Chief Mukuni once said ‘‘without his people’s cooperation, a chief is nothing.’’ A humble man, who has done very well in turning his small Chiefdom into a successful tourist hub, his subjects work on tourism ventures such as his Safari tours or sell traditional crafts. He has been undoubtedly a successful entrepreneur who has been able to maintain traditional practice whilst steadily progressing his subjects into the modern era.
The Chiefdom is to the south-east of present-day Livingstone and was the largest village in the area before Livingstone was founded. Its Baleya inhabitants, originally from the Rozwi culture in Zimbabwe, were conquered by Chief Mukuni who came from the Congo in the 18th century.
Chief Mukuni has been brave and steadfast in his criticism of poor governmental practice, he was vocal against the payrise of traditional leaders, legislation which would have benefitted him but which he thought could sway traditional leaders to be more supportive of governmental projects at the expense of traditional rulers’ subjects. He has faced threats of arrest and bravely snubbed senior political figures at the Bene Mukuni festival for what he thought was moral. Most leaders do not put their head above the parapet, however, Mukuni has frequently for the benefit of not only his subjects but for the benefit of Zambia.