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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2016

Bowdoin College


In the aftermath of late nineteenth-century conquests, European intellectuals developed social scientific concepts that compared political and religious institutions. ‘Divine kingship’, one such concept, signified a premodern institution that unified spiritual and secular power in the body of a man who ensured the welfare of land and people. By tracing the development of the concept of divine kingship and its application to the Bemba rulers of Northern Zambia, this article explores Western intellectual engagements with changing African spiritual and secular sovereignties. Divine kingship helped scholars, including Godfrey and Monica Wilson, Audrey Richards, Luc de Heusch, and Jan Vansina construct spatial and temporal models of sovereignty amidst struggles over the nature of sovereignty itself. Tracing its evolution sheds light on the historiography of embodied power. The article demonstrates how divine kingship theory helped historians imagine kingship as a key political institution in Central African historiography as well as inform ideas of political secularization and religious change.

The Politics of Kingship in Central Africa's Historiography
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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Andrew Bank first suggested a fruitful direction for this article. It then benefitted from presentation at Princeton's Davis Center seminar on Belief/Unbelief, with helpful comments from Phil Nord, Emmanuel Kreike, and Robert Tignor. Helen Tilley and Sean Hanretta at a Northwestern African studies seminar posed thoughtful questions. Cheikh Anta Babou's students at the University of Pennsylvania, a close reading by Kate de Luna, and the three anonymous Journal of African History referees helped me to finesse ideas and arguments. Author's email:


1 The longue durée settlement, politics, and leadership of Central Africa are explored in J. Vansina, Paths in the Rainforest: Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa (Madison, WI, 1990) and J. Vansina, How Societies are Born: Governance in West Central Africa before 1600 (Charlottesville and London, 2004). Most recently, de Luna, K., ‘Hunting reputations: talent, individuals, and community in precolonial South Central Africa’, The Journal of African History, 53:3 (2012), 279–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 J. Vansina, Kingdoms of the Savanna (Madison, WI, 1966).

3 E. H. Kantorowicz, The King's Two Bodies: A Study in Medieval Political Theology (Princeton, NJ, 1998 [orig. pub. 1957]).

4 For the lack of legal texts, and instead the prevalence of ‘custom’ relating to titles, see J. Goody, The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society (Cambridge, MA, 1986). Combined with the lack of writing was sparse population, also outlined by J. Goody in Technology, Tradition, and the State in Africa (Cambridge, MA, 1971), and developed in historiography by J. Iliffe, Africans: The History of a Continent (Cambridge, MA, 1995). For a reformulation that views these qualities of statecraft as distinctive aspects of Central African legal conceptions, rather than absences of European norms, see J. Thornton's explanation in Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1800 (Cambridge, MA, 1998), 72–97.

5 Perpetual kinship first discussed in Cunnison, I., ‘Perpetual kinship: a political institution of the Luapula Peoples’, Rhodes-Livingstone Journal, 20 (1955), 2848Google Scholar. For the Lunda, see J. J. Hoover, ‘The seduction of Ruwej: reconstructing Ruund history (the nuclear Lunda: Zaire, Angola, Zambia)’ (unpublished PhD thesis, Yale University, 1978). ‘Positional succession’ first coined in Gray, R., ‘Positional succession among the Wambugwe’, Africa, 23:3 (1953), 233–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar, although described previously for the Bemba in A. Richards, ‘The political system of the Bemba Tribe – North-Eastern Rhodesia’, in M. Fortes and E. E. Evans-Pritchard (eds.), African Political Systems (London, 1940), 83–120.

6 Bernault, F., ‘Body, power, and sacrifice in Equatorial Africa’, The Journal of African History, 47:2 (2006), 207–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 This article draws and expands on three key studies: Richards, A., ‘Keeping the king divine’, Proceedings of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (1968), 2335CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Vitebsky, P., ‘The death and regeneration of a divine king’, Cambridge Anthropology, 10 (1985), 5592Google Scholar; and Vaughan, M., ‘“Divine kings”: sex, death, and anthropology in inter-war East/Central Africa’, The Journal of African History, 49:3 (2008), 383401CrossRefGoogle Scholar. This article does not repeat the descriptions of the rituals of Bemba ‘divine kingship’, which are covered in each of these articles.

