Shame on us!



By Field Ruwe

Stagnation Triumphs yet again

To the shouts of “New Year!” the skies erupted at midnight, car horns went off and fireworks shot up. We exited 2012 with pomp, mirth and music and entered the New Year in spectacular style.On January 1st, 2013, we nursed our hangovers and egos and reality began to set in. First day of the year was a day of reflection. Each one of us, individually, looked at the next twelve months with the peculiar hopes and fears which, year after year, are drawn from what we have achieved or lost in the past.

We indulged in the pleasures of hope and hopelessness and allowed words like “will I make it,” “will I survive,” “is this the year” to bounce in the echo chamber of our consciousness.

Second day, we sobered, abandoned memories of yesteryear and embraced the hopes of tomorrow. We got out of bed, took a bath and entered into the dust and din of real life. Alas! a new race for survival had begun for us all—the president, his vice, cabinet ministers, castle-builders, castle-wishers, optimists, pessimists, the haves, the have-nots, and the ailing.
As we drove or were driven to work we realized nothing had changed. Life around was still stagnant. Roads and buildings were the same; minibuses still ferried overloads; vendors were back on the street; and people carried the same attitude and ego. Stagnation had yet again triumphed.

Because the gifts of genius have eluded us, we were back in the same place, working on the same thing from 8 to 5. We can’t see past this because we are wired in a simpleminded way to replicate what we did last year in the bank, factory, bakery, mines, and in parliament.

Because the gifts of genius have eluded us, we were back in the same place, working on the same thing from 8 to 5

Let’s admit it. We have miserably failed at greatness. As a people we have failed to amplify our best traits. With absolutely no self-confidence, we, year after year, stagnate and watch others mature into far superior humans than us.
We are lazy—unmotivated. I hear angry voices. Some have stopped reading and are already rabidly blogging and foaming at the mouth.

Ruwe, how can you insult us? How can you say we are lazy? You are lucky, you are not here. I would have knocked your teeth out. No one calls me lazy, you understand—no one! If you are lazy, that’s your fault. I am not. I work hard for my money!

Rage, threats, insults, are our self-defense. We are as sensitive as a grenade. When you remove the pin you have to run or it will explode and kill you.Often those who say they are not lazy use their hands much more than their brains. They use their hands laboriously because they have not figured out how to invent a tool that would need less energy. The practical importance of intelligence in everyday situations is brought out by the much-repeated injunction to “Use your head!” Most of us fail. That’s why I say we are lazy.

Fya ba sungu

A week has elapsed since the dawn of 2013. We are back in the same bar, on the same stool, drinking, fighting, insulting neighbors, and starving our children. We are back on the computer hauling insults and besmirching the characters of those with opposing opinions and views. We are back doing nothing about life.

Dressed in their usual smelly torn clothes they sat around a fire in a house filled with smoke—and coughed.Na ba kula,” (they have aged) we keep saying with no remorse.


Our siblings, relatives, and friends are departing in large numbers—from AIDS, malaria, cholera, TB, cancer, and hunger. We hopelessly watch. We can’t do much about it. We have left everything in the hands of God.

Lesa eka ewaishiba.”
“Mulungu eka ndiyo aziba.”
“Only God knows

And yet God helps those who help themselves.
Whenever a man makes haste, God too hastens with him,” Sophocles wrote, “No good e’er comes of leisure purposeless; and heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act,” Euripides wrote. “Try first thyself, and after call in God; For to the worker God himself lends aid.

We do not bother to try. On January 1, for instance, our retired parents and grandparents back in the village woke up as if there was no 2013; as if it were 1913. They had slept on the floor in tattered blankets. They have no electricity, no candle, no clean water and little to eat. Dressed in their usual smelly torn clothes they sat around a fire in a house filled with smoke—and coughed.

Na ba kula,” (they have aged) we keep saying with no remorse.

Shame on us! Up to this day, it has not occurred to us that there are geniuses among us, possessed with incredible abilities; that there people among us who can create a water filter, and put an electric bulb in each and every home in our village and compound.


Ever heard of Kelvin Doe, the 15-year-old genius from Sierra Leone? Young Doe taught himself how to build generators, batteries, and FM radios using parts he found in the trash. He builds batteries and generators to provide electricity for his family and the people around him. His next plan is to build a windmill to provide electricity for his town. We truly have people of his caliber here in our country.

