THE Lubinda Ntongo traditional ceremony of the Kaonde-speaking people of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo is not only a celebration of the hunters’ prowess and a good harvest, but of a society’s unity. The ceremony has been celebrated in the Mumena kingdom since 1992, when it was initiated by the late Chief Mumena V, whose real name was Peter Kajoba. Before then, the community always set aside times to celebrate various occasions and seasons. Some of the festivals which over the years have been observed by the Kaonde people include the rite of passage to adulthood, known as kubelula or kisungu; the installation of a new head person, called kusanga or mitanda; and restoring names of the dead, which in local parlance is mitanda. There is also the tasting of a new crop, called kusomona, and celebration of marriage, which is referred to as masongola. Sometimes people would gather food and drinks just to enjoy oneness, as well as to maintain relationships. Some popular references such as ‘bantu baswa mema’ and ‘ba Kaonde nekipale kyabo kibawamina’ attest to the solid relationships and humour shared by the Kaonde people, whose clans are defined by totems such as ba lembu (bees), ba longa (river/water), ba tembuzhi (lion), ba yanga (black ants), and ba pumpi, for wild dog. Other totems are ba samba (snakes/serpentine), bena kyowa (mushroom/thunder), bena nge (leopard), bena kasaka (sorghum/grain), bena kyulu (anthill/earth), bena mbuzhi (goats), bena luo (monkeys), bena nzovu (elephants), bena mbwa (dogs), and bena ng’onyi (birds). The Lubinda Ntongo is a unique traditional ceremony which signifies the hunting skills of the Kaonde people. It is time when new crops are also tasted. Some of the highlights of the ceremony are the worship of the creator God and when the king Lion (Chief Mumena) majestically appears in his royal mukundu (long skirt) on the stage to the public to charm the crowd with his tantalising performance with his kutomboka. This is the climax of the event when the headmen and head women also emerge to support him and surprise the audience when they equally mesmerise the audience with their traditional and contemporary manifestation of kutomboka dance punctuated with live music. The manchancha dance performed by women, the display of game by selected hunters, heroic traditional salutation by selected headmen, and the sound of the muzzle loaders, called mututula and shonongo, also form part of the activities at the glamorous occasion. What further makes the ceremony attractive is the involvement of everyone, that is, the men, women, and young people who all have roles to play. During this year’s commemoration, Chief Mumena the 11th blessed the land through God, and declared that there should be no hunger, sickness, and poverty among his subjects. “Let good health prevail, let there be bearing of children, successful marriages, and the preservation of tradition and culture,” the traditional leader said.