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"Turning challenges into opportunities, developing the land and peoples of the Upper Zambezi Valley"

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Paddling across the flooded plain during the Kuomboka
Welcome to
Barotseland.net


See what people are saying about Development in Barotseland

Urban scene - Mongu, capital and chief town of Western Province, Zambia

Welcome to Barotseland.net or 'B'net' for short! B'net is dedicated to an understanding of the rich historical geography of the Upper Zambezi River Valley, much of which is populated today by the Lozi peoples who are largely located in Western Province, Zambia. B'net examines how the past can explain the present and enable us to plan for the future in this vibrant region. After Zambian independence in November 1964, the heart of this land became known briefly as Barotse Province and, from 1968, as Western Province, Zambia. Before 1964, however, present-day Western Province was known as Barotseland, home of the Lozi kingdom, centred on the fertile Bulozi floodplain. The Lozi Kingdom's influence spread variously, over time, From the apex of northwestern Zimbabwe and from Caprivi (in present-day Namibia) north to the present day border betweeen Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and from south-eastern Angola west to the Kafue. The Lozi nation today comprises over 25 peoples united by shared history, culture and ecosystems. The history of the Valley is richly endowed with stories of migration, conquest, wealth, poverty, power and conflict, environmental change and economic potential. Fascinatingly also, this history also talks of cooperation with outsiders, pragmatism and a search for peace and prosperity.

B'net aims to research and provide access to knowledge and information about the Upper Zambezi Valley and, whilst our focus is learning about the past, the objective of this is to support sustainable development that seeks to uplift the lives and livelihoods of people in the region whilst caring for the unique biophysical environment. The following is a list of our current work themes:

  • Climate change and developmen: vulnerability assessment and adaptation action
  • Local Knowledge Bank - to be located at Nayuma Museum, Limulunga, comprising information and knowledge about the region and its peoples in social, economic and cultural contexts
  • The 'Living History of the Lozis Project' - reproducing a social history of the region and creating local value from history, heritage and culture
  • Health education and creation of value for people affected by health problems in a region where healthcare is sometimes difficult to access
  • Conservation of SiLuyana and Silozi languages and provision of information

B'net has a zero political agenda. B'net was, in the past, a community based organisation which also engaged in participative action, research and sustainable development projects. In 2019, it is simply a website offering information and knowledge. Whilst the website will, in the interests of expediency and practicality, articulate itself predominantly in English for the time being, attention will be paid increasingly to local vernaculars. The Barotseland of old comprises integral components of the postcolonial states of Zambia, Namibia, and Angola. Most of the peoples who live in the region speak Silozi, formerly known as Sikololo, as their main language. Lozi, meanwhile, was just a name given to the Luyi (or Aluyi) peoples by Sotho invaders known as the Makololo who crossed theZambezi (known previously as Lyambai) in the first half of the nineteenth century before their leaders were overthrown in 1864 leaving behind their language and some of their culture. The languages of peoples such as the Mbunda and Subia are among others in use.

In general, the region currently experiences comparatively low levels of socio-economic development although this was by no means the case in the past. This is a matter of concern since uneven development is so often a cause of human insecurity. With that in mind, the main mission of B'net is to provide unbiased and accurate knowledge and information especially of a cultural and historical nature, to offer reasoned explanations of the present and to better enable governments, administrators, NGOs and development analysts as well as traditional authorities to plan for a more secure and prosperous future for the region.

Whether you are a Lozi yourself, have worked, studied or lived in the region or are just interested in learning more about this fascinating land and its peoples, we thank you for your interest and look forward to welcoming you back regularly to B'net and to the Upper Zambezi valley itself, situated in the heart of Africa. Call again soon!

PS - Please accept our sincere apologies that, as of August 2019, several parts of this website are outdated and many links may not work. Many pages and sections currently include text referring to Barotseland.com which was the name of our old organisation but which is no longer in use due to the loss of our previous website of that name. Any reference to Barotseland.com should be reviewed as being Barotseland.net. It is our hope, will and ambition to correct all faulty elements and to gradually update the content throughout 2019 and 2020. A contact mailing address will be provided shortly, in particular so that visitors may offer support and corrections where we make errors which are unintentional but may be many. Ni itumezi hahulu (thank you very much).

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