Spread the word, there’s a new source for learning Bemba online! The Bemba language, ChiBemba (also spelled Cibemba, Ichibemba, Icibemba and Chiwemba), is a major Bantu language spoken primarily in north-eastern Zambia by the Bemba people and as a lingua franca by about 18 related ethnic groups, including the Bisa people of Mpika and Lake Bangweulu, and to a lesser extent in Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Botswana. According to Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, including all its dialects, Bemba is the most spoken indigenous language in Zambia.
Thanks to Richard Katebe and his work on Kitwe Online, a series of Bemba lessons is now available for you online. Bemba Lesson 5 describes interpersonal relationships amongst the community. Kitwe Online has also included audio clips in this lesson – clearly they are becoming the go to resource for learning Bemba online.
Like all Zambian communities, the Bemba people have a close-knitted extended family life. This is reflected in the detailed terminology used to describe interpersonal relationships. An example of this is the fact that the terms to describe uncles and aunties refer to them as “small father” or “small mother.” Cousins are effectively referred to as brother or sister.