Mumba Yachi – A victim of the Lenshina Ghost?

54
988 views
Mumba Yachi
Mumba Yachi


By Dickson Jere

I am an ardent fan of Mumba Yachi’s music and have all his albums. His Afro-beat is clearly in his own class and league only comparable to the likes of the legend Fela Kuti.

Not until his recent incarceration, I never thought he had issues with his citizenship. But what struck me was his passion and well-informed lyrics on the now infamous “Lumpa Church” or “Ba Lenshina” and the connection to Mokambo in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. So, his predicament made me go on a soul-searching through various literature in order to understand this Lenshina stuff, whose history remains buried and told in a bias way. We grew up to believe that the Lenshina followers drunk urine and believed they had a passport to heaven. They were evil doers.

However, yesterday, as part of the literary week, I stumbled on an interesting book titled “A Time to Mourn” that provides a good and unbiased read on this obscure history of Alice Lenshina. Authored by John Hudson, a former District Commissioner of Isoka, the book is an eye witness’ personal account of the 1964 Lumpa Church Revolt in Zambia.

It gives his personal experiences of the Rise and Fall of Alice Lenshina Mulenga who formed the Lumpa church in Chinsali even though it spread to other parts of the country. The book is descriptive and for all intend and purposes, what transpired to the Lumpa followers could be best described as “genocide”. The author places the blame on the authorities at that time who mishandled the conflict between the Lumpa Church and UNIP supporters which led to thousands of people to be massacred in cold-blood.

Official statistics show that the Lumpa church had the biggest following than any other church in Chinsali, Kasama, Mpika, Isoka and Lundazi and their biggest crime was to refuse to join UNIP or participate in politics at crucial time of independence struggle.

And so, the long and the short of it is that the Lumpa supporters were attacked, raped, maimed and made to surrender including their leader Alice Lenshina. But a group of faithfuls refused to submit to UNIP’s threats and consequently fled to the neighboring Zaire now DRC where they established themselves especially in Mokambo in Lubumbashi on the border with Mufulira.

Hudson writes: “in all, nineteen thousand Lumpas went to the Congo between 1964 and 1968. Efforts were made to induce them to return after an amnesty declared in 1968 but only three thousand did so.”

I am told that among those who fled and refused to return was Mumba Yachi’s grandmother hence his birth and upbringing in Mokambo, a border town which features prominently in his songs. And he sings proudly about it!

So the Lenshina migration is believed to be the first known, after Zambia’s independence, where Zambians fled their country to seek refuge elsewhere.

“It was estimated in 1993 that there were up to fifteen thousand followers of the church in the Congo. Up to September 1994, only one thousand, six hundred had arrived in Zambia,” Hudson writes.

“The majority remained in the Congo; if they see that those who have come back do not encounter any hostility, more can be expected to return,” Hudson writes on page 63 of his Book.

How then do you treat these Zambians and their offsprings?

That’s a question!

I end here!

54 COMMENTS

  1. +1
    -1
    vote

    And we still have this pipo in zambia if u listen to how dy suffered kuti walila.evn lenshinas 1st born daughter is still alive

    • +6
      -1
      vote

      KK should face the international court at the Hague for genocide. We were all brainwashed into believing the Lumpa church was evil. The govt should have already repatriated and compensated those who were forced into exile by the brutal KK and his satanic UNIP.

    • vote

      Main question really is was this guy using a passport with questioned particulars? I hope the courts can answer that for us.

    • vote

      @Reen Bwalya there is a community of these people also in the area in Rufunsa at a place called Kanyongoloka. Quite a sizeable population, but the local people are very suspicious of them. Unless my serves me wrong, Lenshina was placed under house arrest in Lusaka’s Chilenje South in 70s.

      Mr. Jere, where can we buy the book “A Time to Mourn” by John Hudson you have mentioned in this write up?

    • +1
      -3
      vote

      He should have come into Zambia using normal channels. why change you names and sneak in if you are truly Zambian? Criminals are flocking into our country day and night and yet some of you are busy supporting irregularities. The recent hacking of cadres by opposing groups has more to do with foreigners who are finding refugee in Zambia.

    • +1
      0
      vote

      Government allowed all who fled to DRC following the crackdown on the Lumpa Church to come back to Zambia.This also apply to Mumba. If you have been to Mpika, followers of Lenshina have recently relocated from DRC to an area in Chief Chikwanda’s area. Let Mumba also relocate to Zambia. Why do you want to keep him in DRC when majority of Lenshina followers have come back?

  2. 0
    -1
    vote

    Well articulated article. Dont you think there must be some documentations for them to be integrated into the Zambian Society? They dont have to walk in just like that.

  3. +2
    0
    vote

    Lenshina was misleading the innocent people that is why the government had to come in after trying hard to control her but to no avail. She used to tell her followers that if they scribe on top of the tree they can fly as a result a lot of people died as for urine yes they used to drink it. It is a very sad story some of them were brought to Mbala all of them suffering from malnutrition as they were made to it ant soil by Lenshina as they trusted her very much. Any way the best person to ask is KK who is still alive.

    • +3
      -3
      vote

      @lemba
      You read the author said Lumpas were massacred simply because they refused to add their numbers to the UNIP cause to liberate Zambia! This incensed KK so much that he ordered a genocide! According to KK’s evil thinking, Lumpas were standing in his way to become the dictator of Zambia by their refusal to engage in politics. Do you wonder why the history of Lumpas is so obscure? It was deliberately kept hidden so we don’t know the truth.

  4. +2
    -1
    vote

    Wantanshi even though what Lenshina did was not right to brain wash the poor people that they can fly, and doing all sorts of things as you know that time people were not educated so they used to agree any thing they were told by her, she used to tell them she was sent by God and that she speaks with God, like God has said you should do this and that and people listened in the process a lot died because of her. KK did what he did to protect the poor people. Actually they were given chance all of them to get out of that church but Lenshina had already told them that if they die there they will go straight to heaven. Why was Lenshina and her children not among those who were killed? That is the question one should ask if what she was doing was right.

    • +3
      -1
      vote

      @lemba
      Wacky or weird as Lumpas beliefs might have been did that warrant them to be murdered in cold blood?

    • +1
      0
      vote

      You can say that back that back in the day people were uneducated. Well, today we have people eating grass, drinking boom, etc. So much for education. A month ago I was on a plane with people flying to Nigeria.

      I shook my head in disbelief. How can people be so gullible?

  5. vote

    This is all well and good, and Mumba Yachi’s music is good, but to compare him with Fela Kuti is a bit of an exeggeration. Try to keep it factual.

  6. vote

    I totally agree with senior counsel Dickson Jere. The quashing of the alleged Leshina uprising was and is genocide committed by the Kaunda regime. The facts in the cited book “A time to Mourn” are very similar to those contained in the book “One Zambia Many Histories – Towards a History of Post Colonial Zambia” edited by Jan-Bart et al. I serious think that there is need to open up an inquiry into this matter so that we get to know what really and punish those that may be found to be perpetrators. We need a correct history of this country so that those (Mumba Yatchis) who may be out there and have a claim to this country’s heritage are not punished.

  7. +2
    0
    vote

    It is hard to verify the facts in such controversial phases in history. The book may provide a little help in understanding the events that unfolded but I think it offers very little insight in the actual scene within the Lumpa congregation.

    Like #3 Lemba, I also believe that several people were misled by this group of religious fanatics that was undoubtedly rebelious and chaotic. Whether or not Mumba Yachi’s grandmother was a victim of the circumstances, and if it is true that he was “born in exile,” is a matter for him to testify.

    Like I have said, only the truth shall set him free and give him back his right of citizenship.

    • +1
      -1
      vote

      it appears that Lenshina was a direct threat to the political stability of the country at that time, which cannot be claimed of the “prophets” today.

  8. +1
    0
    vote

    I think Mr. Jere’s interpretation of this matter is rather vague. To base it on a book is not enough. What happened to proper research??? How about getting different statements from people who live in the area and who interact with the church?? How about interviewing the people from the same village in DRC?? Police archives??? GRZ records, etc??? It can’t be based purely on their refusal to join UNIP. We are currently experiencing these religious episodes today where people are told to drink urine, to sleep with snakes, to eat grass etc by these charismatic pastors.

  9. 0
    -1
    vote

    Rebellion or massacre?
    The UNIP-Lumpa conflict revisited
    David M. Gordon

    The events behind the ‘Lumpa uprising’ are seemingly well known. In July 1964, while the United National Independence Party (UNIP) controlled the government but the colonial administration was still in charge of security, the interim administration sent in troops to resolve a violent conflict between UNIP cadres and the followers of Alice Mulenga Lenshina, who had formed the Lumpa Church in the mid-1950s. At the very least 1,000 people died as a consequence of troop action and Lumpa retaliatory attacks. In 1965, a Commission
    of Enquiry established the outlines of the conflict, the responsibilities of the various parties, and a diary of events from 26 June to 15 October 1964. [Quoting from ONE ZAMBIA MANY…

  10. vote

    Wantanshi – NO those people were not supposed to be killed. The issue here is who was Lenshina, equally she was to blame for what ever happened to those people. So why should she be praised.

