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By Canisius Mushibwe

Part of the NGONI speaking people reside in Chipata district, East Zambia and Malawi’s south west Mchinji district.

They originally migrated from the South in KwaZulu-Natal and lived near the ZULU people in now the present country named South Africa.

Some of the Ngoni remnants still live in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Ngoni inhabitants area /courtesy/

Ngoni people trace their roots from The Nguni and Zulu people of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. They are scattered in the Southern East region of Africa, now made up of several countries – Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia not withstanding South Africa.

In the period of about 1815 to 1840, due to constant tribal wars; there was widespread chaos and dispersion known as MFECANE, which forced migrations from the ZULU kingdom and the surrounding regions.

The NC’WALA ceremony /courtesy/

One of SHAKA ZULU generals Zwangendaba Jere, left KwaZulu-Natal and migrated northwards with a segment of the tribe. Some settled in the present day south west Malawi and east  Zambia.

NC’WALA is an annual ceremony that takes place in Mutenguleni village in east Zambia to rejoice and celebrate the FIRST FRUITS of the HARVEST. They praise God for the bounty and pay homage to their ancestors.

Paramount Chief Mpenzeni is joined by his brother, Crown Prince Butelezi of South Africa

To cement the ceremony, a BLACK BULL is sacrificed – it’s blood poured as libation to God and ancestors for the bounty. In many African ceremonies, the sacrifice can be a bull, a male sheep or goat and they have to be of one color (un-spoted) – in many instances BLACK to signify purity.

Black bull to be sacrificed /courtesy/

This ceremony has been passed on from generation to generation, a testament of the staying power of the rich African heritage, one that has to be safe guarded at all costs in order to connect us with our past.

To this present day, chants and dances are paid to Paramount Chief Mpezeni during the ceremonies. Paramount Chief Mpezeni is a successive title bestowed on whoever assumes the cheifdom.

Paramount Chief Mpezeni and his delegates /courtesy/

This production is a vivid remainder that Africans can trace some commonalities amongst themselves. 

The present day countries, a legacy of the Scramble for Africa, a colonial project of Europeans that gave the present day boundaries have become an administrative and economic reality, but the deep historical ties of our connectedness should be a source of unity and brotherhood which extend beyond these ‘artificial’ boundaries.

Paramount Chief Mpenzeni joins the dancers /courtesy/
The NC’WALA ceremony /courtesy/
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Canisius Mushibwe

1 Comment

    No missionaries brought God to Africa. God has always been everywhere.

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