But because indolence has set in big time, we do not want to find such people. Instead, like birds on a weeping tree, we watch the tantalizing thrusts of civilization zoom past: electricity, telephone, typewriters, radios, cars, trains, planes, computers, cellular phones, iPads…

Fya ba sungu,” (they are for white people) we say.
Abasungu bali chenjela” (whites are intelligent).

Locked up in a 1964 brain, we, without a trace of guilt sit before our television sets and adore the ingenuity of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein. We shamelessly hang on to their fulfilled dreams and yet we were created equal. Shame on us!

Today, the poor and uneducated Chinese who have infiltrated our country have surpassed us by far. They are showing us how to make money on a single chicken and a piece of tomato. They have figured out who they are and what they want. They have grabbed life by the horns, and learned how to persevere amidst setbacks. They take control of their lives instead of waiting for Bill Gates to open up doors. This is what is called greatness.

Locked up in a 1964 brain, we, without a trace of guilt sit before our television sets and adore the ingenuity of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein. We shamelessly hang on to their fulfilled dreams and yet we were created equal. Shame on us!

As for us, like a tree, we continue to grow upward and going nowhere. We are born, grow, go to school, learn only so little, do only so much, age and die with no feats on earth. From dust we came to dust we go with no name to ourselves.

“Ruwe iwe, don’t just sit there in America and write rubbish,” I hear some irate individual saying. “You can’t compare the Chinese to us. They have been doing this for thousands of years. Besides, they have the capital to buy farming tools. We don’t.”

They say a lazy mind is the devil’s workshop. The devil allows good people to stop thinking. It allows them to be indoctrinated with negative thoughts and lose sight of their goals. The result is failure—disease, hunger, poverty, and death.


We are good people. We are a united nation. Many of us have a trait that exudes persistence to learn and excel. Some of us carry superior intelligence, discipline, and ingenuity. But we live in a country not organized for success; a country disorganized by our politicians from the president to his cabinet.They do not have the wherewithal to advance.

We have hardly advanced and Sata is not helping. He is taking us back where we were last year—nowhere.

They have surrendered our country to history—a history of “blacks are not intelligent;” a history of exploitation of man by man; a history of corruption; a history of extortion, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement; and a history of false promises. They use lessons learned from such history to practice politics of personal gain.

All our presidents begin their term with a “what is best for me” attitude. This is true with president Michael Chilufya Sata.

Iwe Ruwe, watampa with your nonsense,” a PF cadre is blogging. “You show utter disrespect for the president. Stay where you are.

No, I don’t. I respect him. Things may be looking good for the blogger because he is benefiting from the ruling party—he is a cabinet minister, ambassador, diplomat, paid cadre, or one rescued from contempt charges.The same cannot be said about us. We have hardly advanced and Sata is not helping. He is taking us back where we were last year—nowhere. He is making a seminal political contribution to the destruction of our country.Since he assumed power, he has not asked us to change our patterns; to find ways of how to tackle the stagnation that has become part of our lives—the stagnation that has and continues to claim a good chunk of our population. Today Leopards Hill Cemetery is a cosmopolitan of our beloved.

So, iwe Ruwe, what do you want the president to do, kanshi?”

What the President can do

First and foremost, the president must treat us like 14 million intelligent people. He must create a Patents and Inventions Policy Board and invest millions of our tax dollars in it. The purpose of the Board will be to search for inventions of value to the public.

There are many young and old talented people around the country trying to make life a little easier for themselves. They invent and design products that are good enough to change lives for the better. The president should encourage such inventors and take appropriate action to ensure that the public receives the benefit.

The president must appoint six people, including Clive Chirwa, to the Board, which will advise and assist with Zambian inventions. The committee will encourage discovery and invention around the country.

Each year the president himself must offer a sum of $10,000 or more in prize money for the invention of the year and fully fund its mass production.

He must instruct ZNBC Director General Chibamba Kanyama to start a television program called “Zambia’s Own Inventors” featuring a panel of judges who will consider inventions or business concepts presented by small-scale entrepreneurs in English or vernacular, live on TV. The inventors must convince the judges that their idea is outstanding.

But first, and this is cardinal, the president must make democracy a core theme of his presidency and dedicate all his efforts to effective governance and to real economic development. He must lead the fight against corruption. Most of all, he must establish political stability, embrace the opposition, and together with them build institutions that will facilitate a smooth transfer of power to his successor after one or two terms. How about that?

