In Barotseland, names are usually given for their significance, and in Mr Sheppard’s case, he has been given the name Mubita probably because he was born in a faraway ‘foreign’ land of America where he was merely a passer-by, his real home being Barotseland, or that he is one on a pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Barotseland!
In siLozi, it literally means a pilgrim, traveller or wanderer, especially one who is a sojourner in or to a far place, while Sibeso means that which excites or brings joy – perhaps for her exuberance and joyful character.
In receiving his new Lozi name, Mr Sheppard expressed joy and gratitude, declaring that he would ensure that he is formally addressed as Eric Anthony Mubita Sheppard henceforth!
Meanwhile, great celebrations have accompanied the team’s visit and activities, with multitudes attending all events so far undertaken by the African-Americans.
On Saturday, there was dancing and great celebrations as His Honour, the Ngambela (Barotseland’s Prime Minister), Mukela Manyando, officiated a historic ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of what will serve as the African headquarters of the Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS) Inc. USA Restoration Center.
The Africa Homecoming Center/Restoration Center will be a one-of-a-kind genealogy, cultural heritage tourism, business and world-class conference facility, where African Americans can reconnect to the Continent and renew lost ties severed as a result of the transatlantic slave trade.
The Restoration Center’s main focus will be tourism, cultural heritage reconnection, business and education, with a DNA testing program, made available to people who had enslaved ancestors who were part of the transatlantic slave trade and a genealogy research center to help people of all ethnic backgrounds to connect with their family heritage.
The detailed aim of the project is to build a facility with rooms for organizations, local and from around the world, to host conferences, conventions, business meetings, trade shows, entertainment, banquets, etc.
Phase 1 of the Center will be the History Gallery, Business Commerce Center/Office Space, Auditorium, Multimedia Conference Center, Educational Wing/Computer Lab and Gift Shop/Food Court, while phases (2 and 3) will consist of multipurpose banquet facility and recreation center.
Here below is an amateur video compilation as sourced from Bulozi London, BBN.
African-Americans arrive home in Mongu Barotseland
African American Homecoming Restoration Center Commissioning