The Ark of Covenant for the Bemba People now lies in the National Museums of Scotland- Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba


By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

The Ark of Covenant for the Bemba People now lies in the National Museums of Scotland

● Ubwanga Bwe Lamfya, (the Ark of Covenant), provided protection for warriors and was carried to the battlefield. In the War Council for the planning of military undertakings, the horn pointed to the direction of the enemy.

The last known Ubwanga bwe Lamfya was taken by Scottish missionaries and exported to the United Kingdom (between 1890-1930) and now lies in the African Collections of National Museums of Scotland.

This artifact had spiritual and symbolic significance for the bemba people and it’s time that it was returned to Zambia and probably placed in our national museums.

Picture below of the Ubwanga Bwe Lamfya;

Antelope horn decorated with an iron bell, Palm Civet (Nandinia binotata) skins and a length of red cotton cloth, attached to a woven basket core, known as a ilamfia, used for divination in warfare:
Collected from Africa, Southern Africa, Zambia, Tanganyika Plateau, Awemba, late 19th century


  1. Thank you Amb. Mwamba for the informative piece. I just used to hear about it when late Zambia Episcopal Conference General Secretary and my former Ichibemba teacher at Lubushi Seminary, Fr. Ignatius Mwebe, would provide us with guided reading in Form 2 of F. Tanguy’s book Imilandu Ya Babemba. At least I now have a bit more understanding of the traditions and culture of my maternal Bemba ancestors. It is worth reading that book again. We need to have as a country an inventory of all cultural artifacts stolen from Zambia at a time when there is movement in Africa and Europe to have our tangible cultural heritage stolen from us by European colonialists returned to the continent.


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