History Of The Mwila People Of Angola

The Mwila (Mwela or Mumuila) tribe is an ethnic group of semi-nomadic men living around Huila, Southern Angola.

Originally, the Mwila people came out from Nyaneka-Khumbi of the Haumpata Plateau in South West of Angola. They speak Nyaneka-Humbi; spelt as Haneca Nkumbi which is still part of the Bantu Language Family.

According to an oral history, the Mwila were forced to migrate to Huila in the 17th century from Quilengues, due to a great drought that broke out. They arrived Huila and invade the owners of the area; the Chimbemba.

After capturing the land, King Soba led the people till 19th century.

The Mwila being semi-nomadic, depended on agriculture. Their economy has been as a result of the farm breeds. The yam, beans, and maize. They are also herdsmen that keeps cattle, goat, sheep, and fowl for commercial purposes. During the market day, their women will journey as far as 50 kilometers to Huila market where goods are being sold or bought.

They exchange their goods with things they need like blanket, wine, salt, and sugar.

History Of The Mwila People Of Angola
Mwila man and his wife (image credit: google.com)

The Mwila doesn’t allow the mention of people’s name, publicly. You are known by your special hairstyle.

Their women are mandated to have their forehead shaved off. They believe it to be a sign beauty.
The women paint their hair with a red earthen paste; Oncula. They call their hairstyle Nontombi which always come either in four to six dreads, but they make it three when they’re mourning a close person.


History Of The Mwila People Of Angola
Mwila children (image credit: google.com)

They also have their locally made necklace of earth and beads which they periodically wear. Their young girls wear heavy red necklace, on reaching puberty; they wear a mud necklace called Vikeka which is yellow in color, but after marriage they would start wearing Vilanda – a stacked up mud-made beads which they never take off even on sleeping.

The Mwila have a head chief who oversees the well-being of the community and is been assisted by a headman and elders who carries out instructions by the headman like settling conflicts among the community.

They are polytheist. They worship different gods according to their needs, and ancestral worship in the land is the visible. They offer animal sacrifices to appease the gods, seek protection and blessings from their ancestors.