Mission statement and objectives
The Living history of the Lozis project sets out to investigate as fully as possible the history of the land and peoples
of the Upper Zambezi Valley. Much of this vibrant history has perhaps never been previously uncovered or set down for
various reasons. In the context of the twenty-first century, the objectives of such a project are important to relate.
1. To obtain and record the history of the Lozi peoples recognizing that this history links geographical spaces in not only in Zambia, where the heartland of the Lozi kingdom has historically been situated, but also in Namibia, Botswana, Angola and Zimbabwe.
2. To trace that history back to its earliest roots in myths and legends through the use of oral as well as written history by consulting existing secondary work and primary resources such as archival documents and sources in various locations, newspapers and, most particularly, peoples own recollections of past events in their own time and those handed down by their parents and ancestors.
3. To analyse and interpret that history in order to define and explain the sense of identity and citizenship experienced by Lozis in mulitilocal places, recognising that these have become spatially hybridised in contemporary society as a result of differential colonial experiences.
4. To make the history of the Lozis available to the Lozi people in an intelligible form through the mediums of Silozi and English so that Lozi people can take possession of their history and heritage and so understand their place in the world and that of others. In other words, to make Lozi history into an accessible cultural artefact that the people themselves can call their own as they have been the main participants and should therefore be the main beneficiaries of such work. Three levels of product are envisaged, academic in the format of theses and dissertations (published in book and academic journals where feasible), book, magazine and pamphlet form in everyday language, and in children's' stories to be made available in affordable, illustrated booklets.
5. To make the history of the Lozis available to all others, including externally based participants in Lozi history such as the surrounding peoples of Africa with whom the Lozis have interacted over the generations and the peoples of the ex-colonial powers. By so doing, awareness must be raised, particularly in the old colonial metropoles that the history of this part of Africa is their history too and that a more active role can be played by those participants in the sustainable development and upliftment of the Lozi peoples with whom, the British, in particular, developed a close relationship in the past.
6. To actively assist in the enhancement of the Nayuma Museum and Resource Centre in Limulunga, Barotseland by the acquirement of documents, books, papers and maps relevant to the history and socio-culture of the Lozi peoples. Also to procure and deliver a complete IT suite to be based in the resource centre to be used for the creation of databases and a library as well as for the creation and preservation of data, Internet access and the use of the most up-to date methods of communication such as e-mail and fax. The sort of equipment it is envisaged to utilise would include a powerful desktop computer and monitor, laser printer, scanner, digital camera and appropriate software. Training would also be provided to suitable candidates recruited to work in the Resource Centre under the tutelage of the Museum Director.
As the Resource Centre develops it is suggested that at least one Lozi scholar be based at Limulunga to train in and develop academic skills in Lozi history and heritage. Assistance with the necessary training would be forthcoming. Chargeable facilities could also be proffered to overseas researchers at competitive but fair rates. Accommodation and the servicing of such individuals could be provided at the centre and at selected locations in the community. It is also suggested that screening and certain conditionalities should apply to the provision of research access to external scholars to ensure that Lozi culture and heritage is not misappropriated by individuals engaged in commercial and/or political activities that could harm the Lozi Royal Establishment and other traditional authorities in the region or engender animosities or ill-feeling on the part of governments or other bodies. Also, in the past, externally-based scholars have appropriated the Lozi heritage for academic and other purposes for personal gain and have left little or nothing behind from their activities constituting a form of theft. Assistance would be offered with this screening. It is further envisaged that such a resource centre might be of benefit to organisations engaged in projects related to the development of the Lozi homelands who could make positive usage of information held by the Centre.
7. As a by product of the above history project, to investigate the possibilities and obtain the funds through the launch of a UK-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) for a Barotse Information Technology Centre for the general public to be located in the first instance at Mongu. This should be a non-profit making organisation to be administered by a non-salaried trust, possibly comprising a senior member of the Barotse Royal Establishment, a senior member of the regional administration of the Zambian Government and a Director of the aforementioned NGO. Facilities would include computing, printing, photocopying, scanning, Internet, e-mail and training in IT to be provided at affordable rates for the upliftment of the local skills base and for the access of local business and civil society in general. A locally based IT specialist would have to be trained and located close to the Centre for the purposes of maintenance. This objective would take place against the backdrop of the extortionately high cost of modern IT in Zambia and in particular in Western Province and the resultant exclusion of most of the local population as a result. Assistance with this project would be sought from external bodies such as the major IT multi-national corporations, the British department for International Development as well as charities and other bodies. The primary purpose of this objective would be sustainable development for the local people.
8. To produce and maintain a website devoted to the dissemination of information about the Lozi people, their history and culture in a non-partisan and non-political manner to bring about a better knowledge of the Lozi people amongst both African and non-African diasporas. This website would become known as 'www.barotseland.com' a domain name that has already been reserved. The website would feature aspects of Lozi culture and heritage as well as the social geography of the sub-region and would promote such concepts as tourism and conservation of the culture and environment.