In the central south Africa, several floodplains have played important roles in the formation of centralized societies in the past. The Zambezi river floodplain in western Zambia has been inhabited by the Lozi for about 300 years. On the floodplain, the Lozi people practice agriculture, cattle-raising, fishery, gathering, hunting and so forth. They have maintained a strong kingship system involving many ethnic groups.
The purpose of this paper is to examine and analyze the subsistence system on the floodplain. After describing the various activities in detail, the paper focuses on the following noticeable features. First, subsistence activities are adopted harmoniously to the ecology of the floodplain, which is composed of micro landform and annual floods. Second, the people have developed complex techniques that combine different subsistence activities. Third, while the kingdom organized engineering projects, such as constructing large-scale drainage cannals in the 19th century, the water management methods at the village level remained relatively small-scale techniques. At the same time, a symbiotic relationship has been formed between the populations inhabiting the floodplain and the surrounding woodlands. This study is also an attempt to elucidate the factors behind the formation of the Lozi kingdom.