The humble and kind Zambian spirit appreciated by outsiders
Most foreigners visiting Zambia either as expatriates, tourists or missionaries always retort at how polite and respectful Zambians are.They marvel at Zambians, how we smile, how we greet and accommodate visitors. When I refer to “Zambians”, it’s those who really represent the true Zambian spirit. Those typical humble Zambians whether rich or poor.The true Zambian spirit shows in our people regardless of whether one has running water, flushable toilets or one drinks from the river, well or live off the grid.
There is a simplicity to which our people carry-on with life. Outsiders are usually amazed at how our people manage.How we get by with life, how we are capable of wearing a soothing smile, even when surrounded by abject poverty, unemployment plus many setbacks.
Not suggesting that every Zambian is poor but that the rich and poor alike have real common set backs such as poor access to good health, injustice etcetera etcetera.Suffice to point out that there are some very well to do people in Zambia whose living can be as comfortable as anybody in any part of the world today.
We also have those who are in constant struggle to make ends meet. These are particularly the ones foreigners make reference to.
Surprisingly, most things good about Zambians seem to be noticed by outsiders or foreigners, “people from away “,as some Americans would say, while we never get to see or cherish them.This does not in anyway suggest that the visitors always have a wrong perspective of us, but we rarely notice the good in our midst or even appreciate it.
Honoring freedom fighters while they are alive
When mama Betty Kaunda died, it was my first time I got to hear how good this mother of our nation was.Before that, she blended with insignificance, with silence, and all the other attributes that surround a typical Zambian woman.There were a gazillion comments relating to this wonderful lady, all positive. One of those caught my strongest attention. It was a comment made by the chairperson of the Post freedom association.On September 21, 2012 , the Zambian post publication carried her concern on why Zambian freedom fighters are only honored at death. That statement was dead on.
Other people added the importance of honoring freedom fighters because they were getting fewer and fewer. Well, this part is what steered me to put down these thoughts.That statement was partially true and subjective. I guess people narrowed it down just to those freedom fighters who fought for our independence. Nothing wrong with that, it was still a valid contribution.
Truth of the matter, Zambia has plenty freedom fighters and unsung heroes who need to be recognized while they are still alive and not only at death.The fight for freedom is an ongoing process, in a country such as Zambia, ordinary individuals pay the price of freedom on a daily basis.
While it is a true that we attained freedom by fighting against the British colonialists, we must realize, the fight for freedom never ceases.Freedom battles rage on constantly and thus the need to identify freedom fighters and heroes and honor them.
Freedom is all about making people do the things they would not have done because of restrictions or lack of opportunity
Zambia as a nation and Zambians as a people need to revisit the issue of honoring people not only posthumously but while they are still living.To achieve this, we need to set aside our personal and political differences so we can give true honor where it is due.
A list of people deserving honor
- In the list of honoring the living and the dead, we start with our founding father, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, whose major and primary task was to break the heavy hand of colonialism and build a Zambia of peace and stability from the ground up.
- Dr Fredrick Titus Chiluba comes into picture with the task to end the power of dictatorship, setting up multipartism, economic liberalization and declaring Zambia a christian nation.
- Dr Levy Mwanawasa was a fighter against corruption and he strongly upheld the rule of law.
- Mr Rupiah Banda did very well in fostering friendship in the region and maturely handing over power to promote continued peace and stability.
- Michael Sata for pursuits in energy generation and transmission, opening our road network and promoting small and medium enterprise development.
We still have a number of names both living and dead that we can still honor.
- As our freedom struggle continues, we have names like Malimba Masheke, Kebby Musokotwane, Mainza Chona, Nalumino Mundia, Daniel Lisulo, Elijah Mudenda.These were Zambia’s prime ministers in the first regime and should be honored for their service to Zambia.
- Godfrey Miyanda, Enock Kavindele, Christon Tembo, Nevers Mumba, Lupando Mwape, George Kunda and Guy Scott.
I deliberately left out some names on the list of Vice Presidents because I mentioned them on the presidents list.
- As Zambia celebrates jubilee this year, names like Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika, Mbita Chitala and many others need to be honored for being the brains for steering our country to multi partism.
- The unsung heroes like Simon Zukas, for continuos freedom struggle and always ensuring that the democratic checks and balances are in place.
- Mr Dennis Liwewe, one of Africa’s best soccer commentators, heroes like the great Kalusha Bwalya, Charles Musonda, Daniel Munkombwe very active and non retiring veteran.
- The Zambian clergy and local musicians for speaking on behalf of the voiceless.The list is endless but the honor non existent.
- How about our young and old freedom fighters and heroes who are represented by various organizations such as: the Law association of Zambia, the police, the church, the press, the human rights organizations, political parties plus many observer groups that exist to fight for our freedom.
We are ONE Zambia,ONE Nation
It is therefore important that we honestly recognize those fighting for our freedoms and render honor where it is due.Their works should be recognized beyond party lines and religious affiliations.Zambia is capable of growing out of the vigilante mentality which only promotes outdated ways of running the affairs of our country.The modern way of doing politics is to always remember that we are one family that has varying opinions and ideas.It should be the duty of every peace loving Zambian to shun those politicians who preach disunity and division.Those dividers should be exposed at all costs. Zambia is one nation that is blessed by different shades of ethnic groups.The is no Zambian more Zambian than the other. There is no Zambian superior to another because we are all one people.
Let our educators rewrite our school text books and emphasize what we Zambians believe instead of reading what was written by foreigners.It was the same foreign writings that destroyed the likes of Burundi, Rwanda and Congo causing deaths of many innocent citizens.Zambia needs to cherish her peace, appreciate her diversity and honor our legends.
It is through unity in diversity that great nations are blessed. As the words of scripture say, God commands a blessing where there is unity.Zambia, an oasis of peace and a refuge for seekers, has always been and it will always be.
Let’s honor our freedom fighters, best when they are alive. However, if we miss the chance to honor them while alive, let’s not forget to honor them.
Happy year of jubilee dear Zambia. We love you.
By Pezzy Kudakwashe