This developed over time into
today's Silozi, spoken by around 700,000 people as their first language. Most of these people live or originate in what is now western Zambia
and the Caprivi region of north-eastern Namibia (the former kingdom of Barotseland).
Much discussion takes place today about how the language of the Makololo came to be the basis of the language spoken by the Lozi peoples
considering that Makololo rule was so short. Some suggest that this was because at the time of the overthrow, when all the Makololo men were supposed to have been killed
killed while the women were saved and that these latter were responsible for passing on the language through the children they had with Lozi men.
However, this is an improbable explanation
because there would have been far more non-Sotho women than Sotho in Barotseland at this time. It is far more likely that the very mixed people
who were known as the Makololo and who came to live in Barotseland and Caprivi had become so intermingled with the Luyi by the mid-1860s that at
the time of
the overthrow, it was just the remaining rump of the original Sotho clan who were killed, while the rest of the population had become quite
mixed and already used to speaking a hybrid form of Sesotho (the aforementioned Sikololo), infused with Siluyana.
When the missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society under the Frenchman, Francois Coillard decided to try and enter Barotseland, first in 1878
and later in 1885 to set up
missionary stations and activities, it was partly because they had been told of African peoples not yet exposed to Christian
missionaries that spoke a version of Sesotho, a language that Coillard and his Scottish wife had learnt during their
missionary life in Basutoland. Coillard took with him to Barotseland a group of Sotho evangelists and, over a period of some twenty years,
reinforced the use of Sesotho in preaching and, particularly, in the production of the first bibles which were written in Sikololo with an emphasis
on Sesotho to the detriment of Siluyana, which the missionaries did not understand and made little attempt to learn. As the first
literate people in Barotseland, the missioanaries were also responsible for informing the outside world about language and liguistics in the region.
Meanwhile, Sikololo became known as Silozi and the dictionaries and language books that are used today are nearly all based on those written down by the
Paris missionaries, particularly Adolph Jalla, who was himself an Italian.
Very few people today are able to speak or write much of the original Siluyana language and part of the 'Living History of the Lozis Project'
being conducted by Barotseland.com is concerned with the preservation and recording of Siluyana. One place where you can be guaranteed of hearing
some of the old language is at public appearances of the Litunga and Litunga la Mboela where praise sayers can be heard extolling the virtues of
the royal personage during the course of their public appearances.
(1985) Lozi Orthography, Department of Bantu Education,
Windhoek, pp. 46.
P.R. (1970) ‘Sesotho-Lozi: a clue to the evolution of multi-level tonal
systems,’ Journal of African Languages, 9, 153-64.
H. M. (1984) Lilimi la Silozi: Litopa ze
Burger, J.P. (1960) An English-Lozi Vocabulary, Book Depot of
Missionary Society, Sefula, pp.
S. (1914) Sikololo: notes on the grammar with a vocabulary, pp. 53.
E.D. (1998) ‘Silozi and
K. Legère ed. Cross-Border Languages: Reports and Studies – Regional
Workshops on Cross-Border Languages, Okahandja, 23-27 September 1996,
D.B. and Mutimushi, J.M. (1971) ‘A Checklist of Plant Names in the Lozi
Languages’, Ministry of Rural Development,
G. (1977) An Outline of Silozi Grammar, Bookworld Publishers, Lusaka, pp. 106.
Max (1942) ‘Prefix concordance in Lozi, lingua franca of
Studies, 1, 105-114.
W.A.R. (1950) Simple Silozi, Longmans,
, pp. 107.
D.F. (1964) ‘Morphology of the Substantive in Lozi,’
‘Some Lozi riddles and tongue-twisters annotated and analysed,’ African
Studies, 25, 3, 139-158.
‘Morphology of the Verb in Lozi,’ MA thesis,
, pp. 308.
‘The parentage and development of Lozi’ Journal
of African Languages, 11, 2, 127-49.
Jacottet, E. (1896)Etudes sur les Langues du Haut Zambèze,
E. Leroux, Paris.
Adolphe (1917a) Sikololo-English Dictionary, pp. 205.
English-Sikololo dictionary, pp. 159.
Elementary Grammar of the Sikololo Language, pp.102.
Dictionary of the Lozi language, London.
Elementary Grammar of the Lozi Language, United Society for
Christian Literature, pp. 108.
E.N. (1958) Silozi Note Book, Longmans,
Cape Town, pp. 46.
Factor of Language in Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda Foundation, Lusaka, pp. 164.
G.A.M. (1949) English-Lozi Phrase Book,
Macmillan, London, pp. 53.
M. (2000) Lozi Names in Language and Culture, International Centre for Bantu
Civilizations, Libreville, pp. 320.
David (185-) [No title: vocabularies of eight Bantu languages], Grey Collection
at the South African Libraries, Cape Town, pp. 35.
R.M. (1991) Silozi-English Phrase Book, Kenneth Kaunda Foundation, pp. 83.
Peter (1989) ‘Enhancing Mutual Intelligibility among Sesotho, Setswana and
Silozi: Problems and Prospects,’ University
M. W. (1977) Introduction to Silozi Grammar, Kenneth Kaunda Foundation,
Lusaka, pp. 168.
K.E. (1958) Silozi Note Book, Longmans, Cape Town, pp. 46.
O. (1993) English-Silozi Dictionary,
Educational Publishing House, Lusaka, pp. 362.
D. E. C. and Thomas, A.W. (1915) ‘Sikololo phrase book.’
A Comparative Vocabulary of Sikololo-Silui-Simbunda, Bale &
Danielsson, London, pp. 40.
L. () ‘De toonstructuur van het Lozi (Kololo), de taal van
Filologencongres, 17, 1947-1948.
Most of the above
publications are out of print although a Jalla-derived dictionary is usually
available in bookshops in
, Mongu and
Livingstone. For children there is a 7-part collection of Silozi language
trainers in the series 'Ihatisizwe Iwapili' published by the Kenneth Kaunda
between 1990 and 1994
which is currently in use in schools that teach Silozi.