Makishi Masquerading ~ Likumbi Lya Mize ~ Traditional Ceremony


Zambia is a country with ten provinces and 73 ethnic groupings (tribes). These groupings have cultural traditional ceremonies which are performed annually. However, common among them is the Kuomboka Ceremony performed by the Lozi speaking people of Western Province, Ncwala Ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people of Eastern Province and the Likumbi lya Mize ceremony (The Mize day Ceremony) of the Luvale speaking people of the North Western Province.

It is the Likumbi lya Mize ceremony, the world Heritage Ceremony, which is characterised by the Makishi Masquerading. Usually the ceremony is held during the last week of August unless there is something to cause change of dates. Come and watch how this colourful and well organised Makishi dancing ceremony is performed. Usually the ceremony takes five (5) days as stated under the ceremony week paragraph below.


The programme starts with fundraising events spread across the country which includes makishi dances and various cultural practices.
The Government of the Republic of Zambia is highly involved in the preparations at all levels, Ministry of Tourism and Art, Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Office of the President through the Provincial Administration Office to ensure that all preparations are put in place to guaranty security and order
After all is done, dates of the Ceremony are set and communicated through public media under the authority of His Royal Highness Senior Chief Ndungu of the Luvale speaking people of Zambia whose palace is in Zambezi District.


The Ceremony starts with the resurrection of more than 100 different types of makishi from the Graveyards on the eastern side of the Great Zambezi River.

The procession starts as early as 06 hours and lasts for more than 3 hours. The procession is usually colourfully supported by the huge crowd of people from all walks of life including journalists, tourists (from all over the world) and characterised by traditional songs, the Makishi perform different actions as they head towards their destination, the Chilende (a traditional dancing arena).

In the afternoon of the Resurrection day the Makishi host a Chilende Chamuchana (a Makishi dancing arena in the plain) a dancing Show of the Makishi on the flat low plains of Zambezi River).

The makishi dance to the sounds of traditional drums from about 14 hours until sun set, the Makishi then cross the Zambezi River.
The following day the Makishi hosts a Chilende Chahausekeseke (a dancing show on the Sand Beach of the Zambezi River).

This is one of the great countdowns to the Likumbi Lya Mize because the beautiful sand beach and waters of the Great Zambezi ignites the people to great jubilation that are memorial.

This point of the Zambezi is very shallow and free from crocodiles. The performances starts about 14 hours up to 18 hours and thereafter the makishi proceed to the Mize Capital of His Royal Highness Senior Chief Ndungu.

Some Makishi dance is performed on a mattress placed on the mighty Zambezi River without it sinking or being carried by the water current.
The makishi sleep over at the camp and the following day they conduct another Chilende Chamumize (Dancing Show at the Mize Capital, Chief’s Palace).

This proceeds to an overnight performance to welcome the official Day of the ceremony which is usually on a Saturday.

On the Official day the ceremony starts in the morning with the following taking place:
o Makishi performances
o Cultural practices
o Guest of Honour and Government representatives
o Royal entry of visiting chiefs from Angola and within the country, Zambia.
o Royal entry of His Royal Highness Senior Chief Ndungu into the main arena
o Royal entry of all kinds of makishi into the main arena to greet the Senior Chief and make some performances.
o Dancing of the makishi on a single tall pole or two tall poles with string tied between them (Muchapa), Makishi dancing on the Zambezi river waters without sinking.
o Royal meal by invited guests at the Palace of His Royal Highness Senior Chief Ndungu.

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