mukuni
First monarchMunokalya Mukuni – Mulopwe – nicknamed by the Leya “Sichiyumuna”, meaning the alpha and omega of the foundation of the Bene Mukuni Nation
Formation17th century
WebsiteThe Munokalya Mukuni Monarchy

Bene Mukuni, acknowledged as the Mukuni Royal Dynasty by Manchishi P.C and Musona E.T in their book, The People of Zambia – A short History of the Soli from 1500 to 1900 (1968),[9] page 2, founded by Mukuni Mulopwe, is the amalgamation of pre-colonial Kingdoms either established or conquered and therefore assimilated into the Mukuni Royal Dynasty by either the founder Mukuni or his successors in spirit and title. Consequently today, each midyear, members of the Mukuni Royal Dynasty, notwithstanding the adoption of different languages and the fact that they reside in different geographical and political areas, converge in Livingstone to commemorate Mukuni the founder’s trek from Mulopwe, in what is now Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to the Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia.

The Bene Mukuni (the people of the traditional Mukuni) are an offshoot of the Bene-Mulopwe of the Congo (Brelsford W.V (1965),[10] p74, and S. Douglas Gray (1961), p2). Legend has it that Cheembe Mulopwe’s two sons, Mukuni Kapansha and Mwanza or Mwanseekanda, were sent by their father, King Mulopwe, to puddle clay for him and they in turn demanded that the clay be washed off their legs with blood – Mwanza’s with human blood and Mukuni’s with oxen blood and he thus became Mukuni N’gombe (Brelsford W.V (1965), p74 and Douglas Gray (1961), p1). Because of his choice Mulopwe told Mwanza, “you have chosen wrongly, you cannot now become wise”. On the other hand, Mukuni was told “you have chosen wisely, and thus your name will not ever perish. It will be carried on by your descendants” (Douglas Gray (1961), p2). Early in the eighteenth century, Mukuni and his immediate family, including children Mpanswe, Cheembe and Liteta; his extended family: brothers – Mwanza, sometimes called Mwanseekanda, Chipepo, Chiimbwe, Mumba and Mushiba; his sisters – Kaseba (mother to Shimaluba and Mbulo), Lubona Tunchite (mother to Nkanga, Chongwe and Ngonga), Nyanje, Mutinga (mother to Musaka) and Keeni and his Bene Mukuni, among whom were Chaamuka (a trusted courtier) and Mukuluma (Mukuni’s Shatulonga or Prime Minister), left Mulopwe’s country, travelling in darkness (aimlessly). When his people complained that he was leading them into the darkness (nowhere), Mukuni returned to his father, King Mulopwe, to collect fire, meaning the light of his reign, and, therefore, traditional rulership. After Mukuni returned and kindled the fire of his reign, they continued on their journey, guided by Kaseba who was in the lead, riding on an elephant (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p3).

In recognition of her role, she became Kaseba-Mashila, that is “clearer of paths”, thus making Mukuni a pace setter. In the course of some days, they got to Lukanga swamps. From here, Mwanza separated from Mukuni. Mwanza went to the Maswaka country and has never been heard of since.Mukuni and his Bene Mukuni crossed over the swamps to the country of Nakandanga, the King of the Basala, who were also known as the Lenje, and it is from them that the Bene Mukuni of Lenje stock today got their name (Maud Muntemba (1970), p29 and S. Douglas Gray (1961), p3). Mukuni and his Bene Mukuni settled in the Chisamba area. It was here that Mukuni married a Soli woman by whom he had two children, Bimbe and Chinyama (Douglas Gray (1961), p3). For being Mukuni’s wife, this Soli woman was venerated as “Mukamambo”, meaning the big chief’s wife. This Mukamambowas. Her fame later spread far and wide, more especially among the then scattered neighbouring Tonga societies who today still express in their music and poetry her prominent reputation in folklore, likened only to their own and most cherished Monze Mukulukulu, who lived a century later than her. Thus, today on Tonga radio programs it is common to hear Tonga announcers address Tonga-speaking listeners as “Nonzubo zya Mukamambo” or “Nomasamu a Monze” meaning the Tonga are ritual flocks of both all-caring cult shepherds, Mukamambo and Monze.After Mukuni had built up a strong army made up of his Bene Mukuni and when he saw that they were brave enough, he separated them (S. Douglas Gray, p3);

Paramount King Mukuni sent his nephew Chongwe to the west to round up the country of Lufubu. Chongwe kept on until he had driven out the people he had found in this country. He also made a diversion to the BaIla country and defeated Malumbe. Chongwe then went on to round up the country of Mumba. All this therefore became Mukuni’s country. (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p3 and H. W. Langworthy (1972),[11] p24) Mukuni sent his nephew Musaka to drive out Nakandanga, the Ba Sala Chief and all his Sala people to Kalola. He followed them to Kalola until he slew Nakandanga and his Ba Sala people fled and went to Namayani, leaving the country in the hands of Mukuni. After this feat, Musaka praised himself , saying, “I am Musaka Ba Lenje”, that is the disperser of the Lenje. (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p4 & 5) Mukuni sent his army general and Prime Minister Mukuluma to conquer the Soli/Lala/Goba countries from upper and lower Lunsemfwa river to Lusaka. After Mukuluma conquered the Soli/Lala/Goba countries, all the lands from the western banks of upper and lower Lunsemfwa river away west to Lufubu, covering the countries of the Soli/Lala/Goba/Lenje, Lala and Sala, came under Mukuni’s kingship. (Langworthy W.H (1972), p25). He left the country east of the upper Lunsemfwa river to the Lukasashi for Kankomba, then the Chief of the Lala people, although this chieftainship is no longer in existence (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p3).After taking over the Lenje, Lala, Soli/Lala/Goba and Sala countries, Mukuni went on to assimilate these peoples into his dynasty and went on to establish his kingship over them and appoint his tributary Kings for them (H.W. Langworthy (1972), p22-25 and P.C. Manchishi and E.T. Musona, p2):Chaamuka, his trusted courtier, was elevated to a Bene Mukuni subordinate king of the Lenje with his headquarters at Chisamba, covering todays’ Chisamba district and east of today’s Lusaka district, while he (Mukuni) retained central control of all the Lenje country (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p19).He appointed his son Mpanswe as a Bene Mukuni princely King of the Lala of Luano by the Mulungushi river to grow tobacco and castor oil beans for him, for oil, because there was no frost in Luano to burn the plants, but later Mpanswe, after amassing wealth, delinked himself from his father, Mukuni, praising himself thus : “I am Chilubakwabo” (the one who forgets from where he came).

