African-Americans retrace painful ancestral journey into slavery as Kalabo residents console them with regatta

15 August 2019
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As the African-American Homecoming team emotionally retraced their ancestors' painful journey through the Lwanginga River basin, hundreds of their brothers and sisters in Kalabo were on hand to walk with them and later console them with a regatta on the Lwanginga.

The visit to Kalabo happened on Tuesday, 13th August 2019, to help the African-American Homecoming team retrace some of the routes that their enslaved ancestors may have passed as they were taken away into American slavery centuries ago during the transatlantic slave trade.

Their activities for the day ended with an emotional visit to the Kaasa ka ma Mbali at Namaloko village in the Barotse plains.

And Barotse social media, BBN, reports that the team was officially welcomed by Kalabo District Commissioner (DC), Fridah Luhila, and her Sikongo District counterpart, Bright Tombi, at the Kalabo District Administration office.

The Homecoming team later paid a courtesy call on acting Muleta, who is the most senior Induna and representative of Her Royal Highness, Mulena Mukwae Mboajikana of Libonda Royal Palace, after which they proceeded to the Kalabo harbour at the banks of the Lwanginga River where the local Homecoming organizing committee had set up a regatta (canoeing competition) for their entertainment.

The African-American team then participated in the presentation of awards to the deserving winners of the regatta.

Meanwhile, Eric Anthony Mubita Sheppard, the President and Founder of Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS), thanked the people of Barotseland for their good gesture and for receiving them.

In his brief speech, Mr Sheppard said he was happy to stand on the sandy banks of the river which his ancestors passed 400 years ago when they were being taken to America as slaves.

He said he and his colleagues would work and ensure that knowledge and wealth they have accumulated in America is brought back to develop their motherland as a way of honouring their great ancestors, BBN has further reported.

Later in the day, the Homecoming team made an emotive return to the sad and painful experiences of their ancestors when they went to the Kaasa ka Ma Mbali which is found at Naloko village in the Barotse plains.

At Naloko village, the Homecoming team was welcomed by the Ñomboti, the royal custodians of the village, through a procession traditionally known as 'Kushea'.

In the ritual, the chief custodian offers a customary prayer asking their ancestor, King Mulambwa, to receive and bless his African American children whose parents were sold into slavery 400 years ago during the horrid slave trade which he abolished in the late 18th century.

At the same village, a renowned Barotse historian, Inengu Ananyatele, gave a brief historical significance of the village and the brief history behind the late King’s name, Mulambwa, and how he abolished the slave trade.

Kaasa ka ma Mbali is the lake at which the Arab slave traders would rest before they proceeded with their slaves to the west coast port of what is now called Lobito in Angola, where the slaves would be transported to America across the Atlantic ocean.

For that reason, it came to be called Kaasa ka ma Mbali, the Arabs' lake or resting place.

The Homecoming team have been in Barotseland for a week-long commemoration of the 400th anniversary since the first African slaves arrived in the present-day State of Virginia, who were taken from the west-central African region, including Barotseland, and transported to English Speaking America.

The African-American Homecoming team’s last assignment was a business symposium in Mongu, yesterday, where they interacted and exchanged ideas with their brothers and sisters and Barotse counterparts, on how to establish mutually beneficial and lasting socio-economic ties!

They leave for Lusaka today where they will fly back to Virginia until next time!

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.