Shimunenga is a traditional gathering in Zambia held on the weekend of a full moon in September or October. It is held at Maala on the Kafue Flats about 40km west of Namwala. The Ba-Ila people (whose language is closely related to Tonga) gather together, driving cattle across the Kafue River to higher ground. It used to be a lechwe hunt, but that is now forbidden. The event is accompanied with singing and dancing of traditional music.

Early in the morning of the first day, people gather at the shrine of Shimunenga, where traditional songs are chanted. There is also a cultural march past of women and girls in traditional attire, after which people are treated to performances by traditional dancers.

On the following morning, the drum is sounded and animals are taken to the river, where cattle are displayed in the traditional manner. The first cattle to cross the river will be those of the custodian of the shrine. This is followed by a demonstration of a mock lion hunt and pelican fishing. The occasion is marked with traditional songs in honour and praise of the Shimunenga ancestral spirits. Celebrations continue in the village with pit-stops for traditional beer at different places. The shimunenga ceremony takes place in the middle October and November.



Shimunenga Ceremony
Profile added by Ano Shumba on 13 Jun 2016