BEMBA TRIBE AND SOCIAL SECURITY
This article was compiled by Jodi Phillips April 2014, for the Institute of Black Academics
concerning Black Under achievement.
PUBLISHED 09 APRIL 2013 05:26
The Bemba tribe live in the northeastern part of Zambia, near Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They comprise about eighteen different groups, all speaking a common Bemba language. They are primarily agricultural, mainly growing finger millet in a typical savanna landscape of bush, scrub and low trees. They have few cattle, being in the tsetse fly belt.
It is estimated that there are about 3.1 million people in the Bemba tribe or who speak the language, and they comprise around one third of the population of Zambia.
As with many African tribes, the history of the Bemba tribe has been maintained through oral tradition. Until recently very little of it has been written down, and it has been passed from generation to generation through word of mouth. They maintain a traditional story about their origins as a people, which is sometimes referred to as the Bemba Charter Myth.
This story tells that long ago, in the land of Kola, both Black people and White people lived together. There was an argument between the two peoples and the White people left for Europe, where they became rich. The Black people stayed under the leadership of their chief Mukulumpe Mubemba, and tribe's name is taken from the end of his name.
A queen of heaven. Mumbi Mukasa Liulu fell from the sky, and bore sons to Mubemba. There were more arguments, this time within the royal family, and the sons left with a band of loyal followers. They travelled for a long time and eventually settled in the area where the tribe still lives today. Historically this migration probably occurred in the mid-seventeenth century, which is when peoples moved from southern Africa and the Congo into what is now northern Zambia.
They established a centralised form of government with a senior chief named Chitimukulu or 'The Great Tree', and this form of government continues until today, with the Chitimukulu being an powerful and inherited position, which, in accordance with Bemba traditions follows the matriarchal, or mother's, line. Historical research suggests that this Bemba kingdom was established in the late eighteenth century.
Early European travellers considered the Bemba to be a fearsome, warlike people, and they certainly engaged with battles with other tribes from time to time. In 1856 they fought, and were defeated by, the Ngoni who were migrating from the south. However, this only resulted in the loss of some land and they remained an independent people.
The British colonised Zambia in the early 1890's and called it Northern Rhodesia. The nation of Zambia was formed in 1964.
[Source : humanities360.com]