The Other side of the Coin


mingeli1The Zambian National Anthem- How accurate is it?

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.


  1. The national anthem must be our dream, our pride, our aspiration and the dream must live on even when the situation is not good nor favarable. The national anthem is used as a uniting factor. Hence the national anthem is ok in it;s current form. We shall rise up into the sky like the noble eagle (well the eagle is not noble maybe, it hunts but it has to survive).

    • I concur, just like David siad the lord is my sheperd i shall not want, he didnt say that while he was a king… he believed, he believed it will be okay..what would we be if we didnt even dream of a better zambia, a proud and free zed??

  2. Mr. Palata,
    Just ask K.K. some of these questions. He might be in a better position to answer you well.

  3. I remember the old good dayz.I’m a bit less strssed at work today becoz of vivdy expression that has made me feel like i’m in grade 5.Thanks man

  4. at Nalituwe Primary School in Livingstone, way back in 1975 – we would sing gospel songs at assembly as we waited for the headmaster to address us…. one of the is…. “avu gote shu, uvu gote shu, all those children gote shu u uuuuu, when i go to heaven gona putoni my shu gona walkolova gotueveni. and as soon as the head master came, we would then sing the national anthem.

  5. how many times shall we dream, 50 or 100 years worth of dreams or we need to wake up and do the proper homework that investors will not develop our land, dancing to their tunes will only cease if the political will changes where the zambian is put at heart. all countries have anthems but they work more hours than zambians and hence they not only live the dream but end up dreaming bigger than they did some time ago. why shud we always be dreaming that mealie meal prices will come down? staple food in many countries is so cheap that no one is even bothered. they dont sleep on empty bellies even when they dont have a job. but in zambia the opposite is true, we sleep on empty bellies and no jobs

  6. “I shouldn’t also forget the ‘up, sideways, down’ and the ‘stand at ease, attention sir!!! ”

    ha ha!!… obviously ndiwe wa mu ma 80’s Palapa mani

  7. Ba Palata the National Anthem is very ok. I like yo last paragraf thats the spirit my dear man. Dont give up we or our children or our grand children will be there one day. That national anthem is a prayer my man and one day things will change.We are pround and free, we can boast tho on empty stomachs that Zambia is ours. Politicians may try to divide us but we will remain united becoz thats our prayer and we are determined! Colonial rule was terrible you should have been there to believe that we are free. Bible Solomon said better is adry bread with quitness than a house full of feasting with strife. Nothing wrong with the national anthem

  8. It was written for that time. How many times are you going to change it? The Americans and British sing the same anthems from way back.

  9. Nice one his time Palata. I remember singing,”land o weka njoyi unity” (land of work and joy in unity)!
    Anyway, accurte or not, that Anthem is the bomb! We, the citizens, are the problem. I mean, how can a simple song do us harm? Twalishupa fye! Lets get our act together.

  10. Shani mani? Ati siyamushe,ayi? He started the story very well, but ayi taya pa last. Why change? Is it the songs problem if there is corruption, laziness, theft, nefyashala?

    • Ba Moze, I also remember ati ” Standa singo Zambia, proud and three, lando weka njoyi unity……three men we stand under the fla of our lan, Zambia strong and three!” Good old days mudala ninshi mwalatamba na the A-team ubushiku.

  11. Good article. But I ask if you could read the words of God Save the Queen or indeed the American Anthem and then do the same analysis! Not every nation lives by its founding principals but like number 2 has said, the anthem remains the Pride and dream of the nation. I also remember that the best time to gate crush into Woodlands stadium was when the national anthem was sang coz everyone would STAND STILL. You could also be walking home from school and pass another school and if they are singing the national anthem. YOU STAND STILL!

    • Never mind ba Moze. Nakuno kuliko fi unemployment nomba we. Are you safe mudala? Ine no problems for another 15years God willing (lol).

  12. Ba Moze, imwe bamudala, ekomwaba? how are things man? We are sitting on a time bomb in Zed at the moment. Mwamumfwa Palata, he wants the natinal anthem changed

    • Muntuza i was also at zambezi basic school but i think you were my junior…can you remember mr moonga andmr nyambe…

  13. Good one but on the tribal factor i don’t agree. I think we need a new nation anthem or maybe just start singing pikipiki nakadolo

  14. we cannot change the national anthem. we might even need to take it to the ncc, no one will agree to have it changed. the only thing we can change is our attitude. zedians can sometimes be known to be lazy, especially when in zed, but when they are working abroad, they are a gem! in as much as there is unemployment, the little that is there should be taken advantage of and exploited to the benefit of the zeds.
    zambia plays to dee ( “zambia praise to thee”)

    • Imwe bana aba mubachosa kuni? Akakula akepeze ati banapontela pali foto yake pa blog, vintu ve saziba noziba, sana vichitepo nivichitapo . If it were you, how would you feel? or sibanu?