8 Political confederation described by Werbner, R. P., ‘Federal administration, rank, and civil strife and Bemba royals and nobles’, Africa, 37:1 (1967), 2249CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The relative power of women in Bemba matrilineages is disputable; for the longue durée history, see C. Saidi, Women's Authority and Society in Early East-Central Africa (New York, 2010).

9 The best account of these rivalries followed enquiries in Yale University Manuscripts and Archives (YMA) Brelsford Papers MS 1642, E. Labrecque, ‘Some information of history of Bemba chiefs’, unpublished manuscript, 1941, 12.

10 YMA MS 1642, ‘Report by the Administrator of NE Rhodesia, R. Codrington, for two years ending March 31, 1900’, 67–8.

11 The late nineteenth-century agreement between the BSAC officials was reached in a series of three ‘indabas’ between chiefs, notables, and administrators, and recorded in YMA MS 1642, ‘Report of NE Rhodesia Administration, Mr. C. McKinnon, 1900–1902’, 409. A near contemporary but retrospective account is Cullen Gouldsbury and H. Sheane, The Great Plateau of Northern Rhodesia (London, 1911), 16–27.

12 The original completed in 1890 published as The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion, Vols I & II (New York and London, 1894), with the final 12-volume edition completed in 1915 and published as The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion in Twelve Volumes (New York and London, 1920).

13 As pointed out in Vaughan, ‘Divine kings’, 387–8; and Feeley-Harnik, G., ‘Issues in divine kingship’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 14 (1985), 273313CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 274.

14 In particular, in the work of Audrey Richards' colleague, H. Kuper, An African Aristocracy: Rank Among the Swazi (London, 1947).

15 For letters between Roscoe and Frazer in Frazer's papers at Trinity College Cambridge, see Ray, B., ‘James G. Frazer's correspondence with John Roscoe, 1907–1927’, History in Africa, 11 (1984), 327CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For a later incarnation, see Beattie, J. H. M., ‘Ritual on Nyoro kingship’, Africa, 29:2 (1939), 134–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For western Nigeria written in the context of wane of indirect rule, see Lloyd, P. C., ‘Sacred kingship and government among the Yoruba’, Africa, 30:3 (1960), 221–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For influence of Frazer on R. S. Rattray's 1932 ethnography, see W. MacGaffey, Chiefs, Priests, and Praise-Singers: History, Politics and Landownership in Northern Ghana (Charlottesville and London, 2013), 25–7. For a colonial overview of divine kingship across Africa, see Rev. P. Hadfield, Traits of Divine Kingship in Africa (London, 1949).

16 Malinowski, B., ‘Science and superstition of primitive mankind: a review of The Golden Bough, by Sir James G. Frazer’, Nature, 111 (1923), 658–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 658, 662.

17 Based on his 1931 Frazer Lecture, C. Seligman, Egypt and Negro Africa: A Study in Divine Kingship (London, 1934).

18 Consider the Oxford-educated Colin M. Turnbull who in 1968 curated the Hall of African Peoples at The American Museum of Natural History in New York, with a display, ‘The Growth of the State: Divine Kingship’, with Shilluk artifacts, and is still on display. Also in accompanying book, C. M. Turnbull, Man in Africa (New York, 1976), 72–8.

19 ‘Diagnostic’ for divine kingship, from Richards, ‘Keeping the king divine’, 30.

20 Summary of missionary ethnographic findings, in White Father Archives, Lusaka (WFAL) 1-M-C 04, L. Etienne, ‘A Study of the Bemba & Neighbouring Tribes’ (Kasama, 1948), 82–90.