For this, Mukuni sent Mukuluma to kill him and replace him with his other son, Liteta. Liteta was later relegated by the colonial administration to a position of a headman under King Cheembe of today’s Luano district (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p19).Cheembe, another son, was appointed a Bene Mukuni princely King of the Lala of Luano, west of the upper Lunsemfwa river (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p19).Kapalamoto was made a Bene Mukuni subordinate King of the Lala, but was later relegated to headman under Cheembe in colonial Northern Rhodesia (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p19).For the overall Soli/Lala/Goba country below, starting from lower Lunsemfwa river through Chongwe district today and up to some parts of today’s Lusaka district,he appointed his son Bimbe as a princely King, today styled Senior King Nkomeshya, to superintend over the conquered Soli/ Lala/Goba Chieftains of Shikabeta,Mpasha, Bundabunda and Chiyaba, all of whom belonged to the Bene Nyangu clan and whose Senior King before then was Bundabunda (S. Douglas Gray (1961), p3 and P.C. Manchishi and E.T. Musona on Soli People, p8, 41 & 48)

The migration of Mukini and his Bene Mukini from Mulopwe’S country in the Congo to Lenje Country in today's Zambia

When Bimbe died he was succeeded by his young brother Chinyama. Because Bimbe was son to Mukuni, who had been called Mukuni Ngo’mbe after washing clay off his legs with oxen blood before leaving Mulopwe’s country, Bimbe was mistakenly assigned the Bene Ng’ombe (Cattle) clan by the Soli. Bimbe’s headquarters as Senior King of the Soli / Lala / Goba were located at Chongwe, an area named after and in honour of Mukuni’s nephew, Chongwe, by his sister Lubona Tunchite. Chongwe was a brother to Nkanga, the mother of the current Bene Mukuni Lenje chieftains, and it is for this reason that today the Soli language at Chongwe and Nkomeshya has some Lenje words in it. (Manchishi and Musona, on Soli language, p10 and W. V. Brelsford (1965), p77). It is no wonder that Her Royal Highness Queen Nkomeshya’s middle name is “Mulenje”. By adopting the title Mukamambo II, and considering also that she organizes the annual Chakwela Makumbi, a rain cult prayer ceremony, Queen Elizabeth Mulenje Nkomeshya has not only assumed the title of Mukuni’s wife, but has also reincarnated her works.[clarification needed] Loongo was appointed a Bene Mukuni tributary king, today styled King Shakumbila, and was given the overall responsibility of taking charge of the Bambala and Sala areas of Mumbwa and Lusaka Districts to oversee subordinate kings Mumba, Moono and Chibuluma, who were given the rule of specific areas of Bambala for Mumba and Moono and the Sala area of Kabile for Chibuluma. The other Chibuluma was appointed subordinate king of the Sala of today’s Lusaka central district.[12]

However, this Chibuluma was later relegated to the position of a headman by the colonial administration and placed under Senior Chief Shakumbila of today’s Lusaka, Shibuyunji and Mumbwa districts. Thus, when Paramount King Undi of the Cewa and Senior King Kalindawalo of the Nsenga visited and stayed for some years with Mukuni, early in the 18th century [13] it is appropriately recorded in Lane Poole’s book (1958), on page 45, that the Lala/Lenje region was under Mukuni’s Paramount Chieftain. When Paramount King Undi left Paramount King Mukuni’s country for his home in Mano–Kapoche, Mozambique, he took with him a significant number of the Bene Mukuni. Princess King Nyanje, a sister to Mukuni, went with him as his wife, with specific instructions to at all costs maintain her royal status, and she thus ended up as a Queen of the Nsenga of Petauke bordering with Mano in Mozambique (Paramount King Chivunga Kalonga Gawa Undi and Chieftainess Letiya Banda, 1970). Thus, today, all Munokalya Mukuni successors in spirit and title to Mukuni, the founder, stand in a mulamu (brother–in-law) relationship with Paramount King Undi’s successors in title.

Greedy for new lands and spectacle, Paramount King Mukuni left Lenje country with a good number of his Bene Mukuni, mainly soldiers, and marched southwards (M. Muntemba (1970), p29). He did not appoint anyone to look after the Lenje country for him in the hope that he would go back. He did, however, leave some hot porridge, telling Musaka and Chaamuka that it would remain hot and that if it went cold they should know he was dead (W. V. Brelsford (1965), p75) and would therefore not be coming back. Legend has it that the porridge remained hot for many years, then suddenly went cold, so it was known that Mukuni was dead, and Musaka, besides Chaamuka, took over as princely King of the rest of the Bene Mukuni Lenje country. After Musaka died, the Lenje country under his Kingship, covering the Chibombo Districts, Kapiri Mposhi and also the northern part of Lusaka, was divided and given to the children of his matrilineal first cousin Nkanga, and hence the establishment of the matrilineal line of the Bene Mukuni chieftains of Chitanda, Mukubwe, Chipepo, Mungule and Liteta, which chieftains are still today called “Bana Ba Nkanga”, that is Nkanga’s children (Senior Chief Wilson Chinkuli Liteta Mukuni Ngombe (1990)). Soon after Paramount King Mukuni left Lenje country, some of his Bene Mukuni, led by Kanyonzo Sandwe and his descendant Kakumbi, left Mukuni’s Lenje country, crossed the Muchinga escarpment and settled in Lusangazi area, establishing the Bene Mukuni tributary chieftains of the Nsenga and Kunda of today’s Sandwe and Kakumbi respectively.[14] Before reaching Leya country, Paramount Chief Mukuni briefly stayed at Chirundu and, after he left, some of his people stayed behind as a distinct group under his young brother, pre-colonial Princely King Chipepo Syang’ombe, that is Chipepo of Mukuni Ngo’mbe lineage.[15] Thus the Bene Mukuni have today two princely kings by the title of King Chipepo: one of Chirundu and Gwembe Districts and the other of the Kapiri Mposhi District.

It is held that after a short spell at Sinazongwe, some miles south-west of Chirundu, Mukuni moved on to the present day Livingstone area. At first he did not settle here, but crossed the Zambezi River to settle in the old Wankie area. However, Mukuni crossed back to the northern bank of the Zambezi and chose a site for his palace and all his successors in spirit and title have maintained this same site for their palaces.[16] On arrival, and settling among the Leya at the Victoria Falls, paramount King Mukuni married the Leya Queen Priestess Be-Dyango Munyama, who correctly saluted him as the Munokalya which, in local Leya parlance, means King of Kings, and also conferred on him the title Muchelewa of Nsyungu Namutitima, that is the Lion King of the Victoria Falls. By Be-Dyango Munyama he begot a son Siandele, who himself became Munokalya Mukuni IV after Mukuni’s two brothers, Mumba and Mushiba, who succeeded to the Mukuni throne upon Mukuni I’s death, in that order.[17] Upon his death, Mukuni Mulopwe was interred in Namunaki, which became a sacred chamber in which, as the eponymous founder of the Bene Mukuni Royal Dynasty, his 18th century tomb (Ntantala) is preserved and will forever be holy enough to legitimise all subsequent successors to Mukuni Mulopwe’s spirit and traditional title. Ntantala is therefore the seat of power as the holy tomb of the founder Mukuni, from upon which successors to the throne are raised. By this practice all the successors are reminded that they are the bearers of Mukuni Mulopwe’s spirit and royal station, as he was the founder of the Bene Mukuni.[18] None of the founders of the current Paramount Kings in Zambia has been accorded such dignity, reverence and respect. In the mid-fifties of the 20th century, after it became apparent and logical to them that, owing to the age-old, well-developed and intricate Bwande funeral and investiture rites of the founder Mukuni’s traditional office at the Victoria Falls (see chapters 4 and 5), no successor in spirit and title to this office could be relocated from the Leya Bene Mukuni country to the Lenje Bene Mukuni country, the Bana ba Nkanga Lenje Bene Mukuni Royal Establishments requested Munokalya Siloka II Mukuni XVII to graciously allow them to use the princely title of Senior King Mukuni Ng’ombe as Munokalya Mukuni’s Lenje resident representative and, therefore, overseer of all the Lenje Bene Mukuni Royal Establishments (Senior Chief Wilson Chinkuli Liteta Mukuni Ngombe (1990)).

