Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Death of an Evening Prayer: An Eulogy to Vespers Shimuzhila – Killed for seeking Knowledge and Enlightenment


Yesterday, Monday 8th October 2018 I was moved in pain when I saw the funeral procession of the University of Zambia student killed by Zambia Police’s raid of the University student premises following a student demonstration of last week. I had restrained myself from commenting heavily on this matter, but when I thought of my little girl who I hope will one day go to university, I was filled with rage and anger at that thought that one like her had just been killed for merely being a university student, in her room, a sanctuary.

Vespers could have been anyone’s daughter.

She is everyone’s daughter.

I am in pain.

A university of a place of learning. A place where knowledge is sought and expressed. A place where the ideals of the world we live in, beyond our immediate spheres are recorded, studied and enhanced for the betterment of mankind. For this reason, many nations in the world pride themselves in the quality of the universities they own, support and promote. And indeed, the difference between poor and developed nations boils down to knowledge. That a student should be killed while seeking knowledge and enlightenment ought to call for national concern beyond partisan politics.

I am sad.

I was a victim of police brutality too. I was smoked with teargas in my university room. I saw a student shot and nearly killed by the police. I saw others injured as they jumped off from their rooms running from the police. I had never imagined that I would live to see one killed in the same modus operandi of old.
I am hurt.

I am hurt that the life of a young female has been cut short by the carelessness of our system, a system that still relies on archaic methods of dealing with dissent. A system that has failed to evolve with society, and the needs and methods of youths. A system that cannot protect its brilliant students but instead kills them is a sick system! Our system is sick, and it needs healing.

I never knew Vespers, and due to our police, I will never know her. From what I have heard, and her being a student in her graduation year, it is easy to see that she was a determined and dedicated young woman who had a bright future ahead of her. It is not easy to excel in education as a female in Zambia. That she made it to university and stayed afloat until her final year reveals not only true grit but heavy discipline. She set her life and career goals early on, determined to go UNZA from her home village to see the world and become an independent and well-educated woman. Vespers must have known the importance of education, and she pursued it diligently. She knew what she needed and never shillyshallied in pursuing her life goals. Staying afloat at UNZA is not easy, especially for females who may easily fall prey to sops and temptations of the city life. Notwithstanding this, Vespers worked diligently, and with graduation in sight, she was to receive the prize of her hard work – a University of Zambia degree.
Alas, our daughter has been killed by those charged with protecting her, at a place aimed at enhancing her education. Her sanctuary became her death.
We a sick nation, and we need healing.

Those responsible for Vespers’ death should know that they have not killed just one student: They have killed the hopes and dreams of her mother, her father, her siblings, her friends, and subdued the potential of would have been children from a highly educated mother, subduing the social and economic development of Zambia.
Vespers’ death is the death of the aspirations of young women in Zambia, and this is most unfortunate.

You’re a beautiful girl from Namwala,
Nourished by the shores of our rivers,
The pride of your parents,
Last night, UNZA, your home of the last four years,
Lit you an everlasting candle,
Lighting up your path to heaven,
So that you won’t have to hide anymore from the evils of this world,
There will be no teargas,
Or trigger hungry ill trained bandits in uniform disguised as servicemen,
In our tears, deep in our hearts, we cry forever young,
May your death not be in vain.

Your name is the name of a sunset evening prayer service in the Catholic Church and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours. Shall we, therefore, ask the Lord our God as in Psalm 122 that he guides us always?
Our eyes are turned to the Lord; we look for his mercy.
To you I lift up my eyes,   to you who dwell in the heavens.
Like the eyes of a servant watching his master, like the eyes of a maid on her mistress’s hands, so we keep our eyes on the Lord our God, as we wait for his kindness.
Take pity on us, Lord, take pity: we have had our fill of contempt.
Our souls have had their fill of the laughter of the rich, of the contempt of the proud.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

To us, and to you at UNZA, the survivors of this brutality, we must now determine to have as unwavering a resolution in the field of national policing as we may have to pray on October 18th that the death of the young lady may have a happier outcome for those in the line of fire from our police and system.
To my colleagues in the political arena that have trivialized and politicized this, woe to you, that you use the unfortunate passing of a young soul for your political ambitions. Woe to those who defend the barbaric actions leading to the death of our young sister. Woe to those charged with the responsibility of protecting lives but would rather protect their bellies

Farewell, Vespers. Soon, the years will slowly draw on us when your name shall be counted among the young of this nation who died to change the operation of our security people of the great nation of Zambia. We will stand up for you, we will speak for you, Vespers, and we will fight for you, that police reforms be instituted to safeguard the lives of all Zambians.

Lost to us, but not to her God. Lost from Earth, but entered heaven. Lost from all the labours, toils and perils, but entered into the everlasting peace and ever- advancing progress. Blessed be God, who gives us hope in this hour of pain and mourning and enables us to triumph, through him who hath redeemed us.

Rest in Eternal Peace and Everlasting Beauty, Vespers.


