Source Not Yet established but it is great to know and Learn everyday! ORIGINAL NAMES OF ZAMBIAN TOWNS: WHY THE DISTORTION?Every name be it of a person or place has a meaning ; nothing was named from without or in abstract, there is some background to every name.
What disturbs me most is how we have failed to pronounce names of our towns insteady opted to adopt the pronunciation and orthography of distorted names by foreigners due to their mother tongue interference. Proudly or can I call it shamelessly we pronounce and write European and American names correctly. ” Avondale, High ridge Northmead etc.” Zimbabwe showed its indigenous pride by reverting to original names of their towns and pronounce them with real Shona/Ndebele accent eg Zvishavane from distorted Shabane, Hwange from Wankie.
Let’s look at Zambian names: In 1930, the first white explorers on their way from Broken hill to Ndola rested in a village on a hill called Kapili mukoshi which means the hill with a neck in Swaka. Later on they named the village Kapiri mposhi , and today after independence we still maintain the meaningless name.
In 1936, Collier, an explorer, after discovering copper in chief Nkana’s chiefdom, he sent a report to Broken hill, Kabwe, which was the head quarter for all areas north of Lusaka. Instead of saying he discovered copper along Ichitwe stream, he wrote Kitwe stream. Ichitwe is that stream passing through Parklands joining kafue. Lamba hunters discovered a head of an elephant along that stream and called it Ichitwe. Sadly after independence, we still call Ichitwe Kitwe. What about Luanshya? Luanshya is a Lamba name which means place of antelopes “lwa nsha” but the same Collier when killed a roan antelope discovered that where the animal fell was littered with copper ore, he then named the mine Roan and the village Luanshya. Its only Chililabombwe which was reverted to its correct and original name from Bancroft. Chililabombwe was a Lamba village which had a pool of water with a lot of frogs, hence the name which means Crying frogs in Lamba. Mufulira comes from a Lamba word, “Mulifulile” meaning place of abundance. It takes its name from a small tributary of Kafue river. Moir and Grey who were working for the Rhodesian Congo border concession discovered copper in 1923 and in their map they wrote Mufulira.
The most interesting name is Sefula secondary school in Mongu, did you know that the name Sefula comes from Sifulansi which means French? The first white missionaries to settle in Barotseland where the Paris missionaries who spoke French and the mission was called Keleke ya Sifulansi by locals meaning French mission or place where French is spoken and later distorted to Sefula
Other distorted names are: Mongu instead of Mungu, Senanga instead of Sinanga, Mumbwa instead of Mumba, Solwezi instead of Kolwezi, Zambezi instead of Yambezhi, Siavonga instead of Siabonga, Itezhi tezhi instead Mezhi a tezhi etc
Who is to blame for the distortion of our beautiful names? And why have we continued using such meaningless names? Is it ignorance or lack of pride in our local and mother tongues? We should be ashamed of ourselves for pronouncing and writing foreign names correctly but failing to correct the mistakes in our own languages