Online coverage of Zambian traditional ceremonies

Sara Drawwater
2 May 2013
There’s a lot of interest in Zambian traditional ceremonies but not too much information on them. The excellent book “Ceremony! Celebrating Zambia’s Cultural Heritage” by Tamara Guhrs and Mulenga…

There’s a lot of interest in Zambian traditional ceremonies but not too much information on them. The excellent book “Ceremony! Celebrating Zambia’s Cultural Heritage” by Tamara Guhrs and Mulenga Kapwepwe published by Celtel Zambia PLC in Lusaka in 2007 is a rare gem. But, as more and more people are turning to the internet to find out facts, it’s a shame the web isn’t being used more by those marketing these events.

I have been scouring the internet to see what’s available on Zambian ceremonies in 2013. The Zambia Tourism Board website has some basic information at The new Zambia Tourist Guide also gives a good overview. Apart from these sources, this is what I found:

Ceremonies that have already happened this year:Nc’walaThe Nc’wala Ceremony took place on the last weekend of February. This is an Ngoni festival to celebrate the first fruit of the season. There is just a facebook page with some great pictures: .

KuombokaThis is Zambia’s best known traditional ceremony, held in Western Province in April. In fact it happened last weekend. The Best of Zambia has a Kuomboka webpage and there’s a facebook page The best sources of information for this year’s ceremony are currently Lusaka Voice (, a media platform for interaction and crowd-sourced feedback, and a blog by Wendy Kingston ( who happens to live in Mongu.

If you missed these, don’t worry — there are more to come:

Ceremonies coming up:KazangaThe Kazanga Ceremony, in North-Western Province, is considered Zambia’s oldest traditional ceremony, having been celebrated by the Nkoya people for over 500 years. The Kazanga Ceremony in Kapompo takes place the first weekend of June. There is no up-to-date information on the web but YouTube has several video clips of last year’s ceremony ( ) courtesy of Wim van Binsbergen.

KwilimunaKwilimuna takes place in mid-July each year at Ibenga in Copperbelt Province. It is a three day traditional harvest festival of the Bulima people of the Lamba tribe. The Best of Zambia has a webpage for it which is being regularly updated. In fact we are covering this ceremony online on behalf of the Kwilimuna organising committee.

UmutombokoThe Umutomboko Ceremony of the Lunda people in Luapula Province is held at Mwansabombwe to depict the coming to Zambia by the Lunda and Luba people from Kola in what is now DR Congo. The ceremony is held on the last weekend of July. is a dedicated website which gives detailed information but could do with some updating.

KulambaKulamba, at Mkaika in Katete District near Chipata, is held on the last weekend of August. You can read more on the All Africa website and view a stunning image from the 2012 ceremony here This is a thanksgiving festival of the Chewa speaking people, settled in three countries — Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique — with their headquarters at the Mkaika palace of Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi.

Likumbi Lya MizeLikumbi Lya Mize, in North Western Province, is also held on the last weekend of August. This ceremony takes place at Mize, the official palace of Senior Chief Ndungu, near Zambezi Boma. It is famous for the Makishi dancers who recreate events from Luvale mythology. There’s a facebook open group page and a few beautiful images on photo-sharing site Safarious . Otherwise the only online coverage seems to be via a couple of tour operators that can take you there — African View ( ) and Destination Zambia ( ).

ShimunengaLast but not least, Shimunenga is a ceremony that takes place on a full moon weekend in September and October. The Ba-lla tribe celebrate this ceremony at Malla on the Kafue Flats. Safarious, a photo-sharing website, has some images at but otherwise I haven’t found any up-to-date online information.

If we’ve missed any relevant websites, please let us know and we’ll publicise them.

For more information you might be interested in: