Lozi mythology

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The main function of Lozi mythology is to show that the original Lozi people (the Luyi or Luyana) were dwellers on the Barotse Floodplain of the upper Zambezi River and that they are, therefore, entitled to claim unchallenged title to that homeland. Secondly, Lozi mythology gives legitimacy to the Lozi kingdom's foundations, by linking the monarchy and the people to a creator god, whom the Lozi call Nyambe.

The name Nyambe means "he who does not speak" in the Luyana language. Nyambe's wife was Nasilele (which means "she who is associated with long things") and his mother was Ngula (which means "she who is pregnant"). Nyambe is said to have created both his wife and his mother. He is also said to have created everything else that exists, including the heaven, the Earth and all the plants and animals.

The founding myths

The Lozi founding myth is not cast in stone, there are several versions of it, depending on who is telling the story. Like any other oral tradition, it has changed with the passage of time, but there are some elements that do not change, such as the name of the creator god, the name of the first man, and the name of the first sovereign.

The three versions of the Lozi founding myth given below are not the only ones.

Nyambe flees from Kamunu

One of Nyambe's creations was Kamunu, the first human being. Nyambe gave Kamunu the task of naming all the other creations and told the human being that all the animals were his siblings....
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