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Diamond Chibwe Lufungulo.

Photo courtesy of Lydia Bwalya Lufungulo Chembo.

Lufungulo, Diamond Chibwe (1924–1994)

By Lydia Bwalya Lufungulo Chembo

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Lydia Bwalya Lufungulo Chembo, B.B.A. (Rusangu University, Monze), is accountant general for the Southern Zambia Union Conference. She attended Rusangu Secondary School (1973-1977) and Lukashya Trades Training Institute (1982-1983). Chembo joined denominational employment in 1977 in the North Zambia Field as a typist. In 1979, she transferred to Zambia Union Mission in the same capacity. There she worked as administrative secretary for several years. She and her husband, Fanuel Chembo, have three children.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Diamond Chibwe Lufungulo was a church administrator, pastor, and teacher.

Early Life, Education, and Marriage

Diamond Chibwe Lufungulo was born on June 6, 1924, in Mwamfuli, Samfya, in the Luapula Province in what was then called Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). His father, Sambwa Musa Mbilima Lufungulo, was a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and his mother, Chanshi Chintelelwe, was a member of the Christian Mission in Many Lands Church. Diamond was the second-born child. His parents had three other boys, Benedictor Kunda, Aram Mumba, and Peter Mbilima. Soon after the youngest child was born, his parents divorced. His father’s second wife gave birth to a daughter, Sabina Chabala, and four sons, Adrian, Crispin, Sebastian, and Edward. Diamond’s mother also remarried and had two daughters, Albinah Chipulu and Hellen Mwansa, and a son, Chintelelwe Evans. Diamond remained close to all his siblings during his life.

In line with his father’s faith, Lufungulo in his early life was a Roman Catholic and served as an altar boy. In his later years, he taught some of the Catholic songs he had learned during this period to his children. He started his education in 1932 at a primary school close to his home in Mwamfuli village. The school only went up to Standard II (Grade IV). The other school closer to his village, which offered education classes above Standard II, was a Seventh-day Adventist school at Chimpempe Mission in Kawambwa district, approximately 225 kilometers to the north of Samfya, his hometown.

Chimpempe Mission had been established in 1921 by Adventist missionaries and was the third Seventh-day Adventist Church school in Northern Rhodesia, after Rusangu and Musofu. Since there was no public transportation he could use to reach Chimpempe, he would have to walk for a full week to get there. He took some cassava meal, a small packet of coarse salt, some dry fish, and his beddings. He was accompanied by a friend named Small Chama as they walked approximately 50 kilometers each day, spending nights in people’s homes or in makeshift travelers’ shelters (Insaka) along the way.1

At Chimpempe, Lufungulo lived in one of the small grass thatched houses that accommodated seven students each. The students were fed on a diet of cassava meal and beans with occasional game meat.2 He later spoke fondly of his life at Chimpempe and attributed his lifelong work ethic to the values he was taught there. In particular, he spoke highly of Bwana Robinson, a teacher and school administrator who instilled in the students the values of hard work. This was the only institution in Zambia where music studies were offered at that time. At the school, he took a keen interest in music and became a member of the school choir. He learned the tonic sol-fa. He would later pass on this love for music to his children; his eldest son would obtain a diploma in music studies at Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce, where he would then work as a music teacher.

After Lufungulo completed Standard IV (Grade VII), he took a national examination to qualify for a “Leaving Certificate.” When the examination results were released, he found that he had passed and was consequently hired as an inexperienced teacher at Chimpempe. From his income, he saved money to pay for his advanced education. It took him twice as long to complete his upper level of education because he took alternative years off from attending school to teach in order to save money to pay for his studies.

It was at Chimpempe where he first learned about Adventism. Apart from his love for music, he was also attracted to the passionate way in which Adventist preachers delivered their sermons. This was a trait that later inspired him to become a pastor in the Adventist Church. On August 6, 1938, Lufungulo was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. After completing his studies at Chimpempe, he went to Musofu Mission School to continue his education and, later on, to Rusangu Mission, where he completed Standard VI Upper (Grade IX).

