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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:History on the Luapula Retold: Landscape, Memory and Identity in the Kazembe Kingdom
Author:Gordon, David M.ISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Zambia
Kazembe polity
oral traditions
ethnic identity
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4100563
Abstract:This article examines memorial traditions and social identities in the Luapula Valley during the nineteenth century. In 'History on the Luapula' (1952), Ian Cunnison argued that most histories in the Luapula Valley were 'personal' renditions (or memories) except for the 'impersonal' and general history of the Kazembe Kingdom. This article details how the impersonal history of the Kazembe Kingdom arose through an examination of the construction of the eastern Lunda version of the past. It considers how eastern Lunda titleholders imbued natural features and shrines with the ancestral identities of the Kazembe lineage. They invented tradition and constructed sites of memory that helped to generate a widely accepted and impersonal oral tradition, which was based on the compilation of several lineage histories. Out of this process emerged a history of the Luapula Valley, that told of the conquering Lunda and the vanquished Shila. The formulation and commemoration of this history sustained two Luapulan identities, a 'Lunda' migrant identity and a 'Shila' autochthonous identity, both of which proved to be solid foundations for the creation of 'tribes' in the colonial period. Notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]