Rulers of Mbundaland

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The following is a complete list of rulers of the Mbunda Kingdom, established at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers in the now Democratic Republic of the Congo in the fifteenth century.[1]

Mbunda Kingdom monarch symbol on the Mbunda monarch flag

In the early 17th century, it was re-established in Mbundaland, a state southeast of the present day Angola covering Moxico and Cuando Cubango Provinces. During much of this time it was a sovereign kingdom, ruled by native kings and queens.

In 1914, King Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova led the Mbunda people in resisting Portuguese colonialism, which led to his abduction and a bitter war that eventually resulted in Angolan sovereignty over Mbundaland.[2]

Early monarchs[edit]

Reign start
Reign end
1. King Mwene Nkuungu
His Palace was in Kola ? ? The first Mbunda Monarch, reigned in KOLA now Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namampongwe Palace. He had one known child: 1). Princess Vamunamwene Naama
2. Queen Vamwene Naama
? ? Decreed that during the Queen's menstruation period or should a Queen marry, instruments of power should be handed over to a brother. She had four children:

1). Prince Munamwene Nkonde,

2). Prince Munamwene Chinguli,

3). Princess Vamunamwene Yamvu,

4). Princess Vamunamwene Lukokesha Mema Kafu Mbwita
3. Queen Vamwene Yamvu
Her Palace was at Namampongwe, within the vicinity of Lubaland and the Lundaland. ? ? Her adoption to succeed to the Mbunda monarch throne was in recognition of the ordeal women experience during the time of giving birth. It was further decreed that if a female monarch was crowned, she should not get married. If she did get married then she should surrender her royal bracelet to her immediate brother. However, she later married a Luban hunter, who imposed himself on the Mbunda monarch throne. That made her brother Prince Munamwene Nkonde to become so incensed with her conduct that he led most of the Mbunda in frustration anger from Namampongwe and to re-establish the Mbunda Kingdom at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers. According to the Mbunda custom of the time Queen Vamwene Yamvu should not have married. In the case where she did marry she should have surrendered the rulership to her brother Prince Munamwene Nkonde. Instead she surrendered the rulership to her Luban husband. It was from that split that the Luunda and Mbunda Kingdoms develop. The children of Prince Munamwene Nkonde with Queen Vamwene Yamvu descended to form the Luunda Kingdom of Mwantiyavwa. From Prince Munamwene Nkonde and his children with Princess Vamunamwene Lukokesha developed the Mbunda Kingdom,.[3] She had three children with her brother Prince Munamwene Nkonde:

1). Prince Munamwene Katongo,

2). Prince Munamwene Chiti,

3). Prince Munamwene Nkole.

Re-Established Mbunda Kingdom monarchs at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai Rivers[edit]

Reign start
Reign end
4. King Mwene Nkonde
c. 1500s, and his Palace was at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers c. 1500s c. 1500s He led the Mbunda in frustration from Namampongwe and re-established the Mbunda Kingdom at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers. He had five children with his sister Princess Vamwene Lukokesha Mema Kafu Mbwita:

1). Prince Chinguli,

2). Prince Chimbangala,

3). Prince Yambayamba,

4). Prince Nkonde,

5). Prince Chombe.
5. King Mwene Chinguli cha Nkonde
c. 1500s, and his Palace was at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers c. 1500s c. 1500s He was installed while the father King Mwene Nkonde was still on the throne. This is the only time the Mbunda had two Monarchs at one given time. Due to bad climatic hardships in Kwilu Kasai, his father sent him with a number of his people on an expedition to search for better land for settlement. He led those Mbunda in a first and more central/south route entry into the present day Angola, which took him all the way beyond the Cuando River. This route left a trail of Mbunda descendant groups, who were later called: The Chimbandi, Ngonjelo, Luimbi, Humbi, and Nyemba. He never returned to Kwilu Kasai to report his findings. He had three children:

1). Princess Mbaao,

2). Prince Nkonde,

3). Prince Luputa
6. QueenVamwene Mbaao ya Chinguli
c. 1500s, and his Palace was at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers c. 1500s Early c. 1600s After the death of King Mwene Nkonde and in the absence of King Mwene Chinguli, who never returned from the better settlement land expedition, Queen Vamwene Mbaao ya Nkonde succeeded the Mbunda monarch. She had five children:

1). Princess Vamunamwene Kaamba,

2). Princess Vamunamwene Mbayi,

3). Prince Munamwene Kwandu,

4). Prince Munamwene Chondela,

5). Prince Munamwene Lilu.

