Seba people

Seba / Kunda

Kunda / Seba / Akunda

he Kunda or Akunda people are an ethnic group of Mambwe District of Eastern Province of Zambia. They number approximately at 250,000 people. They speak Chikunda, a Bantu language closely related to Bisa and Nsenga.

The Seba people are found in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo.  The Ethnologue) locates the Seba in Katanga Province, Kasenga Territory.  The Seba people live along the border of Zambia's Northwestern Province.

Most Kunda live on the eastern bank of the Luangwa River near South Luangwa National Park. Every August, they celebrate an annual festival called the Malaila Traditional Ceremony.

Kunda People



Like most ethnic groups in DRC, the Seba are a Bantu people, a term deriving from linguistic classification terms.  The Bantu-speaking peoples migrated east, west and south out of Central Africa sometime around the time of Christ, or a little before.  No information was found about the specific history of the Seba people.

Dr. Francisco José de Lacerda e Almeida (1753 – 18 October 1798) the Portuguese explorer who led a Portuguese expedition to the Kazembe region of Zambia, does not mention the Kunda people.[1]

Silva Porto on his 1852 expedition mentions the Kunda people, “Where the Luangwa is crossed begins the territory of the Cunda.”[2]

David Livingstone during his 1868 visit to the Awemba country makes a sketch drawing of an “Akunda” person with facial tribal markings.[3]

The Kunda people were part of the later migrations from the Congo basin after the collapse of the Luba and Lunda kingdoms.

According to Marten and Kula (2007:298)[4] the majority of the languages in Zambia are Bantu languages and most of them are as a result of the slow processes of migration, language contact, and language shift which begun in present-day Nigeria and Cameroon around 300 BC going eastwards to East Africa and southwards to the Congo basin and Southern Africa by the Eighteenth Century. As they migrated south, they split even further into smaller groups.


Identity reports a Seba population of 249,000.  The The Ethnologue reported a population of 167,000 speakers of the language in 2002.  The Seba people are a Bantu group with a language related to those classified in the Yaka group.  They are also called Kunda.  There are several peoples named Kunda in Africa.  Other names for the Seba or their language are Sewa and Shishi.



The Ethnologue lists the language under the name Seba, but notes it is also called Kunda.  The language is a member of the Bantu family of languages and is classified as a member of the group called Bisa.  The Seba language is also known by the following names: Sewa, Shishi, Kunda, Konts and Kots.  The Ethnologue comments further that the speech of the Seba people is distinct from Kunda dialect of Lusengo, the Kunda of Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the Senga-Sena group, the Kunda dialect of Nyanja, and the Konda dialect or language in Mongo group.


Religion reports the religion of the Seba people as Roman Catholic, with no evangelical believers.  No further details could be found from sources on the status of religion or Christian faith related to the Seba people of DRC.