  15. Palata, the whole thing was KK’s design for himself and his friends. I enjoyed some freedom and development before independence. What I hated most was colourbar.

    In came KK with his team: Tribalism, expatriate conditions, hunger, development in reverse gear etc…etc. We have ended with up with KK enjoying 44 years of independence whilst the rest of us are still wallowing in poverty. KK is still chauffer driven in a benz for giving me, and my likes, poverty and misery. He is proud and free. He is wamuyaya, wamuyaya.

  16. Nice piece of work Mingeli. I agree with everything. The tribalism part is spot on! Rashid ati Tsunami! lol! Naishupa konse mudala.

  17. Baby C I think ‘free men’ should mean free humans/persons, whatever. So don’t worry. I think what worries me most is the tribal/ethinic animosity. Were the ruling party(in government) can even go to the extent of going to E Province and tell the people, before last elections “If you don’t vote for RB (Mwana wakwetu) you ll never see a president coming from this region. Thats why you always end up with vice presidents” that to me is as good as perpetrating genocide.

  18. The problem is with pipo and not the National Anthem. Bloggers just pray for corrupt pipo to change and not thinking of changing the National Anthem. God deliver us.

  19. I do not get this Chapter today!! Please do not question just sing. No time for a revolution the Anthem is ok. There are more important issues in Zambia than the song!!

    • Ba Jamaco. Don’t just sing… thats called parroting. You must think, question and reflect on anything you do in life. Our state of affairs pa Zed is unacceptable. Its coz we do not reflect deeply enough on important issues but accept anything and anybody that comes our way. Stop it. THINK and QUESTION please.

  20. The title of your paper is misleading. You are not questioning the National Anthem, but the Zambian people, whether they have kived up to its tenets or not. On employment, I beg to differ. There is a lot that Zambians can do for themselves. Most of our young people think that going to UnZa or college should give them an ‘un-touchable’ status. In UK, Masters and PhD degree holders do all sorts of things for a living, including menial tasks, but our children are above that! Voting on tribal lines is not national disunity. You vote for the person you know. The person who explains themselves best to you, and that may be in your tongue. On freedom’s fight,…

    • ‘You vote for the person you know’ this is exactly whats worrying cos maybe the person who might bring significant change speaks another language. You would still vote for ‘Mwana wakwitu’. I think one day we should just abolish this regionalism and just form Zambia as one, without anything like tribe and provinces. Every Zambian should be called a Zambian no matter their ethinicity. If somebody calls you a Chewa you take him to court.

    • ‘Most of our young people think that going to UnZa or college should give them an ‘un-touchable’ status. In UK, Masters and PhD degree holders do all sorts of things for a living, including menial tasks, but our children are above that!’ I can’t agree with you more on this on. Its like GRZ educates them they also expect GRZ to employee/feed them. Instead of them feeding GRZ. Its like somebody gives you food and you also expect them to get a spoon and start feeding you.

  21. …There is no nation on earth that is free. True freedom will continue to elude us even more as the world becomes more integrated in the 21st century. We should look beyond our borders to judge our freedom. When every person’s human rights in the world are respected, freedom will have been achieved. The whole world is far from that.

  22. You bloggers, At what point does the author say the National Anthem should be changed? If anything in the very last sentence he clarifies that what is important is the ‘dream’ and not the accuracy of the National Anthem with regards to today’s reality. No one, and certainly not the author of the article is advocating for the change of the National Anthem. Read the article again!!!!!!!

  23. I dont think the words in the national anthem are not true i dont agree with the writer but to another extent he might have apoint. At the time of independence Zambia indeed was strong and free it performed very well and was among the richest countries in Africa and is still amng the most ubanised countries in Africa it was second from South Africa, i dont know about now. Zambia today faces a lot of pressures economically but i do know it can achieve greatly whats required is investing in it by us Zambia whether in zambia or diaspora.Developing zambia and to retain what it had and to go to greater height it requires you and me(all of us) working together.