21 These rituals are often described in the secondary literature discussed in this article. For: Chitimukulu fertility rituals, see Richards, ‘Keeping the king divine’, 28–30; rituals of burial and succession, Vitebsky, ‘Death and regeneration’; summarized by Vaughan, ‘Divine kings’, 388–90; eyewitness accounts from the 1944 burial of the Chitimukulu, W. V. Brelsford, Aspects of Bemba Chieftainship (Livingstone, 1944), 26–38; and Mwenya, A. H., ‘The burial of Chitimukulu Mubanga’, African Affairs, 46:183 (1947), 101–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22 Colonial authorities and missionaries treated such societies with suspicion, labeling them ‘secret societies’ that were responsible for immoral activities. See example of Ubutwa, Musambachime, M., ‘The Ubutwa society in eastern Shaba and northeast Zambia to 1920’, International Journal of African Historical Studies, 27:1 (1994), 7799CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In some cases the societies encouraged a fearsome reputation, the Kasanji society of self-proclaimed cannibals, according to W. F. P. Burton in Burton Collection, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, W. F. P. Burton ‘Notes on Photographs’.

23 Testimonials from Seligman, along with Malinowski, in London School of Economics (LSE) Audrey Richards Papers (AR) 19/1.

24 A. Richards, Hunger and Work in a Savage Tribe (Cleveland and New York, 1964 [orig. pub. 1932]), 151–61.

25 In her notes on the death and burial of the Chitimukulu, Richards has a handwritten annotation, ‘for strangulation, see separate notes. N. B. I was not told of this during my first visit; I didn't ask.’ LSE AR 1-1-52 to 58, ‘Notes on Death and Burial of Big Chief’. There is no record of her being told of these rites in her second visit either.

26 LSE AR 1/8, Fox Pitt to Richards, 17 Nov. 1935.

27 Monica and Godfrey Wilson Papers, University of Cape Town Manuscripts and Archives (UCTMA) B 4/7, Richards to G. Wilson (GW), 4 Feb. 1938.

28 UCTMA B4/7, G. Wilson to Richards, 13 Nov. 1938.

29 UCTMA B4/7, G. Wilson to Richards 14 Nov. 1938; G. Wilson to Richards, 25 Nov. 1938; G. Wilson to A. Richards, 30 Nov. 1938.

30 LSE AR 1/1, Brelsford to Richards, 27 June 1939. Also see Vitebsky, Death and regeneration’, 67; Vaughan, ‘Divine kings’, 387.

31 LSE AR 1/1/122, Mushindo to Richards, 3 Apr. 1937.

32 For Bisa death practices, see LSE AR 1/1/121-2, G. Wilson interview with Bisa Chief Kopa; Mushindo to Richards, 3 Apr. 1937. Fox-Pitt in F. M. Thomas, Historical Notes on the Bisa Tribe, Northern Rhodesia (Lusaka, 1958), 27.

33 In her 1968 article, Richards discusses regicide but thinks that the subject should be relegated to a footnote, ‘Keeping the king divine’, 23, 30–1. The Frazer-Seligman ritual of regicide has the king killed by the successor, rare in Central Africa, where rumors seem to refer to the strangulation of the chief just before he died, a sort of ‘euthanasia’ according to Brelsford, Aspects of Bemba Chieftainship, 26.

34 UCTMA B4/7, Richards to G. Wilson, 13 Dec. 1938.

35 A. Richards, Land, Labour and Diet in Northern Rhodesia: An Economic Study of the Bemba Tribe (London, 1969 [orig. pub. 1939]), 331–80, esp. 380.

36 W. V. Brelsford, The Succession of Bemba Chiefs: A Guide for District Officers (Lusaka, 1948); salaries, 43.

37 In particular because it could never be established whether the Nkula titleholder or the Mwamba titleholder should move up to the Chitimukuluship. See, for example, the succession of Chitimukulu investigated by colonial officials, National Archives of Zambia (NAZ) SEC 2/308, ‘Enquiry into Chitimukulu Succession’, 16 Mar. 1946.

