Letters of the Bemba language


A little background to this, I feel this is more in line with what Blessings on a hill is all about and I decided that I would do a short lesson on the sounds and the letters that represent them. I am Bemba and Nsenga because my my mum is a Bemba woman and my dad is Nsenga but I am more accustomed to my Bemba roots and constantly learning on both fronts.

So the letters present are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, S T, U, W and Y. We do not have J, Q, R, X and Z. To get the best understanding of what the sounds are like, please view the video below.

A makes the same sound as in Apple

B has a special sound usually mistaken for the V or W sound. Most non-Bemba speakers struggle with this. B is only a hard “b” as in Baby when preceded by the letter “M”

C makes a “ch” sound all the time. It never makes a “k” sound ever! The intonation changes if accompanied by the letter H or not. E.g. iciBemba vs ChiBemba. The pronunciation will be different and the two mean two different things. The first refers the language and the second to the language

D  and G only exist if preceded by N.

G has two possible sounds. If followed by an apostrophe it makes the same sound as in morning. If not, makes a hard “g”. eg. Ng’anda vs Nga

E makes the same sound as it does in egg

F same sound as in Fish

H is only seen accompanying c and changes the intonation of the “ch” sound

I makes the same sound as in India

K makes a ‘k’ sound

L makes the same sound as in Lama

M makes a ‘m’ sound as in Monk

N makes the same sound as Nancy

O makes the same sound as in Orange

P always makes a p sound

S makes the same sound as in snake

T makes the same ‘t’ sound

U  makes the same sound as in Snooze

W makes the same sound as in went

Y makes the same sound as in yellow

J, Q, R, V, X and Z are not present and for hardcore Bemba speakers they will often replace these with the sounds of Y, K, L, B/F, “es” and S.

I do not consider myself an expert so I am happy to year people’s thoughts.

Africa’s gift at ‘Straya’s door


Tuli bantu
The heart and soul of Africa’s roar
Tuli bana
Africa’s gems, the pride of her soul

Born wherever His winds may take us
Created from shades of dusts. Remind us
No matter how hard hammers hit, we rise
Rising like the beauty of her sunrise

Forged in the core of her heat, purified
Bathed by her streams our dreams flourish
We lift those around, in ways sanctified
The women before us, we don’t tarnish

Together we shape and sway; our ways wise
In our strength we unshackle our allies —
Our sisters, we bare up, never treasonous
In our speech, in our deeds, integrous

Tuli bana
hearts forever made on Africa’s floor
Tuli bantu
Africa’s gifts laid at ‘Straya’s door.

Happy women’s day to all women. Together we can do so much. This was a poem I did tonight at the gala organised by the Organisation of Africans in WA. The lines “Tuli bantu” and “Tuli Bana” translated from my native Bemba mean “we are people” and “we are children,” respectively.

I am my own worst critique and today, I would have loved to share a video of the poem but I messed it up, so I won’t be doing that … It was so bad, I even apologised for the errors … something I have never done , when reciting a poem … it’s all good though, we will do better next time.💕

Luse lwa ba Lesa


I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately and while watching a woman talking on Facebook, heard this song. Haven’t heard it in a while but it reminds me of God’s good grace and even as I am typing this, I find myself unable to contain my smile. It’s a song from the Bemba language, one of the many in Zambia, and a huge part of my heritage. When translated it says, “when you see me dancing, singing, rejoicing and carrying on, I am doing it for God because He has brought me this far, because of  His “luse.” The word Uluse or ‘luse encompasses different English words. It speaks of mercy, compassion, grace and in some instances forgiveness; it is used when we feel sorry for someone, or when we ask for forgiveness or mercy. God’s mercies are undying; he waits on us patiently and His compassion has always been my rock. Our standing is based totally and wholly on His mercy. The song talks about a difference that should be seen in us Christians, that despite our circumstances, we should exude joy. The singer talks about people wondering about what His secret is because when others lack, God provides for him, and when tragedy befalls him, he is still joyful. So when you see me smiling, dancing or carrying on, know I have much to be grateful for and it is all by His grace. Hope it blesses you as you dance to it 🙂