  24. ‘Arms forward straight!’; The problem was with with ‘Arms Up’ the holes in our sleeves (arm holes were exposed, ‘down!’ was better! No. 1 pa line. oh! Those were good old days. Palata, the National Anthem is the VISION of our fore fathers and mothers. The challenge is ours today. Your conclusion is food for though for the people of Zambeziland “is the Zambian dream and we should all strive towards making it a possibility”

  25. The Times of Zambia once carried a feature about the man who penned these lovely words. He died aparantly. Never honoured for such a beautiful song. However, I don’t like the ‘Zambia, praise to thee’ part.

    • Sorry to hear that the brain behind our beautiful National Anthem died without recognistion. Would you know the name, when and where he died. MHSRIP.

  26. #32 cont ….Another thought LT, Palata and fellow bloggers, Zambia is a beautiful name but I strongly see ‘Zambeziland’ a more productive name It calls one to dare more. Secondly, the Zambian flag needs to be modified to make the stripes more commanding. What do you say? ‘Arms up’!!!!!!!!!

  27. Guys, please attend to serious issues affecting Zed and not the innocent National Anthem. Lets attend to this Tsunami (RB) which has fallen up on us.

    • unfortunately pa ngati ukamba va sense bakupelekesha ku chimbokaila o ati expelled from the party….tizavutika manje…..tsunami afunika che kumu stunka ( shaka’s capital punishment-stick pushd up yo ……)

    • Ala Ba Mpilipili. Nice one. But mwapusako panooono biggie. Its ‘Atumutembaule Zambia’ not ‘Utu…’. Ha ha ha!!! Gotcha!

  28. ok ine i did sku muma 90s but naine naleimba ati praise to dee…..owe…..3 many stars (free men we stand).. ok on a serious note, wat this guy is sugestng seems to beat most of u guys here ka…

    • 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…………….

      catch his last words

  29. Nowhere in the article does Mingeli propose changing the national anthem. I gather, here that, he is calling us to go back to each and every frase of the anthem and reflect upon them. I like the way he puts in basic things that are affecting every zambian diaspora or not, eg, cheating in elections, lack of jobs for University leavers, etc. If the Politicians and all zambians had keenly followed the words of the anthem, we probably be better off today……..Ine nalanda kwena epo mpelele…

  30. The National Anthem as it stands I think is an ideal which we have to strive for, I do not presume that there will be a day when we will sit down and say ok now we are done, the question should be how far are we from the ideal. Someone said: “ideals are like stars, we cannot touch them, but we can chart our course with them”.

  31. Its hypocritical, lack of identity and believe to write such an article. its evident that you are not happy to be zambia for you to sugget or indirect suggest to change the wording of the anthem to suit current situation. The words or the anthem remainds of where we come from,who we are and where we are going. I hope you don’t suggest to change the wording of the Lords prayer “Give us this day our daily bread ” to suit our current situation because we have 60% of the population starving as you said in the article.

  32. The Bembas have a saying ” I chalo tachitalala nga musunga” hence against your dreams there shall always be hurdles to clear in your lives . Have a balanced view of life.

  33. Ichalo tachitalala ngamusunga = the on goings in the world never cools down like porridge does when left to cool.

  34. Mr.Palata you came on the scene rather late. we had everything said in that national anthem.we even had free lunch at school -milk biscuits and milk at break time.they also fed us during independence celebrations -i mean the whole stadium.we had free exercise books at school and as soon as the book finished all you did is walk up to the teacher and get a new one-who remmebers that? i see it here in the USA. bUT WHAT WE LACKED WAS A BACK UP SYSTEM TO SUSTAIN that management.we were not pro active- we ate eveything including the plate and the eater!

  35. Yaaaba!. Naibukisha those days mu Vista Cinema (Kabwe) – (sob! sob!!). On the big screen, in smart uniforms, the ‘Standa singo’ would play before the charles bronson, clint eastwood, sinbad etc movies. After the nat anthem, ala we ‘d break into a big cheer, scream and bang (sad) the chairs like hell. Insansa sheka sheka (sob!). Indeed ‘Standa singo’ was a real booster.

  36. Wow.
    u are truely an analyst man! Thumbs up. keep doing what soever that u are doing. the age of enlightenment has not ended yet. we still need men of such a bold nature to challege some of the ills we call Just.

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