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Kabunda, Whose Mother Brought Fire


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(Lamba/Zambia)

Kabunda was a mythic ancestor.

When humans cultivated only millet and were still ignorant of fire, the men of the Goat clan found a woman who had become lost—her name was Kinelungu or Konde, and she belonged to the Hair clan. Lwabasununu, chief of the Goat clan, married her. She brought with her the seeds of various cereals and agreed to reveal the secret of fire to her husband on condition that his people abandon patrilineal filiation. She also demanded that on Lwabasununu's death his power be split between two principles: authority, bufumu, would continue to be exercised by men, but sacred power, bulopwe, would be transmitted through women. When the son who sprang from their union, Kabunda, killed the elder son of Lwabasununu, his half brother, all the members of the Goat clan drowned themselves in the Zambezi River with the exception of one woman, Kabilo, from whom all existing members of the clan are descended. Kabunda, now leader of the Lamba, had relations with his sister, who gave him a son. This son combined in his person the two principles of power, bulopwe and bufumu. By the matrilineal rule that prevailed thenceforth, the son was considered the uterine nephew of his father. See also: Chipimpi.

Subjects: Religion.


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