Malema traces its origins to a warrior, Ngevao, who came from Gumao town in what is today Liberia. He was a mercenary that had been hired by Nyawa. Nyawa was himself a great warrior who participated in the Kpaa-Mende expansion of Mende across eastern and southern Sierra Leone (Abraham, 2003, pg. 97). Nyawa is credited with founding Nyawa-Lenga. The story goes that Ngevao and Kpambu raised the area around Malema until there were only four villages left. After, they settled there, and began rebuilding the area’s roads and settlements. Malema in Mende means “we are growing”, referring to this reconstruction period. The current chief is Lamin Pamly Ngevao, a Mende elected in 2003. There was no chief from the war, as chief K.S.L. Kangoma died in 1991, and a regent held the position for the duration of the war
Ngevao - This house follows the lineage of the original warrior of its name. There is likely to have been some conflict between this house and the others in the early 20th century. Farma Ngevao is listed as “a fair chief” in the district records of 1912, “but unpopular with the resultant internal dissensions in the chiefdom.” Today, though there is little memory of this chief today, it is recalled that he was not friendly with the colonial government, whereas the other families were. The other families could have used relationships with the government to their advantage to challenge Ngevao politically.
Kpambu - This house follows the lineage of Kpambu, a mercenary subordinate to Ngevao who was also given the right to rule.