38 For the most recent and empirically informed discussion of the vicissitudes of the relationship between British anthropologists and the colonial administration in the interwar years, see H. Tilley, Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870–1950 (Chicago and London, 2011), 261–311.

39 See, for example, R. Marsland, who contrasts Godfrey Wilson's functionalist approach with Monica Wilson's concern with change, in ‘Pondo pins and Nyakyusa hammers: Monica and Godfrey in Bunyakyusa’, in A. Bank and L. Bank (eds.), Inside African Anthropology: Monica Wilson and Her Interpreters (Cambridge, 2013), 129–61.

40 UCTMA D 3/8, G. Wilson, ‘Notes on Burial of A Chief’.

41 UCTMA B4/7, G. Wilson to Richards, 13 Nov. 1938.

42 For Frazer's discussion of conquest rulers vs autochthonous earth divinities, see J. G. Frazer, Folklore in the Old Testament, Vol. III (London, 1919), 86–7, cited in Goody, Technology, Tradition, and the State, 63–6.

43 G. Wilson, The Constitution of Ngonde (Livingstone, 1939). These preliminary ideas were never developed: he committed suicide less than a decade after his Nyakyusa fieldwork. The most in-depth study of Ngonde oral traditions contested claims for the historical transformation of Ngonde kingship. O. J. M Kalinga, A History of the Ngonde Kingdom of Malawi (Berlin, 1985), 97–101. Wilson might have been influenced by Marxist theories of the effects of foreign trade, as in V. Gordon Childe, Man Makes Himself (London, 1936).

44 Brelsford, Aspects of Bemba Chieftaincy, 1.

45 Ibid. 26.


46 J. L. Calmettes, ‘The Lumpa sect, rural reconstruction, and conflict’ (unpublished MA thesis, University College of Wales, Aberytswyth, 1978); Hinfelaar, H., ‘Women's revolt: the Lumpa Church of Lenshina Mulenga in the 1950s’, Journal of Religion in Africa, 21 (1991), 99129CrossRefGoogle Scholar; D. M. Gordon, Invisible Agents: Spirits in a Central African History (Athens, OH, 2012), 89–177.

47 The first colonial meetings with Lenshina recorded in NAZ NP 3/12, Lenshina, ‘Notes on Lenshina’, 2 Mar. 1955.

48 LSE AR 1/16/92, ‘Notes on Lenshina Visit’, 28 Aug. 1957. The Bamuchape were a movement of witchcraft cleansers in the 1930s, which Audrey Richards had previously written about, in ‘A Modern movement of witchfinders’, Africa, 8:4 (1935), 448–61.

49 Letters written to Lenshina from followers, where ‘BaMulopwe’, ‘Lubuto lwa chalo’, or even ‘lubuto mulopwe’ are used interchangeably: Andrew Roberts Papers.

50 Interview with Dixon Mulenga, Chinsali, 7 July 2005. Colonial officials, from National Archives of the United Kingdom (NAUK) DO 183/134, Telegram: Lusaka (Gov.) to Central Africa Office, 28 Dec. 1963.

51 For Chitimukulu's early welcome of Lenshina, see NAZ NP 3/12, Minutes of 73rd meeting of Nchenje Council held at Musumba, 1 July 1955. Also see WFAL 1 M-Hi, Francois Tanguy, ‘Intervention at Chitimukulu re: Lenshina’. For the song, interview with Dixon Mulenga, Chinsali; interview with Agnes Chanda, Chinsali 14 July 2005; interview with Jennifer Ngandu, Lusaka, 25 Mar. 2005. Conflict with chiefs surfaced from 1959, and according to the colonial documentation, was mostly about issues of village registration and defiance of native Authority rules, see NAZ NP 3/12, ‘Discussions on Chinsali Disturbances by Chiefs Chitimukulu, Nkula, Mubanga, Mkweto, 1959’; DC's office Chinsali to Chinsali District Chiefs, 1959. For a preceding case study of spiritual power competing with indirect rulers, see K. Fields, Revival and Rebellion in Colonial Central Africa (Princeton, NJ, 1985).