King Sekute “Koongo Ceete”, the son of King Nkonkwena of Nqui or Lataka, Mashi, who was known as Subiya or Nzanza by tribe, together with his uncle King Leswane, came down by the Linyanti river, Namibia, in about 1800, to Sesheke, Barotseland. When at Sesheke, Leswane dwelt at the Southern side of the Zambezi in what is now called the Zambezi Region or "Caprivi Strip". He (Koongo Ceete) proceeded on down the Zambezi until he reached Kalunda Island a few kilometres away from the Victoria Falls. It is said that when Koongo Ceete Sekute was refused permission by Munokalya Siankondo Mukuni XI to settle on the mainland and was only allowed on islands on the Zambezi River, King Sekute accordingly proclaimed a war against Munokalya Mukuni. When war broke out, King Sekute was defeated. Later he solicited the aid of Kings Leswane and Nsundano to help him in defeating Mukuni, and in this war it is said that they lost a large number of their Subiya (or Subia) people. King Sekute was caught and was about to be killed, while Leswane and Nsundano, together with their remnants, ran away and, instead of using their canoes to cross the river, had to swim along the Zambezi, where some of their people became food for crocodiles. Nsundano was caught near the position of today’s Maramba White Bridge and was killed on the spot, under the shade of the muchenje trees. These trees are still known as “machenje – a – Nsundano”. Sekute was held captive in Munokalya Mukuni’s capital for some months and, although the hereditary councillors pressed Munokalya Mukuni to kill Sekute so as to maintain peace in the Leya country, Munokalya Mukuni released him and made him a Leya tributary king of the Bene Mukuni. He was made to surrender his insignia of royal office.


  • A Munokalya Mukuni (Male) Fountainhead of authority, both ritual (religious) and political
Structure of the Munokalya Mukuni governance( Present day)
  • A1 Batoozi (3 Males) Munokalya Mukuni’s courtiers
  • A2 Bana Bengwelele (Females)Munokalya Mukuni’s escorts
  • B Be-Dyango (Female) Subhead of ritual (religious) hierarchy
  • B1 Basitunsiyansiya (6 Males and 1 Female)Ritual (Religious) courtiers
  • B2 Banabedyango (12 Females) Regional matriarchs
  • B3 Basimise (Females) Village matriarchs
  • B4 Chiyema (Females and Males)Be-Dyango’s escorts
  • B5 Basimizimu (Female and Males)Diviners
  • C Mwendambeli (Male) Subhead political hierarchy
  • C1 Basimitwe babasimiinzi (12 Males)Regional heads
  • C2 Basimiinzi (Males) Village heads

The organogram above illustrates Munokalya Mukuni as the fountainhead of both ritual (religious) and political authority of the Munokalya Mukuni Royal Establishment hierarchy. A point of interest to note is that this establishment is unique in that almost all positions have male and female counterparts from top to bottom. Undoubtedly, it is only the Munokalya Mukuni’s Royal Establishment among the Royal Establishments of the Bantu Botatwe groupings that has a traditional rule that finds expression in forms such as religious ritual and political hierarchy leadership lineage, matriarchship and headmanship. It is the fullest expression of traditional rule in its institutionalized form, embodying the cardinal characteristics of prescribed kinship and lineage succession to office, awe and sacredness of office and office holders, with specific forms of contractual relationship between Munokalya Mukuni and his Bene-Mukuni Leya and institutionalized procedures for decision taking and implementation at the levels of local communities and local participation. The Munokalya Mukuni Royal Establishment has, over time, evolved indigenous structures and institutions peculiar toitself, such as the following three tiers of its ritual and political hierarchy, namely Baleli, Bendelezi and Bazuluzi structures.

The term Mukuni is used metaphorically to mean "in the forest of Chieftaincies". Mukuni is a gigantic tree with several big dynastic branches and today these are: five senior chiefs, one for the Lenje Bene Mukuni, one for the Soli/Lala/Goba Bene Mukuni, one for the Tonga Bene Mukuni, one for the Sala Bene Mukuni and one for the Leya/Nanzwa/Nambia/Dombe/Shangwe Bene Mukuni and, therefore, the Leya native salutations in honour of Mukuni’s unassailable historical station and which relate to the chain of chiefs he established in the wake of his odyssey bears testimony:

  • Mwami: King,sovereign or the African King
  • Munokalya: The King of Kings
  • Bbwe gumi: The living stone
  • Muchelewa: The Lion King
  • Earth or the Land
  • fountainhead of authority – His Majesty. Chisi/Mwine
  • Bene Mukuni: The state/owner of the Mukuni Royal Dynasty.

All these terms mean one and the same thing, importing that Mukuni is King.

The term “Mwami” in many Bantu languages, or “Mulena” in Silozi whose correct English term should have been King, Sovereign, or at worst African Chief, has been watered-down and conceptualised to mean all of the following colonial terms: “Paramount Chief”, “Senior Chief”, “Chief”, and “Deputy Chief” in the case where one deputises for a sick incumbent Chief. This much misapplied term, especially among the Tonga and Ila, is aptly validated by the contemporary Leya salutation of Mwami Mukuni which goes; “Mukuni Nichatakeza Chikuwa, Nobami Nimuli Bache”. The English interpretation would be: “Without the advent of colonialism to this part of Africa, you, Mukuni, would have been among very few Bami, that is African Chiefs.” This arises from the realisation that the term “Mwami” is today misapplied to include traditional leaders who should have been either princes or mere area headmen.

Line of successionEdit

  1. Munokalya Mukuni – Mulopwe – nicknamed by the Leya “Sichiyumuna”, meaning the alpha and omega of the foundation of the Bene Mukuni Nation.
  2. Munokalya Mukuni – Mumba we Mpanga – nicknamed Chikunkuti or the bold one.
    Succession Line for Mukun Kings
  3. Munokalya Mukuni – Mushiba, also known as Namuyola – meaning last successor to the throne among the Mulopwe brothers. Executed by spearing for being a wayward King.
  4. Munokalya Mukuni Siandele
  5. Munokalya Mukuni Bambebambe
  6. Munokalya Mukuni Chimowa
  7. Munokalya Mukuni Sichichele – Executed by burying him alive owing to incipient decay.[clarification needed]
  8. Munokalya Mukuni Nyemba
  9. Munokalya Mukuni Nchoba
  10. Munokalya Mukuni Sindele Sinyemba – Father to princely chiefs Kayuni and Sigunde (Mweemba)
  11. Munokalya Mukuni Siankondo – who conquered Chief Sekute. He was killed by illegal poisoning by his half sister, Mukamamu Be- Dyango X.
  12. Munokalya Mukuni Mujimaizi – who relocated Chief Sekute from Barotseland to Leya country
  13. Munokalya Mukuni Mupotola 1866 – 1888
  14. Munokalya Mukuni Siloka I 1888 – 1899
  15. Munokalya Mukuni Sianyemba 1900 – 1918
  16. Munokalya Mukuni Siamachoka I 1918 – 1943
  17. Munokalya Mukuni Siloka II 1943 – 1971
  18. Munokalya Mukuni Siamachoka II 1972 – 1985
  19. Munokalya Mukuni Siloka III 1986 – to date