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, and author. He is a PhD candidate at George Fox University and serves as an adjunct professor (lecturer) in Boston. ©Ruwe2012

Cognizant of the character assassination synonymous with Zambian politics I urge you to read the following about me.
My full names are: Field Chakudzidzwa Ruwe. I am a bona fide Zambian, born in Wusakile Hospital, Kitwe on August 8, 1955.
True: My wonderful and caring parents, Jeremiah and Rachel, originated from the Northern Region of Malawi (1930s). My father worked for the Public Works Department (PWD) in Chililabombwe and Chingola.
True: I attended Maiteneke and Chingola Primary Schools (1961-1968) and Chikola Secondary School (Forms I–V, 1969-1973).
True: In 1974, I repeated Form V at Matero Boys’ Secondary School, Lusaka because my grades were not enough to take me to university. I achieved the desired grade.
True: I worked as a Technical Operator (recordist) for Zambia Broadcasting Services. In 1975, I answered an advert by ZBS for students to study engineering abroad. When I was not picked I chose to continue working to support my retired parents. I also presented numerous radio and television programs.
True: Between 1975 -1978, I scripted, produced and acted in a comedy program called “Tiyende Pamodzi Comedy Show” on Television Zambia. I still love humor.
True: I ran a successful media and tourism business in Lusaka called Rute Limited. Many of you will remember Rute Car Hire.
True: I married a doctor and she is the reason I am in the U.S. today. Let no one lie to you. We left the country on our own accord with unblemished record.
True: In 1999, while in the U.S., I invested heavily in a company called “Africa Center” in Lusaka. It collapsed within the shortest time and I lost all my property.
True: I do not have a criminal record, nor have I indulged in any unlawful or corrupt acts, here in the U.S. and in my country Zambia. When you come across malicious nonsense, take it with a pinch of salt.
True: I do not belong to any political party. Those who claim I belong to the MMD, UPND, or PF are not telling the truth.
True: While in the U.S. I have fulfilled my dream of reaching the pinnacle of education. I now believe I can make a positive intellectual contribution to my country Zambia. You may not agree with me. Instead of trashing my PhD effort, why don’t you emulate me by seeking higher achievement and rising to high literary eminence? Together we can change our country. Yes we can!


  1. We can not all be inventers of something. We are gifted differently. I do appreciate your lamentations about Zambia but your suggestions of improvement are shallow and will take us back to the TV set you are moaning about. Keep on thinking. I strongly believe our success is in the young ones and so a complete overhaul of our education system, apprentiship revitalisation, spreading investment accross the country and not only along the line of rail will do wonders.

    • The problem with us African is jealous, instead of looking at the intention of what Mr. Ruwe is trying to bring out you simply call it shallow, i pit ourselves.

      Thanks Mr. Ruwe, your story is quiet inspiring, with determination and self discipline yes we can make great improvements

    • Butala, please know that we are all advocating for the good of Zambia but being individuals we will have diverging views which should be acceptable. I encouraged him to keep on thinking which we should all be doing. I understand there is political correctness these days hence people suppressing their views. But that wont help Zambia. Lets air our views as we see fit of course with respect and not insults.

    • I agree with you bro, logical contributions is cardinal, above all we need to be action oriented.

      let us disagree to agree with a high sense of humour. Zambia is for us to develop

  2. That is being a genius and an inspiration Mr Ruwe.I do agree with you totally,but don’t lose hope and I have not lost it,things will be better one day

  3. Field Ruwe, I don’t agree with probably 30% of what you write e.g. where you say President Sata should “instruct ZNBC Director General Chibamba Kanyama to start a television program”. That sounds more like a scenario from the UNIP days. I think because we are from different eras, there are always certain points that I disagree with you. But, take heart. I love your articles and I have downloaded and merged them into one special Field Ruwe document.

    Don’t listen to these detractors who are always trying to discredit anyone with divergent views. I don’t have to agree with you 100% but I know your heart is in the right place. I will be dissappointed if you stopped writing with the same or more zeal because of some people who think voting is the same as the lottery. When their party…

    • Simpasa, Ruwe is not suggesting Sata to instruct ZNBC to host the inventors show. Ruwe is simply urging groups such as Engineers Ass of Zambia, JETS and other engineering ass., clubs or groups to encourage members or general public come up with inventions or creativities that can benefit the nation. These new ideas, inventions or discoveries should be proved before a pannel of well qualified personnel to ajudicate the validity of that invension and award monetary gain to the deserving inventor- $10,000. This is where governmrnt through Sata comes in as away of encouraging would be inventors or engineers to be recognised by govt. ZNBC to contribute space for pannel of judges and Sata to present award on behalf of govt. This is what happens in civilised nations.






