Edited by Azizi Powell
This post provides information about Kenya's Kamba (Akamba) ethnic group and information about the Kamba Cuá Cua population of Paraguay, South America.
Videos in this post highlight some traditional (Kenyan) Kamba dances and dances performed by Paraguay's Kamba Cuá dance tropes.
The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT KENYA'S KAMBA ETHNIC GROUP
"The Kamba tribe, also called the Akamba, is a Bantu ethnic group residing in the semi - arid Eastern Province of Kenya. Their homeland stretches east from Nairobi towards the Tsavo and Northeast to Embu...,
As the fifth largest tribe, Kambas make up about 11 percent of Kenya's total population. They speak the Kamba (or Kikamba) language...
The Kamba tribe is renowned for their exceptional woodcarving and basketry skills....
Kamba religion, faith and beliefs
Many Kamba people are Christians; however, some still practice the old traditional beliefs. The Akamba people believe in a monotheistic, invisible and transcendental god, Ngai or Mulungu, who lives in the sky (yayayani). This god is also referred to as Asa or the Father. He is perceived as the omnipotent creator of life on earth and as a merciful, if distant, entity.
The Akamba people's love of music and dance is evident in their impressive performances throughout their daily lives and during special occasions. In these dances, the Akamba display agility and athletic skill as they perform acrobatics and remarkable body movements. Dances are usually accompanied by songs composed for the occasion (marriage, birth, national holiday) and reflect the traditional structure of the Kikamba song, sung on a pentatonic scale. The singing is lively and melodic. Songs are composed satirizing deviant behavior, anti-social activity or love. The Akamba also have famous work songs, such as Ngulu Mwalala, sung while they are digging. Herdsmen and boys have different songs, as do the young and old."...
The most comprehensive internet text and photographic source that I've found about Kenya's Kamba people is http://kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com/2014/06/kamba-people-intelligent-brave-skillful.html
WARNING: All "Trip Down Memory Lane" pages that I've come across unfortunately have been spammed with explicit sexual text.
Here's a brief excerpt about the Kamba people from that blog:
Monday, June 9, 2014
"KAMBA PEOPLE: INTELLIGENT, BRAVE, SKILLFUL CRAFT MEN, DRUMMING AND DANCING PEOPLE OF KENYA WHO ALSO FOUNDED AFRICAN TOWNS IN PARAGUAY
The Kamba (Akamba in the plural) or Wakamba are agriculturalist, music and dance-loving as well as Kikamba-speaking people of Bantu extraction living in the semi-arid Eastern Province of Kenya stretching east from Nairobi to Tsavo and north up to Embu, Kenya. The Akamba refer to their land as Ukambani; which is currently constituted by Makueni County, Kitui County and Machakos County. The Maasai call the Akamba - Lungnu and the coastal people call the Akamba – Waumanguo due to their scanty dress.
The Akamba were originally Long distance traders s, but later adopted agriculture due to the arability of the new land that they came to occupy...
Over time, the Akamba extended their commercial activity and wielded economic control across the central part of the land that was later to be known as Kenya (from the Kikamba, 'Kiinyaa', meaning 'the Ostrich Country'), from the Indian Ocean in the east to Lake Victoria in the west, and all the way up to Lake Turkana on the northern frontier. The Akamba traded in locally-produced goods such as cane beer, ivory, brass amulets, tools and weapons, millet, and cattle. The food obtained from trading helped offset shortages caused by droughts and famines."...
Welcome's House, a commenter in the discussion thread for the Kamba Cua given as Video #1 below, indicates that the Bakamba people who are found in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Congo Brazzaville are the same ethnic group as the Wakamba (Akamba) people of Kenya. Is this true?
INFORMATION ABOUT PARAGUAY'S KAMBA CUA PEOPLE
"Afro-Paraguayan are Paraguayans of African descent. They can be found in Camba Cua outside Asuncion; Kamba Kokue outside of Paraguari, and the city of Emboscada. Currently, the Afro-Paraguayan population accounts for 2% of the total population.
The first African slaves arrived at Paraguay in 1556. The majority of the slaves were of Nigerian and Angolan origin, like other black people from any South American country. Thus, according to Argentine historian José Ignacio Telesca, the slaves that entered legally came from the esclavistas ports of Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Córdoba, while those that entered illegally came from Brazil. Thus, the Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza - who reached the Rio de Plata in the 16th century and was appointed its viceroy - brought enslaved Africans to Paraguay to settle them in that place. According to the aforementioned Telesca, more than 4% of the population were slaves in colonial times, keeping the same percentage in the 19th century after independence. However, according to the Kamba Cuá "Afro Paraguayan Association", in 1782, the black population represented 11.2 percent of the total population of the then Province of Paraguay.
