Did You Know…?

Did You Know…?


*Namwala is an area where the Cattle Population is more than the Human Population?*

Location & Population

Namwala District is a district of Zambia, located in Southern Province. As of the 2000 Zambian Census, the district had a population of 82,810 people. Meanwhile, according to the Namwala District Council, the cattle population in the area is at 132,797.


The name Namwala is believed to have been derived from a unique stone (mwala) which allegedly fell from the skies and dropped into the Kafue River near Southern Water and Sewerage Company offices. With footprints of different kinds of animals, the stone can only be viewed by a few lucky people, when water subsides.


Ila is the predominant language spoken in the area, but English remains the official language.


Namwala covers an area of approximately 10,000 square kilometers. Namwala town has a population of over 5,000 people. It lies on the southern bank of the Kafue River at 996 metres above sea level. It houses the administrative offices of Namwala District and is the principal town of the Ila people who inhabit the district. They are famous for their large herds of cattle with livestock farming, not surprisingly, their main economic activity. Other major settlement areas in the district are Kabulamwanda, Muchila, Maala, Mbeza and Chitongo.


The district is also well known for, its Shimunenga traditional ceremony. This spectacular event that takes place around September/October of every year at Maala village. The Ila people, the traditional inhabitants of Namwala District, engage mostly in cattle herding, fishing, hunting and subsistence farming. As a symbol of prestige, the traditional Ila do not routinely eat their cattle.. However, drought and disease have affected the cattle population.

The Ila are closely related in language and culture to their more numerous Tonga neighbours in Southern Province. The Ila speaking people of Zambia reside mainly in the administrative districts of Namwala, Itezhi-Tezhi and Mumbwa spread over seventeen chiefdoms.


The district is characterised by dry hot weather from September to October, warm to hot and rainy weather from November to April and gets cold and windy from May to August.
The annual range of rainfall is 800-1,100mm.


The main river is the Kafue and has a braided channel of the Kafue called Namwala River, which uniquely runs throughout the year.
These are the main sources of water for drinking for both humans and animals.

Population distribution

With an annual growth rate of 2.2 percent, the 2010 population census results show a figure of 101,589. The majority of the population is concentrated in major settlement areas of the district such as Namwala town, Kabulamwanda, Muchila, Maala, Mbeza, Chitongo, Kantengwa, Ichila, Baambwe, Ndema and Itapa.

The district has 14 wards of which Nakamboma has the highest population of 13,974 inhabitants followed by Namwala Central with 11,522, according to the Central Statistical 2010 population and housing census.


Namwala has a government-run district hospital based in the town centre.
There is at least one clinic in each of the 14 wards.


Dominated by cattle ranching, agriculture is the mainstay of the district’s economy.
Crop production is also carried out among the 18,000 farmers, mostly small-scale. Livestock production is the main occupation of the local people with most households rearing cattle.