“Mwaiyai!” That means “You are welcome!”
Kaonde People start greeting you when they see you coming from afar.
They clap their hands, shouting in a loud happy voice, saying:
“Mwaiyai mwane! Twimutambwila mwane!”
(You are welcome! We warmly welcome you!)

This greeting and demonstration of hospitality has been a cultural preserve of the Kaonde people for generations, one that has fascinated  many Peace Corps volunteers.


Read the Story of the Kaonde People. Rarely told, yet fascinating.


learn kaonde

Did you know that children who know their mother tongue:
1. Perform better at school
2. Have sharper thinking ability
3. Develop a flexible brain
4. Are good at multi-tasking
5. Express themselves in many ways
Five Good Reasons why you should teach your child the language of your birth. To start learning simple words in Kaonde, go to our Language page.

This website gives a comprehensive account of the history and culture of the Kaonde people. The primary source of our information includes written books written by early white settlers in the Northwestern Province, diaries of correspondence between white officials and the Queen of England, official journals, and recorded interviews.

Picture Archive

About Kaonde Archives

KAONDE ARCHIVES is an educational website that provides a comprehensive description of the Kaonde people, their history, language and culture. The website is researched, written and edited by native Kaondes with the support of HRH Dr. Chief Mumena of the Kaonde people of Solwezi.

The primary objective of this project is the preservation of history and language, and the documentation of a dying culture. Interestingly, there are many books that have been written about the Kaonde people. However, the majority of Kaonde people are not aware of this. Former UNFPA Representative to Zambia, Margaret O’Callaghan, explained this when she stated: “Most [people are] not aware of what studies have already been undertaken [about the Northwestern] province.”

The main reason why most of the books that describe the Kaonde are unknown to the Kaonde people themselves is that most of these books were written by Europeans (i.e. missionaries, colonial officers, university students writing dissertations, etc.). Today, most of these books exist in libraries abroad and overseas, where, we presume, few in those countries will look them up, if ever. Thus, one goal of the authors of Kaonde Archives is to research and examine a vast collection of already written material and compile it into a comprehensive, logically developed history of events from past to present-all in one place.


From the Year 1700 To-date

To become a Kaonde Archives Member, click here to register.
As a Member:  become a member-kaondeachives
You receive updates on posts
You share ideas and knowledge
You contribute to our archive
You interact with other Members

You can also leave a reply below or comment or our posts.

We are highly indebted to the following non-Kaonde (mostly European) researchers who made it their life-long vocation to write about the Kaonde people, and from whose writings we have drawn much resource.

    Dick Jaeger with Kaonde translator and friend, Kasempa, 2012Born: 30th November, 1935,
    Arnhem, Netherlands.
    Professional Details:
    Human Geography at the University of Amsterdam, BA, MA, PhD 1981 (‘Settlement Patterns and Rural Development, a human geography of the Kaonde Kasempa District, Zambia’)

Dick Jaeger (right) is one of very few Europeans to have undertaken such an extensive amount of research into the life, history and culture of the Kaonde people. His books have been studied, quoted, and referenced by many writers of Sothern-African history. (view Dick Jaeger Publications on Zambia) He spent many years (1960s & 70s) in Kasempa working on various community development programmes. In total, he has spent more than 50 years researching and documenting the history, cultural, and economic life of the Kaonde people. Today, now in his 80s, Dr. Jaeger lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and attached to his name is a long list of career roles held over the years.
Research: Rural Development in Zambia; Pre-Colonial and Colonial History of Northwestern Province of Zambia; Kaonde History; Chieftainships and Clan Structure.
Career: Dick Jaeger’s long career has included the following: Ministry of Development Cooperation, SNV, Head-Rural and Community Development Programme, Kasempa Zambia; Affiliate Researcher Institute of Economic and Social Research; University of Zambia Research Affiliate; Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam: Lecturer, Deputy-Director Tropical Museum; National Research Council (NWO) The Hague, Director Social Science Department; International Coordinating Officer-European Science Foundation (COST/ESF), Strasbourg.

“All of us who have made the peoples of the North Western Province our study, [and] earned their friendship, are in a sense comrades.”
Robin Short, letter to David Wilkin, Feb 3, 1986, p. 1, par. 1.

The Kaonde community is also indebted to David Paul Wilkin, who has made an impressive collection of books, diary notes, letters, official documents, reports, summaries, journals, interviews (in both text and audio), transcripts, and correspondences between British officials patterning to the Kaonde people and the Northwestern Province in general. This information has been compiled into one of the largest online collections of published documents patterning to the NWP. This collection can be found on his website



Choose a page to read from the sitemap below:

Kaonde People, Land, Population
Solwezi Today
The Kifubwa Rock Paintings

Kapiji & Mujimanzovu
Kansanshi Mine (Early history)
Kasempa and the Lozi-Kaonde Wars
‘Shakutenuka’ and the Swedish Colonial Settlers

Chiefs and Ceremonies
Family and Social Organization
Traditional Lifestyles

Kikaonde language
Kaonde Proverbs





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