Ila Museum

Posted in: Switzerland

In March 2015 I visited the director of the Museum in Choma, Mrs Bevine Mweene Sangulube (left picture on the left), to show her the photo- albums of the Shimunenga Ceremony, the inauguration of Chief Mukobela and the traditional dancers of the Namwala Secondary School. She was very interested to receive a copy of each and mentioned on that occasion that the museum intends to extend its collection with a contribution on the Ila culture. This sounded very interesting to me since several people have told me recently that they would like a museum of this kind. Moreover, she gave me a video of the Shikaumpa Ceremony made by the National Museum Board Zambia with the request to make a photo-album out of it. The Shikaumpa Ceremony takes place every year in Baambwe, near Namwala, where Chief Mukobela lives.
Four months later, on my way to Namwala, I passed the Choma Museum again in order to give Mrs Sangulube the copies of the photo-albums. Since she had visitors, I found her in the museum restaurant. To my surprise I found that her visitor was the deputy minister for chiefs and tribal affairs of the central government, Mr Jhone Akufuna (left picture in the middle). The handover was immediately turned into a photo session and the books were gratefully accepted.

Mr Jhone Akufuna and Mrs Bevine Mweene Sangulube (left), Chief Mukobela
Again in Namwala I visited Chief Mukobela (right picture) to give him a copy of my documentation of the Shikaumpa Ceremony. He too was very pleased with the booklet, but he also made an important offer. The conservation of the Shikaumpa Ceremony is a vital matter for him and he was prepared to complete the pictures with texts. The following day a thick envolope with his comments was delivered to me.
A month later in Itezhi Tezhi, 6 km from Namwala, I met Jeff Kaande, the brother of Alex Kaande, former teacher at the Namwala Secondary School. Jeff is a former politician and now retired but still very active. Apart from being the owner of a lodge in Itezhi Tezhi he is, amongst other things, promotor of a museum on the Ila culture. This made me sit up and take notice because it was the second initiative I had met within a short time. After some talks it became clear to me that the Ila people do not really appreciate the initiative of the Choma Museum because they feel that it is a monopolization of their culture by the numerically superior Tongas. This contradicts the traditional endeavour for independence of the Ila people. I gave Jeff my documents on the Ila culture and am now waiting to see how things develop.

– Johannes van der Weijden

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