    • Which friends laugh at us?
      Germans, Swedes, Poles, Britons, Norwegians, Russians, the French?
      Which friends laugh at us?

  5. I find it hard to understand why even supposedly educated people like Field Ruwe would want to hero worship Chirwa for literally zero achievements. The only thing I see here why he supports him is because they are both Malawians.

    • While I greatly appreciated your well researched account of the whereabouts of Zwangendaba’s geave, you’re being very petty in calling Ruwe,as well as Chirwa, Malawians. Ruwe’s profile here, like Chirwa’s elsewhere, specifies that he was born in Zambia and therefore qualifies for Zambian citizenship by birth. I can vouch for Ruwe because we grew up in the same neighbourhood of Chikola Township early in his life. The citizenship of these two gentlemen can only be called into question if they have assumed citizenship elsewhere without renouncing their Zambian citizenship. A gaffe of this nature raises questions about your pseudo-intellectual ability and academic credentials

    • Your answer is exactly what Ruwe is talking about and your comment reflect the Zambian mindset and simply proves him right. We Zambians must be genetically inept if we are going to take constructive criticism like that and turn it into an insult. Shame on us.

    • I think this is crap. Cant I support someone’s thought without you looking for weak threads to tie me to him? What about the fact that Chirwa ia another human being? Who said all Malawians, Zambians cling to each other?

  6. Parts of the speech by P.W. Botha to his cabinet in 1985. ‘The Republic of S/A that we know of today has not been created by wishful thinking. We have created it at the expense of intelligence, sweat and blood. By now every one of us has seen it practically that the Blacks cannot rule themselves. Give them guns & they will kill each other. They are good in nothing else but making noise, dancing, marrying many wives & indulging in sex. Let us all accept that the Black man is the symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness and emotional incompetence. And here is a creature( black man) that lacks foresight. The average Black does not plan his life beyond a year’ Zambians and other Africans can prove him wrong. Lets prove him wrong even in his death. Will you?

  7. Building this country will take years…each one of us should as ourselves….what have i built this year…talk is cheap, action is supreme…

  8. The problem with people in the diaspora is that they want to compare the happenings of modern western nations to that of our country. Zambia’s civilisation is just over a 100 years old. The Nation is only 48 years old. 3/4 of the population lives under less than a dollar a day. Infrastructure is centuries behind. The work that needs to be done is vast. The efforts of Mr. Ruwe and I will only achieve a result up to a certain extent. The foundation we lay now, is not for us to see the completion but for our children’s children to enjoy. We are years behind. Come back Mr. Ruwe and help begin that foundation, stop shouting from a distance.

  9. The simple difference between failure and success is beliveing. When you believe that you can make a positive change, change will be made positively. Take time and think about it!


  11. I agree the problem is simple its called mindset and if blacks can change and hug this phenomena and start to work hard and to stop the blame game of other races per zed and include them in cabinets as mps you will see how this country will move forward like south africa .a rainbow nation.

  12. It is better for Ruwe to come back home and help start what he is talking about. that is the problem with Zambians, you talk while standing on a mountain instead of descending to come and practice what you are talking about. Living in America and helping America develop even more is not a solution. Atase ba Ruwe, you are just an economic refugee just like others who scream loud yet they don’t make a difference to mother Zambia.

  13. Hi Ruwe, to start with i wish to say you are a good writer and i have closely followed your writing. i must state that i find it had to be inspired by your writing because from your simple history it shows me that u have realy not achived anything worthwhile inpiring in your life. Your education to PHD has not been usefull to your country in any tangible way. i pity yo dream of reaching the crest of education without doing anythig to show off for your country. its better one has a certificate and invents, starts acompany or anything to make mankind better. you and your wife are now economic refugees in the US instead of sticking around and improve your country and leave a legacy for your children. you are braging about staying in the US as though its an achivement what a mind set. am…

  14. Ruwe you are a good writer, yes Zambians are gifted in humanities and theology. Zambian make well as negative-writers, politicians, police officers and soccer players.

  15. I agree with you on many points but on the attack on Sata , there my dear you have erred. Why can’t you give Sata a chance before you 100% condemn him? Is it Sata who has sent those guys at Leopard grave yard? Why can’t you just write than always bringing Sata in disrepute?

    Peace and Prosperity to Mother Zambia.