The Be-DyangoEdit

The Be-Dyango is Chief Priestess / Matriarch. The line of succession, from the time Mukuni arrived in the Leya country is:

  1. Be-Dyango Munyama – wife to Mukuni Ng’ombe Mulopwe and mother to Munokalya Mukuni IV
  2. Be-Dyango Muleya
  3. Be-Dyango Muzamba I
  4. Be-Dyango Muyoba – removed (Kukunkulula) due to incipient decay bordering on senile dementia.
  5. Be-Dyango Mukalunga I
    (xix) Be-Dyango Mukasiamachoka Siloka
  6. Be-Dyango Mukamufu
  7. Be-Dyango Nanyemba
  8. Be-Dyango Munchindu
  9. Be-Dyango Muchimba
  10. Be-Dyango Mukamamu – mother to Munokalya Mukuni XII
  11. Be-Dyango Ngonya – mother to Munokalya Mukuni XIII
  12. Be-Dyango Chantuna
  13. Be-Dyango Musumbo
  14. Be-Dyango Mukamwila
  15. Be-Dyango Mukanyemba – removed (Kukunkulula) due to voluntary resignation
  16. Be-Dyango Malala Muzamba II
  17. Be-Dyango Mukachinga
  18. Be-Dyango Muzamba III Mukasimalweza – removed (Kukunkulula) due to mental illness.
  19. Be-Dyango Mukasiamachoka Siloka – removed (Kukunkulula) through forced resignation for selling Katolabuseka Shrine for personal gain.
  20. Be-Dyango Mukalunga II

Selection process and investitureEdit

The Munokalya Mukuni-to-be is selected by a traditional electoral college called Bentantala, literally meaning “the people of the holy seat of power”. This is the institution of the cradle of power, a body of hereditary royal councillors who are the entitled initiators of any candidate for the supreme office of Munokalya Mukuni. These include Be-Dyango, in the chair, Bana Chibule, Bamalongwa, Ba Malala, Ba Muzamba, Mwendambeli, Nangoma, Sikusuma, Katandamwanda, Banampongo (Ina Buze), one elderly princess and three Batoozi (royal courtiers). It is a body comprising seven females and seven males. The females, through Be-Dyango, provide a strong and important leadership of this assembly. Mukuni-to-be is chosen from among sons, either of the late King or one of his predecessors. However, the first preference is given to those sons born while their father was in office. The second choice is from among sons born before their father’s ascendance to the throne. Third and last choice is either from among grandsons surviving their late fathers, or from sons of Be-Dyango, who should herself be at least a daughter or a grand-daughter of previous Munokalya Mukuni.

Be-Dyango selectionEdit

Be-Dyango-to-be is selected from among daughters and grand-daughters, or even great–grand-daughters, of past holders of the offices of Munokalya Mukuni and Be-Dyango by a Traditional Electoral College comprising Munokalya Mukuni, Mwendambeli and invited aged male members of the Royal Family. Note that the female members of the Bentantala Electoral College that selects Munokalya Mukuni do not sit on this panel since they are potential candidates for the office of Be-Dyango. Be-Dyango select is made to sit on Ntantala to receive the semblance of the reigns of power from Munokalya Mukuni so as to stand in for Munokalya Mukuni each time he is out of the palace, upon his death and before his replacement.Be-Dyango receives a bowl of soil (muse) from Mukuni as a way of assigning her the role of keeper and guardian of the kingdom’s fauna and flora on behalf of the Munokalya Mukuni. Hence she has ritual rites over land.Next she receives from Munokalya Mukuni a small sized “Mufunko” – the mace of authority or sceptre that allows her to act on his behalf during his absence from the palace. This sceptre came with Mukuni from Congo. She could be made to surrender it back to Mukuni when she relinquishes her office either voluntarily or through forced resignation. Munokalya Mukuni leads Be-Dyango out of Namunaki to Chitungu (the hut housing the royal ritual drums, Mukamudyanka) and in there she is made to touch the drum skin of Simukungulu. The touch assigns Be-Dyango the right and authority in the use, at her behest, of the royal ritual drums. Thus only she and Munokalya Mukuni can direct their beating on royal occasions. Be-Dyango leaves Namunaki and is escorted to Nanjina Palace by her escort, the Chiyema ensemble (Be-Dyango Mukasimalweza; Mwendambeli Philimon Mubila; Mukuni Siloka III).

Selection for other rolesEdit

Basimitwe Baba SimiinziEdit

These are the Regional Heads, picked from among either village heads (male) or distinguished ordinary villagers and sworn in by Munokalya Mukuni and Mwendambeli in Lumpasa Palace during Basilombelombe, Bene Mukuni and Chandaule ceremonies.When sworn in, they become Regional Administrators and Justices and are accountable to the Mwendambeli.All Regional Heads, except those of royal bloodline, who upon death are buried in Namunakela, are buried in their respective villages.On retirement or leaving office for one reason or another, they are accorded respect befitting serving regional heads.


The Basimuse are the Village Matriarchs, picked from among female members of the village headmanship and are sworn in by Munokalya Mukuni, Be-Dyango and their respective Regional Matriarchs outside Namunaki during Basilombelombe, Bene Mukuni and Chandaule ceremonies.When sworn in, they become custodians of village fauna and flora on behalf of Munokalya Mukuni and Be-Dyango, but are accountable only to their respective Regional Matriarchs

Basi MiinziEdit

The Basi Miinzi are the Village Heads, picked from among male members of the village headmanship and are sworn in by Munokalya Mukuni, Mwendambeli and their respective regional heads in Lumpasa Palace during Basilombelombe, Bene Mukuni and Chandaule ceremonies. When sworn in, they become Village Administrators and Justices and are accountable to their respective Regional Heads.

Mwendambeli (Realm Premier)Edit

Mwendambeli is either chosen by Munokalya Mukuni, by upgrading the Mutoozi wo mulawo, or by picking from any of the distinguished personages in the service of the Leya state, or his election by the general public is allowed. Munokalya Mukuni swears him into office at a public gathering. A retired Mwendambeli will always be accorded special respect at all public royal functions. 5.2.4 BATOOZI (ROYAL COURTIERS)These are three Munokalya Mukuni Courtiers: Mutoozi we Namunaki: He is in charge of the upkeep of Kaanda Kaleza, Namilangu, Namunaki Ntantala, and also does graveside libations for departed monarchs, whose spiritual inheritors are no more. He is appointed by Munokalya Mukuni from among great-grandsons of the throne, and he is made to receive the semblance of the reigns of power from Munokalya Mukuni on Ntantala so as to stand in for the spirits of all departed successors to the Mukuni throne by swallowing lumps of nsima there on Ntantala.Mutoozi we Lumpasa.