52 NAZ NP/12/3, Alice Lenshina to Governor of NR, 18 Apr. 1957.

53 D. Werner, ‘Some developments in Bemba religion’, Journal of Religion in Africa, 4 (1971–2), 1–24, esp. 23.

54 Bemba chiefs Nkula and Chitimukulu had initially supported Lenshina, but by 1959 there was armed conflict between Lenshina and Nkula. Nkula refused permission to grant Lenshina right of occupancy over land to establish a mission (which might have removed her from customary rule). Correspondence between Lenshina, the Bemba chiefs, and colonial officials over these issues in NAZ NP 3/12.

55 W. V. Breslford, The Succession of Bemba Chiefs: A Guide for District Officers (Lusaka, 1944).

56 Brelsford, W. V., ‘Shimwalule: a study of Bemba chief and priest’, African Studies, 1 (1942), 207–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 211. The original DC's report by Brelsford upon which the above article was based, but with considerable more detail can be found in NAZ SEC 2/751, Annexure 3 Tour Report, May 1939.

57 YMA MS 1642, W. V. Brelsford, ‘Notes on Lectures Given to African Chiefs Course at Chilambala, 1948’.

58 LSE AR 1/8 T, Fox-Pitt to Richards, 17 Nov. 1935.

59 An instructive example is Jason Sendwe, future leader of Balubakat, who appealed for a form of indirect rule through the Luba kings, as part of the civilizing mission, in Sendwe, J., ‘Traditions et coutumes ancestrales des Baluba Shankadji’, Problemes sociaux congolais, 24 (1954), 87120Google Scholar.

60 YMA MS 1642, W. V. Brelsford, ‘Some Reasons for African Conservatism and Resistance to Change’, unpublished manuscript, 1964.

61 Gordon, Invisible Agents, 157–77.

62 In particular in G. and M. Wilson, The Analysis of Social Change: Based on Observations in Central Africa (Cambridge, 1945). See discussion of Monica Wilson as historian, in S. Morrow and C. Saunders, ‘“Part of one whole”: anthropology and history in the work of Monica Wilson’, in A. Bank and L. Bank (eds.), Inside African Anthropology, 283–307. Such interest in change was intertwined with the progressive and modernist politics of RLI anthropologists, see J. Ferguson, Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt (Berkeley, CA, 1999), 38–81.

63 M. Wilson, Divine Kings and the ‘Breath of Men’ (Cambridge, 1959), esp. 24.

64 Her argument regarding ‘witchcraft and the breath of men’ was drawn from her first monograph on the Nyakyusa, M. Wilson, Good Company: A Study of Nyakyusa Age-Villages (London, 1951), 91–135.

65 Wilson, Divine Kings, 27.

66 M. Wilson's final intervention in the anthropology of religion argued that separate realms of religious power, thought, and action, emerged with the expansion in the scale of societies. M. Wilson, Religion and the Transformation of Society (Cambridge, 1971), with the key aspect of the argument, 1–25.

67 YMA MS 1642, ‘Rhodes-Livingstone Institute Fourteenth Conference: Myth in Modern Africa’, Lusaka 26–9 Feb. 1960, emphasis in original.

68 Richards claimed Godfrey Wilson's historical understanding of the rise of Ngonde secular power ‘as particularly apt when I re-read this paper after nearly thirty years’. Richards, ‘Keeping the king divine’, 34.

69 Richards, ‘Keeping the king divine’, 24. For ‘deeply-seated belief’, see above, fn. 35 and Land, Labour and Diet, 380.