The Mbunda Kingdom established in south-eastern Angola[edit]

Reign start
Reign end
7. Queen Vamwene Kaamba ka Mbaao
Her Palace was at Mithimoyi[where?] c. 1600s ? She migrated a great number of the Mbunda from their settlement at the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers in the now Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the 17th Century. She later dispatched another group of the Mbunda to scout for more settlement land. That group of the Mbunda settled in Luchathzi river south of Luena, who were later called the Luchazi after that river. She had five children:

1). Prince Munamwene Chingwanja,

2). Prince Munamwene Mulondola,

3). Prince Munamwene Ndongo,

4). Princess Vamunamwene Muyeji,

5. Princess Vamunamwene Katheketheke.
8. King Mwene Chingwanja cha Kaamba
His Palace was at Mithimoyi ? ? He had eight children:

1). Prince Munamwene Lweembe,

2). Prince Munamwene Nkonde,

3). Prince Munamwene Nkombwe,

4). Prince Munamwene Ndongo,

5). Prince Munamwene Mwiinga,

6). Prince Munamwene Kamenga,

7). Princess Vamunamwene Vipalo,

8). Prince Munamwene Luputa.
9. King Mwene Lweembe lwa Chingwanja
His Palace was at Mithimoyi ? ? He decreed that Luena and Mithimoyi form Mbundaland. He consolidated that decree by sending Princes to settle in localities of rivers such as Lunguevungu River, Luxe, Mwangayi, Kembo, and the tributaries of Luena River such as Luthivi, Kanathi, Ndala and Luantamba. He had five children:

1). Prince Katete,

2). Prince Mununga,

3). Prince Kathangila,

4). Prince Chondela,

5). Princess Mukenge
10. King Mwene Katete ka Lweembe
His Palace was at Mithimoyi ? ? He commissioned Prime Consort Mukwetunga Kamenga to hunt down elephants who caused havock in Mbundaland. In pursuit of an elephant that escaped with the King's special spear, stuck in its rib side towards Lubaland, Prime Consort Mukwetunga Kamenga strayed onto a Mukanda Circumcision camp for the Mbwela people, near the present day Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo border in Lubaland. This led to him getting circumcised and introduced the Mukanda circumcision ritual to the Mbunda upon his return. He had no children
11. Queen Vamwene Mukenge wa Lweembe, Livindamo
  • Livindamo. Since she delayed in having children, her rulership was nicknamed Livindamo which mearnt the place of ill fortune or hard luck.
Her Palace was at Mithimoyi ? ? She was the wife of Prince Consort Mukwetunga Kamenga who was sent in pursuit of the elephants. When Prince Consort Mukwetunga Kamenga returned with the Mukanda circumcision ritual, he found King Mwene Katete who sent him had died and his wife had succeeded him. Queen Vamwene Mukenge, Livindamo was the last female Mbunda monarch. That was as a result of the circumcision ritual adoption meant for men only, which led to female rulership being subordinated to male political authority. This change meant that only male royalty could be enthroned as sovereign rulers or monarchs of the Mbunda Kingdom. Female royalty could henceforth never again assume the Mbunda monarch. Eventually she had five children:

1). Prince Munamwene Kathangila,

2). Princess Vamunamwene Naama,

3). Princess Vamunamwene Chioola,

4). Princess Vamunamwene Muulo,

5). Princess Vamunamwene Mununga.

