Luchazi (African ethnicity)

Luchazi . African ethnic group of the Bantu stock that lives in the southeast of Angola , where its members number around 280,000 individuals; in northwestern Zambia , where there are approximately 70,000 individuals; and in the northeast of Namibia , where there are about 25,000. The language, the Luchazi speak the language of the same name, Luchazi (also known as Chiluchazi, Lujazi, Lujash, Lutshase, Luxage, Lucazi, Lutchaz), belonging to the Chokwe branch -Luchazi of the great Niger-Congo linguistic family


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  • 1 History
  • 2 neighboring towns
  • 3 Economic development
  • 4 Social development
    • 1 Education
    • 2 Society
    • 3 Language
    • 4 Traditions
    • 5 Creations
    • 6 Religion
    • 7 Traditional medicine
  • 5 Sources


They are culturally closely related to the two ethnic groups that have dominated politically for the last 400 years: the Chokwe and the Lunda . Between 1600 and 1850 they were under Lunda domination, who controlled the entire center of present-day Angola. During the second half of the 19th century, commercial development makes those who at that time have a greater participation in it, especially based on ivory and rubber, acquire more importance. This greatly benefited the coastal area and the Tchokwe people region. Thanks to this greater economic power, the latter extended their control towards border areas, especially towards the Lunda territories, with which the Luchazi people passed from Lunda control to Tchokwe influence. During the last years of Portuguese domination, and to escape from military pressure, many Luchazi families moved to the border areas of Zambia and Namibia. After the independence of Angola, the civil war made that migratory movement continue.

Neighboring towns

Tchokwe , Luba , Lunda , Mbundo , Songo .

Economic development

Los Luchazi is a farming town that has grown mainly manioc, cassava , yams, and peanuts . To a lesser extent, they have grown tobacco and hemp , as well as corn for beer making . As for domestic livestock, they have been raising sheep , goats , pigs and chickens . Hunting has never ceased to be an important resource for the Luchazi diet.

Social development


The Luchazi’s low educational level has meant that they lack political influence in Angola, Zambia or Namibia. Perhaps only the young Luchazi trained in Namibia, residing in Kavango Province have reached a cultural level that is allowing them to participate in some government jobs, but they continue to be in a minority compared to the native Kwangali.


The individual derives his identity from his relationship with an extended family group. The central figure in the Luchazi family is the male head of the family. In the past, a man used to marry around 30 years of age to a girl of 14 or 15 years, who used to be a cousin or niece. Mixed marriage with people of another ethnicity was prohibited. Today, young men marry around the age of 19 or 20 to girls over the age of 15. Likewise, it has changed regarding the origin of ethnic groups other than the bride and groom, although in the field the old practices are maintained. In these traditional practices, a young man talks to his parents about the girl he is interested in. The mother then talks to the girl’s mother in order to determine the amount of the dowry. If the woman has never been married and has not had any children, the family would expect to receive 2 cows.

A woman who has one child would deserve only 1 cow while a woman who has more than one child would deserve only 1/2 cow. Polygamy is still practiced by the Luchazi. Divorce is easy, although it must be negotiated between families. Children can choose to go with their father or mother. Socially the mistreatment of the wife or children is punished. Although children’s respect is equal towards both parents, education is often the responsibility of the father. As for the hereditary system, today the western models are followed by which the wife and children share the assets of the deceased husband or father. In other times, the matriluneal system was followed whereby a man’s assets were inherited by the children of a sister, and if this was not possible, by the children of a brother. The extended family lived in a group of houses that constituted a Kimbo.

A family group of between 20 and 40 people can live in a kimbo, under the direction of a man who is the father or grandfather of the majority. One group of Kimbos was led by the lord of the group, the mwene. This figure was hereditary and was always chosen from a certain family. The mwene could be removed, usually killing him. The mwene administers the group’s land, allocates parcels of land and administers justice. He resolves disputes and decides the punishment to be imposed on the culprit, which consisted of physical punishment or ostracism (isolation) by the rest of the community. This second punishment was imposed for the most serious cases, as in the case of murder. In other cases, for example in the case of robbery, a fine was imposed that the family of the culprit had to pay to the family of the victim. The Mwene would receive a proportionate share of the fines imposed.


Luchasi is a Bantu language of the Ngangela group . Related languages ​​are: Mbunda , Kangala , Tauma , Mbuela , Nyemba , Ngangela , Ngonzelo, and Luembe . His movements in recent years have caused many changes, especially linguistic. Some Luchazis have lost their language. In Zambia , many have started speaking Luvale instead of Luchazi; In Namibia, those who speak Luchazi speak it in a hybrid way with lots of Afrikaans , Portuguese , Kwangali andChokwe .


Today the traditions related to funeral rituals are considered almost disappeared. As for rites of passage, in the past, the Luchazi people had a rich tradition. The girls were entertained at a party by the kimbo women. During the days of the feast he was taught the things a woman needs to know. From then on he could be eligible for marriage. For their part, the boys went through an initiatory ritual at the age of between 6 and 8 years called “mukanda”. At the end of the ceremony, a dance party was held, called “mungongi” or “makishi”. Sometimes there was a second holiday, called “mandumbu”. When there was a drought, or the rains were late,


The Luchazis have always stood out for their artistic creations that today are mainly used for commerce . They are reputed to have very good carvers of wood , musicians drums , dancers and manufacturers of a variety of basketry. Although they never came to constitute political entities of state forms, the authority of local chiefs, hereditary authority through matrilineal means, has always had great importance. Chiefs (mwana nganga) have the Council of superiors and ritual specialists before making decisions. The towns are divided into sections that are governed by a religious chief. All members of Luchazi society fall into two categories, those who are matrilineally descended from lineage founders and those who are descendants of once enslaved populations.


The Luchazi recognize a creator and almighty god (Kalunga), a series of nature spirits, and the spirits of the ancestors (mahamba). These spirits belong to the individual, the family , or the community, and are obliged to honor and care for them if they do not want to attract personal or community misfortunes. Evil spirits can be manipulated by sorcerers (wanga) to cause disease, and this must be neutralized with the medicines or measures recommended by doctor-soothsayers (Nganga), who will try to discover the cause of evil. The most common form of divination among the Luchazi is usually done through a basket in which some sixty different objects are thrown and depending on the pool in which they are the fortune teller will “read” the cause of the disease.

Traditional medicine

Chimbundu (traditional healers) practice their medicine with herbs and a white powder. The head of religious instruction was the mwene, not the chimbundu. He rules in the affairs of the spirit, while the chinbundu in the physical world.

At present, traditional medicine is rarely practiced. They blame this loss on the Portuguese persecution that when they knew that witchcraft was practiced in a town, they often went in to kill everyone in the town. As a result the traditional religion began to wane and eventually to die in many areas.


by Abdullah Sam
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