The Kpinga had three projecting blades and a small, plant fiber handle. The one shown was 21 inches long and weighed 3.5 pounds. Like its distant cousin, the shuriken, it could be thrown overhead at an opponent, or sideways to take out an opponent's legs. Even the handle could do a lot of damage if it hit.
Mambele are various large throwing knives used throughout Central Africa; with each ethnic tribe having their own unique variation. The Kpinga was thrown at opponents, making it one of the very few functional African throwing knives with considerable documentary evidence of their use in battle. The position of the blades increased the likelihood of impaling a victim when the weapon made impact.
The Kpinga was also associated with the masculine power of the Zande warrior and were part of the marriage price paid by a Zande man to the family of his prospective wife.