Zambian Cultural Heritage – The Tonga People – Their Traditions and Customs

The Tonga people of Zambia live in Zambia’s Southern Province. They are an agricultural tribe and herding cattle and crop growing are the two most important aspects of their traditional economy. They have a deep connection to their cattle and land reflecting an ancient spiritual harmony with nature.

The Tonga are considered to be original Zambian inhabitants – sites dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries have been found on the Batoka Plateau as well as ancient village sites near Kalomo and Choma. The oldest site can be found on Sebanzi Hill on Lochinvar Ranch which is on the edge of the Kafue Flats.

Zambian history suggests that 600 years ago a thriving trade centre existed in the Zambezi valley. A site christened Ingombe Ilede was unearthed by Archaeologists and it showed that people lived here and traded with the Arabs, Chinese and India. Copper crosses of about 30cm in length have been found to have been the main currency unit.

The word ‘Tonga’ means ‘independent’ and it confirms the theory that originally the Tonga people did not have a centralised political structure but lived in independent family units. Traditionally chieftainship was not part of the Tonga tradition. Rather, priests and rainmakers were seen to be more important leaders. It was only when the colonial administration was creating its leadership structure that chiefs were assigned to the Tonga people. As a result of the changes brought on by the colonial administration, chieftaincy is now an integral part of Tonga politics.

Rather confusingly, there is reference to a Chief Monze long before the British came to Zambia. Chief Monze was not a Chief as we would know it but a priest, prophet, rainmaker and mediator. The current Chief Monze who is a spiritual and cultural leader who commands significant respect from a extensive community descends from a long lineage dating back from the 17th century when according to traditional tails the first Chief Monze descended from heaven.

The Lwiindi Gonde Ceremony is the main Tonga ceremony and is held in the South West of Monze town on the last Sunday of June. It is a traditional ceremony filled with music, lively dance and prayer. ‘Gonde’ means thick bush and this is the place where the shrines of the Tonga people are. It is the place where the first ever Chief Monze vanished – tradition says that he did not die. Gonde became the burial place for all chiefs although only two are actually buried there. (A detailed article has been written on The Lwiindi Gonde Ceremony and it is entitled Zambian Cultural Heritage – The Lwiindi Gonde Traditional Ceremony).

This article is inspired by the book ‘Ceremony! Celebrating Zambia’s Cultural Heritage’. It’s fabulous and a visually pleasing book which I would encourage you to get. I got mine from ZAIN in Lusaka, Zambia. It is published by Celtel Zambia PLC and Seka. Original photography, Francois d’Elbee. Coordinating author, Tamara Guhrs. Editor, Mulunga Kapwepwe. Contributing authors, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, Prof Mapopa Mtonga, …

How To Get Rid Of Your Irritating and Annoying Mother In Law

An integral part of a lot of marriages seems to be an irritating, annoying, or cold mother-in-law. I agree that there are some psychotic mothers in law whom you have to stay clear from. However don’t hastily diagnose your mother in law as psychotic. For the most part they really love their child and therefore deep down inside they also love you, the spouse. It is only jealousy, misunderstanding, or fear that is covering up this love.

Here are some steps though that you can take to make the relationship with your mother-in-law better and even pleasant. It takes work but it is for sure worth the effort.

  • Talk to her on a regular basis. When you speak to her once or twice a week on a steady basis she won’t be afraid that “you want something” from her and that you are only speaking to her to “butter her up”. In the beginning keep the conversations very light.
  • LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN. Listen to what she likes and what irritates her. After you hear what she likes if you know nothing about the subject “Google it” and so that the next time you speak to her you’ll connect with her easily.
  • Invite her to do things that SHE likes to do. After you know her likes and interests invite her to do some of these things. If she likes to go out to eat take her out to a restaurant. If she likes to go to the movies take her out one afternoon to the movies.
  • Ask her to do something that YOU like to do. As long as she doesn’t despise doing something that interests you, whatever you do together is an act of bonding. (Of course, if it is the husband who is trying to get to know his mother in law, then he has to be creative here. She probably won’t appreciate an invitation to watch a football game with a beer!)

Remember your mother in law is your spouses parent and a part of the family whether you like it or not. To completely sever ties with her, although it might be a very enticing thought, is very hard and in the can cause lots of pain and problems “down the line”. Therefor it is in YOUR best interest to do everything you can within reason to make that connection, now and in the future.

You’ll see that under that annoying and irritating skin lies a lady that truly wants your good.…