Staffs in Africa have numerous & varied uses,
ranging from the practical function of a walking
stick to the symbolism of political, spiritual or
other religious matters. The more elaborately
sculpted staffs could communicate specific
messages and were often viewed as prestige objects.
These fetish figures are called Kaponya - kamponya or camponya, and were used by diviners and ordinary people to heal and or protect the owner. The Nkoya or Shinkoya people live in Western Zambia, mostly immediately east of the Barotse Plain. They are culturally related to the Chokwe - Lunda groups and responsible for introducing the Xylophone into the region. As with their north western neighbours, a carved wooden figure of a human is called a kaponya. They are used for protection and or healing. They represent 'half a man or woman' and are known as 'Kalulu', or Mwenda Njangula (Mwendanjagula). This examples crosses and connects the boundaries between contemporary art and the traditional art of Africa. The name Kalulu occurs over a vast region. The Swahili name for rabbit is Kalulu, as was the adopted son of H M Stanley - his recorded name Kalulu.Kalulu, a good sprit who lives in the forest, is known by the Chokwe, Luchazi, Luvale, Nkoya and other related peoples. Kalulu is normally carved as half a 'man', or 'half a woman'. The detail given to the art work is exceptional.