70 See, for example, Richards' notes on ‘modern politics’ from her 1957 trip, in LSE AR 2/25, and 1/32. Also her clippings, LSE AR 1/16/102, ‘Free me, priestess pleads to Kaunda’, Sunday Times, 21 Sept. 1969.

71 Werbner, ‘Federal administration, rank, and civil strife’.

72 Vansina, J., ‘Recording the oral history of the Bakuba-II: Results’, The Journal of African History, 1:2 (1960), 257–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 267.

73 Vansina, Kingdoms, 245.

74 Vansina, Kingdoms, 74.

75 A 1972 letter to his publisher indicated that approximately one-third of the text needed rewriting before a second edition was issued (it never was). Herskovits Library, Northwestern University (HL) Vansina Papers (VP), Vansina to Webb, University of Wisconsin Press, 9 Feb. 1972.

76 A large literature, partly in response to critiques, but here most relevant is the work of Vansina's student J. Miller, who demonstrated the metaphoric role of oral tradition and replaced Vansina's emphasis on distinct historical characters with titleholders, in Kings and Kingsmen: Early Mbundu States in Angola (Oxford, 1976). Another of Vansina's students, A. Roberts's, work on the Bemba would also qualify Kingdoms of the Savanna, A. Roberts, History of the Bemba: Political Growth and Change in North-Eastern Zambia before 1900 (London, 1973). The more sophisticated historical approach to oral tradition in the face of anthropological queries, covered in J. Miller (ed.), The African Past Speaks: Essays on Oral Tradition and History (Kent, 1980). For the evolution of Vansina's methodology with respect to oral tradition, see J. Vansina, Oral Tradition as History (Madison, WI, 1985).

77 HL VP, Reefe to Vansina, 19 Mar. 1976.

78 T. Reefe, The Rainbow and the Kings: A History of the Luba Empire to 1891 (Berkeley, CA, 1981), esp. 79–92.

79 Roberts recognized the Chitimukulu as a divine kingship but placed less emphasis on it than Richards, and viewed his ritual authority as ‘effect as well as cause of political structure’. See Roberts History of the Bemba, 172.

80 Vansina, Kingdoms, 245–8.

81 Roberts, History of the Bemba, 312. The praise recorded in WFAL 1-M-Hi, E. Labrecque, ‘Traduction des Malumbe: louanges aux chefs’, who interprets it as ‘Qui brûle même jusqu'aux édicules construits à la mémoire des ancêtres.’

82 Reefe, Rainbow and Kings, 183–92.

83 The image of the masculine warlord is common, but for a nuanced discussion of the rise of masculinity within this historiographic vision, see A. and B. Isaacman, Slavery and Beyond: The Making of Men and Chikunda Ethnic Identities in the Unstable World of South-Central Africa, 1750–1920 (Portsmouth, NH, 2004).

84 For the Nyakyusa, M. Wright claimed Wilson lacked evidence for her Frazerian model, in ‘Nyakyusa cults and politics in the later nineteenth century’, in T. O. Ranger and I. Kimambo (eds.), The Historical Study of African Religion (London, 1971), 153–70. For alternative interpretation of Ngonde oral tradition, see Kalinga, History of the Ngonde, 97–101; for the Bemba, Gordon, Invisible Agents, 41–8.

85 For the Bemba, see Werbner, ‘Federal administration, rank, and civil strife’.

86 See the questions of early Lunda expansion westward and southward, especially the incident of the exodus of Kinguri, the Lunda heroine's Luweji's fictive brother, as first suggested by Miller based on oral sources, Kings and Kingsmen, 115, explored in the documentary record, by Thornton, J., ‘The chronology and causes of Lunda expansion to the West, 1700–1852’, Zambia History Journal, 1 (1981), 113Google Scholar, and subsequently by Vansina, J., ‘It never happened: Kinguri's exodus and its consequences’, History in Africa, 25 (1998), 387403CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Thornton, however, still maintained the existence of a pre-1750 Lunda state, ‘sizeable and probably similar in structure to the 19th century state’ although he acknowledged the lack of evidence, in HL VP, Thornton to Vansina, 16 Apr. 1983.