  11. vote

    Again quoting from the paper ONE ZAMBIA MANY HISTORIES:

    The Lumpa Church allowed Africans to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. After Lenshina and her followers had built her Zion (or Sione) next to Kasomo Village, Chinsali District, in 1958, and after her beautiful hymns were heard across northern Zambia, heaven on earth was also a possibility. Only the infringement of colonial regulations enforced by Chiefs disturbed the utopian vision and reality: the need to pay tax, chiefs’ control over land, and respect for mission churches and schooling…

  12. vote

    Quote cont./:
    and respect for mission churches and schooling.

    For thousands of Zambians in the north, by the late 1950s the battle against the evil of ‘Satani’ became a battle against the evil of colonialism, against the Central African Federation and the ‘Colour Bar’.8 Lenshina and her Lumpa deacons began to lose the exclusive control that they had enjoyed over the struggle against evil. Tactics changed: Where Lenshina had encouraged evasion and escape from evil, the nationalist movement confronted it directly. Organizations changed: the African National Congress (ANC), then the Zambia African National Congress (ZANC), and finally UNIP, took up the struggle against evil.
    Leadership changed from a semi-literate but inspiring woman to schooled men who could converse in the language…

  13. vote

    Cont./-
    Leadership changed from a semi-literate but inspiring woman to schooled men who could converse in the language and the tactics of the colonizer. By 1960-1961, during the anti-colonial chachacha revolt, violence against the objects of Lenshina’s and the nationalists’ wrath engulfed Chinsali District.

  14. +1
    0
    vote

    Cont./-
    Colonial retaliation was ruthless: Chinsali was one of four districts highlighted in UNIP’s well-known anti-colonial publication, A grim peep into the north, which revealed violent colonial abuses of civilians and UNIP activists. Mobile police platoons assaulted villagers suspected of sympathizing with UNIP rebels and UNIP rebels roamed the province, destroying bridges, colonial infrastructure, and assaulting those who worked with the colonial administration. Arson was a common tactic used by the security forces and UNIP. According
    to A grim peep into the north, ‘thousands of houses and granaries have been set on fire by security forces. Practically all [UNIP] constituency Branch Offices have been burnt and destroyed at the order of DCs’.

  15. +2
    0
    vote

    First and foremost it was wrong for Mumba to be denied bail. The only reasons bail is often denied is 1) if you are a flight risk and 2) you are a dangerous suspect

    Mumba is neither of the two so to continue incarcerating the poor chap is a sin against all of us! Further to that the boy is Zambian, even if he is not born in Zambia he is a Zambian, he went to school here, married here, has children here – has lived here for all his life so what nonsense is this? The judge handling this case should know God too will judge him for this great injustice.

  16. +2
    0
    vote

    Let me put the records straight. Hudson’s story is not at all gospel truth, at that time there wasn’t any need to mobilize people to join a political party as at that time it was fighting for African freedom that mattered as opposed to winning polls. What happened was that the government got concerned because of the happenings in the Lenshina church, they were a cult and did a lot of atrocities like persuading people to drink urine for cleansing and finding spiritual peace by committing suicide by jumping from tall trees and mountains. No government can allow such evil to take place and that is why soldiers were deployed to stop the rot and have these people surrender, but the soldiers were met with some force by spear throwing Lenshina men culminating into scuffles of exchange of fire…

  17. 0
    -1
    vote

    if you send Mumba back to DRC then send KK and ECL back to Malawi where they come from….leave the poor chap alone and let him keep singing!

  18. vote

    This issue needs to be explored further… did Mumba denounce ECL in his songs for him to be incarcerated?? They should let him legalise his stay in zambia. We all love his talent..

  19. vote

    THESE PEOPLE WHO FLED TO MOKAMBO-CONGO ARE STILL SIMPLY ZAMBIANS AND NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. HOWEVER, THE BIG QUESTION IS KAUNDA AND HIS UNIP GOVERNMENT WHO SLAUGHTERED SOME OF THE LENSHINA VICTIMS. IN FACT ZAMBIA MUST PAY FOR THE RETURN OF THESE PEOPLE TO THEIR HOMELAND AND COMPENSATE THEM FOR THE SLAUGHTER OF THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS. ONE OF MY FRIENDS WHO IS WORKING IN ZAMBIA RIGHT NOW, JUST FEW WEEKS BEFORE THE ARREST OF MUMBA YACHI ASKED ME TO INVITE HIS FIRST BORN SON TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT HIS FUTURE AS HE KNOWS AND TRUSTS THAT I AM VERY GOOD WITH YOUNG PEOPLE RANGING FROM WHEN THEY ARE BABIES TO ADOLESCENTS ++. THE BOY IS VERY GOOD AND INTO MUSIC FOR WHICH I HELPED HIM DEVELOP AND IT HAS TAKEN HIM TO MANY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES INCLUDING GERMANY, FRANCE, DENMARK, ETC, ETC. MUMBA YACHI…