Munokalya Mukuni funeral ritesEdit

His demise is announced by Bana Mpongo, who goes around, broadcasting the solemn news “LYANDUKA BBWE, LYANDUKA BBWE”, punctuated at intervals by cowbell tolling, meaning the Living Stone is shattered to pieces. Upon hearing this announcement, Bana Bengwelele, that is the first to third generation royal bloodlines, headed by Be-Dyango, go to Namilangu to launch the royal funeral rites. After encircling Namilangu, they open the royal funeral rites with the song “Wakusiya Kwambwa”, meaning the just deceased monarch leaves behind lashes of fork tongued people. After this they sing “Nzovu Boola”, literally meaning “elephant descend upon us” – a call inviting the high and low to mourn the departed monarch. Then they go on to sing “Balila Bana Bengwelele”, meaning royal bloodlines mourn their father. It is at this stage that “Mukamudyanka”, the Royal Talking Drums, officially announce the beginning of the mourning period.The body of the departed monarch overnights in Namilangu, the sacred hut, also known as Namuchila. It is a taboo to deposit his remains in a mortuary for his body should never be handled by mortuary attendants who are regarded as outsiders to the institution of royalty.The following day, the body is transferred from Namilangu by crashing through the palace perimeter reed fence to Namunaki, to sit in state on sacred “Ntantala”, the holy seat of power, while the deceased King’s final resting royal chamber is being prepared in Namunakela, the royal burial grounds. The crashing through the perimeter fence denotes that the monarch’s departure amounts to escaping from royal functions of this world, to join the realm of the divine body of departed monarchs before him, where he is expected to perform his new roles as guardian spirit of his people. This completed, the body, dressed up in full royal regalia, is deposited into the burial chamber in a sitting position, for the monarch is never buried in a lying position so, therefore, never in a coffin. The rationale behind this is that he must sit and watch over his people rather than lie down and go to sleep over issues relating to the state’s well being. Be-Dyango allocates burial ground within the inner circle of Namunakela royal burial grove. Above his grave, a small hut is erected and left to disintegrate with timeAfter burial, the royal burial retinue returns to Lumpasa to continue with the funeral rites that will run for four days, led by Mukamudyanka, which drums will have been moved from Namunakela to Lumpasa, to return to Namunakela only on completion of the funeral rites. Mukamudyanka will remain in a state of mourning, only to be cleansed on the inauguration of the successor to the throne. During this period the Mukamudyanka cannot perform any other functions.Thus, only the departed Monarch’s funeral is held in Lumpasa Palace, whereas those of his children and spouse(s) are held at Nanjina Palace. The palace should not be closed to the daily running of the state on account of their deaths (Malala Muzamba II Be-Dyango XV (1958); Mwanengwelele Mukanyemba Mukalaso Siamachoka (1987)).

Amunakela royal burial groveEdit

As with most kingships, Munokalya Mukuni’s kingship has a special place where state functions of tribal importance are conducted. Namunakela is Mukuni’s place for royal coronation, and royal ceremonies like Basilombelombe ceremony, Bwande rites and ibbwe lyanduka (funeral) rites. Within Namunakela are:

Namunaki, the sacred chamber in which the holy tomb (Ntantala) of the eponymous founder of the Mukuni Royal Dynasty is preserved. Its refurbishment has to be completed between sunrise and sunset of the same day, after which it is blessed using water from the belly of the Zambezi river. The poles supporting the entrance are put in place only by Katandamwanda.

Ntantala is the seat of power, being the tomb of the founder Mukuni. It is raised above the floor at the centre of Namunaki. It is sacred enough to answer the purposes of enthronement and dethronement, upon death, of all successors to the throne. Only Munokalya Mukuni, Be-Dyango, Mukalya, Bana Bengwelele, Batebe, and all the Bene Mukuni bloodline Princely Chieftains may sit on Ntantala during royal functions undertaken at Namunakela.

Chitungu, the hut in which is kept Mukamudyanka, a set of three royal drums.

Magamba, the royal burial site for members of the royal family. Except for the founder Mukuni, who sits buried under Ntantala, the rest of the successive departed monarchs are buried in Magamba in sitting positions.

Memorial SitesEdit


At Namuyola, a wayward and a found-wanting Mushiba Mukuni II was executed by soldiers after his refusal to die by poisoning, as tradition demands, at the hands of the Chief tribal Priestess/Matriarch Muleya Be-Dyango II in Namilangu


At this site, the then Nanjina Palace ground, His Majesty Siankondo Mukuni XI was poisoned by Be-Dyango, without state consent and support, as tradition demands. This was precipitated by Be-Dyango’s desire to have a Mukuni of her own choice and, because of this, the blooded Nanjina Palace had to be shifted to its present location.

Kwa SichicheleEdit

Here, His Majesty Sichichele Mukuni VII was buried alive after successfully surviving poisoning attempts, according to tradition in Namilangu. He was liable to be killed due to symptoms of incipient decay. This was done to avert a situation where pretenders could usurp state functions. He was later exhumed to be given fitting royal burial rites at Namunakela. His temporary grave is visited as a pilgrimage funeral ceremony to appease his spirit for having delayed in giving him proper royal burial rites

Nakaumbu, Siamvula, Mumpata, Magusi, Namasiwa and KabangaEdit

These princesses and princes were executed, all on the same day, to provide royal blood for use in a concoction to make Mukuni Royal Village invisible when under siege from enemies. They died for the good of their kingdom and this martyrdom has therefore been revered throughout the generations.


The Mukuni Royal Village, known as Gundu, became the 18th century traditional capital of Chundu, after Mukuni Mulopwe took up permanent residence.Founded in the 13th century [19] by the Chireya Dynasty, but renamed Mukuni Royal Village in the eighteenth century after and in honour of Mukuni Mulopwe. It is the permanent traditional headquarters of the Mukuni Royal Dynasty. Built on a sandy knoll, it is teeming with a population of 10,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest of its kind in Africa. It is unique in that it is home to two palaces, Lumpasa, for the male ruler, and Nanjina, for the female co-ruler. Due to its proximity to the world-famous Victoria Falls, it has become a must-see cultural product for tourists visiting the Victoria Falls. Indeed, it is the brilliant bead in rural Zambia’s tourism economic necklace.In pre-colonial Zambia, the territories of the Bantu Botatwe speaking peoples – the Lenje, Soli, Tonga, Ila and Leya – were commonly and collectively known as Chundu and, besides Kabwe, Kapiri, Chibombo and Chisamba Districts, the majority were, in 1937, christened Southern Province by the colonial administration. The term “Southern Province”, Kumusanza in Tonga, is to today synonymous with Chundu. A serious analysis of the Kumusanza (the Southern Province of 1937), as outlined by the Provincial Commissioner in Livingstone as per his memorandum number 529/2 BC, dated the 24th of March 1937, addressed to the Honourable, the Chief Secretary, Lusaka in reply to the latter’s Circular Minutes No. NAT / E / 1/5 of the 2nd of February 1937, and requesting all Provincial Commissioners to come up with a proper classification of chiefs under their charge, for example. “Paramount Chiefs”, “Chiefs” and “Subordinate Chiefs”, would reveal three factors:

The first factor is that the Southern Province of 1937 comprised the districts of (i) Lusaka, (ii) Mazabuka, (iii) Namwala, (iv) Mumbwa and (v) Livingstone, that is today’s Lusaka and Southern Provinces.The second factor is that the majority of chiefs for (i) Lusaka District were pre-colonial princely, tributary and subordinate chieftains of the pre-colonial Bene Mukuni Paramouncy Chieftain but headed by Senior Chief Nkomeshya. The majority of the chieftains of (ii) Mazabuka District were established by the colonial administration with few exceptions, for example. Mwemba and Chipepo, who were pre-colonial princely chieftains of the Bene Mukuni Paramouncy Chieftain while Chikanta, Sipatunyana, Siachitema and Nyawa, that is, the southern Plateau Tonga, were pre-colonial tributary chieftains of the pre-colonial Lozi/Kololo Paramouncy chieftain under Sianalumba (Musokotwane) who was himself domiciled in the Livingstone District. The senior chiefs for the Northern Plateau Tonga were Monze, Mapanza and Singani, while Mwemba, a Bene Mukuni princely chieftain, was a senior chief in the Mazabuka District but was later moved, together with Mapanza and Singani, to Kalomo

