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Queen of the South migrates in spectacle

ELIZABETH CHATUVELA, Nalolo
THOUSANDS of people on Friday turned out at Muoyo, in Nalolo, to witness the Kuomboka ceremony of the Litunga La Mboela, Mbuyu Imwiko of Senanga and Nalolo districts.
Mbuyu Imwiko, who is also known as the Queen of the South, observes the Kuomboka after Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II.
The two ceremonies in Limulunga and Nalolo are similar though the latter is not much publicised.
Mbuyu Imwiko started the procession from her Nalolo summer palace on the west bank around 11:10 hours aboard a royal barge, Mitule, with 70 paddlers, among them Patriotic Front Western Province chairperson Charles Mututwa.
The Litungu migrates in the bigger royal barge, the Nalikwanda, highlighted by an effigy of an elephant.
The Mitule, like the Nalikwanda, also has white and black stripes, but has a symbol of a cow, representing a mother who feeds and takes care of the offspring.
The seven-hour voyage from Nalolo palace to Muoyo palace was never short of entertainment as the paddlers danced to the traditional music amid drumming of the maoma drums, which are also used in the Limulunga ceremony.
Along with the Mitule were other boats that carried the princesses and her subjects as two spy boats, Natamekwa and Mundende, led the way.
The royal barge which passed some villages, was greeted by ululating women who gathered at strategic points while showing their excitement for being part of the ceremony.
From the jubilation exhibited by both the young and old, it was evident enough that the people in the plains missed the ceremony, which has not taken place in the last three years.
The celebrations got even more exciting as the entourage made a brief  stop at Liunduluti, where the majority of the women in the plains had gathered to catch a glimpse of the royal badge.
The women, who were seen paddling their way to Liunduluti, an island, with their children, excitedly danced to the beat of the drums before paying homage to Mbuyu Imwiko by kneeling and clapping their hands.
After meeting the excited women, the queen and her entourage  proceeded to Namandi Island for a brief rest, which lasted close  to 20 minutes, before setting off again for what was to be the climax of the ceremony.
Like in the Limulunga ceremony, the two spy boats made their way to the Liwabelelo harbour before the royal barge came through.
The two boats, which were received by loud cheers, then headed back and later returned with the Mitule, which feigned docking three times before it finally docked at exactly 17:35 hours.
Excitement heightened further as the Queen emerged from the royal badge, donning a purple musisi, and was received by Western Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu, who donned an immaculate siziba.
The two later walked majestically side by side to the Muoyo palace grounds where they were treated to dances among them a victory dance by the paddlers.
Mbuyu Imwiko was later ushered to the palace and was expected to make a public appearance yesterday at the palace grounds to join in the celebrations that included traditional dances and music by several dance troupes.
Mbuyu Imwiko is 17th Litunga and ascended to the thrown in 2010.
She succeeded Makwibi Mwanawina, who ruled from 1958-2010.

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