Lunda people

From Chalo Chatu, Zambia online encyclopedia
The members of the Lunda delimitation commission; also Mme. Sarmento and Mrs. Grenfell

The Lunda (Balunda, Luunda, Ruund) originated in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo along the Kalanyi River and formed the Kingdom of Lunda in the 17th century under their ruler, Mwata Yamvo or Mwaant Yav, with their capital at Musumba.[1]


From there they spread widely through Katanga province and into Eastern Angola, north-western Zambia (the Kanongesha-Lunda and the Ishindi-Lunda)[2] and the Luapula valley of Zambia (the Eastern Lunda or Kazembe-Lunda).

The Lunda were allied to the Luba, and their migrations and conquests spawned a number of tribes such as the Luvale of the upper Zambezi and the Kasanje on the upper Kwango River of Angola.


Today the Lunda people comprise hundreds of subgroups such as the Akosa, Imbangala and Ndembu, and number approximately 500,000 in Angola, 750,000 in the Congo, and 200,000 in Zambia. Most speak the Lunda language, Chilunda, except for the Kazembe-Lunda who have adopted the Bemba language of their neighbours.[1]

Economic activities

The Lunda people's heartland was rich in the natural resources of rivers, lakes, forests and savannah. Its people were fishermen and farmers, and they prospered. They grew maize, millet, yam yams, sorghum, squash, beans, sweet potatoes, oil palms and tobacco. Their traders came into contact with the Portuguese, and Arab and Swahili traders of East Africa. They played a large role in the slave and ivory trade that moved goods and people from central Africa to the coasts for export.

Culture and beliefs

The people of the Lunda Kingdom believed in Nzambi as a Supreme Creator of the world who created everything of existence on earth. Their religion did not address Nzambi directly, but through the spirits of their ancestors.


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  1. 1.0 1.1 Pritchett, James Anthony: "Lunda". World Culture Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15 May 2007.
  2., Mwati Yamv Preaches Peace At Lunda Lubanza Ceremony, 3 September 2009


General references

Some of the information is based on the German Wikipedia article on the Lunda (Königreich), which gives two sources:

  • Pogge (1880). Im Reich des Muata Jamwo. Berlin.
  • Buchner (1883). "Das Reich des Muata Jamwo". Deutsche Geographische Blätter. Bremen.

Further reading

  • Pritchett, James Anthony (2001). The Lunda-Ndembu : style, change, and social transformation in South Central Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin.
  • Pritchett, James Anthony (2007). Friends for Life, Friends for Death: cohorts and consciousness among the Lunda-Ndembu. Charlottesville: University of Virginia.

External links

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