This population continued to increase, as already in 1811, according to Telesca, half of the Paraguayan population was of African descent, whether slave or free. So, several towns like Aregua, Emboscada (in English: "Ambush"), and Guarambare were established as black communities.
Also, with the arrival of Artigas' also arrived, curiously, people of Kamba ethnic, a Kenyan ethnic group, from Uruguay, who settled in Paraguay in the 1820s. They arrived in a regiment of 250 spearmen, men and women, who accompanied General Jose Gervasio Artigas, the revolutionary leader of the now Uruguay, in his exile in Paraguay. The Kamba Cua were dispossessed of their land by General Higinio Morinigo in the 1940s. Of his 100 hectares they stayed with 3 hectares.
As already mentioned, there are three communities of Afro-Paraguayan: the Kamba Cuá, in the Central Department (outside Asuncion), Kamba Kokue, meaning "chacra de negros" (farm of blacks) in Guarani language, and is situated in the Paraguarí Department, and Emboscada, in the Cordillera Department. The three communities are in the eastern region. The origins of these settlements dates back to the Spanish colonial period.
Kamba Cuá is the place having the most important Afro Paraguayan community. This place, in the Central Department, is populated by so-called Artigas Cue -or "black of Kamba Cuá"-, which are descended from the Kamba people (a Kenyan ethnic group). They arrived in Paraguay as members of a regiment of 250 spearmen, men and women, who accompanied General Jose Gervasio Artigas, the independence´s leading revolutionary of the Eastern Band (the current Uruguay) in his exile in Paraguay in 1820. After having arrived in Asunción, they settled in the Campamento Loma area, practising dairy and secondary agriculture. However, in the 1940s, they were dispossessed of their land by General Higinio Morinigo. Of his 100 hectares they stayed with 3 hectares. However, the community survived, kept his chapel and dances, created a football club ("Jan Six-ro") and one school of drum and dance for children. His ballet is the only Afro-Paraguayan expression, and premiered at the Folk Festival peach "Uruguay Yi sings in" 1992, where it won the "Golden charrúa"....
Today, according official estimates, about 300 families (between 1,200 and 2,500 people) live in Kumba Cuá. However, according censuses of the Afro Paraguayan Association Kamba Cuá, this community consists of only 422 people. Religion is an integral part of daily life. Currently they are Catholic. His saint is San Benito of Palermo and King San Baltazar, who came from Uruguay. Their main festival is celebrated on 6 January each year at the community's social club named after the patron saint. The important ballet artistic expressions of the Kamba Kua and culinary arts of this community have been maintained for nearly 180 years. Their oral tradition recalls that many of them participated and died in the defensive war against the Triple Alliance (1865–69), which destroyed Paraguay. They keep memories of their history, passed down from generation to generation, hold dances like "candombe", dedicated to San Baltasar, and drumming. So, this community is the best known of African descent in Paraguay for having preserved their identity and culture, promoted through its traditional festivals....
Lázaro Medina, Director of the Ballet Camba Cua
José Carlos Medina, General Secretary of the Kamba Kuá (“black people’s hollow,” or “cave,” in Guaraní) Afro-Paraguayan Association."...
VIDEOS OF KENYAN KAMBA DANCES
Example #1: The dancers in Kitui
MrMuasa Uploaded on Dec 9, 2010
This is traditional Kamba dancers from Kitui in Kenya. The show took place 22 nd of October 2010 at Park Side Villa in Kitui and the 23 rd of october 2010 at Katulani secondary School.
Example #2: Kilumi Dance
Tim Gregory Uploaded on Jan 6, 2011
Kithio Kya Wakaela performing the sacred Kilumi dance of the Kamba, as well as the Mboti dance (the climax of Kilumi). Recorded in Wamunyu, Kenya Nov. 26, 2010.
Example #3: Kamba cultural dance day
Henri RECH Published on Nov 10, 2012
Evènement célébrant des danses traditionnelles du pays Kamba à Yenzuva (district de Mwingi) au Kenya. 14 juillet 2012
Film réalisé par Victor MISSUD, Nicolas ENAUD et Charlotte ALIX
The organizer of this dance day indicated during the interview that he organized this event to teach the children their culture because some of the children’s parents, some people who are thirty years and younger don’t know their culture. So it’s important for these people to come and see the children and learn their culture
[That portion of the interview begins around 3:00 in this video]
Example #4: Kamba Traditional Dance Mbeni
ruthsheilafoundation, Published on Dec 24, 2014
At the Run with Team RSS 2014 Community Day event at Thatha Kithyoko in Machos County Kenya. Ndelekeni Dance Troupe performs "Mbeni" or "Ngulumangye"
VIDEOS OF PARAGUAYAN KAMBA CUA DANCES
Example #1: Kamba Cuá - Afro-Paraguayan
AfroPrideTV Uploaded on Dec 9, 2010
Director, editor, researcher: Jonathan Haase
Videographer, photographer, researcher, corespondent: Eben Haase Take a rare look at the largest Afro-Paraguayan community, Kamba Cua. Includes interviews and rare footage. (Documentary)
This videos is not owned by me.
