“Mwaiyai!” 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!)

Welcome to Kaonde Archives. You are about to explore an exciting historical website.

Writting janko-ferlic-174927.jpg

KAONDE ARCHIVES is an educational website that provides a comprehensive description of the Kaonde people, their history, language and culture. The primary sources of information include books written by early white settlers in the Northwestern Province, diaries of correspondence between white officials and the Queen of England, official journals, recorded interviews, and verified oral narratives.

WHY NOT? 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.

Picture Archive

Explore Kaonde history & migration from present-day Congo to Zambia.

Explore Kaonde culture, beliefs and customs the influence daily life.

Explore the dynamics of Kaonde language and vocabulary.

Explore Kaonde proverbs and their meaning & application in daily life.

Explore Kaonde names, what they mean and how they are given.

Explore biographies & life stories of Kaonde people you may know.

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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’)

Dr. 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: Dr. 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 pertaining 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 pertaining to the NWP. This collection can be found on his website

We are also grateful to Kate Crehan for her contributions to some of the information on our website. Kate Crehan is Professor Emerita at the City University of New York. Prof. Crehan spent some time in Mufumbwe District while working on her dissertation in the late 1980s. During that time, she researched on the social structures that shape the culture and power landscapes of the Kaonde people. The results of her research were published in her book, The Fractured Community: Landscapes of Power and Gender in Rural Zambia (University of California Press, 1997). We are also grateful to the University of California Press for granting us rights of reuse with regard to sections of Prof. Crehan’s book.


10 thoughts on “MWAIYAI!

  1. This is amazing, I didn’t know about it but I would wish you can as well indicate all the necessary contact details such as mobile phone numbers for quick access to those who would want to get in touch with you.


    1. This is wonderful our children will know these when they grow up…. actually this book is sweet and wonderful, because even me some of this things have seen here i didn’t know them but just heard from our elders.


  2. “Why this project? WHY NOT?”
    Yes why not. I believe we need more of this things. It’s sad that we ourselves don’t write our history and depend on what was written by white people. So I commend the authors of this project for the work that they are doing. I also conquer with the comment above that you should give contact numbers for easy to get in touch with you


  3. Mutende mwane 👏🏽, kaonde archives is the most amazing thing I have discovered recently, it has made me realize who I really am. Developers should please improve this great website by including the kaonde dictionary and Bible please. Nasanta mwane 👏🏽


    1. Very rich history, there is need to advocate for an inclusion of this great history in the National Curriculum so that our children can know their history.


  4. Woa!! This is something I would call a great mantle to jealously hold on to and guard for our pride and heritage for future generations. This is the very educational and rich sounding culture that our ministry of education must include in the current curriculum today. We have greatly lost so much time studying something which did not benefit us in our lives. Why studying about Hitler, Mussolini, Bismarck when we have something to learn from our rich culture. Its a shame that this came to be the way it has been. Much as I have enjoyed this, please, we need to cover now a wider spectrum of all the remaining Zambian tribes so that we really know and appreciate who we are, were we came from and what surround us all.


  5. Hi my friend! Ι want t᧐ ѕay that this ⲣost is awesome, nice
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  6. Twimusanchila anweba bonse mwaingijile uno mwingile was kubika kisho kya kiikaonde mu kibese Kya kufya bya kisho. Mwaingilai mwane be jikwabo. Cosam Pandao, muzhi wa Mwala, mfumu Kapijimpanga, Solwezi.


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