Is it Citemene or Chitemene?

By Clement Mumbo– In October this year, a story about Citemene was published on this website. One reader reacted and argued that there was no such a word like Citemene, but Chitemene.

To begin with the word Citemene is purely a Bemba word from the verb ukutema (to cut). So the word is as common as ifishimu or ifinkubala (caterpillars) in Mpika and Mungwi districts.

Coming to spellings, our reasoning and agreement is to come from the two concepts; Common nouns and Proper nouns. Please mark my words Common and Proper.

Therefore, how common is Citemene? It is well known in Northern and Luapula Provinces and few other places.

Citemene is a Common ‘noun’ (name). It is like other words such as Cisesa (mat), Cisasa (grass thatched shelter), Cafye or Ciposwa (useless), Cililo (funeral), Cimuti (tree) and many other words

Subsequently, Citemene is not a Proper noun which is reserved for names of persons such as Chileshe, Chisanga, Chanda, Chewe, Cheswa and so on or Cities or towns and countries like Chingola, Chililabombwe, Chinsali… which carry with H.

So, the Citemene spelling that you ran online sometime back was the correct one and bloggers should desist from questioning the way certain Bemba terminologies are written.

No wonder you confuse modern learners.

The author is Mr. Clement Mumbo, a Bemba man from Chinsali district and he is Deputy Teacher at Malambwa Basic School in Mpika district. Mr. Mumbo has translated several pamphlets and booklets for the Catholic Church, Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and many other organisations from English into Cibemba.

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