The Kuomboka is an annual traditional ceremony celebrated by the Lozi People of the Western Province of Zambia. The ceremony commemorates the seasonal movement of the Paramount Chief, the Litunga from the flood plains to higher land hence the name Kuomboka which means 'getting out of water'.
The Litunga has a palace at Lealui in the Zambezi/Barotse plain. The plain begins to flood from about mid December and by March the Litunga and his people are required to move away from the water to higher land where he has a palace called Limulunga which means ‘rumours or unfounded stories’.
The ceremony begins with the beating of the Maoma Royal War Drum to summon all the paddlers from various parts of Lozi land, 2 days before the actual journey. The sound of the Maoma can be head 15km away from Lealui. On the day of the Kuomboka, the Mutango(the oldest royal drum in the Lozi History) is played at Limbetelo, to announce that the Litunga is ready for the Journey to Limulunga.
The Litunga travels in the Nalikwanda(Royal Barge). It is usually paddled by 120 skillful men and is the first to start off with the Notila, Matende, Mbolyanga, Sabelele, Nalikena and hundreds of other boat following behind.
Once the Nalikwanda docks at Limulunga harbour, men wearing traditional kilts called Liziba perform the royal salute while women wearing their traditional attire called Misisi and Libaki dance and sing Limeka and Liimba which are strictly dances performed by women. The Litunga then disembarks from the Nalikwanda and goes to the royal pavillion called Lutatai.
The paddlers perform the warrior dance Lishoma and then make the royal salute. At this time, a lot of dances are performed and a speech from the guest of honour who is usually the Republican President, is given and this marks the closure of the ceremony.