I would like to shed light on the genesis of the Nkoya tribal group of Barotseland, in order to disprove the innuendo being peddled that certain tribal extractions are under subjugation of other tribal groupings in Barotseland. This incorrect assumption is being engineered by political stewards who are our brothers and sisters from the group that professes to be of the "Nkoya" extraction which claims not to belong to Lozi nationality. They have argued that Nkoyas are not part of the Barotse-speaking people. According to a Nkoya traditionalist, Robert Litungu.
It is better to explain this issue because the matter is being exaggerated and fuelled by forces outside Barotseland who are Zambian politicians aiming at bringing division among the diversified ethnic groupings of Royal Barotseland Kingdom. It is therefore, proper to discuss this matter honestly in order to remove the unnecessary innuendoes on this argument. To start with, let us examine who the "Nkoya" people are?
It is stated that the "Nkoya" people are descendants of Sioka Nalinanga and that this argument is not carried forward beyond this level.
The fact is that the name "Nkoya" was adulterated from the name Ñoya who was a sister to Mwambwa and both of them being daughters of Noshaa.
On the occasion of the death of their mother while residing along the "Loi" River in the present day Congo DR, the first dispersal took place which saw the moving away of notables like Inyunyi, Mbukushu, Yutoya, Ngambwa, Imanga, Kayawe, Nyimbwamoyo, Mbakala and many, many more. The dispersal was ignited by the desire to change leadership from women to men and that there were problems of disposal of the chattels of the departed leader (their mother Noshaa). Notables, among others, like Isimwaa had resisted the idea to replace the leadership from women to men. Following this episode, the first group went away leaving others including Mwambwa and Ñoya with their children.
After sometime, the group decided to take a similar movement which brought them to the present settlement of "Ului" which was derived from the name "Loi" River in present day Congo DR.
While on the trek, incidentally, they found or stumbled on Yutoya while others had gone in different directions, which were later located. During this time, Mwambwa was the leader who was supported by Ñoya and the other people. Ñoya had daughters by the names of Nalinanga and Nolea who latter had sons by the name of Sioka and Imatakwana who later became famous and got known as Mange.
Sioka, being a nobleman, was given responsibility to look after the royal regalia during the reign of Mwambwa. In the meantime, Ñoya had moved to settle in a land which became known as Ñoya which is sandwiched between Mwito under Induna (chief) Mayankwa in Lukulu district, Luambuwa under Induna (chief) Kabilamwandi in Kaoma district while the other side is in the area of Sikusi under Induna ( chief) Iloke and Luena / Sitoya under Induna (chief) Sibetta in Mungu district respectively.
The land of Ñoya is eulogized by people who truly confess to be members of the Ñoya stock. As to the position of Sioka, true members of the Ñoya stock, will say:-
" Ami Kankoya ka Shihoka Nalinanga, bantu ba tula mikabo baka kulya nshima kuanga. Ba Mununga, ba nungile mpanda mwilu", meaning, “I am a Nkoya of the line of Sioka Nalinanga, one who eats nshima having climbed a tree".
The differences between the Nkoya people and the rest of Barotse tribes does not arise and is a non issue which should not be politicized. The insinuation of this matter is too dangerous to Barotseland and Zambia as a whole. The BRE is more democratic than the Zambian government. The Zambian government is democratic in theory, but for the past 50 years has marginalized and abused power. Kenneth Kaunda Zambia's first president was a semi-dictator under one party participatory democracy, whatever that means?
Before Zambia’s independence in 1964, the people in Barotseland were voting their Legislative council in power, representing their constituencies. The Litunga does not rule by decree or creed. There is no force.
Also note that the Litunga does not speak. This is how decisions are made and not by the Litunga.
There are three chambers in the Kuta, Bana Ba Malena, Commoners and the Indunas. This is how Barotse Royal Establishment is composed of. Also it is good to note that all tribes in Barotseland are in the governance systems of Barotse Royal Authority (BRA) or Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) according to Zambian imposition.
The BRA is not intending to go back to the days of slavery and enslave Nkoyas.
As a matter of fact, Litunga was the first African leader to end slavery. The name Litunga ‘Mulambwa’ signifies people should stop slavery but buy and sell dogs instead. This was way back in 1830. Lewanika upheld anti- slavery tendencies.
To add a bit on the relationship between the Luyis’ and the Nkoyas’, Mankoya/Kaoma had also been invaded and subjected to Makololo rule and was only reclaimed by the Luyi impis who wiped out the Makololos.
Makololos are the ones who imposed Lozi language across Barotseland and Mankoya had equally been headed by the Makololo, just like all other ethnic groupings of Barotseland.
This, therefore, should surely explain the connection between Mankoya and the rest of the people of Barotseland. As explained from the historical narration, the Nkoya people are from the root of Ñoya who was a blood sister to Mwambwa, therefore, the children of them are relatives of the same stock.
Finally, the Nkoya people should not violate historical and ethical codes of professional decency, thereby, being untrue to the History of their genesis in Barotseland by allowing themselves to be used by politicians with historical theory mixed with errors and polluted with political propaganda.
Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu.
By Saleya Kwalombota