Letters From A Retired Miner – Part 2

The Day I Followed Namukolo Home

These days I don't get people ask me why I married a Lozi woman because it is very common for a Bemba man to marry a Lozi or a Tumbuka. Children are called Kasonde Njovu, Simasiku Chanda, or Inonge Foloko.  When I married my wife my friends and my family asked me a lot: "Why?"

When I left my village, I did not know that one day I will marry a woman from another tribe. We have beautiful women in our village.

When I was working in NCCM (Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines) I got a house in Section A, Wusakile. Every weekend we attended traditional dance practice outside Lido bioscope, near the Wusakile stream. I was a member of the Kalela traditional dance group. We had very skilled drummers and dancers from the village. Now they were working in the mines. Many tribes practiced dances from their own village – Ngoni, Lozi, Chokwe, Kaonde, Luvale, Lamba and many more. Sometimes we had dancing competitions with groups from Mufulira, Luanshya, Chingola and Chililabombwe. There was a very good group from Chibuluma mine that won the competition two years.

One day we went for a competition in Chamboli township. That is when I saw Namukolo, my future wife, for the first time. She was not dancing but when she walked, I was thinking she was walking on the catwalk. I think these lovely Lozi women practice the catwalk when they walk in the sand in their village! She was tall and dark. Very slim. She was wearing a long chitenge dress and red beret. She was wearing 10 ivory bangles on each arm. Around her neck she was wearing a long ivory necklace with decorations of Mukwa wood. She was so beautiful that I wanted to become a Lozi man. Even now, when I close my eyes I can see her in the hot sun on that day.

When I saw Namukolo I was standing next to Nsofwa, my friend. Later he told me that I squeezed his arm so hard that he nearly cried.

I whispered to him "Did you see her?" I think he was thinking I had gone mad. He pushed me and said"What are you talking about? Let go of my arm!"

I just pointed at Namukolo because I did not know what else to say.

He said to me "These are Lozis."

You see, those days it was not very common for a Bemba man to marry a Lozi woman. Most of my friends were saving money to go and pay lobola (dowry) when they went back to the village. Nsofwa, my best friend was preparing to marry his cousin who lived near our village. Also most Lozi people did not like us Bembas. We also heard stories that if you wanted to marry a Lozi woman you had to pay a lot of cows.

For me, I just wanted to find out where this angel lived. I persuaded Nsofwa to escort me and we followed her all the way to her home in Buchi township. We pretended that we had come on the same truck that brought the group from there. We jumped into the back of the truck and sat near the tail gate. The men and women were busy singing and talking in Lozi. When we got there we jumped off and then we started following at a distance.

Namukolo was walking with two older women and she was holding the hand of a young girl. I was thinking may be she is married and this is her child.

I wanted to find out.


Did you miss the first letter from Shi Bwembya? Read it here: My Retirement. 


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