By Mingeli Palata
I still recall my first primary school days, the safari uniforms and shorts were the order of the day and each Monday we would go pa parade, meet the headmaster and hear all that we are doing wrong.
I shouldn’t also forget the ‘up, sideways, down’ and the ‘stand at ease, attention sir!!! Look I don’t know which school you went to but at the school my parents afforded, that was the way it was. But I believe there was also once a time in your life when you sung the national anthem every Monday if not every day or back in the good old days when its was only ZNBC or never and we would all wait for the National anthem to be played before TV opens at 17:00hrs just so we could watch ‘’Shira and Bozo’!
In all honesty I only got the words of the National Anthem correctly when I reached my grade 8 at Kamwala High School but for the ‘Zambia, praise to thee, all one, strong and free’. Dear friends its not that I still can’t get the pronunciation but I constantly question the truth in that statement. I don’t know about you.
Let’s take some time to think about that phraseology and just the whole composition of our national anthem. Among the most prominent words in the national anthem are ‘proud and free’. Where the meaning of the word freedom can be relative to the situation in which case we would be talking about 44 years of peace and independence, the mafia law has it that who-so-ever controls the money has the power and the two cannot do without the other.
More than 40% of our budget is funded by westerners, the fabric of our economic base is too young to be independent and we live in a country were we do not eat what we produce and produce what we do not eat- our industry and manufacturing wings are too weak and almost non-existent. Just imagine what would happen if the western world pulled out a Zimbabwe move on us! Proud and free?
How about Land of work and joy in unity? Year after year myriads that graduate from high schools and universities continue roaming the streets with no jobs- nothing. Graduating from UNZA is no longer a guarantee to a better life; you will need to know someone from somewhere who knows somebody that works at some place for you to get a job. So why would it be a land of work and joy in unity?
One Zambia, One Nation, well coined and very much echoed in our National Anthem. But is it? Just the voting trend in the last election answers that question better than you and me. Accept it or not, tribalism has become pronounced in our country. What a sad state of affairs! Just how united are we? Yes just how united are when we have other tribes not voting for the other tribe even if the devil himself was the other choice.
Freedoms fight? It’s true that I am such a big fun of Dr. Kaunda (To the extent that I have procured a few safari suits for myself ) but I doubt that what the freedom fighters were fighting for has been attained. Our fathers shed their blood so as to see a better Zambia, in which all the children would go to good schools, have good hospitals and would have food on their tables but alas, the situation today is far from what had been hoped for. 44 years the line, more than 60% of our population is poor while the few rich continue to feed on lobsters and send their children to the UK for studies. Its just like that book ‘animal farm’, it’s a good read, get yourself a copy!
Obviously the National Anthem is not accurate to the Zambian situation but the point I am trying to note is that the national anthem is the Zambian dream and we should all strive towards making it a possibility.