Mbunda Monarchs expand territory to cover Moxico and Cuando Cubango[edit]

Reign start
Reign end
12. King Mwene Kathangila ka Mukenge
His Palace was at Mithimoyi ? ? He split the Mbunda as he followed the expedition route of King Mwene Chinguli cha Nkonde in the 16th Century. He traveled all the way up to Kweve River[clarification needed], the tributary of Kwitu River where he finally settled with the Mbunda group he traveled with. These eventually developed Mbunda dialects of Nkangala, Yauma, Ndundu and Maxaka,.[4][5] He had five children:

1). Prince Munamwene Yambayamba Kapanda,

2). Prince Munamwene Chingumbe,

3). Princess Vamunamwene Mpande,

4). Princess Vamunamwene Kamana,

5). Princess Vamunamwene Muulo.
13. King Mwene Yambayamba Kapanda
His Palace was called Chimpaka cha Livambi at the confluence of Lunguevungu River and Luyo rivers ? ? He was the first nephew to succeed to the Mbunda monarch after a decree to abandon sons of Kings ascending to the throne. The wisdom behind that is that a woman's child is hers without doubt. In consolidating the Mbunda new found lands of settlement and strengthen Mbundaland, He followed King Kathangila expedition route, travelling all the way to Kunte river, Kandthzelendthzendthze, source of Lunguevungu River, Cuando River and Kwitu rivers. He found the Humbi, the Luimbi and the Ngonjelo in a war, fighting the Nyemba and the Chimbandi. The King and his people helped the provocked and chased the provokers along the Kwitu river source. He left Nobleman Mwata Chuma and his people to settle along Kunte river, to safeguard Mbundaland. King Yambayamba Kapanda was a warrior king who conguered many lands all the way south to the boundary with Chivanda (Namibia) and settled his people in all those areas to secure Mbundaland. As most of the Mbunda migrated south from the Luena regions of Mithimoyi, those that remained eventually developed a Mbunda dialect called Sango,[6][7] because of mixing and iner-marriage with the Chinyama Lundas who were later called the Luvale, who arrived had in the area long after the Mbunda had migrated south. He had five children:

1). Princess Vamunamwene Mukombe,

2). Princess Vamunamwene Xwaka,

3). Prince Munamwene Muyakata,

4). Prince Munamwene Chikungwe,

5). Prince Munamwene Nambwa.
14. King Mwene Chingumbe
His Palace was called Lilembalemba along Lukonya river 1700s 1700s He attempted to reverse the decree of only nephews ascending to the Mbunda monarch by decreeing that his son succeeds him after his death . He had five children:

1). Prince Munamwene Nkombwe Kapamuka,

2). Prince Munamwene Yembe Katete,

3). Prince Munamwene Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele,

4). Princess Vamunamwene Kakuhu,

5). Prince Munamwene Mpili.
15. King Mwene Chitengi Chingumbe Chiyengele
  • Chiyengele. This meant "the great elephant hunter"
His Palace was briefly along Lukonya river 1795 1795 He succeeded his father King Chingumbe upon the deceased's decree, but because of the earlier decree of nephew successors only, the Mbunda scheemed to remove him. In frustration he migrated to Barotseland in the now Zambia in 1795 with a group of his Mbunda followers and settled in Mongu. He was received by the Aluyi King Mulambwa and made a ten point friendship treaty. These were later called the Chiyengele group or Mbunda Xamuka.[8] The exact number of children not clearly recorded except for one: 1). Prince Munamwene Ngulungu.
16. King Mwene Ngonga I Chiteta
  • Chiteta meaning "the beheader"
His Palace was along Lukonya river 1795 ? He was known for his cruelity of beheading wrong doers at his palace. That cruelity caused a number of the Mbunda to relocate to a region called Mbalango, who eventually developed a Mbunda dialect called Mbalango,.[9][10] He had four children:

1). Prince Munamwene Kathaka,

2). Prince Munamwene Lyangongama,

3). Prince Munamwene Vunonge,

4). Prince Munamwene Liwanika.
17. King Mwene Nyumbu Luputa lwa Mpande
His Palace was along Luvweyi river 1800s 1800s He posted chiefs and noblemen (vimyata) to all the border areas of Mbundaland and along all the main rivers. His people made enough weapons; bows and arrows, spears, shields and the hand-to-hand fighting axes (vukama). Guns were bought or confiscated from the Vimbali or Ovimbundu who were the main source of guns and kept in the Mwene's vithala (armouries). The aim was to protect Mbundaland against external aggression. It was rumored that the Chokwe, the Luvale and the Vimbali or Ovimbundu slave traders might invade the country in search of slaves and even land to settle. There was calm in Mbundaland during his reign. His rule was epitomised by expanded trade, which next to adequate food production and defensive capability, became another important sphere of activity in the Mbunda state. ?
18. King Mwene Ngonga II Linjengele Kawewe
His Palace was along Luanginga river 1800s 1800s It was during his reign that a trade pact was made with Vimbali or Ovimbundu chieftain and trade expedition leader appointed by the Portuguese, and remembered as Sova Kapitango, presented various gifts like guns, gunpowder, cloth and, one gift which engendered enormous curiosity, the gift of pigs. That was the first introduction of pigs in Mbundaland. ?
19. King Mwene Katavola I Mwechela
His Palace was along Luvweyi river 1800s 1800s In consultation with his inner circle of advisors, he promulgated a royal decree which forbade intermarriages with other nationalities. These royal edicts, affected a large percentage of the populace, especially the nobility and royals, who apparently felt oppressed and out-manoeuvred by their monarch, with such an uncompromising attitude. In the disaffection that ensued, the abolitionist cabal, clandestinely plotted against and finally assassinated Mwene Katavola I Mwechela during a hunting expedition. The conspirators in the royal entourage did not wish to publicly disclose what precisely had brought about the death of their ruler. They conspired to give a fabricated version claiming that their monarch had been killed and eaten by a ferocious lion whilst he was relieving himself at night. ?
20. King Mwene Katavola II Muthangu
His Palace was located in the valley of the Kovongo river. 1800s 1800s He contravened the royal decree of his predecessor by his passion for a Chokwe slave beauty named Nyakoma, who was owned by the Chokwe Chief called Mwa Mushilinjinji whom he allocated land to settle at the Luwe, a tributary of the Nengu river. Chief Mushilinjinji diplomatically could not accept Mwene Katavola II Musangu's marriage proposal because it was a universal taboo for a royal personage like the king to marry a slave, no matter how attracted he was to her because the offspring of such a marriage could never qualify as royals. That resulted in his declaration of war against the Chokwe people and chase them out of the Mbunda country. He was killed within a few days after the Mbunda-Chokwe battle, having been ambushed and killed by the Chokwe guards who then ran away, all the way back to their original homeland in the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. ?
21. King Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova
  • Kathzima Mishambo
His Palace was called Kalyamba located in the valley of Lunjweva and Lwati rivers. 1800s 1914 He became a key monarch resisting against Portuguese occupation of Moxico, which resulted in large-scale abductions by the Portuguese of many of those resisting their occupation.[11] He waged a systematic war of vengeance against the Chokwe for his nephew's death. It is as a result of those battles, that the lasting relationship between the Mbunda and the Chokwe developed. He also led the Mbunda in their armed confrontation with the Luvale who were anxious to break the military power and independence of the Mbunda state and wanted to capture slaves for sale. The two opposing military forces engaged each other in armed combat in the Lunjweva area where he shot and killed Masambo, the leader of the invading Luvale forces. With the elimination of Masambo, the invaders were put to rout and forced to beat a hasty and disorderly retreat back to their homeland. In recognition of his capability in quelling threats against the Mbunda he was affectionately given the sobriquet: Kathzima Mishambo which means the "extinguisher of flames." The Mbunda nation remained unconquered and in a state of full military preparedness during his reign. He maintained trade links with the Portuguese merchants in the hinterland of the Bié Plateau and on the Atlantic coastline through their long time agents the Ovimbundu traders. This trade was later disrupted by the Portuguese war of occupation in 1917, which brought the country of the Mbunda within the borders of Angola, when in 1914 he refused to be summoned by the Portuguese Governor who demanded an audience with the Monarch, instead counter demanded for the commander to make it clear to the Governor that, as he was the sovereign ruler of the Mbunda country, he had the right to counter-demand that the governor should instead travel to the Mbunda country since he was the one who wished to have an audience with him. That led to his abduction by the Portuguese colonialists. He had following childrem:

