Actually, the correct answer to this question is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Therefore, a brief explanation will be necessary for a clearer understanding.
Throughout its illustrious history, Barotseland has endured considerable changes to its name, boundaries and political status. However, this article will only focus on the most notable changes, starting with the most recent.
In Zambia currently, Barotseland’s boundaries are exactly and equal to the Western Province. These boundaries are what was inherited at Zambia’s independence in 1964, having been mapped out by The Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Order in Council 1953 as ‘Barotseland Protectorate’. The attached map is evidence of this.
Therefore, although the Barotse territory underwent a name change in 1969 when Kenneth Kaunda unilaterally renamed it ‘Western Province’, its boundaries have never actually been altered to date.
However, the change in name, though official in Zambia, does not really change what the territory is to its inhabitants.
Barotseland is simply Barotseland to its people!
Induna Iñunde, Ms Irene Muyenga, who is the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) minister in charge of foreign relations, has led a delegation of other BRE Senior Induna, as emissaries of the Litunga of Barotseland to this year’s Kulamba ceremony of the Chewa speaking people of Eastern Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
Kulamba is the annual ceremony at which all the Chewa people and their chiefs gather at Mkaika village in Katete district of Zambia, to pay homage to their paramount ruler, Kalonga Gawa Undi.
During the ceremony, the chiefs brief the Gawa Undi on the situation in their chiefdoms, highlighting major issues and also to present their gifts to him.
She joined the president of Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS), Anthony Mubita Sheppard and his dear wife, Lisa, along with nine others under the African-American Homecoming Project trip to Barotseland for this year’s commemoration of the 400th anniversary since the beginning of slavery in English America.
However, Dr. Zoe Spencer, Ph.D., a professor at Virginia State University (VSU) in the USA, may never in her wildest dreams have imagined that when she travels to the remote Kingdom of Barotseland in Africa, she would return to America, a couple of weeks later, with a new name given to her by the Litunga, King of Barotseland!
Before we explore a little more about Prof. Zoe, let us see what is in her new name.
LUSAKA. Zambia’s Tourism and Arts Minister, Ronald Chitotela, has called for the need to integrate and connect Black-African Americans, who have chosen to track and reconnect with their ancestral roots, to the rest of Zambia.
Mr Chotela said this when a 12 - member delegation of the Homecoming Project led by their president Eric Sheppard of the United States of America and Induna Namamba of the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) paid a courtesy call on him.
“Through this, the Americans behind the initiative will be able to appreciate what Zambia has to offer in terms of tourism and become tourism ambassadors for the country,” Mr Chitotela said.
He said his Ministry would support the project and ideas that come with it as it has the potential to promote Zambia as a tourist destination of choice for international travellers Worldwide.
The Minister said the Americans need to have a broader view of the country so that they can tell a detailed and sellable story when they go back home.
And Eric Sheppard said Diversity Restoration Solutions, the organization behind Homecoming Project, has established a strategic partnership between The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, a US Federal Government Agency, and Barotseland which needs to be turned into a tourism partnership.
In 2017, when Barotseland Post first featured a report about some African-Americans planning to relocate to Barotseland in a Home Coming Project organized by Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS) Inc. (USA), which was planned to start with the August 2019 commemorations of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of African slaves in the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619, many readers of the publication started to ask questions concerning the Americans’ eventual homecoming.
This was when Eric Antony Sheppard, the President and Founder of Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS) Inc. (USA) first visited Mongu, on June 19, 2017, to meet with the Litunga, King of Barotseland, Lubosi Imwiko II and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) over the imminent return of hundreds of African Americans back home.
As this story was shared and published on several other media in Zambia and Barotseland social media, questions concerning the story even multiplied, some of which we must now answer, especially in view of the euphoria and innuendo that has characterised Eric Antony Sheppard’s present return to Barotseland with more African-Americans for the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of slavery in the US!
Yes! Zambia’s current Western Province is the only territory in Zambia still protected by special international treaties, most recently the 1964 Barotseland Agreement and the 1953 Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Order in Council signed on the 30th of April at the Court at Windsor Castle – which currently mapped out the boundaries of Barotseland Protectorate which Kenneth Kaunda later renamed Western Province in 1969.
Although the performance or implementation of these treaties is not specifically outlined in the Zambian constitution and are largely still a controversial affair, they actually still apply in earnest!
This is why granting the Republican President sweeping powers that could unilaterally alter western Province’s boundaries would be a violation of these treaties!
Only last year, many Zambians were shocked to hear the Zambian Minister in charge of Land, Hon Jean Kapata, report to the Zambian Parliament that the newly proposed National Land Policy would be applicable only to all other provinces of Zambia except Western Province, and she called it Barotseland, because the latter was constitutionally under a different land tenure system that would not permit the implementation of the land policy under consideration!