During his time at Chimpempe, he met Phoebe Mutale. Lufungulo helped pay for her education since she had lost both parents as a teenager. They were married on September 3, 1949, at Chishamwamba Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mpolokoso at a wedding ceremony officiated by Pastor Samuel Mulombe. Lufungulo and Phoebe were blessed with three sons, Mulenga Lionel, Mubanga Dobbin, and Mwale Jonathan, and five daughters, Mumba Rosemary, Bwalya Lydia, Chisanga Nadia, Mutale Martha, and Mwewa Gift.

Career and Ministry

Lufungulo began his denominational employment as a teacher in May 1943. He taught at Chimpempe Mission School, Lupele Primary School, Mukonkoto Primary School, and Chilange Primary School until 1955. In 1956, the Northern Rhodesia Mission Field (Zambia Field) sent him to Solusi College in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) for a two-year ministerial training course. After completing his training and obtaining his ministerial diploma from Solusi College on December 2, 1957, Lufungulo returned home to serve as a district pastor for several districts starting at Isoko in Mbala in 1958, moving on to Kasama in 1959, and finally serving at Kaseke Mununga in Mweru from 1960 to 1961.3

In 1962, Lufungulo returned to Chimpempe to serve as a district pastor. That same year, the Northern Rhodesia Mission Field Executive Committee voted to request the Zambezi Union, the higher organization, to consider approving the ordination of Shaba R. Mulengela and Diamond Lufungulo.4 After the recommendation was approved, the ordination ceremony by Pastor R. A. Burns took place on July 14, 1962, in Mushota.5 Following his ordination in 1963, the Mission Field sent him back to Solusi College for a one-year leadership course.

While continuing his work as a district pastor at Chimpempe Mission, Lufungulo conducted numerous evangelistic campaigns (called “efforts”), which resulted in the baptism of many. He also preached at annual camp meetings in northern Zambia, Mbeya, and Tunduma in Tanzania.6 He particularly loved to teach the prophecies found in the book of Daniel, often teaching with tremendous vigor. He often took his wife and children when he traveled to conduct evangelistic efforts and speak at camp meetings, and these experiences edified his family.

In the early days of his ministry, he walked long distances to visit his congregations. Often, he would be gone from home for weeks visiting churches because of the large size of his districts. Then, he upgraded his mode of transport to a bicycle and wrapped its saddle with a soft towel to keep his trousers from tearing during his long hours of cycling. In those days, wild animals were still common in the Chimpempe Mission area, and it was not unheard of for residents to encounter and sometimes kill leopards. In 1965, he bought his first vehicle, a Land Rover.7 With this vehicle, he often took his family for picnics, especially to Lumangwe Falls not far from Chimpempe Mission. The vehicle was also used as a community ambulance to transport injured people or women who were in labor to Kawambwa, where the nearest hospital was located.

Lufungulo maintained cordial relations with traditional authorities everywhere he worked. He visited the palaces of chiefs in all the districts where he conducted evangelistic efforts or camp meetings. Some of the chiefs he visited included Chief Tafuna of the Lungu people, Chiefs Lukwesa and Kazembe of the Lunda people, Chiefs Kabanda, Mushota, and Munkanta of the Shinga people, and Chief Mumpolokoso of the Bemba people.8 Whenever he was in his home village, he visited Chief Kasomabangweulu, who later gave him a piece of land in Samfya on the shores of Lake Bangweulu. When he later worked as mission station director for Chimpempe, he interacted with government officials in Mansa at the Provincial Ministry of Education offices, where he often attended their meetings.

Lufungulo also worked with expatriate missionaries such as T. Bradfield, I. E. Shultz, J. Dry, and W. R. Zork. During his early administrative service, he worked with D. Brenneman in 1974 and S. de Lange from 1975-1978, who served consecutively as North Zambia Field secretary-treasurers, while he was serving as its president. Much later, he served with other church administrators such as A. Bristow, H. E. Marais, K. E. Thomas, A. E. Harms, and A. D. Lopes at the Zambia Union offices. Some of his Zambian ministerial mentors were Pastors J. Muyeba, E. Muyeba, S. Mulombe, and J. D. Mwesa.

