Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

Formerly known as Luyi, the Lozi were the dominant ethnic group of Barotse kingdom which occupied the region of present-day Barotse Province of western Zambia. The Lozi live in compact villages with a cattle corral or open plaza in the center. Agricultural staples include bulrush millet, cassava, sorghum, and maize. The Lozi kingdom was highly stratified into royalty at the top, related commoners, and ordinary commoners. The institutions of serfdom and slavery were abolished in 1906.


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Africa --Southern Africa



OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

The Lozi collection consists of twelve documents, eleven in English and one a translation from the German (7: Jensen). Probably the best document to get an overall view of Lozi culture and society is 1: Turner, written by an ethnologist. This work, although compiled from the various writing of Gluckman, Stirke, and Jalla, attempts to touch on the major areas of Lozi ethnography as reflected in the cultural patterns of the affiliated tribes of the Central Barotse Plains.

Lozi political structure is discussed in some detail in 2: Gluckman, written by one of the foremost authorities on the Lozi, and further supplemented by material in 7: Jensen. Jensen also includes information on the traditional history of the Barotse kingdom. 3: Peters, written by an agricultural officer, discusses native agricultural techniques, soils and general land use, and was prepared primarily to generate proposals for more efficient land usage on the Barotse plain. 5: Gluckman also deals with land, but more from the property aspect. He outlines the pattern of distribution of Barotse property to all homesteads, the king's protection of subjects' rights to a piece of land and the forms of tribute and gifts from commoners to royalty.

6: Gluckman is a comparative study (between Lozi and the Zulu of Natal) of the relation of bride-price, presence or lack of agnatic lineage groups, inheritance rules and general stability of marriage and the nuclear household. 4: Gluckman and 8: Gluckman both deal with various aspects of Barotse jurisprudence. 9: Reynolds, written by an ethnologist, presents a compilation of data relevant to Barotse sorcery based on records of investigations and judicial proceedings conducted by British officials in 1956 during a wave of sorcery and witchcraft incidents. 10: Gluckman provides historical and sociological backgrounds to the study of economic behavior among the Lozi. This work is especially useful for the analysis of sociological trends with the introduction of money and the colonial administration. 11: Prins is a comprehensive and reliable account of Lozi society as it existed between the years 1876-1896. This document first identifies the relevant Lozi contextual dimension of time and space, and then differentiates the levels of social organization within the society. This work also contains information on the material components of the society, (e.g., labor, economics, etc.), on the dualistic aspects of cosmology which tend to link royal and public rituals, and on Lozi history and politics, with special emphasis on missionization. 12: HRAF consists in its entirety of a bibliography on the Lozi.

The culture summary and synopsis were prepared by John Beierle in April 1993.

ANATAMBUMU -- a groups of women with the special privilege of going to the king at any given time to present to him various wishes or grievances -- Categories 644, 562

BALIMU -- ancestral spirits -- Category 775

INDUNA -- heads of political sectors -- Category 634

INGANGWANA -- head steward of the king -- Category 644

INYAMAWINA -- a deputy in the office of the NATAMAYO -- Category 645

KU CA KA SILYELA -- Categories 264, 621

KUTA -- a council composed of SIKALO, SAA, and KATENGO -- where legislative function is discussed, Category 646 ; for judicial functions, the 690 Categories are used to the exclusion of Category 646

LIKOMBWA -- stewards of the king -- Category 644

LIKUTA -- politeness, right behavior -- Categories 576, 577

LINABI -- all the male members of the royal family -- Category 644

MAKOLO (pl.), [LIKOLO (sing.)] -- political sectors -- Categories 634, 631; also military service units affiliated with these sectors -- Category 701

MAKWAMBUJU -- the cabinet, consisting of 10-12 members -- Category 645

MISHIKU -- bilateral descent groups; kindreds -- Categories 611, 612

MUNZI -- the village -- Category 621

NATAMOYO -- "the giver of life", a title of a royal prince; a cabinet rank official of the king -- Category 645

NGAMBELA -- the imperial chancellor -- Category 645

NYAMBE (NAMBE) -- the high god of the Lozi -- Category 776

SILALANDA -- a group of closely related villages -- Category 632

SILALO (SIKILITI)-- a district -- Category 634

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