History of Illa People of Zambia .

History of Illa People of Zambia .

Illa People  also known as Babila People can be found in Zambia , they are related to others part of the Bantu speaking people and their language including their culture some are related to the Tonga and they mainly live in Namwala district , which is the principal towns such as Illa , Itezi - Tehzi and Mumbwa districts spread across the 17 Chiefdoms of Illa .  It is said they live in the east - central Zambia along the bend of Kafue river.

In the heart of their homeland is a rock on which , they say , is the footprint of all creatures including human beings , Illa believed God the Creator dropped man at that spot and from there they started migrating in other directions . 
They grow crops such as coconut , cassava , mushrooms , rice , onions , tomatoes , oranges and other crops , they also raised or keep animals such as chickens , goats , pigs on a small scale , and occasionally cows , though that is usually for tradition and prestige . 
They believed that cows are a sign of wealth and value undergirds   in their tradition  festivals ceremony lasts several days , on the 7th day after the burial , cows are slaughtered also It is believed that more that are killed , the greater value  the death of the person  in the eyes of the community afterward , everyone goes home with enough meat to compensate  for time spent at funerals .  
The Shimunenga cattle drive of Illa people , Shimunenga cattle drive is practiced by Ila people of Zambia in Namwala Southern province , this tradition is practiced in the memory of a warrior .  

According to a folklore  there was a warrior named Shimunenga he was Illa man and he was chased from Busanga by his elder brother known as Moomba he never showed respect to Shimunenga for being a warrior , Shimunenga settled at Kaane and It is said he was refused to have access to the water where his brother had lived , so he run and was chased by Moomba and decided to take his cattle with him to Kafune  and Shimunenga later went to Mbala.

In Mumbwa district to consult a Traditional Priest also referred as native doctor for help through the gods he was strengthened some myths about the native doctor is that he was instructed by native doctor to use his  younger sister for sacrifice and pounded something in a mortar and pestle , his other sister known as Nachilongwe agreed due to the evil attack against her brother during the war as a result.
Shimunenga  was encouraged to fight the war and won the battle later he wanted to shut down , the native doctor known as Munga’nga and he never agreed the native doctor would give his brother medicine so he went to Kafue river and asked the Lubunda People if they could help prepared a big canoe and made a hole was covered with mud .

 While on the river he accompanied a group of men to opened the hole and ensured that the native doctor is died on the river but It is claimed the native doctor disappeared and never returned back again and could not be found anywhere. 
After the war , Shimunenga went to the Chief known as Mungaila and the village headmen for reconciliation , an agreement was made that when he died , the people of Maala should mourn him Shimunenga by bringing a cattle , since then they mourn him and a traditional ceremony is held on the Kafue flats in Namwala district of Southern Province , the ceremony expresses the people's devotion to their divine ancestors .
  The date of the ceremony is set by a headman known as Amos Kande who is the current headman of the Shimunenga the ceremony is held on a weekend of a full moon and when the first rain have fallen , but they were evidently influenced by , and to some intermixed with people  of another section , which , after passing from the north - east through the Congo territory towards the west coast , curled back again towards the centre of the continent in a south - easterly direction and  these statements made on lingusitic grounds .  
According to other accounts on Illa People of Zambia , they are also referred as Babila , Sukulumbwe or Shukulumbwe , they are part of the Bantu speaking people inhabiting an area west of Lusaka the national capital of Zambia . Illa- Tonga cluster of about 12 dialects group such as Koba , Lenje , Tonga , Lozi and others furthermore , Shimunenga cattle drive lasts up for 3 days , it starts on friday , which is a women's day on this day women sing and dance  while men drink their traditional sorghum beer as they watch the cattle drive . 
The men’s day is the second day , on this day women dress in masalu and throw sticks , which symbolize throwing spears  at Shimunenga ‘s brother known as Moomba , women perform a dance the Kukonkobela , making music or pounding sticks beaten on cow yokes , other traditional dances perform on this day include Inkazo and mpango appreciation gifts are given to the dancers during this time , people move to the chief’s palace for speeches and praise songs , this is a time for songs and games . 
The Third day is the day for display of cattle at Nalubwee  Lubwe , cattle drive takes place on fringes of the Kafue plain in headman shiinge’s area and the first herd belongs to the Chief and his family also the second herd belongs to the headman Chaambwe , the guardian of Shimunenga during the ceremony the people always utter the words , cholwe or oil cholwe.  Illa People are considered as a cattle herding ethnic group inhabiting the valley of Kafue river , a northern tributary of the Zambezi , In what is now Present day Zambia . 

In the 19th Century they were referred as Mashukulumbwe or Bashukulompo which is a term used by Barotse and it is considered as an insult to use that term ,  Illa grew some crops , but their lifestyle was based on herding cattle , the floodplain of the Kafue provided excellent pasture , so they were able to raise very large herds more cattle per head than other tribe in the Southern Africa . 

However , they were surrounded by some very formidable tribes including Barotse , Ngoni , Bemba and Matabele who regarded them as a convenient source of cattle , In 1886 not after a Barotse raid had netted a staggering 40, 000 head , the explorer known as Emil Holub claimed the great herds still remained no doubt that Ila were able to hide many of their beasts in the extensive stands of tall grass which covered the plain while the warriors fought delaying actions against Invaders, and they mounted counter raids in which many stolen animals were retrieved during one campaign.
 in 1880s a Bartose army was isolated and wiped out at the battle of Mbecca , a pile of skulls , erected by victorious warriors as a trophy , was to be seen on site for many years afterwards  and Illa produced a variety of spear types , designed for different tasks in hunting , apparently most of the men were unclothed , but hide loincloths and cloth blankets were coming into widespread used by the 19th Century also Tonga , Illa and associated Lenje from the region of Kabwe are grouped together as Bantu Botatwe the three people .   
According to the history of Illa people and origins  their neighbours on all sides belong to the Bantu subdivisions of the Africans , their Ancestors in remote times was believed to moved from Present day Southern Sudan.

Babila belong to the Eastern Bantu and came into their present domain on the crest of a wave of emigration from the north - east , from the country around the Southern end of Lake Tanganyika  , where Bantu found a new motherland development second focus and radius and According to other accounts they are believed to be located in Southern Zambia it is believed a certain number of spirits were created and given bodies at the dawn of manifestation , when the bodies wear out throughout  times , the spirits live on their own sphere of consciousness and have other bodies prepared for them at the appropriate time , Illa elders cited only 2 exceptions for reincarnation and talking of place like Mizhimo , the gods of Illa unfortunate It is a spiritual evolution been interrupted by sorcerers . 

In their Culture during the month of October they celebrate harvest festival and Shimunenga celebrated in September , Shimunenga  is held to show respect to their ancestors by thanking them for abundant of food and providing them good health through the year.
 It takes place once a year and the beginning of the next year , It is held in Maala on the kafue flats three days .  In their Culture they perform dances such as Lao’laxa Ameklu , Inkazo , Mpango , Shikampa , Katazula and other types of traditional  dances.
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