  20. vote

    …MUMBA YACHI IS ONE OF MY VERY FEW FAVOURITES IN ZAMBIA. OTHERS BEING UNCLE REX, MUTINTA, JAMES SAKALA, SCARLET, KINGS MALEMBE AND MUZO ALFONSO (THOUGH I DON’T LIKE MUZO’S BACKGROUND UNNATURAL MUSIC, HE COULD HAVE DONE BETTER WITH REAL NATURAL INSTRUMENTS WITH DIFFERENT BASELINES AWAY FROM THE RUBBISH WE KEEP LISTENING TO FROM ZAMBIA. HIS RYLICS ARE VERY POWERFUL, THOUGH).
    IN MY MOTIVATIONAL SPEAK WE STARTED WATCHING AND SHOWING HIM REAL MUSICIANS IN ZAMBIA, INCLUDING MUMBA YACHI. I DIDN’T KNOW THAT THE BOY WAS ALSO CAPTIVATED BY MUMBA YACHI’S MUSIC- HIM BEING A WESTERN-BORN BOY. THEREFORE, FEW WEEKS LATER HE SENT ME AN EMAIL WITH THE STORY OF MUMBA YACHI’S ARREST AND INCARCERATION. NOT THAT I HAD NEVER READ THE STORY BEFORE HE SENT ME THE LINK. I HAD READ IT. BUT HE HAD STARTED…

  21. vote

    …I HAD READ IT. BUT HE HAD STARTED SERIOUSLY READING ABOUT ZAMBIA. BECAUSE HE WAS ALSO IMPRESSED WHEN I SHOW HIM MOJO MARKETING COMPANY WHOSE CEO IS A YOUNG VIBRANT BOY.

    IN MY REPLY TO HIS MESSAGE HE SENT ME ABOUT MUMBA YACHI, AS HE WAS SADDENED ABOUT HIS ARREST. I TOLD THE BOY THAT, “THERE’S NOTHING CONGOLESE ABOUT MUMBA YACHI”. I SAID HE IS ABSOLUTELY A ZAMBIAN. EVEN MUMBA’S KNOWLEDGE OF ZAMBIA AND THE WAY HE PROUDLY TALKS ABOUT ZAMBIA. MUMBA IS TRULY A ZAMBIAN. EVEN ME WHAT I DID NOT KNOW OR EVEN GUESS WAS THAT MUMBA’S PARENTS OR GRAND PARENTS FLED TO MOKAMBO IN CONGO.

  22. vote

    THIS ARTICLE (THANKS TO THE WRITER) HAS SOLVED MOST IF NOT WHOLE, MY PUZZLE. IN FACT I CAN SAFELY CONCLUDE THAT MOST OF THE MOKAMBO RESIDENTS ARE ALL ZAMBIANS. I USED TO PASS THROUGH MOKAMBO MANY TIMES WHEN GOING TO LUAPULA WHEN I DISCOVERED THE BEAUTIFUL PROVINCE CALLED LUAPULA WHEN I WAS YOUNG SCHOOL BOY. AT MOKAMBO, THERE WERE TWO SETS OF IMMIGRATION PEOPLE. THE EXTREMELY CRUEL ONES WHO PUNISHED ZAMBIANS FOR BEING OLD, DISABLED, WITH OVERGROWN HAIR, BOLDHEAD, ETC, BY CHARGING THEM FOR THEIR UNCHOSEN SINS. THESE WERE REAL CONGOLESE. THE OTHER SET WERE LENIENT AND MAINLY SPOKE BEMBA WHEN DEALING WITH ZAMBIANS STRIKINGLY THESE WERE ZAMBIANS.

  23. vote

    THIS IS NOT TO SAY ALL CONGOLESE PEOPLE ARE ALL CRUEL. BUT, THEY LOVE MONEY AND MATERIAL WEALTH TOO MUCH THEY CAN DO ANYTHING TO ACQUIRE IT. THE OTHER REASON IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF CONGO DOES NOT PAY THOSE PEOPLE A SALARY/WAGE. THEY PAY THEMSELVES FROM WHAT THEY ARE CHARGING PEOPLE PASSING THROUGH THEIR BORDERS. ZAMBIANS MUST BE REMINDED AND REMEMBER WHY TUTA ROAD FROM SERENJE TO SAMFYA WAS BUILT. THIS WAS THE MAIN AND SINGLE REASON. ZAMBIANS HAD SUFFERED IN THE HANDS OF THOSE CONGOLESE PEOPLE. I WAS THERE WHEN MY UNCLE WAS BEATEN UP VERY BADLY FOR JUST LAUGHING. UP TO THIS TIME I FEAR PASSING THROUGH CONGO. I WOULD RATHER USE THE TUTA ROAD.

