Kocokwe or Chokwe mask late 1900s
Kocokwe or Chokwe mask late 1900s
Kocokwe or Chokwe mask late 1900s

Kocokwe or Chokwe mask late 1900s

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The Chokwe inhabit areas in Angola, DRC and Zambia. They are known by many names throughout the world, upwards of 30 different variations, all deriving from the name in which they call themselves, Kocokwe. Chokwe government is headed by a king called Mwana Ngana, with male and female societies regulating all aspects of life.

History

The known history of the Chokwe tribe dates back to the 15th century, when a Lunda queen married a Luba prince by the name of Chibinda Ilunga. Ilunga and his queen were driven south, to present day Angola, after prominent members of the Lunda ruling elite disapproved of the marriage.  Once the pair settled, they established several kingdoms, each controlled by a god-king. Ilunga would eventually become a cultural hero and is portrayed in many art forms.