Nakonde District

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Nakonde District is a district of Zambia, located in Muchinga Province. The capital lies at Nakonde. As of the 2000 Zambian Census, the district had a population of 75,135 people.[1]

Nakonde District
District location in Zambia
District location in Zambia
Country Zambia
ProvinceMuchinga Province
Population (2000)
 • Total75,135
Time zoneCentral Africa Time (CAT) (UTC+2)

History of the Namwanga people of Nakonde

The Namwanga people of Nakonde are believed to have come from North East Africa together with the Tonga/Ila people of Southern Province around 900 BC. Hence some similarities in names between the Tongas and Namwangas. Their lifestyle was a fugal system or nomadic life, they had no permanent residence. As they come down, some of the Namwanga people decided to settle in Tanganyika (now called Tanzania) while others proceeded to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). In Tanzania, they spread to places like Mbeya, while those in Zambia settled in Mwenzo area in the western part of Nakonde District, some parts of Chinsali, Kasama and Mbala. The Tongas however proceeded to Southern Zambia.

Because there were no borders at the time, the Namwangas in Tannzania and Zambia shared everything including leadership. After the partitioning of boundaries, the headquarters of the Namwanga people remained in Tanzania under Chief Mukoma. To this day, the Paramount Chief of the Namwanga people is based in Tanzania and only appoints a chief from there to rule over the Namawangas in Zambia.

The first chief appointed was Namulinda as Chief Nawaitwika to rule over the Namwangas on the Zambian side. When she died, Namaipo was appointed as Chief Nawaitwika. Following her death in 1940, Malia was appointed as the third Nawaitwika from 1941 to 1999. Malia ruled for over 56 years, making her one of the longest serving chiefs in Zambia. After her death, Evelyn, who was born in Zambia and lived in Mufulira with her husband, was later appointed as the current Chief Nawaitwika.

While in Mwenzo, a man named Mushyani from Kola visited the area. It is believed that Mushyani was very intelligent and introduced methods of livelihood such as firewood and farming to the Namwangas. Prior to his visit, the Namwangas were eating raw food as nomads. Due to his intelligence, Mushyani received a lot of favours from the indigenous people, namely the Simwanzas, Sichalwes, Sichizyas and Sinkalas who also gave him a local Namwanga girl to marry. He was also given a chiefdom to become a chief and was given a new name called Chikanamulilo. He however, deliberately refused to move from Mwenzo to the new village he was given. It is from this that the name Mwenzo comes from. When you deliberately refuse something in Namwanga it is called Umwenzonyi.

In present day, Nakonde District is still a village under Chieftainess Nawaitika, except for a small portion of land which is under the local council. Hence it is common in Nakonde to see huts within the town centre. The major languages spoken in Nakonde are Namwanga and Bemba. Swahili is also spoken by the locals due to interaction with neighbouring Tanzania.

Location and significance

Trucks at Nakonde border

Nakonde is one of Zambia's major border post towns in the Northern Province with very high business traffic. It lies on the border with Tanzania. It is about 1,000km north of Lusaka, the capital city.

There are about twenty bus coaches that travel from Lusaka and Copperbelt every day to Nakonde transporting traders who go to buy various items from clothes, building materials or pick up vehicles from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Another available travel option is via rail with TAZARA trains from Kapiri Mposhi in Central Zambia, through to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Nakonde also has tourist attractions with the legendary Ngoni King Zwangedaba buried 35km away from the town centre.


New infrastructure such as Government offices have been built in recent years as well as new guest houses and lodges and eating places to cater for the many travelers into the town. In recent years, few few commercial banks have opened in Nakonde.

Some of the major healthcare centers include Nakonde Rural Health Centre and Mwiza Private Clinic.

Places of Interest

• Zwangendaba, the famous king of the Ngoni was buried about 30 kilometres away from the main town centre. • First United Church of Zambia (UCZ) was built in Nakonde around 1914. • Graves of German soldiers that fought during the World War.


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  • Machova Musanshi, Discover Nakonde -2009/2010. Lusaka: Tourism News

Coordinates: 9°20′01″S 32°45′21″E / 9.3336°S 32.7558°E / -9.3336; 32.7558