  24. vote

    IN MY SEARCH FOR FACTS I HAVE READ A LOT ABOUT ALICE LENSHINA. I WAS SO PURTABED (UPSET) THAT EVERYTHING THE UNIP GOVERNMENT SAID ABOUT HER WAS ABSOLUTE FALSE. I WAS EVEN SHOCKED TO SEE PICTURES OF SLAUGHTERED PEOPLE AND BURNT-TO-ASHES VILLAGES:
    *******************
    ALL THOSE ZAMBIANS IN MOKAMBO MUST BE BROUGHT BACK TO THEIR RIGHTFULL COUNTRY AND COMPENSATED FOR THE CRIMES COMMITED UNTO THEM INCLUDING MUMBA YACHI. IN FACT IT IS MY GREAT WONDER WHETHER THIS HUMBLE BUT VERY BRIGHT MUSICIAN WITH A PASSION FOR ZAMBIA DESERVES IMPRISONMENT/INCARCERATION. JUDGE FOR YOURSELF.

  25. vote

    I have a copy of the book. Call me on 0977 442 534. If you read then you will understand better than being cheated by KK and his supporters.

  26. vote

    NO WONDER IN HIS SONGS HE SINGS THAT WE ARE STILL HAUNTED BY OURSELVES. JUST LIKE THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT HAS STARTED COMPENSATING THE KENYANS THE BRITISH AND ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENTS SHOULD START COMPENSATING THE CHINSALI PEOPLE WHO WHERE DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THIS MASS MURDER BY THE TWO GOVERNMENTS.

  27. vote

    MUMBA YACHI IS JUST ONE SERIOUS VICTIM OF THE PAST ATROCITIES AND HE MUST BE COMPENSATED AS A PERSON WHOSE MOST RELATIVES DIED AS A RESULT OF THIS ATROCITIES AGAINST THE BEMBA PEOPLE OF CHINSALI. MUMBA YACHI IS JUST LUCKY THAT SOME OF HIS PARENTS RAN INTO CONGO.

  28. vote

    OPENING UP CLOSED WOUNDS AND RUBBING THEM WITH COURSE SALT…EISHHHHH! YOU BELIEVED SO MUCH PROPAGANDA THAT UNIP FED YOU WITH….NO PERSON WAS MADE TO FLY NOR ANY WAS GIVEN URINE TO DRINK. PROPAGANDA PROPAGANDA ……..

  29. +1
    0
    vote

    Mumba Yachi is a Zambian citizen and history will judge all Zambians harshly. Yachi returned home and he must not be treated as a foreigner in his own homeland. He knows that he does not belong to DRC and his roots are anchored in Zambia where his grandmother was born, but forcibly driven out by a corrupt dictatorial KK regime. Zambians must not persecute each other. Jews believe in embracing each other as one family, hence, every Jew around the globe is automatically an Israeli citizen. Thus, for Zambia to be economically and militarily strong like Israel, it must equally adopt the Israel’s policy. Viva UPND and HH.

  30. vote

    TITLE MAYBE MISLEADING:

    “Mumba Yachi – A victim of the Lenshina Ghost?”

    ALICE LENSHINA WAS FIGHTING FOR THE LIBERATION OF ZAMBIA.

  31. 0
    -1
    vote

    if she told people that she used to speak to God people are there witnesses to refute that God had indicated to them that he never used her. Today people listen to bushiri and people listen its there right. if they felt she was sent by God why kill them after all heaven is an individual concern not even our leaders can stop someone from believing what they want its there spiritual right

  32. +1
    0
    vote

    Jere loves writing nonsense. what’s this:where they established themselves especially in Mokambo in Lubumbashi on the border with Mufulira.
    Lubumbashi is far inside DRC. Mokambo isn’t in Lubumbashi. Mokambo is on the border between Zambia and DRC. Mufulira isn’t a country. I thought people who go to school to study owed the rest of us clarity

  33. vote

    pipo comment on issues they dont know abt! Lumpas are still united, abt us ask Kalumbu Lumpa ZNBC,librarian.I am a christian but do not forget my history

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here