Domestic slaves in bulozi: the transition from slavery to freedom, 1780 - 1925.

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Nyambe, Munyinda
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The University of Zambia
This study examines the transition of domestic slaves in Bulozi to freedom from 1780 to 1925. It reveals that the landscape of the Lozi kingdom supported productive activities such as gardening, fishing, cattle keeping, trading, the construction of houses, canals and mounds, all of which needed labour. Labour was acquired through the importation of human resource in form of slaves and these were mostly acquired through raiding weaker ethnic groups such as the Makalahali, Kalanga, Kwangali, the Nkoya of chief Katusi, and the Ila and Tonga people. However, the study argues that during the reigns of some kings like Sebitwane of the Kololo, some weaker tribes such as the Makalanga offered themselves to the Kololo kings as slaves. The study has demonstrated that the Lozi people also acquired slaves through tribute, and lifunga, a mode of labour recruitment in which Lewanika’s men were sent to villages in secrecy to capture girls and boys as slaves. The study argues that other than the activities of Europeans, traders, missionaries and colonists who came to Bulozi and helped liberate slaves, slaves themselves and their relations employed various initiatives to transition from captivity to freedom. Between 1867 and 1906, slave relations engaged Lozi rulers in discussions asking them to liberate their people from slavery. On the other hand, slaves themselves staged a number of revolts to show disapproval of their status leading to Lewanika issuing a proclamation ‘Abolition of slavery’ in the year 1906, which King Yeta III upheld but repealed the Compensation clause in 1918 in line with the demands of the imperial government. Finally, the 1925 Proclamation abolished all forms of slavery in Bulozi.
Thesis of Master of Arts in History.