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They are an interesting tribe and part of a Bantu people believed to have made their way from Cameroon to the area around the Upper Zambezi. Renowned as fishermen and peripatetic by nature, the Baluvale or Luvale people settled in northwestern Zambia and are one of the first tribes in Zambia to establish trade links with non-Africans. They can also be found in southeastern Angola where they are referred to as Lwena.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Likumbi Lya Mize: Day of Mize” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:18|text_align:center|color:%23000000|line_height:4″ google_fonts=”font_family:Merriweather%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]From everywhere, the Luvale people gather in Zambezi (formerly Bovale), a town which lies on the east bank of the famous river to celebrate Likumbi Lya Mize or Day of Mize. The 5-day festival takes place in and around Mize, the capital of the royal dynasty. Held in August, the event features the famous Makishi masquerades dancers.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”24648″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_custom_heading text=”Chilende and the Spirit of the Ancestors” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:18|text_align:center|color:%23000000|line_height:4″ google_fonts=”font_family:Merriweather%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]The first of the five days of Likumbi Lya Mize is called Chilende, and it is a celebration for mothers whose sons have undergone the full rites of passage into manhood in the Mukanda. Families, friends and other members of the community join in the celebration. Chilende spills into 3 days with all the elaborate activities. Following the arrival of the chief to the arena, at the beginning of the festival, the Makishi dancers arrive in a single file to greet the chief.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”24649″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Elaborately adorn in colorful costumes representing animals and all sorts of things, Makishi dancers are believed to be the spirits of the dead and they emerge from kuvumbuka in the local graveyard. The previous night, the masks and costumes are taking to the cemetery and the men sleep there to allow the spirit of the dead to possess them.

After greeting the chief, the Makishi begin to dance in the various moves of the different forms they represent. At a point the people join in the frenzy which continues all day as they march away towards the Zambezi. Along the way, different entertainment features like mock wrestling takes place as the crowd watch. The Makishi cross over to the western side in boats and canoes and the dance continues into the night.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”24650″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Day 2 starts slowly in the afternoon after the people have taken a good rest from the previous day – and night activities. They throng to the river and join others on the beach. One of the main highlights of Day 2 is ‘walking’ on water by one of the Makishi identified as Mwana Pwevo (stong woman). The crowd form a spectator ring taking positions on the sandy beach while the Makishi continues to entertain them after crossing back. As evening approaches, they head to the palace where the drumming continues while fires are lit.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”24651″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Day 3 is reserved for the tribes who live away from Mize and it takes place just outside the Royal palace. There is much to eat as the fun and entertainment continues all through the night as usual.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Mize Day” font_container=”tag:h1|font_size:18|text_align:center|color:%23000000|line_height:4″ google_fonts=”font_family:Merriweather%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Day 4 is the Mize Day proper. The senior chief is honored and recognized by the different chiefs from other tribes of the Luvale from different places both in Zambia, Angola and DR Congo. As part of the event of the day, the king of the Makishi known as Kayipu makes his appearance leading of five of the Mukanda initiates who are called Tundaji. People are not allowed to touch Kayipu for fear of death.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”24652″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]The other Makishi follow behind the tundaji as they are led by Kayipu to the center of the arena. All the makishi then stoop while the tundaji are presented. They are giving a wooden knife each with which they kill a chicken and then proceed to dance in celebration of their manhood. Later on, a goat is sacrificed by Kiyapu and the dancing continues. One of the highlights is Mwana Pwevo’s dance between poles…[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”24653″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]A group of young girls who have passed their initiation (Wali) into womanhood also come out to dance. As soon as a girl has her first mensuration periods, she goes for wali and is secluded with other girls in huts known as Nkunka where they undergo the rituals. Gifts are presented to the senior chief and as dusk sets in, the dignitaries take their leave. But the festivities continues.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”24654″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Day 5 marks the departure of the Makishi and the crossing back to the east bank on the way to kuvumbuka.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”24655″ img_size=”600×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]For additional information, visit:

http://www.ezakwantu.com/Gallery%20Luvale%20Likumbi%20Lya%20Mize%20-%20Chilende%20-%20Mize%20Day.htm

http://lusakavoice.com/2013/11/22/likumbi-lya-mize-traditional-ceremony/

http://zambiasafari.blogspot.com/2005/08/likumbi-lya-mize-zambia-safari.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovale_people[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Yes! Likumbi Lya Mize is one spectacular festival that needs to be witnessed. What do you think of a passage of rite festival(With so many in Africa)?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Niyi David

Niyi David

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'Niyi David explores the beautiful and enthralling continent of Africa with Afro Tourism® capturing colorful memories of places, cultures and events in words and images.
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