87 For the political economy of these dependencies, see J. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade (Madison, WI, 1988), 71–104. A lucid appreciation of the basis of precolonial power in relation to global trade, J. Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World.

88 de Craemer, W., Vansina, J., and R. C. Fox, ‘Religious movements in Central Africa: a theoretical study’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 18:4 (1976), 458–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 475; P. Landau, Popular Politics in the History of South Africa, 1400–1948 (Cambridge, 2010).

89 A schematic summary of vast and sophisticated corpus, including L. de Heusch, The Drunken King, or the Origin of the State (Bloomington IN, 1982 [orig. pub. as Le roi ivre, ou L'origine de l’État, 1972]), and Rois nés d'un coeur de vache (Paris, 1982). For influence of Frazer, see pp. 4–5. For a neo-Frazerian approach that draws on De Heusch, see D. Quigley (ed.), Character of Kingship (Oxford, 2005).

90 De Heusch, Dunken King, 240.

91 Petit, P., ‘“Les charmes du roi sont les esprits des morts”: les fondements religieux de la royauté sacrée chez les Luba du Zaïre’, Africa, 66:3 (1996), 349–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 363.

92 See, for example, in South Africa, B. Oomen, Chiefs in South Africa: Law, Power, and Culture in the Post-Apartheid Era (Oxford, 2005).

93 LSE AR 1/1/234, Richards to Leach, 27 Nov. 1982; Richards to Goody, 27 Nov. 1982.

94 Never accomplished, although Vitebsky wrote about Bemba divine kingship based on these notes, Vitebsky, ‘Death and Rregeneration’.

95 MacGaffey, W., ‘Changing representations in Central African history’, The Journal of African History, 46:2 (2005), 189207CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 207.

96 Gordon, D., ‘The cultural politics of a traditional ceremony: Mutomboko and the performance of history on the Luapula’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 46:1 (2004), 6383CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

97 Zambia National Broadcast Corporation Documentary on Ukusefya pa Ngwena, 19–21 Aug. 2000.

98 (, accessed 20 Jan. 2015.

99 Kanyanta-mana II, Senior Chief Mwamba, Shalapo mune Cani Candala (2011). Retrieved from (http:///, accessed 20 Jan. 2015.

100 J. L. Comaroff and J. Comaroff, Ethnicity, Inc. (Chicago, 2009).

101 Similar to British royalty, T. Nairn, The Enchanted Glass: Britain and its Monarch (London, 2011).

102 See the facebook announcement by Zambia State house on 27 Jan. 2015. (, accessed 3 Mar. 2015. Also Zambian Daily Mail, 28 Jan. 2015.

103 Most recently, the exhibit ‘Shaping Power’, curated by Polly Roberts, (, accessed 9 Jan. 2014. Also, C. Pedridis, Art and Power in the Central African Savanna (Cleveland Museum of Art, 2008). Metropolitan museum portrayal of art of kingship, (

104 (, accessed 8 Jan. 2014. Also see Metropolitan Museum, which owns a similar stool with their commentary on it, (

105 Lebovic, H. emphasizes primitivism in ‘Echoes of the “primitive” in France's move to postcoloniality: the Musée du Quai Branly’, Globality Studies Journal, 4 (2007), 117Google Scholar.

106 For part of the foreshortening of African history, see Reid, R., ‘Past and presentism: the “precolonial” and the foreshortening of African history’, The Journal of African History, 52:2 (2011), 135–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

107 Feeley-Harnik, for example, posits the study of ‘apparently disparate political forms … in precisely the same terms … rather than separately and sequentially’. Feeley–Harnik, ‘Issues in divine kingship’, 307.

108 W. MacGaffey, Kongo Political Culture: The Conceptual Challenge of the Particular (Bloomington, IN, 2000), 223.

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