The dates of many Zambian festivals are unreliable, making attendance difficult for international visitors. However, there are a few exceptions which MTT can arrange for you.
The Nc’wala festival of the Ngoni people of Eastern Zambia is held the last week of February. The Ngoni trace their origins to the Zulu people of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Nc’wala ceremony honours ancestral spirits and commemorates Ngoni victories in tribal wars which took place during their migration north.
The Kulamba festival of the Chewa people of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, is held the last weekend of August. The Chewa chiefs from three countries converge on the festival grounds where the Chewa King emerges from self-imposed seclusion during which he has meditated and communed with Chewa ancestors. The chiefs pay homage to their King through gifts, music, and the famous Nyau dancers.
The Likumbi Lya Mize festival of the Luvale people of Northern Zambia is held over several days in late August, culminating on the last Saturday of August.
The Luvale are thought to have originated in Sudan, migrating south to Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo before settling in Angola and Northern Zambia. Their festival, which honours this rich cultural heritage, was first held in Zambia’s Zambezi District in 1956 and is considered to be among Zambia’s oldest ceremonies. Today, the Likumbi Lya Mize is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage event because of its unique, masked dancers known as Makishi.