District (E. Colson and M. Gluckman (1961), p95, 96, 100-103, W.V, Brelsord (1965), p62 & 70, Kalomo District Commissioner’s memo to his District Officer, dated the 4th of October 1932, Minutes of the Kalomo Native Authority’s meeting of the 7th of July 1936, and Memo 27/5/B from Secretary for Native Affairs to the Honourable, the Chief Secretary, Livingstone). The majority of chieftains in (iii) Namwala District were established by the colonial administration, while Shezongo and Kaingu were tributary chieftains of the pre-colonial Lozi/Kololo but under the charge of Senior Chief Sianalumba (Musokotwane) based in the Livingstone District. All chiefs in (iv) Mumbwa District except Kabulwebulwe, a subordinate chieftain of the pre-colonial Lozi/Kololo paramouncy chieftains, were pre-tributary and subordinate chieftains of the pre-colonial Bene Mukuni paramouncy chieftain under the charge of Shakumbila as senior chief and, lastly, chiefs in the (v) Livingstone District: Mukuni was the pre-colonial successor in spirit and title to the founder of the Bene Mukuni Royal Dynasty (Pre-colonial Paramount Chief), Sekute was a tributary chieftain of the Bene Mukuni Paramouncy chieftain while Momba and Sianalumba (Musokotwane) were themselves pre-colonial tributary chieftains of the Lozi/Kololo Paramouncy Chieftain.

The third factor is that, had the Provincial Commissioner in Livingstone been as sharp, alert and informed on the pre-colonial history of the chieftains obtaining then in his province (as was the case with his counterpart in Fort Jameson (Chipata), which can be gleaned from his Memo No 198/63/37 when replying to Circular Minute No. NAT/E/1/5, wherein he stated that, in his view, the paramount chieftain status presupposed that, during the embryonic stages of the founding of a particular Royal Dynasty, the founder paramount chief breathed life into his princely, tributary and subordinate chieftains), surely Munokalya Mukuni deserved to be designated Paramount Chief, alongside the Litunga, Mpezeni and Gawa Undi, who were officially accorded this recognition in 1937. In a nutshell, while there was no real unity among the Tonga and Ila of the Pre-colonial Chundu, the Bene Mukuni pre-colonial Chundu had much political unity and strength (Professor Harry Langworthy (1972), p119)

Residences and important sitesEdit

Nanjina Palace (Be-Dyango's abode)Edit

This literally translates as the “place of lice”, importing the cryptic message that it is the sanctuary of the poorest of poor in the kingdom, being the abode of the Leya ethnic group Queen Priestess /Matriarch, Be-Dyango. Funerals for those without any relations are conducted with Nanjina as the base. It is largely the home for the underprivileged in the Leya society. The underprivileged, poorest of the poor in society, are associated with lice, and hence the name Nanjina.

Siloka Island shrine and heritage siteEdit

Also referred to as Long Island, it served as one of the headquarters, besides Mukuni Royal Village, for Siloka I Mupotola II Mukuni XIV. It was here where, upon his death during high waters, he was temporarily buried, but later transferred to Namunakela when the Zambezi waters subsided. Arising from this fact, Siloka Island is a pilgrimage site for the Leya people

Notable MukunisEdit

Munokalya Siloka II Mukuni XVI 1943

Munokalya Siloka II Mukuni XVIEdit

In the past it was mandatory for Munokalya Mukuni to have, at any given time, a minimum of three wives. His children go by the royal title Banabengwelele for females( Princess), and Batebe for males( Prince). Today, owing to Christianity, it has become traditionally acceptable for the Munokalya Mukuni to have only one wife. This started with Munokalya Siloka II Mukuni XVII, the first King to convert to Christianity. Munokalya Siloka II Mukuni XVII was fluent in more than 7 languages. Munokalya Siloka II Mukuni XVII allowed Bana Bankanga Chiefs to use the princely title of Mukuni Ng’ombe as Munokalya Mukuni’s Lenje resident representative and, therefore, overseer of all the Lenje Bene Mukuni Royal Establishments. After permission was granted, the following Bana Bankanga Chiefs have held the position:

Munokalya Mupotola IV Siloka III Mukuni XIXEdit

Munokalya Mupotola IV Siloka III Mukuni XIX

He holds a degree in economics from Britain's Oxford University and, in the 1980s, he served as marketing director of oil giant BP in Africa before establishing the Mukuni Big Five safari park, where visitors can walk with lions and ride elephants. Having recently made headlines in Zambia for purchasing a US$200,000 limousine, Mukuni is well-acquainted with the wealth tourism can bring and is a driving force in the local sector. He was instrumental in ensuring the exclusive Zambezi Sun and Royal Livingstone hotels were built in Livingstone at the beginning of the 2000s; sits on the board of Sun Hotels, which owns the two properties; and has test-run many local tourist products, from that famous bungee jump to white water rafting in the gorges below. Mukuni reveals that his two daughters are studying in Guangzhou, undertaking degrees in economics and business administration. The princesses can read and write Chinese, with the youngest having taken classes at the nearby Confucius Institute, in Livingstone.[20]

Prince Dr. Joseph Siloka MukuniEdit

Prince Joseph Siloka Mukuni

Began career journey as a teacher in technical and vocational colleges, teaching Business Management and Communication Skills from 1977 to 1985. Between 1985 and 1993, worked as a teacher educator at a technical and vocational teachers’ college in Zambia. Primary responsibility at the teacher’s college was to head a Key English Language Training (KELT) project supported by the British Council. Rose to the position of college Principal in 1993, a position held until 1996. Served as a consultant (up until 1999) in a vocational education and entrepreneurship training (VEET) policy review project supported by the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands, and Zambia.

In 2000, Rose to the position of national director for Zambia’s department of technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training. In 2001, was seconded from government position to head a 6-year $60 million project supported by several donors including the World Bank, the Netherlands Government, the Danish Government, and the Zambian Government. The project goal was to strengthen Zambia’s technical education sector through human resource development, infrastructure development, improvement of training systems, creating a sustainable financing system, and development of linkages with social partners. Upon retirement from government service in Zambia, joined World Vision Zambia to head a project supported by the European Union. The goal of the project was to strengthen the capacities of community schools through infrastructure development, teacher training, supply of learning materials, and promotion of community engagement. In 2009, left World Vision to pursue further studies at Virginia Tech. earned a doctorate, was retained as a visiting assistant professor at Virginia Tech.[21]

His Royal Highness Candido Tsekedi MukuniEdit

A Prince in the households of Mukuni and Sekute, he was named Tsekedi by the now deceased Prince Tsekedi of Eswatini, formerly Swaziland. His early education was at Woodlands A Basic School, St Andrews, Rose Bank, David Kaunda National Technical High School.

