Meanings & PronunciationsPer the Online Chichewa Dictionary, Nyanja (nigh-AHN-jah) means lake. Almost spelled the same is Nyanza (nigh-AHN-zah), which means an enormous collection of primordial water (lake, sea, pool, river, etc.) (UC#812)
Due to the closeness of Nyanja and Nyanza in spelling and general meaning, more than likely they are the same word with the same combined meaning. Ukerewe (oo-kay-RAY-way). The prefix “U” means land of or country of, thus, Ukerewe means the land of the Kerewe. The Kerewe people are the Cherewe people who are the Chewa people. The “k” and “ch” are interchangeable. (1) Therefore, it is likely, Ukerewe was once spelled something similar to Ucherewe and Ucherewa. This seems likely due to variations of what the people were called: Chewa, ewa and ewe.
The Chewa people are also known as Nyanja - people of the lake - who speak Chinyanja - the language of the lake. This is the same language as Chichewa. In summary, Great Lake Ukerewe is Nyanja ya Ukerewe is Great Lake of the Land of the Chewa. Ennyanja Nalubaale is the Luo name for the Nyanja ya Ukerewe.
Ennyanja is en + nyanja and thus, based on root spelling and usage, means the same as Nyanja/Nyanza.
Nalubaale (nah-loo-bah-AH-lay) means “Mother of Guardian Gods.” (3)
Location & Selected InformationNyanja ya Ukerewe is in Uganda (the land of the Ganda people). Based on surface area, it is the second largest freshwater lake in the world. It has over 2,000 miles of shoreline and more than three thousand islands. Nyanja ya Ukerewe is right on the equator; however, high heat is tempered by the general elevation of the area, by many breezes, by the lush shade-providing vegetation canopy and by frequent cooling rains. As a result, the high temperatures prevalent in the more desert-like Nubia, which is thousands of miles north of the equator, are unknown in this favored central region. (4) Abundant rain, rich vegetation and fertile soil support extensive gardens. The waters in the brooks remain fresh and cool as it winds through the lowlands in underground channels shielded from the sun. (5) Once again it is easy to understand why this central region of Africa is the birthplace and incubator of humans and knowledge.
References:(1) Sharman, Fergus, “Linguistic Ties Between Ancient Egyptian and Bantu: Uncovering Symbiotic Affinities and Relationships in Vocabulary,” Universal-Publishers 2013, p. 168. (Since “ch” and “k” are interchangeable, Chichewa is Kichewa; Kiswahili is Chiswahili.)
(2) Sharman. Based on usage in the text.
(3) Asante, Molefi Kete and Mazama, Ama Editors: Encyclopedia Of African Religion (2009), p. 375/pdf 406 and p. 139/pdf 170.
(4) Reclus, Elisée, "The Earth And Its Inhabitants. Africa," D. Appleton & Company, (New York:1886), Vol I, North-East Africa, p.75/pdf 109.
(5) Ibid., p. 75-6/pdf 109-10.