The Kunda people are an offshoot of the Bisa tribe; the Bisa from the Luba Empire of the Congo Basin.
It is thought that the Kunda split from the Bisa, while the Bisa were settled along the Luapula River. This breakaway group moved eastward towards the Luangwa River in around 1840s. At this time the major slave trading had not started. We do know, though, that some Bisa had been involved in the slave and elephant tusk trade between the Kazembe Lunda and the Portuguese for some time.
The leader of the Kunda, who chose to secede from his father was known as Mambwe. It is not known how they gained the name Kunda, but it is thought possible that it was a place name. The old folk also mention that they were known as the Awetwe. The royal clan has the totem, Chulu, meaning Ant Hill, although some chose the name Mbawo, meaning ‘minute insect’.