Published June 23, 2019
This video was recorded by Chabota Kanguya in Zambia. Bem is broadly spoken within Zambia, a popular language of urban areas, and considered the most widely spoken indigenous language of Zambia. The Bemba people are recognized as descendants of the Luba Kingdom, an empire that occupied the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo and north-eastern Zambia from the late 16th century to the late 19th century, and was comprised of smaller kingdoms linked by extensive trade. Bemba is a diverse language bridging many dialects, and some closely related languages such as Lamba have occasionally been considered part of the Bemba continuum. The dialects of Bemba are spoken by neighboring tribes who at various times have fallen under Bemba influence (Lomotwa, Ngoma, Nwesi, Chishinga, Kabende, Luunda, Mukulu, Ng’umbo, and Unga), and their status as independent or incorporated within Bemba is sometimes controversial. Bemba is spoken by roughly 4,110,000 people internationally and is a Southern Bantoid language within the Atlantic-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family.