  16. Very good Ruwe! Brilliant!
    The culture of “If it ain’t broken why fix it” must stop and now!
    The entitlement syndrome must stop and now!
    If you plant a seed and pray for rain and sun for the seed to grow, God will answer your prayer! If you and your family sit at the diner table with no food and pray for the food to drop from heaven, God won’t listen to you, he will punish you!
    Always think of ways to make things better for yourself and those around you!
    Bravo Ruwe!

  17. I do not agree with people who have gone to live in foreign lands. You have been in the USA for over ten years, surely have you not raised enough capital to come back and start a company here in zambia instead of just writing articles?


  19. Interesting article. However, Dr Ruwe, The President cannot be instructing ZNBC to do this or that programme. That is very much against the tenets of Democracy. The media is supposed to be independent from The Executive. Chibamba should take the initiative.

  20. This guys is always giving contradictory messages!. A president ordering a TV station what to broadcast is not the right way to go in a democracy. The media should be independent and encouraging the president to meddle in the media will lead to censorship if he doe not like what you broadcast or write about him. We should be taking the powers from the presidency not adding more powers if we want our democracy to work.

  21. Motomoto,
    Zambia is not a welfare state and entitlements you are talking about don’t exist. No Zambian get a paycheck for sitting at home. You are paid for what you work for .

  22. Apotioning 0 the blame 2 Mr Sata z not being z too early. Too much talking ba diaspora .Come back an put your words in2 actions.U sound a victim ba Ruwe. Anyway looking forward 2 a de wen we’ll hear dat unza/cbu have invented smthg.

  23. well Done Dr Ruwe. Those that have some brain will take aleaf from your story and idea. I remember you when radio 4 opened you were one of the djs. God bless you sir as you continue enlighening those that are able to listen.

  24. Once a “bean” you will always be a “bean”. Like your elder brother, RB, your parents came from Malawi at about the same time. You may not be affiliated to any political party, but your writings about this current government which deposed your brother shows that you are sympathetic to the ‘other group’!

  25. Ruwe your article is too contradicting, as you claim 2b PHD student i would suggest you study academic English. I can’t differentiate either you are writing to yourself or the masses. You portray yourself as victim and later you include everyone to be a victim. I can understand may be due to losses of your business you have become disillusioned. Your article is more on seeking pity rather than objective think that can change our social and economical issues in our country. First don’t wait for the Govn’t to create jobs because they will never . Your entrepreneurship or apprenticeship ideas in your stated can be stated without the need of the Govn’t by people like you and me or responsible coperate organisations.

  26. Cont from 34
    You talk of greatness and you list Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein. Do you one thing they have in common failure and insanity. Insanity means doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result. All these men where failures at some point but were insane enough to be expect a different result. Bill drop out of uni, Steve got kicked of his own company for and Einstein experimental over and over expecting a different result. The Stumbling block to our greatness is failure. We are so fear of failure. We are always comfortable of our comfort zone. We are so fear of failure like death. Until we overcome this fear, our inspiration to greatness will be far of our sight. Einstein once said “imagination is more than knowledge”

  27. Foe someone who have been to a higher institution learning he should understand what research means. Ruwe should be encouraging for research in our universities not what he is what he is talking about, mass production of a product just because it works? Sounds wasteful to me! Sometimes the best ideas should remain ideas, if we start spending money on any idea which comes along in the name of ‘made in Zambia’, We will end up spending billions on projects which are not financially viable. Research and development can be done better at our universities and the institutions and students will benefit. Gifted people can be helped to enter institutions and colleges so that they can learn to appreciate their knowledge and further pursue their dreams.

    • I agree with your views to a degree but please note that Field Ruwe is encouraging innovation and not research and development. Besides, research and development should not be restricted to universities, schools and institutions but to any one or organisations that has the resources to do so. In addition, schools, universities and institutions have not achieved much in terms on research and development.

  28. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for a lot more of your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update this again very soon..

  29. The truth hurts. It is indeed sad that we Zambians have come to accept poverty/hardship as a way of life. We are quick to insult those that tell us the truth. Mr Ruwe is not the foe, our incompetent greedy politicians are. We need to wake up and demand for better utilization of our resources to improve our well being. Our civil servants; (healthcare providers, policemen, teachers etc) have been under paid for your years, our healthcare facilities are ill equipment, our roads and drainage network are a shame to say the least, retirees’ pensions have not been revised for years;hence our retirees continue to live in absolute poverty, yet we sit back and do nothing? King Cobra is busy building a mansion for himself, Lord help us! What about us the ordinary folks that vote! time to wake…

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