Insaka -The Traditional Zambian Meeting Place

by PS
(Lusaka)

Insaka -The Meeting Place

Insaka -The Meeting Place

An Insaka is a round structure with a thatched roof with open sides or alternatively with mud walls (or any other material) which are built half way.


Insaka serves as a meeting place and socializing area of the traditional Zambian household. It also serves as an outside kitchen with a cooker built of mud in the corner of the Insaka. It is a multipurpose structure used for different several activities.

In a Zambian village, each household has got an Insaka, where in the evening, the whole family gathers and the elders take advantage of the situation to teach the young ones traditional values and responsibilities.

Traditionally, the role of grandparents is to pass over cultural and social values to the upcoming younger generation so that there’s a carryover of traditional norms. And the Zambian Insaka serves as a venue where the elders can impart these values and responsibilities to the younger generation. Skills, folklore and tales are passed over to the young generation. Oral records of historical events are learnt in the Insaka.

Visitors can be entertained to beverages like 'Umunkoyo', 'Tobwa' or 'Maheu' or the alcoholic beverages like 'Katubi' or 'Katata'. And they can also be entertained to a game of 'Insolo' or ‘Ichiyenga’ right in the Insaka!

Infact, the same Insaka serves as sleeping quarters for some people who find it hard to sleep inside their houses when it's hot!

An Insaka is so multipurpose that it even serves as a courtroom! Some legal matters are sorted right in the Insaka. Traditional customary law is practiced and justice is dispensed within the confines of Insaka. These traditional judicial courts are overseen by village elders.

In a Zambian village, an Insaka is the nearest judicial court available and there is no need to go to the modern courts. So the next time your presence is requested at an Insaka, you may have to answer a few questions!

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