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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Ubutwa Society in Eastern Shaba and Northeast Zambia to 1920
Author:Musambachime, Mwelwa C.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subjects:secret societies
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/220971
Abstract:This paper discusses the role and function of Ubutwa, a society that operated in Eastern Shaba Region of Zaire and northeast Zambia in the precolonial and early colonial periods. It covered an area stretching from Kalemie (formerly Albertville) in the north to the lower Chambeshi river in the south. The Ubutwa society was embraced by the following ethnic groups: Tabwa, Lungu, Bwile, Shila, Zela, Bwilile, Ushi, Batwa, Unga, and Bisa. In each area, it operated in a decentralized fashion with autonomous lodges operating among clusters of villages. It was not a religious cult, having no shrines or priests. It was just a voluntary organization organized like a club with an open membership that transcended kinship, family or clan ties and ethnic boundaries. The paper deals with the origins of Ubutwa, its organization, its role and functions, annual ceremonies, the initiation ceremony, the influence of missionary enterprise between 1870 and 1910, and the decline of Ubutwa activities during the colonial period. It shows that Ubutwa societies did not in any way oppose the advent of colonial rule. The organizational structure of Ubutwa crumbled in the face of attacks by missionaries and administrative officials. No effective organization emerged to replace these precolonial structures. Notes, ref.