Jonathan Hasse is the creator of this Documentary.
selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
"This is an excellent video of Kamba Cuá. African descendants are nearly on every land on this earth! We need to wake up our fellow brothers and sisters and let them know how dispersed we really are. We're not just in the United States or Africa, again, we're nearly EVERYWHERE! I will definitely pass this on to my facebook page. Thank YOU!"
"I'm not of Latin American or African heritage, but I have known since childhood that people of African descent - through slavery, migration, or immigration - live in virtually all countries and lands of Latin America, the Caribbean, and many other locations around the world outside Africa."
Dominic Brady, 2012
"Long Live Afro Latinos. Long Live Latin America.
Unfortunately, most of my fellow Americans (including my fellow Asian Americans) think that "black people" only live in the United States and Africa, and maybe in the English- and French-speaking Caribbean."
Francis Muia, 2015
"great to learn we have brothers and sisters in Paraguay"
"We are proud of you as fellow kamba people from Kenya. That is our culture"
Dorothy Nduku, 2016
"I'm a kenyan and kamba by tribe, I just learned I have brothers and sister in Paraguayan."
mango juice, 2016
"holy molly I am kamba kenyan too brother we have brothers in uganda tanzania too ngai nimuseo"
Welcome's House, 2016
"Dorothy Nduku man we also have a big family in Ethiopia, some part in uganda and tanzania, we re plenty in congo Brazzaville. I m a bakamba/ kamba from congo Brazzaville."
Willy Mutua, 2016
"We are pround of you am kamba too from eastern kenya welcome back home"
Rey Avalos, 2016
"Kamba Cua - where the Kamba stay - Cua, means a hole or deep place and 'kamba' I think is an African word and is related to a tribe. So, we can say that "Kamba Cua", means a place where the Kamba stay or live. I am a Paraguayan and I know very little about the existence and lives of the Kamba in Paraguay. I heard about them very seldom. But year by year the Festivals make them known more and more... Congrats to the organizers and we look forward for more festivals in the future. Long Live the Kamba in Paraguay!"
Welcome's House, 2016
"Rey Avalos it s not just an african word it s a tribe in africa, i m a bakamba/ kamba from congo Brazzaville, there are also kambas in ethiopia, kenya, part of uganda and tanzania"
Rey Avalos, 2016
"Hi Welcome's House - and thanks for the reply, 'kamba Cua' is now a mixed word Kamba to signify the tribe of Africa and Cua is a Guarani word meaning 'cave or hole' it is located in Paraguay (South America). I am glad that some people from Africa is getting to know that some of your tribe are living in Paraguay."
"come back to kenya we are still drumming the akamba are known for this"
Welcome's House, 2016
"I am a kamba from congo Brazzaville i m so amazed that you guys know your tribe, origin"
Welcome's House, 2016
"May God bless me i will visit my family in South america, Ethiopia and do some charity work there. I m a bakamba from congo"
Example #2: KAMBA CUA
Jorge Benitez, Published on Jan 8, 2014
Example #3: Gramo / Lourdes Díaz / Kamba Kua: Mas Allá de las Polleras y los Tambores
Gramo Conversaciones, Published on May 16, 2015
"Kambá Kuá" es el nombre utilizado para referirnos a la única comunidad afroparaguaya formada por un aproximado de 2.500 personas, asentada a unos pocos kilometros de la capital de nuestro país. La historia de los “Kambá Kuá” se remonta a tiempos de la colonia, anteriores inclusive a la independencia paraguaya en 1811.
Lourdes es miembro de la comunidad, y como tal, nos transmite animadamente a través de esta charla que combina baile y reflexión, todas las actividades que contribuyen al desarrollo de la comunidad a través del “Grupo Tradicional San Baltazar de Kambá Kuá", mucho mas allá de las polleras y los tambores que tradicionalmente vemos en las festividades de San Baltazar cada 6 de enero.
Google translate from Spanish to English:
Kamba Kua "is the name used to refer to the only afroparaguaya community of approximately 2,500 people, seated a few kilometers from the capital of our country. The history of the" Kamba Kua "dates back to colonial times, even before the Paraguayan independence in 1811.
Lourdes is a member of the community, and as such conveys animatedly through this talk that combines dance and reflection, all activities that contribute to community development through the "Traditional Grupo San Baltazar Kamba Kua", much more beyond skirts and drums traditionally we see in the festivities of San Baltazar every January 6th.
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