Basimba people

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African historians are interested in the history of their own people. This is very unlike the approach taken by colonial historians and anthropologists who studied African history as a way to understand the colonized people better they did not have a genuine desire to study African history for its own sake. According to them this was unnecessary since they believed that Africans had no history before the European colonizers came into the continent. Their studies of African history concentrated a long the East African Coast which had been in contact with the Chinese, Indians and Arabs among others from across the Indian Ocean.

African societies were described by historians, anthropologists and sociologists alike as static, primitive, indigenous, native or traditional to use some of the common terms applied by such scholars in their studies of African societies.The present studies of African histories are important in the fact that they are based on actual research in the field instead of being based on arm chair conjectural history.

The people that call themselves the Basimba or [1] BaShimba for many and Musimba or MuShimba for singular are Bantu speaking Community who live in Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and DR Congo. Before the 13th Century they did not know themselves as the Basimba, but either their Clan or provinces from which they came.

The name of Basimba (also known as BaShimba) was applied to the whole group by the early Bisa and Ambo as a nickname for the Clan of the leopard (Ngo) Clan people or the bena Ngo as their called in Zambia or the Ngo Clan people as their also called in Uganda. The founder of Buganda, Kato Kintu in the 14th Century was the first Kabaka of the Kingdom of Buganda, in his Immigration to Buganda (by then known as Muwaawa), went with thirteen Clans known in Buganda as (Abalasangeye) among them were the Basimba Leopard (Ngo) Clan people who.,,[2][3][4] It is reported that a Buganda Prince Katerega persecuted these Leopard (Ngo) Clan people killing four hundred of its members and causing others to conceal their identity. Given the pre-eminent role of the Leopard (Ngo) Clan people in the cult of Kintu, these people expected that in the event they were discovered to be briefly related to the Leopard (Ngo) Clan would have far reaching consequences.

Migration and Settlement

Although a little has been said about the Basimba people history, more need to be said because of their very close historical connection with the BaShimba. Most Basimba people claim that their origin lies in Congo. Little is actually known of these immigrants, but traces of their history are found in the legend of the indigenous Basimba or BaShimba clan who claim them as their ancestors.

The Basimba or BaShimba immigrants seem to have come in ethnic groups under the leadership of Mambwe, Mauwe, Katunku, Ngulya, Mwati, Kaabya, Ntembe, Namuyonjo, Kabolesa, Kitembwa and Kooli. When they reached places in Luapula Valley, Zambia, Mwanza Region, Northern Tanzania and Uganda in which they decided to settle the leader became the family or Clan head. As the Basimba or BaShimba settlement grew the original leader, after several generation, became to his descendants as mythical.

Basimba or BaShimba people are recognized to be indigenous peoples, because they were the first comers among the immigrants in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania,[5][6] According to local tradition the original inhabitants were a clan called the Basimba who lived in the area of Busere on the south-east of the island, but it is not known what language they spoke and there are none of their descendants surviving ... and Uganda. Tradition makes no mention of fighting between the Basimba immigrants and the people whom they found in Uhaya in Tanzania and Uganda. The BaShimba immigrants of Zambia and Zimbabwe fought between the people whom they found there.

Original homeland

The original homeland of the ancestors of the Basimba or BaShimba people, like that of their ancestry is shrouded in myths and legends.Whereas they seem to have lost contact with these people and a cluster of Basimba migrated Northwards from Mweru – Luapula to Mwanza Region eventually erected their Human settlement among the Haya people of Tanzania, Buddu in Masaka District, Mpogo in Sironko District and Lupada, Naboa, Budaka District among the Gwere people, in the Eastern parts of Uganda. Some of the Bashimba from Mweru – Luapula also migrated Southwards to Northern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).


The Basimba practice the culture of performing rituals and ceremonies of the Chishimba spirit similar to the,[7] Loa or kongo loa culture practiced by the Basimba people of Haiti who were sold in slavery in Haiti from Congo.

The Basimba people of Uganda maintaining their Basimba Spiritual stone, this stone represents the Chishimba spirit and is related to the institution of kingship. Its absence constitutes the absence of political power. According to Traditional African religions,the Chishimba spirit is synonymous to kingship. Its importance in the institution of kingship. The Chishimba is kept in a specially prepared basket called ichipe ca calo—the basket of the nation or land. It is wrapped with bark cloth and kept in a specifically prepared shrine (ing’anda yaba Ba Chishimba or esawo lye ejjembe lya Basimba) dedicated to the spirit.

The Basimba people Clan names of Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia are named after their lineal ancestors.


Nowadays, between 40% to 50% of the Basimba people are Christians and 50% are Muslim. Besides that, traditional beliefs are very vivid among them. Therefore, some people consider the Christian model split as low as 45%. The most important features are ancestor-worship (the term is called inappropriate by some authors) and totemism.