Prince Candido Tsekedi Mukuni

His higher education was in Engineering from the New River Community College, Business Management with studies in Economics from the Franciscan University. He obtained a Masters in Education (CTE) from Virginia Tech where he is pursuing his PhD in Instruction and Design Technology.

Candido Tsekedi Mukuni is a retired Sergeant Major in the Combined Cadet Force, a history enthusiast, and practicing Catholic. He is also a poet, artist, human rights activist, advocating for women empowerment and youth involvement in politics.

Other notablesEdit

  • Chief Chitanda– Senior Chief Mukuni Ng’ombe I
  • Chief Chipepo – Senior Chief Mukuni Ng’ombe II
  • Chief Mukubwe – Senior Chief Mukuni Ng’ombe III
  • Chief Liteta – Senior Chief Mukuni Ng’ombe IV
  • Chief Chipepo – Senior Chief Mukuni Ng’ombe

Colonial historyEdit

In the 1890s Cecil Rhodes' British South Africa Company established British rule north of the Zambezi and launched a wave of mineral prospecting and exploration of other natural resources such as timber, ivory and animal skins in the territory it called North-Western Rhodesia. The main crossing point of the Zambezi was above the falls at the Old Drift, by dugout canoe, later an iron boat propelled by eight Lozi paddlers, or a barge towed across with a steel cable. The Batoka Gorge and the deep valley and gorges of the middle Zambezi (now flooded by the Kariba Dam) meant there was no better crossing point between the Falls and Kariba Gorge, 483 km (300 mi) north-east. As the Old Drift crossing became more used, a British colonial settlement sprang up there and around 1897 it became the first municipality in the country and is sometimes referred to as 'Old Livingstone'. Proximity to mosquito breeding areas caused deaths from malaria, so after 1900 the Europeans moved to higher ground known as Constitution Hill or Sandbelt Post Office, and as that area grew into a town it was named Livingstone in honour of the explorer.[22]

In the mid-1890s Rhodesia Railways had reached Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia spurring industrial development there, fuelled by the coal mines at Hwange (then-named Wankie) just 110 km (68 mi) south-east of Mosi-oa-Tunya. The railway was extended to Hwange for the coal, but Rhodes' vision was to keep pushing north to extend the British Empire, and he would have built it to Cairo if he could. In 1904 the railway reached the Falls on the southern side and construction of the Victoria Falls Bridge started. Too impatient to wait for its completion, Rhodes had the line from Livingstone to Kalomo built and operations started some months in advance of the bridge using a single locomotive which was conveyed in pieces by temporary cableway across the gorge next to the bridge building site.[23]

The city was founded in 1905. [24] The British South Africa Company moved the capital of the territory there in 1907.[22] In 1911 the company merged the territory with North-Eastern Rhodesia as Northern Rhodesia. Livingstone prospered from its position as a gateway to trade between north and south sides of the Zambezi, as well as from farming in the Southern Province and commercial timber production from forests to its north-west. A number of colonial buildings were erected which still stand.[8] Although the capital was moved to Lusaka in 1935 to be closer to the economic heartland of the Copperbelt, industries based on timber, hides, tobacco, cotton (including textiles) and other agricultural products grew. A hydroelectric plant was built taking water from the Eastern Cataract of the Falls. The town of Victoria Falls in Southern Rhodesia had the tourist trade, but many supplies were bought from Livingstone.

Of all the towns in Northern Rhodesia, colonial Livingstone took on the most British character.[25] Surrounded by large numbers of African settlements, it had a strongly marked segregation which while not being officially enshrined as an apartheid policy, had similar practical effects. The north and western areas of the town and the town centre were reserved for the colonial government and white-owned businesses and associated residential areas, while African townships such as Maramba (named after the small Maramba River flowing nearby) were in the east and south and were inhabited by working servants, craftsman, tradesman, as well as large numbers of non-working black families suffering under welfare dependency. Asians and people of mixed race owned businesses in the middle, on the eastern side of the centre.[26]

As the British government began publicly discussing independence, and news of the large scale genocide of white colonials in nearby Belgian Congo was heard, many white residents feared abandonment by the British colonial government. Consequently, many began making moves to migrate south toward Southern Rhodesia or South Africa. When Northern Rhodesia obtained independence as Zambia, many more whites continued to leave.[27] At the end of British rule in 1964, Africans were handed a country in which there were only 100 black college graduates, almost all in social sciences from the University of Fort Hare in South Africa.[citation needed] In 1968, a one party state had been established which seized most remaining non-black property, especially those of whites.[citation needed] Consequently, most of the remaining Northern Rhodesians left after an official policy of nationalisation in Zambia was announced.[citation needed]


Some colonial civic buildings were destroyed and replaced with an African architecture, although Livingstone was used as a location for a 1950s Rhodesian town in the 1981 movie The Grass is Singing (based on the Doris Lessing novel of that name).[28] . At the same time, a large infusion of cash from the British government to Zambia at independence was partially used in Livingstone.[citation needed] Livingstone suffered economic decline in the 1970s due in part to renationalisation of industries[citation needed] and in part to closure of the border with Rhodesia, first by the Zambian government and later by the Rhodesian authorities.[29]

In the last ten years, Livingstone has experienced a resurgence in tourism and has firmly become the destination of choice when visiting the Victoria Falls. Livingstone has enjoyed a slight influx of investment in the industry from modern hotel chains like Sun International, to some modern street strip mall centers and restaurants.[30] Apart from tourism, the other hope on Livingstone's horizon is development stimulated by the Walvis Bay Corridor with the opening of the Katima Mulilo Bridge and completion of the Trans–Caprivi Highway 200 km (120 mi) west, which funnels more trade through the town.[citation needed]


Livingstone has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSh) with hot and rainy wet seasons and very hot pre-wet seasons and mild dry seasons with large temperature differences between day and night.

Climate data for Livingstone, Zambia (extremes 1918–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 39.8
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 23.6
Average low °C (°F) 18.9
Record low °C (°F) 10.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 173.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 16 14 9 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 11 16 73
Average relative humidity (%) 74.8 77.3 72.2 65.1 57.7 55.0 51.8 43.3 35.1 41.7 55.2 71.0 58.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 213.9 196.0 251.1 273.0 303.8 288.0 310.0 319.3 297.0 279.0 228.0 207.7 3,166.8
Source 1: NOAA[31]
Source 2: Meteo Climat (record highs and lows)[32]


Main terminal of the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport

See the main article Transport in Zambia for more details.

Places of worshipEdit

Among the places of worship, they are predominantly Christian churches and temples : Roman Catholic Diocese of Livingstone (Catholic Church), United Church in Zambia (World Communion of Reformed Churches), Reformed Church in Zambia (World Communion of Reformed Churches), Baptist Union of Zambia (Baptist World Alliance), Assemblies of God. [33] There are also Muslim mosques.[34]


Livingstone has various museums, like the Livingstone Museum (archaeology, ethnography and history and contains a collection of memorabilia relating to David Livingstone), the Maramba Cultural Museum (featuring traditional dancing, singing, costumes), the Railway Museum of the Mulobezi Railway and the Victoria Falls Field Museum (featuring geology and archaeology around the Falls.[35][36]

Ellipsen Waterbuck at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Livingstone, Zambia.

