Emil Holub 1885

Toka (Tonga).  Ila.  Totela.  Lozi.

Emil Holub returned to Prague after his first trip to the Zambezi River in 1875.  He had taken with him many items from the trip which he had hoped to use in a new museum devoted to Africana.  This never happened and his collection was spread around many museums.  He wrote articles for magazines, gave lectures and wrote his first book about his travels. 

On his return to Africa he came with 6 other aspiring African travellers, 3 of whom died very early on before even reaching the Zambezi River.  He had married Rosa Hof, 18 years his junior, who also joined the party.

At the time, Loziland was in turmoil.  Sepopo had been killed in 1876, the kingship being taken over by Mwanawina II.  Mwanawina II’s reign only lasted for two years when he too was ousted in a coup by Lubosi (Lewanika) in 1878.  In 1884, Lubosi was ousted and replaced by Akafuna Tatila.  Finally, in 1885 Lubosi regained his throne but began many revenge attacks on anyone suspected of supporting Akafuna Tatila. 

The whole empire under Lozi control was unpredictable and in a state of turmoil as Lubosi consolidated his position as king.  All the people who lived under Lozi rule had become fearful and often unfriendly.    The Lozi empire, at this time included much of the land from their capital at Lealui up to the Kafue River.  It is no surprise, therefore, that Emil Holub’s last trip into our region was often fraught with danger and ended in failure.

Because of the unsettled state of the nation, Emil Holub was forced to hire porters from one village to the next as few people were willing to accompany him for the whole journey.  He needed 90 porters at the start to carry all the items for barter – mostly cloth and beads.  Payment for porters was usually a ‘sitsiba’, which is 2 metres of cloth.  This was enough, usually, for 2-3 day journey from one village to the next. 

To read more: https://traditionalzambia.home.blog/white-tribe/emil-holub-1885/

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