According to Basimba tradition, after life does happen in another world, it is another form of existence in another world. The Basimba attitude towards dead ancestor is very similar to that towards living parents and grandparents. There is a famous ritual to contact the dead ancestors that is practiced by the Basimba people. It is similar to Loa practiced by the Basimba people of Haiti and often lasts all a night.


Basimba totems (muziro) have been in use among the Basimba people since the initial development of their culture. Totems identify the different clans among the Basimba people that historically made up the dynasties of their ancient civilization. Today, up to 4 different totems can be identified among the Basimba and similar totems exist among other Zimbabwe, Congo, Zambia and Uganda groups, such as the Basimba among the Haya Tribe in Tanzania,.[8] People of the same clan use a common set of totems. Totems are usually animals or birds. Examples of animal totems include Ngo/mbwili (Leopard), Mbwa (Dog), Kikere (Frog) and Nkoko (Rooster). People of the same totem are the descendants of one common ancestor (the founder of that totem) and thus are not allowed to marry or have an intimate relationship. The totems cross regional groupings and therefore provide a wall for development of ethnic group among the Basimba. Basimba chiefs are required to be able to recite the history of their totem group right from the initial founder before they can be sworn in as chiefs.


The totem system is a severe problem for many orphan, especially for Basimba women married to other Clans.The Basimba people are afraid of being punished by ghosts, if they violate rules connected with the unknown totem of a foundling. Therefore, it is very difficult to find adoptive parents for such children. And if the foundlings have grown up, they have problems getting married and on their death they are not buried on the Basimba ancestral grounds.


The identification by totem has very important ramifications at traditional ceremonies such as the Basimba burial ceremony. A person with a different totem cannot initiate burial of the deceased. A person of the same totem, even when coming from a different tribe, can initiate burial of the deceased. For example, a Muganda of the Ngo (Leopard) totem can initiate burial of a Musimba of the Leopard totem and that is perfectly acceptable in Basimba tradition. But a Musimba of a different totem cannot perform the ritual functions required to initiate burial of the deceased.

If a person initiates the burial of a person of a different totem, he runs the risk of being asked to pay a fine to the family of the deceased. Such fines traditionally were paid with cattle or goats but nowadays substantial amounts of money can be asked for. If they bury their dead family members, they would come back at some point to cleanse the stone of the burial.

Basimba Clan groups

The Basimba are those who consider themselves subjects of the Chishimba, the Basimba's single paramount chief. They lived in villages of 50 to 100 people and numbered 100,000 strong in 2016. There are over four Basimba Clan groups named after animals, these are the Leopard, Ngo Clan ,the Frog Clan, the Dog Clan and the Rooster Clan. Some of the Basimba people migrated northwards from Luapula valley after the disintegration of the Shila states and other went South wards to Northern Zimbabwe known as BaShimba of the Ngo (Leopard) Clan. The BaShimba Leopard Clan is a ruling Clan among the Lungu and Bemba.

Countries Basimba People Exist

In Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Haiti and Tanzania[9] For example, the omugurusi of the Basimba clan is Mauwe. On the day of his birth a dog had puppies. The dog of ten washed the child by licking it. Mauwe later, out of gratitude, ordered his descendants to consider the dog as their friend, the word "Basimba" or "BaShimba" actually has several meanings. It may designate people of Basimba origin, regardless of where they live, e.g. whether they live in urban areas or in the original rural Basimba areas of Mpogo, Sironko and Lupada, Naboa all in Budaka District in Uganda, Luapula Valley in Zambia and Busere Island in Eastern parts of Lake Victoria. The original language of these four Basimba people groups is unknown.

The BaShimba people groups existing in Zambia's Northern province, among the Lungu and Bemba tribes speak languages which are most closely related to the Bantu languages the Lungu and ChiBemba (in Zambia and the DRC), Haya (in Tanzania) and Luganda of the Baganda and Lugwere of the Gwere people (in Uganda). In Uganda, Luganda is mainly spoken in the central and eastern parts of Uganda, and has become the most widely spoken language in the country, although not always as a first language.


The history of the Basimba people has given rise to numerous debates amongst historians to whether the Basimba people of the Leopard (Ngo) Clan in Uganda come with Kabaka, Kato Kintu in the 14th century.

Some historiansTemplate:Who have written books about Basimba people but have not stated the names of the Basimba ancestors who left Congo and migrated to places like Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda. Historians have to use imprecise narrative documents to make estimates which must be treated with caution.


Shaping The Society Christianity And Culture: Special Reference to ... Pastor Stephen Kyeyune - 2012 - Religion Kintu Migration: The Abalasangeye dynasty came to power through the conquests of Kabaka Kintu Kato, which are estimated to have occurred sometime ... page 93, 94