Although the procession is not of the same magnitude as the Litunga’s Kuomboka, the Litunga la Mboela’s escape from the floods is equally spectacular and is splendidly accompanied by the beating of the royal Maoma drums.
The Litunga la Mboela’s royal barge is officially designated the cow (cattle) whereas the Litunga’s Nalikwanda is assigned the more familiar black Elephant. The cow is the official emblem of her reign as Litunga la Mboela.
Ever since Mbuyu wa Mwambwa’s abdication to her son Mboo, setting the tradition of male Litungaship, a sister to the reigning king must rule with him as the Litunga la Mboela (Litunga of the South).
Zambia’s Western Province Minister, Hon. Nathaniel Mubukwanu, was the Guest of honour, and is here pictured walking majestically with Litunga La Mboela (Mbuyu Imwiko) during the Kuomboka ceremony held yesterday in Nalolo.
Next on the Kuomboka calendar is Mulena Mukwae Mboanjikana’s travel from Libonda Royal village to Kalabo district along the mighty Zambezi River which will take place on the 6th of May this year.
In Mboanjikana’s Kuomboka, the Maoma royal drums do not feature but the Mikubele and all other traditional drums are beaten instead.
The Manjabila and Lishomwa dances play a big role as paddlers dance and enjoy the ceremony.
Her Royal Highness Mulena Mukwae Mboanjikana’s emblem of ruler ship is the Hippo and is what she bears on her royal barge during her Kuomboka.
Kuomboka literally means ‘‘to get out of water’’. It is applied today to a traditional ceremony, which attracts great interest as a celebration of the Lozi culture each year and is held when the annual outpouring of the Barotse flood plain of the Upper Zambezi River reaches a height of sometimes up to 40 feet above normal, that the Litunga or King of Barotseland leads his people to higher ground.
The Litunga’s voyage is from the Lealui royal village, the royal capital of Barotseland in Lewanika’s time, to Limulunga, the summer capital, which is where the Litunga spends most of his time today.
After the Litunga’s Kuomboka from Lealui to Limulunga, their Royal Highnesses, reigning princes and princesses, similarly affected by the Barotse floods, follow suit with their own Kuomboka in equally spectacular processions.