Church Administrative Responsibilities

After Lufungulo completed the leadership course at Solusi College, the Northern Rhodesia Field Executive Committee voted in 1963 to appoint him as the assistant mission station director for Chimpempe effective January 1964.9 Later that year on October 24, Zambia gained its political independence from Britain. The following year, he became the first Zambian to serve as the mission station director of Chimpempe, a position he held until 1971. That year was the 50th anniversary of Chimpempe Mission, and he hosted the Diamond Jubilee. This celebration was joyous and became a memorable event in the history of the mission station.

That same year, in 1971, Lufungulo was transferred to Rusangu Mission in the Southern Province to serve as mission station director. Then, in 1972, he was appointed to serve as the lay activities (personal ministries) department director for the South Zambia Field after the organization of the Zambia Union Mission. Later, in 1974, he was moved to Mansa in Luapula Province to serve as president for the North Zambia Field, whose region comprised the Luapula, Northern, Northwestern, and Copperbelt provinces. During his tenure as president of the North Zambia Field, he attended the 1975 General Conference Session in Vienna, Austria, after which he also visited Israel, an experience he enjoyed very much and later reenacted numerous times in his preaching and to his children.

Lufungulo’s work as an administrator was not without challenges. He was often called upon to mediate in conflicts that resulted from the church’s growth. For example, during his time as president of North Zambia Field, a conflict erupted in the Copperbelt and Central provinces. Some church members wanted the field headquarters to be located at Musofu Mission in the Central Province since Musofu had been the second mission station to be established in the country. They resolved to not welcome certain pastors in their churches, withhold tithes and offerings, and not allow any camp meetings to be held in the Copperbelt and Central provinces.10 Lufungulo was physically harassed by congregants at Chifubu Church in Ndola in the Copperbelt when he was about to preach during the Sabbath worship service.11 After Ken Thomas became the president of the Zambia Union, the conflict was eventually solved with his leadership intervention.

Another church conflict was resolved successfully when, in 1971, Lufungulo and several other pastors were sent to Mufulira to hold a series of revival meetings. At that time, a breakaway group of Seventh-day Adventist reformers were urging members to not return tithes and offerings. As a result of those revival meetings, the church was able to convince most of the dissident members to return to their former churches and follow the policies of the church.

In December 1978, Lufungulo was moved to Lusaka to head the lay activities department at the Zambia Union headquarters. While serving in that position, he convened a national Dorcas society rally in Mufulirain in April 1979. One of the issues to be discussed at that rally was the creation of a national Dorcas society uniform.12 Pastor Dimas Chende, the lay activities director in North Zambia Field, who had been assigned the responsibility of carrying out a background study on the national Dorcas society uniform, reported his findings. After much debate on the colors and design, Lufungulo put the matter to a vote, and the blue and white uniform design was chosen and then recommended to the Union for adoption. In May 1979, at the Zambia Union Executive Committee mid-year meetings, the blue and white uniform design for the national Dorcas society was adopted and is still in use today.

In 1980, Lufungulo became the administrative secretary of the Zambia Union Mission. A year later, he was elected to serve as the executive secretary of the same organization, a position he held until December 31, 1985.13 During his tenure as executive secretary, he served on the Yuka Adventist Hospital Commission14 that resolved to continue operating the hospital in Kalabo after the intervention of Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. Further, in addition to his work as executive secretary, Lufungulo was also appointed on June 17, 1983, to serve as the spirit of prophecy director.15 On December 31, 1985, after giving the church 42 years of outstanding service, he retired.

