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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Procession of Largest Traditional Burial Starts

The traditional burial procession of the late paramount chief of the Bemba people in Zambia started on July 15, 2005. Mutale N’gandu Chitimukulu Chitapankwa II died 12 months ago and as per tradition his body lay in state for the whole one year. After his death (one year ago) the chief’s body was embalmed and then wrapped in a skin of a bull.

A special right time is awaited and chosen for the burial... and that’s now!

Specially chosen pallbearers called ‘ba Shichingo’ carry the chief’s remains using a secret route in the dead of the night. The procession travels only at night to avoid meeting people. It is believed that people met by the procession get ‘killed.’ That's why the pallbearers have special points on the route to rest during the day.

The largest burial procession left the chiefs palace near the town of Kasama and will travel to the royal chiefs’ burial grounds at Mwalule in Chinsala district, over 100 kms away.

As traditional dictates the Bemba people, the largest tribe in Zambia have survived the past one year without a leader. There has been only an acting one as no replacement can be considered until the burial of the late paramount chief, ie one year later!


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