Nzappa zap

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Ceremonial axe of the Songye people Ceremonial axe, Songe people, Honolulu Museum of Art, 3023.JPG
Ceremonial axe of the Songye people

The Nzappa zap (also referred to as zappozap, kasuyu) is a traditional weapon from the Congo similar to an axe or hatchet. It has an ornate wrought-iron blade connected to a club-like wooden handle, often clad in copper, bronze or brass. [1] [2] [3]

A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with intent to inflict damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, self-defense, and warfare. In broader context, weapons may be construed to include anything used to gain a tactical, strategic, material or mental advantage over an adversary or enemy target.

Congo Basin basin of the Congo River in west equatorial Africa

The Congo Basin is the sedimentary basin of the Congo River. The Congo Basin is located in Central Africa, in a region known as west equatorial Africa. The Congo Basin region is sometimes known simply as the Congo.

Axe tool or weapon

An axe is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood, to harvest timber, as a weapon, and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.

Largely ceremonial, it can be used much like the American tomahawk, both thrown for short distances and as a melee weapon in hand-to-hand combat. It differs from the usual axe style, in that the blade mounts to looping prongs that affix to the shaft.

Americas Landmass comprising North America, Central America and South America

The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they make up most of the land in Earth's western hemisphere and comprise the New World.

A melee weapon, hand weapon or close combat weapon, is any weapon used in direct hand-to-hand combat; by contrast with ranged weapons which act at a distance.

Hand-to-hand combat is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of ranged weapons. While the phrase "hand-to-hand" appears to refer to unarmed combat, the term is generic and may include use of melee weapons such as knives, sticks, batons, spears, or improvised weapons such as entrenching tools. While the term hand-to-hand combat originally referred principally to engagements by combatants on the battlefield, it can also refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more people, including law enforcement officers, civilians, and criminals.

This weapon derives from the upper Congo region and was used as a brutal weapon in battle. It was usually crafted by the Nsapo people who thrived industrially from iron and copper. The axe is forged from Iron while the handle is made of wood covered in copper. This weapon yields a lot of damage when used mainly in close combat and sometimes directly thrown. [4] The Nzappa Zap has a club like handle that flares at the base and has a rounded head. The blade is also attached through a post extending from the handle. Nzappa Zaps sometimes has two or three human faces in the iron head. The axe is ceremonial and usually kept and carried by the chiefs of the Songye. The weapon holds power and significance among the people. [5] The axe was used in battle, as a status symbol, and also as a form of currency in trade. [6]

The weapon is the etymological base of the name "Zappo Zap", an infamous Songye tribal group once active in the Congo Free State.

Zappo Zap

The Zappo Zap were a group of Songye people from the eastern Kasai region in what today is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They acted as allies of the Congo Free State authorities of the King of the Belgians, while trading in ivory, rubber and slaves. In 1899 they were sent out by the colonial administration to collect taxes. They massacred many villagers, causing an international outcry.

Congo Free State Area in Central Africa under Belgian control (1885–1908)

The Congo Free State also known as the Independent State of the Congo was a large state in Central Africa from 1885 to 1908. It was ruled personally by Leopold II and not by the government of Belgium, of which he was the constitutional monarch. Leopold II was able to procure the region by convincing other Eurasian states at the Berlin Conference that he was involved in humanitarian and philanthropic work and would not tax trade. Via the International Association of the Congo, he was able to lay claim to most of the Congo basin. On 29 May 1885, after the closure of the Berlin Conference, the king announced that he planned to name his possessions "the Congo Free State", an appellation which was not yet used at the Berlin Conference and which officially replaced "International Association of the Congo" on 1 August 1885. The Congo Free State operated as a corporate state privately controlled by Leopold II. The state included the entire area of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo and existed from 1885 to 1908, when the government of Belgium reluctantly annexed the area.

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References

  1. "Additional Images ‹› 'Nzappa Zap' axe from upper Congo" . Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  2. Joyce, Tom (1998). "African Art - Life Force at the Anvil". ArtMetal: Social Networking for the Metal Arts. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  3. Phyreblade (21 June 2007). "Nzappa zap!!". The Realm of the Dark Blade. Wordpress. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  4. "Watch Bonus: What Is a Nzappa Zap? Video - Forged in Fire | HISTORY". HISTORY. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  5. "Nzappa Zap". National Army Museum.
  6. the-saleroom.com. "A good Songe axe, Nzappa Zap, from the Upper Congo basin, the iron crescent blade supported by tw". www.the-saleroom.com. Retrieved 2018-04-03.