The problem with many Zambians is that they have been kept so ignorant of this aspect of their past under the mistaken view that it has no relevant bearing on the present and future existence of their nation!
“Some idea of the composition of the Barozi people of today can be gained when one realizes that they are composed of Bambowe, Bakwangwa, Bahoombi, Bakoma, Makololo, Bandundulu, Bambunda, Bankoya, Bashasha, Alunda, Balubale, Bambalangwe, Batonga, Basubia, Mashukulumbwe, Bakwande, Batotela, Bakwangali, Bakwengo, Balojazi, Vachibokwe, Basanjo and other tribes.
“Many of the above tribes were, so far as can be gathered, aboriginal owners of the Barozi country, others were raided from time to time and slaves (chiefly women) taken back to the homes of the raiders, where they in time intermarried and became Barozi.” - D. W. STIRKE, Native Commissioner Northern Rhodesia in his 1941 book titled ‘BAROTSELAND: Eight Years among the Barotse’ with an introductory chapter by Sir Harry Johnston, G.C.M.G., K.C.B. who was at one time H.M. Commissioner &c., for Northern Zambezia.
Others even wanted to know what the animal is in siLozi.
Well, in Barotseland, the Pangolin is known as Ñake or siÑake, and feeds on ants and termites (Butwa) but should not be confused with its look alike, the Sikape (The Honey Badger), which feeds on honey (Linosi) and has no scales as the Pangolin does!
Therefore, and due to public demand, we share this VIDEO to give more information on the Pangolin, which was declared as an endangered species at a major September, 2016 conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, organized by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), the body that regulates international wildlife trade, where it was voted to effect a shut down on all commercial sales of pangolins and their parts across borders.
This means that capture and trafficking of the animal could get the perpetrator arrested and prosecuted with lengthy jail sentences!
Barotseland is indeed endowed with plenty of wildlife with an extensive variety of animal species of all kinds, including the Big Five game animals; the Barotse elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros.
The pangolin is the most heavily trafficked wild mammal in the world, often trafficked because their scales are prized in traditional Chinese medicine.
Last month of September 2016, the Pangolin was again in the international media because they were a subject at a big conference about protecting wildlife that took place in South Africa. The pangolin is such a rare and endangered species that it even has its own special commemorative day, the world pangolin day, which takes place on the third Saturday of February every year.
Barotseland is, therefore, truly blessed to be home to a couple of pangolin varieties.
14th January 2019 marks 8 years exactly since a dark cloud hovered over the nation of Barotseland as state troops under the instruction of the former Zambian president, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, ordered fire against unarmed peaceful protesters in Mongu in 2011.
According to many Barotse nationalists, 14th January will remain a cold day - a day when citizens of Barotseland woke up to a rude shock, that a government purporting to be theirs, riding on a manipulative 'One Zambia One Nation' motto would, without a wink, open fire against innocent protesters, killing 19 men, women and children.
It is a day that will remind the nationals of Barotseland that indeed, the continued association with Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, is similar to that of a hunter and the hunted.
Barotseland Activist, Munyinda Munukayumbwa, has accused Zambia’s Vice President Inonge Wina and her government of deliberately disregarding long established customs of the Kingdom of Barotseland, thereby causing instability and open rebellion by some chiefs in the region.
Munyinda has warned that, by visiting a rebellious and self-imposed Mwene Motondo of Kaoma and allowing Zambia’s national broadcaster, ZNBC, to refer to him not only as Mwene Mutondo but also as ‘Senior Chief’ of Kaoma District, the Vice President was deliberately violating long established customary norms and that her visit was tantamount to an official recognition of Webster Mulubisha as Mwene Mutondo when, in fact, the Barotse Royal Establishment and the Litunga had neither installed or recognized him as such.
“Sadly, the visitation of the Vice President Inonge Wina, who should know better that the only person who installs Chiefs in Barotseland is the Litunga of Barotseland, entails that the Government of Zambia has, in fact, already recognized the self imposed Chief Webster Mulubisha as the legitimate Chief, Mwene Mutondo, of Kaoma area.”
What is even worse, Munyinda writes, is that ZNBC, in their report, referred to Mulubisha as the Senior Chief of Kaoma District, when in fact, ZNBC, as the national public broadcaster, should have known that the only Senior Chief in Kaoma District is HRH Chief Amukena Isiteketo, while the Mwene Mutondo title, which Mulubisha has usurped, is that of a mere area Chief!
If it is true that Kenneth Kaunda wants to offer guidance in resolving the Barotseland - Zambia conflict then he should first understand that Barotseland as a nation has had it is governance system long before Zambia crafted theirs and he should desist from misleading people about the whole Barotseland Agreement system.
He will do well to admit that right from the beginning, the purpose of the agreement was to oppress and subjugate the people of Barotseland who at that time had legal rights to be alone as an independent state.
Kaunda must be made to realise that the BA'64 doesn't exist.