1) Prince Mumbamba Lyondthzi

2) Prince Limbwambwa Kalyangu Lyondthzi

3) Prince Kalimbwe Lyondthzi

4) Prince Kameya Muyeji Lyondthzi
[[File: |80px|alt=]]
22. King Mwene Mbandu II Kathzungo Xaanda
His Palace was called Kalyamba located in the valley of Lunjweva and Lwati rivers. 1914 1974 A nephew of the kidnapped King Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova who was quickly recognized as Sova, (the name the Portuguese gave to the chiefs they recognized) of the entire Mbunda nation by the victorious Portuguese colonists. He reigned as the twenty-second Mbunda King even though his own people did not enthrone him in accordance with the established, traditional royal ritual. Meanwhile the colonists rewarded him with colonial uniforms and the privilege to be carried about in a hammock like some colonial administrator. This was against traditional privilege which entitled Mbunda monarchs and chiefs to be carried about on the backs of ox bulls which were adorned with ringing bells. He is remembered for travelling to Silva Porto Biê which is called Kwito today, in 1948 to meet Governor Hortrêncio de Sousa, to request for a school to be built in Mbundaland. The meeting was facilitated by Lovato Faria the Administrtor of Lumbala Nguimbo and João de Nascimento Rodrigues of Vila Luso, which is today called Luena. When the Angolan War of Independence (1961–1974), started, he committed himself and his people to work with MPLA to fight the Portuguese and liberate Angola and Mbundaland. He became the leader of sector I, Zone C of MPLA. In 1972 during the heat of armed liberation war against Portuguese colonialism the King gave room to the armed struggle and migrated to Zambia where he died in exile, late in 1974, in the Kalabo District. King Mwene Kazungo Xaanda's grave is in the Lyondondo village of Kaole area. ? [[File: |80px|alt=]]
23. King Mwene Mbandu III Mbandu Lifuti
His Palace is called Kaamba ka Mbaao located in Lumbala Nguimbo, Moxico Province. 16 August 2008 Reigning by the year 2013 On 16 August 2008, the Mbunda Kingdom which was dislodged in 1920 after the Mbunda resistance to Portuguese colonial occupation, when the Portuguese colonialists abducted the twenty first (21st) Mbunda Monarch, King Mwene Mbandu I Lyondthzi Kapova (Kathzima Mishambo) [12] and eventually extending Angola territory over Mbundaland was restored, with the enthronement of the twenty third (23rd) Mbunda Monarch, King Mwene Mbandu III Mbandu Lifuti. The ceremony took place in Lumbala Nguimbo, Moxico Province and officiated by Deputy Minister of Territory, Garciano Domingos Sunday, Governor of Moxico Province, João Ernesto dos Santos "Liberdade" and Angolan Ambassador acredited to Zambia, Mr. Pedro Neto. Also in attendance were Chiefs Chiyengele and Kandala, two of the three Chieftainships which migrated from Mbundaland to Barotseland of the now Zambia at the end of the 18th century. ? [[File:
Mbunda 23rd Monarch His Majesty, King Mwene Mbandu III Mbandu Lifuti at His coronation and restoration of The Mbunda Kingdom in 2008.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Almanac of African Peoples & Nations page 523, Social Science By Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan, Transaction Publishers, Putgers - The State University, New Jersey, ISBN 1-56000-433-9
  2. ^ René Pélissier: Les Guerres grises: Résistance et revoltes en Angola (1845-1941), Montamets/Orgeval: Éditions Pélissier, 1977
  3. ^ Almanac of African Peoples & Nations page 523, Social Science By Muḥammad Zuhdī Yakan, Transaction Publishers, Putgers - The State University, New Jersey, ISBN 1-56000-433-9
  4. ^ Not to be confused with the Ngangela language
  5. ^, citing Maniacky 1997
  6. ^ Not to be confused with the Ngangela language
  7. ^, citing Maniacky 1997
  8. ^, citing Maniacky 1997
  9. ^ Not to be confused with the Ngangela language
  10. ^, citing Maniacky 1997
  11. ^ René Pélissier, Les Guerres Grises: Résistance et revoltes en Angola (1845–1941), Montamets(Orgeval: Éditions Pélisier, 1977
  12. ^ René Pélissier, La révolte des Bunda (1916-1917), pp. 408 - 412 (French for "the Mbunda revolt"), section footnotes citing sources: Luís Figueira, Princesa Negra: O preço da civilização em África, Coimbra Edição do autor, 1932.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 14°06′44″S 21°26′07″E / 14.11222°S 21.43528°E / -14.11222; 21.43528Category:Populated places in Moxico Province Category:Populated places in Cuando Cubango Province Category:Municipalities of Angola