Western New Mexico University President Dr. Joseph Shepard will meet with His Majesty Chitimukulu Sosala Kanyanta Manga II, the king of Zambia’s largest ethnic group, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Albuquerque.
Along with Western New Mexico University’s Board of Regents Chairperson, Jerry Walz, they will discuss international educational issues and the possibility of Western New Mexico University providing higher education to the 6 million Bemba-speaking people of the south-central African nation of Zambia.
The meeting is a result of ongoing conversation between representatives of Manga II and WNMU, who have discussed WNMU’s online offerings and are considering the potential for Zambian students to enroll in classes at the university’s main campus in Silver City.
“We are looking forward to a very productive meeting that, we envision, may benefit Western New Mexico University and provide higher educational opportunities to the people of Zambia,” President Shepard said.
Walz added, “This is a project that we will look at one step at a time. We are impressed with the Zambian officials’ desire to improve the quality of life in their country. Western New Mexico University has touched many parts of the world, and hopefully, through due diligence, we can at a minimum start a dialogue that may well be important for both Western and Zambia, in particular, the Bemba people.”
Manga II has been in New Mexico as part of a goodwill and resource program focused on advancing Zambia’s educational opportunities, particularly for women and the Bemba-speaking people, who constitute 21 percent of Zambia’s population, according to a 2010 census. While in the state, Manga II has visited with various tribal governors, state and city officials, and educational leaders.
Manga II was born in the Bemba Royal Family as Henry Kanyanta Sosala. He was appointed to the Mpepo throne in 1997, ascended to the Mwamba throne in 2007 and to the Chitmukulu throne by 2013, taking the Kanyanta Manga II name after Chitmukulu Kanyanta I (1925-1945), who was his grandfather.
In Zambia, the Chitmukulu throne, ruling the 18 semiautonomous Bemba kingdoms, is the most powerful politically and also the most influential among Zambia’s government.