Diamond Chibwe Lufungulo died on November 9, 1994, at his beachfront home on the shores of Lake Bangweulu in Samfya after a long battle with prostate cancer. The funeral service was held in the nearby Mwamfuli camp meeting site, which was filled to capacity. More than twenty pastors and hundreds of mourners traveled from all the corners of Zambia to attend his funeral and pay their respects. Pastor Dimas Chende, then-North Zambia Field president, preached the funeral sermon, and the burial took place in Samfya on November 13, 1994.

Contribution and Legacy

Diamond Chibwe Lufungulo contributed greatly to the establishment of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the country of Zambia, especially in the northern region. He is remembered for his passionate love for teaching Bible prophecy, for his invigorating preaching, and for his exceptional administrative abilities. He was admired and liked everywhere he went for his calm disposition and his broad, toothy smile. Regardless of the circumstances, Pastor Lufungulo never raised his voice but preferred to admonish in a loving and kind way. He is remembered for having been a highly disciplined, ardent steward and hard-working Christian who taught his family to love God and spent Sabbath afternoons singing and reading Bible stories. His favorite hymns were “More About Jesus I Would Know” and “Lord I Hear of Show’rs of Blessing.”

Sources

“Editorial.” Northern Rhodesia Seventh Day Adventist Newsletter, 1964 (Lufungulo family’s private files).

Lufungulo, Diamond C. Application for Sustention (Retirement), September 30, 1985, Secretariat Archives, Southern Zambia Union Conference, Lusaka, Zambia.

Matandiko, Cornelius. Seventh-Day Adventism in Zambia. Lusaka Zambia: Zambia Adventist Press, 2003.

Northern Rhodesia Field Committee minutes, January 10, 1962. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives, Chisekesi, Zambia.

Northern Rhodesia Field Committee minutes, December 11, 1963. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives, Chisekesi, Zambia.

Northern Rhodesia Field Committee minutes, January 28, 1965. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives, Chisekesi, Zambia.

Zambia Union Committee minutes, April 3, 1983. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives, Lusaka, Zambia.

Zambia Union Committee minutes, June 17, 1983. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives, Lusaka, Zambia.

Notes

  1. Peter Kaoma, interview by author, Michigan, USA, September 17, 2018.

  2. Ibid.

  3. Diamond C. Lufungulo, Application for Sustention (Retirement), September 30, 1985, Secretariat Archives, Southern Zambia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Lusaka, Zambia.

  4. Northern Rhodesia Field Committee, January 10, 1962. Northern Rhodesia Field of Seventh-day Adventists archives.

  5. Certificate of Ordination, Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, issued on July 14, 1962.

  6. “Editorial,” Northern Rhodesia Seventh-day Adventist Newsletter, 1964.

  7. Northern Rhodesia Field Committee, 1965. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives.

  8. “Editorial,” Northern Rhodesia Seventh-day Adventist Newsletter, 1964.

  9. Northern Rhodesia Field Committee, December 11, 1963. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives.

  10. Cornelius Matandiko, Seventh-day Adventism in Zambia (Lusaka, Zambia: Zambia Adventist Press, 2003), 155-164.

  11. Lydia Lufungulo, personal knowledge from memory.

  12. Chende Dimas, interview by Lydia Lufungulo Chembo, Ndola, Zambia, July 2, 2018.

  13. Diamond C. Lufungulo, Application for Sustention (Retirement), September 30, 1985, Secretariat Archives, Southern Zambia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Lusaka, Zambia.

  14. Zambia Union Committee, April 3, 1985. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives.

  15. Zambia Union Committee, June 17, 1983. Southern Zambia Union Conference archives.

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Chembo, Lydia Bwalya Lufungulo. "Lufungulo, Diamond Chibwe (1924–1994)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed August 03, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5DE2.

Chembo, Lydia Bwalya Lufungulo. "Lufungulo, Diamond Chibwe (1924–1994)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access August 03, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5DE2.

Chembo, Lydia Bwalya Lufungulo (2020, January 29). Lufungulo, Diamond Chibwe (1924–1994). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved August 03, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5DE2.