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Livingstone is twinned with:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mwakikagile, Godfrey (2010). Zambia: Life in an African Country. New Africa Press. ISBN 978-9987-16-011-2.
  2. ^ "Victoria Falls". Zambia Tourism. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  3. ^ Central Statistical Office Zambia and City Population (14 July 2019). "Population of Zambian Cities and Urban Centres: Livingstone". Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  4. ^ "David Livingstone | Biography, Expeditions, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  5. ^ "Livingstone". Zambia Let's Explore. Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  6. ^ "Livingstone Information". Retrieved 2020-06-05.
  7. ^ a b Livingstone Tourism website Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine accessed 10 March 2007.
  8. ^ a b Camerapix: "Spectrum Guide to Zambia." Camerapix International Publishing, Nairobi, 1996.
  9. ^ Manchishi, P. C. (1984). The People of Zambia : a Short History of the Soli from 1500 to 1900. Multimedia Publication[s]. ISBN 978-9982-30-020-9.
  10. ^ "(Brelsford W.V (1965) - Google Search". Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  11. ^ Ajayi, J. F. Ade (1989-01-01). Africa in the Nineteenth Century Until the 1880s. UNESCO. ISBN 978-92-3-101712-4.
  12. ^ S. Douglas Gray (1961), p19
  13. ^ Apthorpe R. (1960) – Rhodes-Livingstone Journal Number 28, p.58
  14. ^ Annis S. Field, Chapters 41-47
  15. ^ Maud Muntemba (1970), p.29
  16. ^ Maud Muntemba (1970), p.29
  17. ^ Malala Muzamba II Be-Dyango XV (1958)
  18. ^ Malala Muzamba II Be-Dyango XV (1958)
  19. ^ Joseph Vogel, Simbusenga (1975), p.47
  20. ^ "The town that China built: tourism boom at Zambia's Victoria Falls thanks to Chinese makeover". South China Morning Post. 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  21. ^ "Joseph S. Mukuni". Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  22. ^ a b B. L. Hunt: "Kalomo to Livingstone in 1907". The Northern Rhodesia Journal, Vol IV No 1 (1959) p16. Accessed 28 February 2007.
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  2. Muntemba, M (1970), Zambia Museums Journal, Volume 1- The Political and Ritual Sovereignty Among the Mukuni Leya of Zambia page 29. Mwale B.B. – About the Acewa, History and customs of the Cewa people chapter V.Poole L. (1938), The Native Tribes of the East Luangwa Province of Northern Rhodesia (Government Printer, Lusaka) page 45.Undi Gawa Kalonga Chivunga, Paramount Chief (1970) Interview.
  3. Brelsford , W. V. (1965) – The Tribes of Zambia – The Gwembe Valley People (Government Printer, Lusaka) page 73.Brelsford , W. V. (1965) – The Tribes of Zambia – The Lenje Soli People (Government Printer, Lusaka) page 75.Colson E. (1960)-Kariba Studies (Manchester University Press, Manchester) page 168.Colson E. and Gluckman M (1961)-Seven Tribes of British Central Africa – The plateau Tonga of Northern Rhodesia (Manchester University Press, Manchester) page 132.Fagan, B.M and Philipson D.W (1965), the Iron Age Sequence at Lochnivar and the Tonga, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Volume 95 part 2.Field, S. A. (1961) Visilano, History Project U.M.C.A Msoro. Chapters 41, 42, 43, 45, 46 and 47.Government of Zambia – Statutory Instrument number 146 of 1998 (Government Printer, Lusaka) page 521.Government of Zambia – Statutory Instrument numbers 22 and 23 of 1999 (Government Printer, Lusaka) page 43 and 45.Kaulu, M. G. (1995) District notes (ODG/SIN/102/15/2) – A Brief History of Mwemba Chieftainship pages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Langworthy, H.W. (1972), Zambia Before 1890: Aspects of Pre-Colonial History (Dai Nippon Printing Company (HG) Limited Hong Kong) page 23.Liteta Chinkuli Wilson – Senior Chief Mukuni N’gombe (1990) interview.Malala Muzamba II- Be-Dyango XV (1958) interview.Mukuni Siloka II (1957), A Short History Of the Baleya People (Government Printer, Lusaka) pages 4, 5, 6 and 7.Muntemba, M (1970) Zambia Museums Journal Volume 1. The Political and Ritual Sovereighnty Among the Mukuni Leya of Zambia. page 29.Mwale B.B. – About the Acewa, History and customs of the Cewa people chapter V.Siampande Siamayuwa Senior Chief Mwemba (1990) interview.Sekute Kalonga Chief (1957) Interview
  4. Brelsford , W. V. (1965) – The Tribes of Zambia – The Gwembe Valley People (Government Printer, Lusaka) pages 70 and 72.Colson E. and Gluckman M (1961)-Seven Tribes of British Central Africa – The Lozi of Barotseland (Manchester University Press, Manchester) page 19.Colson E. and Gluckman M (1961)-Seven Tribes of British Central Africa – The Plateau Tonga (Manchester University Press, Manchester) page 96 Gyenkye (1996) The African Chief, page 109.Langworthy, H.W. (1972), Zambia Before 1890: Aspects of Pre-Colonial History (Dai Nippon Printing Company (HG) Limited Hong Kong) pages 25 and 119.Malala Muzamba II- Be-Dyango XV (1958) interview.Memo 376/27/5/B (1933)Minutes – Kalomo Native Authority meeting (1936)Malahasi Lwangulamombo, Sikukwila (1958) interview.Mubila Philemon, Mwendambeli (1987) interview.Munongo Bantu Mwenda Msiri Mwami (2006) interview.Muntemba, M (1970) Zambia Museums Journal Volume 1. The Political and Ritual Sovereighnty Among the Mukuni Leya of Zambia. pages 30, 31 and 32.Sialutaba Josephat, Mutoozi We Namunaki (1987) interview.Vogel Joseph, O. (1975) Simbusenga (Oxford University Press, Oxford) page 47.Yanina Munchindu, Inabuze (1987) Interview.
  5. Muntemba, M (1970) Zambia Museums Journal Volume I – The Political and Ritual Sovereignty Among the Mukuni Leya of Zambia – pages 30 and 34
  6. Malala Muzamba II Be-Dyango XV (1958) Interview.Mubila Mwendambeli (1986) assisting in the Siloka III Mukuni XIX Investiture rites.Mukasimalweza Muzamba III Be-Dyango XVIII (1986)conducting coronation rites.Mukanyemba Mukalaso Siamachoka Mwanengwelele (1986) assisting in the Siloka III Mukuni XIX Investiture rites.Siloka III Mukuni XIX (1986) coronation rites, personal experience.
  7. Muntemba, M (1970) Zambia Museums Journal Volume I – The Political and Ritual Sovereignty Among the Mukuni Leya of Zambia – pages 30 and 34
  8. Malala Muzamba II Be-Dyango XV (1958) Interview.Mubila Mwendambeli (1986) assisting in the Siloka III Mukuni XIX Investiture rites.Mukasimalweza Muzamba III Be-Dyango XVIII (1986)conducting coronation rites.Mukanyemba Mukalaso Siamachoka Mwanengwelele (1986) assisting in the Siloka III Mukuni XIX Investiture rites.Siloka III Mukuni XIX (1986) coronation rites, personal experience.

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Coordinates: 17°51′S 25°52′E / 17.850°S 25.867°E / -17.850; 25.867