Kin Groups and Descent. Most Lunda are matrilineal, but only the lineages of chiefs or certain headmen are remembered with great genealogical depth. Most matrilineages, however, are quite extensive geographically. Attendance at weddings, funerals, and initiation ceremonies serves to keep individuals in touch with matrikin over vast areas of Angola, Zaire, and Zambia. The matrilineage rarely acts as a corporate group, but it does provide a potential network for support and hospitality should the need arise. Personal relations cultivated over time, rather than cultural prescriptions, determine the degree of closeness and frequency of social interaction.
Kinship Terminology. The Lunda use an Iroquois kinship terminology system. The major features include a merging of same-sex siblings by the descending generation. Both mother and mother's sister are called by the same term, mama. Both father and father's brother are called tata. Distinctions are made for the father's sister ( tatankaji ) and mother's brother ( mandumi ). Likewise, cross cousins (children of mother's brother or father's sister) are distinguished from parallel cousins (children of mother's sister or father's brother). The latter are addressed using sibling terms. Hierarchy based on age defines relationships among the Lunda. Most kin terms reflect, or are appended by terms that reflect birth order or relative age—for example, yaya (older brother or sister), mwanyika (younger brother or sister), -mukulumpi (-the elder), - kansi (-the younger).