Chiefs - Chokwe /
Luvale / Lwena / Lunda
Litapi - Circa 1990 - (Senior Chief Ndungu 1992 till his
The Lwena live in Angola - DRC and Zambia.
The core of their population inhabits the area along the Lwena River in
Angola. The Lwena expanded south and eastwards throughout the
19th century through trade (slaves and ivory). A palm known as
mavale grew in vast plains in present day Zambia. Lwena who settled
there became known
as Luvale or Balovale. The plain itself was subsequently
recorded on colonial maps as the Luvale Plain.
Lunda King Kazembe Mwata Yav - Crawford
Chiefs Enclosure - Emil Torday - (1900-1909)
Aspects of the Luvale, Lwena, Chokwe (or
other related people fall under the Lunda paramount chief - Mwata Yamvo (Mwaant Yav),
who resides to the north - north east of the Luvale in the DRC.
However, the Luvale were traditionally ruled by an elected
chieftainship whose senior was Ndungu. Chief Ndungu lived at his
(or her) royal palace at Chinyama Litapi, situated near the Angolan border north and west, with the Zambezi
River to the east. For convenience sake, the
British had the capital moved to Mize, which faces what had
been a colonial outpost across the river, the outpost named Zambezi.
Chief Kucheka Royal
Enclosure - Circa 1992
Chief Kucheka - Circa 1992
The Kucheka chieftainship is important and
falls under Senior Chief Ndungu. Chief
Kucheka was photographed above with his drum barer
holding a royal mukupelo, while a Zambian government appointed
assistant held a historic Kucheka seated figure.
The figure was carved in the likeness of
the first chief Kucheka (Kaumba Mutoshi), who
ruled during the latter part of the 19th century. He is reported
to have been a womanizer who dealt in slaves. It was carved after his death (between 1900 and 1944) by an Mbunda
traveler. A female chief, the second Chief Kucheka (Nyakamiji),
had commissioned the figure. Her reign was followed by Chikenge Kucheka
(1945-1975) and Davison Chinyama Pulu (1976- 1978.
The ancestral figure of Kucheka was
highlighted with pokerwork and bone inlayed eyes. It is
57 centimetres tall and made of extremely hard heavy wood, realistic
Large seated chief figures represented ancestors
of the Chokwe, Luvale, Lwena, Luchazi
and Mbunda cultures. Related examples have been collected in Angola, Congo
and Zambian interconnected societies. The figures are not owned or
inherited by the current chief, but held by the collective
chieftainship. The Kucheka chief photographed in 1992 was
therefore unable to sell the object. Its sale depended on
a collective agreement, which ultimately required agreement
from Senior Chief Ndungu, which was granted.