TRIP IN HISTORY: The day Litunga Yeta III met the British Governor General to South Africa

09 February 2017
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Litunga Yeta III (Litia Lewanika), Standing (left - right) is then Litunga's Private Secretary Mbikusita Lewanika (Litunga Lewanika II, 1968 - 1977) and Kuta's Secretary Lishomwa Suu, Ngambela (prime minister) during the reign of Litunga Lewanika II


In 1921, Litunga Yeta III, CBE, undertook a working visit to Cape Town for talks with Prince (Duke) of Connaught, the then new British Governor General to South Africa. On this visit, the Government of Barotseland petitioned the British Government on two main points. The first was to demand further autonomy for Barotseland and the ending of the arrangement of indirect British administration through the British South Africa Company. The second was demand for the return of the lands of Barotseland that had been seeded to German West Africa and designated as the Capri Strip.

His delegation consisted of officials Ngambela (Prime Minister) Mataa, Muleta (Chief Minister at Libonda) Mbangweta, Induna Ingangwana. The maternal half-brother of the Litunga, Mwanza Sibofu acted as the King’s steward, and Akashambatwa Lewanika interpreted for the King, while the Ngambela had his son, Mubukwanu as interpreter. This delegation left Lealui together with the King’s son, Kaluwe, and his brothers Mwendaweili and Mbikusita who were on their way to attend school at Zonnebloem College and Lovedale College in the Cape Province.

On their way, when they reached Livingstone, medical examination was required that the princes going to South African schools. Unfortunately, the examining doctor concluded that Mbikusita Lewanika was unfit to proceed to South Africa due to a chest infection. Thus a disappointed Mbikusita was left behind in Livingstone, but after protesting and seeking other ways, he managed to follow and register at Lovedale College, even though he was late. Meanwhile, Kaluwe Yeta and Mwendaweli Lewanika had registered at Zonnebloem College, where they found Ngombala Lewanika already in school. In the end, they all matriculated and returned to serve the Government of Barotseland in various roles.

COVER PICTURE: This picture was taken at the BBC Offices in London in 1937, on the occasion of the visit to England of Litunga Yeta III and his Ngambela (Prime Minister) Mbangweta Munalula, not in picture, for the coronation of King George VI of England and discussions on the Barotseland Protectorate.

They also visited France, hosted by the Paris Missionary Society (PMS), who together with Basotho evangelists founded the Church of Barotseland and initiated modern education in Barotseland.

Picture Courtesy of Dr. Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika

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