Two subtribes of Kenya’s Kamba community still thrive in the South American nation of Paraguay, the Kamba Cua and the Kamba Kokue. They were among the slaves who entered Paraguay at a time when the country was still a colony of Spain.
According to historian Telesca, the population of Paraguay continued to increase and by 1811 with 50 percent comprising people of African descent.
Several towns including Aregua, Emboscada and Guarambare were established as black communities. sadly, many of these black people were killed in the ensuing wars of liberation from the Spanish imperial powers.
HOW DID KAMBA END UP IN PARAGUAY
Most of the slaves captured on the East African coast were destined for the Middle East, India and China found their way to South America and that is how this community found its way to Paraguay.
When the neighboring country Uruguay gained independence, General Jose Gervasio Artigas was exiled to Paraguay in 1820. He was accompanied by 400 free Kamba people comprising 250 spear-men and their families.
The Kamba were loved for their agility and military skills with spears, bows and arrows
They settled to practice dairy and crop farming. However, in the 1940s, they were dispossessed of their land by General Higinio Morinigo. Out of their land of 100 hectares they were given paltry 3 hectares to stay on.
A policy of defining Paraguay as completely “white” was the reason they were dispossessed their land. To solve looming stalemate, interracial marriage was hatched to dilute the presence of black people who were now the minority.
However, the community has survived in tough conditions, kept alive their churches and dances, a school and even formed a football club
According to report on Business Daily , informal census conducted in 2009 estimated the Kamba Cua to be only 422 and Kamba Kokue to be 385.
Today, Kamba have kept Africa traditions burning with their dances and cultural practices drawing attention to their plight in public performances