  1. Too much hype move one.If theses chaps can all afford black T-shirts then why riot over nshima and ne chilemba? I was at Makerere University ‘ Havard of Africa’, and such bs never happened of scrambling for Ugali…


    • PLEASE!
      RULE OF LAW!
      Hold your emotions, I hope those are not crocodile emotions.
      LT next time don't deliberately withhold authors' names from published postings. It's important.

    • ******* ****, you changed your handle.
      It doesn’t matter if you studied at the actual Harvard, Oxford, Yale or Cambridge. Maybe you’re too educated, and you think you’re better than us – good for you. Well if this is the case, why don’t you hang out on Makerere/Uganda forums with your equals. I challenge you to do that.
      You need to acknowledge the fact that Zambia Police Service was careless; 1. They sent reserve police officers who happen to be cadres to do crowd control. More damage has been done now. 2. I believe it’s within the rights of the students to demonstrate provided they don’t vandalize public/private property.
      This is highly regrettable, a life shouldn’t have been lost, whatever the circumstances.
      Anyway, Hule izibika.

    • Hysterical ill informed students! If these are the future leaders then Zambia is not progressing to anything. These rioting thugs will breed more rioting thugs who will go on to perpetuate domestic violence because they are used to obtaining things through brutal force.

    • The writer is a good Tonga writer from UPND Tribal H-organisation. The incident was unfortunate. This is not the first time such unfortunate incident has happened at UNZA. Each successful government from the KK time has had trouble with the university! To think of it just a Lungu problem is being narrow-minded and hysterical. Hallucinations cannot change anything. Remember he is UNELECTABLE and he will NEVER be a president.

    • No, you should have just said it was GBM who wrote this and not condemn the brain which has no dung. Dr. Banda is too smart for this. Condolences to the family, regardless. Sad incident. Regrettable.

  2. Vyakus you are an ***** who deserves to be licking bazungus feet as you are right now doing….. you are a moron who has deserted his own nation after it educates you, but there you are busy saying University of Africa, and yet you have failed to pay back, instead you are contributing to white man’s land which contributed nothing to your education ………Grow up

  3. A touching piece! ‘Never read something so apt, so touching yet so hopeful and uplifting, in many years.

    Indeed, rest in eternal peace our young daughter, Vespers.

  4. The IG,Minister of education & home affairs should resign.Too much to bear .This death has made me hate the police.

  5. For a while imagine it was a ka tasila. Or kapyngos dota.

    These chaps heartless. He is uganda enjoying then off to Japan.

    Anyway every dog has its day.

  6. Bane the murderer here is HH. He called for the spirit of 1990s of riots. Students were in attendance. After that meeting with HH, students called for demonstration and rioted. He incited students and the entire nation to rise against the government. If he never called for the 1990 spirit of evil, our sister could have not died. Open your eyes Zambians. He is an agent of Armageddon. He prides in evil things. HH you are the murderer. I call you again you are the murderer. You may look to be a clever chap but not in the eyes of GOD.

    • You mean the spirit of 1991,which ushered in multi party democracy in Zambia is evil? so you are the filthy maggots that wants to take us back to the one party state.

  7. one more thing, if you look at the footage of the people who attended his press conference, students from UNZA were there. What do you say then?

  8. Someone once said that if you throw a stone a bunch of upnd supporters there is 98% of chances that it will land at a tonga. Why is it that all wrangles upnd has with the police the victims are tongas. Besides a tear gas canister never produce fire otherwise it will be another grunade or a bomb.

  9. The bible mentions that to soil shall we all return but the avenue is not mentioned. Is it by hanging one self, by being shot at, by being sick and then die, by dying before one is born?????? and so on. Who knows that might have been her avenue. In any case there shall be a reason or cause of death. MHSRIP.

  10. Prof Nkandu Luo is the worst Minister of Education that we have had. How do you ban a students Union, when the Union is suppose to aid in the dialogue process with students, instead you allow PF UNZA.

    • HH is the worst H-Opposition Tribal Leader we have had. Zambia was a model of peace in Africa until he appeared. I am glad he will NEVER be anything.

  11. Vespers:
    Your name is the name of a sunset evening prayer service in the Catholic Church and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours??????
    I don’t understand the meaning. She was an Adventist, and now awaiting the second coming of Jesus Christ. Period. Respect her belief and denomination.

  12. Have you noticed how Zambia is looking beautiful! Job well-done MR. PRESIDENT! For a moment I thought this was not Zambia! He who does not give praise is a son of a witch and a wizard HH.

  13. The injured girl has been evacuated to RSA, I thought upnd were going to refuse goverment’s offer after chasing Nkandu Luo from the funeral. Hh should have footed the bill so that “his popularity grows” as a caring person. But no he can’t he is stingy.

  14. HH is a sadist that’s why he will die a painful death because he’s killed a lot of innocent lives had he not called that useless press conference that child would have been alive today. Only UPND sycophants and zealots who are entangled into group think mentality will think otherwise.

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