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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

It’s time for a gender-neutral national anthem

Columns It’s time for a gender-neutral national anthem

Fellow Countrymen and Countrywomen, it is time to change the national anthem to reflect the gender equality that we advocate for in Zambia. In its current form, the Zambian national anthem is sexist. It is time to dispose of the sexist language and add language that is appropriate and gender neutral. Take a look at the second verse and the chorus of the Zambian national anthem below:

Africa is our own motherland

Fashioned with and blessed by God’s good hand

Let us all her people join as one

Brothers under the sun

All one, strong and free


Praise be to God

Praise be, praise be, praise be

Bless our great nation

Zambia, Zambia, Zambia

Free men we stand

Under the flag of our land

Zambia, praise to thee

All one, strong and free.

In the second verse, instead of “brothers under the sun” how about change that to “citizens under the sun” or “nation under the sun”? Similarly, the chorus could benefit to a change in the three-letter word–“men”. We could change that to “folks” or “tribes”. I am sure there are people who can come up with better replacements. Please feel free to share.

The point is, our national anthem is outdated and needs some panel beating to come up with something less colonial. Two years ago, Canada’s parliament passed a bill to update the line in the national anthem that says “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.” It’s little changes like that that could make a significant impact in today’s society.

As we celebrate this year’s Independence Day next week and sing the national anthem, let us reflect on the words that we will be singing. Do those words inspire us? Do they invoke positive feelings? For men, how would you feel if the national anthem referenced women only? As we enjoy some drinking and dancing this October, please do your part to make better Zambia for everyone. Barman, another Mosi please! Cheers to 54 years of dependency!

By Wesley Ngwenya

[Read 448 times, 1 reads today]


    • Nonesense! same people will be pushing for the ?????????? lgbt agenda. Leave things as they are, these are truly the last days

    • Nonsese.God made Man in his own image.we Should also considered change the colors of our flag,remove the green,most countries with green on their flags are economically poor. Check national flags and prove me wrong.

    • Am sorry, but this is ridiculous.
      With the new wave feminism everything is either sexist or misogynistic. I could write an entire book to show how silly modern feminist ideas are, but I won’t.
      Yes men and women are equal, both made in God’s image and have equal dignity and worth. But men will remain men and women will remain women. The differences between the sexes cannot be erased. They are gene deep. And soul deep
      As to the issue of the national anthem, let it be please. Mankind includes males and females and is not sexist.

    • My friend… can you leave Zambia alone? There are a lot of countries you can go to and advise them to change their national anthems.

      You perverte…

    • Why not spend that energy to sitting ouybZambia’s problems like how effective and efficient can we be to devise Zero tolerance corruption and how can we strategise a sectoral based economy that feeds into each other…

      Iwé waisa fye ati fyoto fyoto!!!

    • How about were it says LAND OF WORK AND JOY. There’s no work in Zambia and possibly joy as well.
      Have you considered changing it?

    • Change the Flag then because it is RACIST. The Black colour that represents Zambian people should be removed of change to GREY?? Because in modern Zambia, we are multi-colour with Whites and other races including Chinese as Zambians kikikiki. Change BLACK TO GREY as an inclusive flag that only covers our Natural Resources.

    • First you have to ask for a religion neutral anthem. Religion is patriarchal so you dont expect a country that leans towards a religion to be gender neutral

    • The word man can mean a human being of either sex; a person. Zambia is not developing because too many people from the social sciences have taken up important position hence coming up with useless idea like gender.

  1. I respect all things gender and all support for both male and female (and everyone in between) – BUT I do not ascribe to symbolism and political correctness purely for expediency. Can we not agree for instance to premise the word “men” in this instance to be an inclusive term in the same way that the word “man” has been used in a gender neutral manner over the ages? There are more creative ways to underscore our galantry than through symbols, holidays and useless postures. Watch me get lynched!

  2. There is no need to follow the Canadian example. When in Rome, then do as Romans do. Here in Zambia, the idea of sons representing different siblings is accepted by tradition and custom. That does not stop a father from giving a bigger present to the daughter. Most daughters will confirm that the father traets them very well. It is better to focus on other national symbols than the National Anthem per se. It is debatable whether societies that make direct reference to boys and girls separately are necessarily more humane, tolerant, friendly, peaceful, etc.

  3. Like we do not have bigger problems in our country to solve.

    I do not even remember the words of the national anthem.

    Maybe focus on improving women rights and decreasing gender based violence and abuse.

  4. banyama benangu mulibe vochita; life ikakupesha yenda kunyumba bakufyompako Katundu.
    Are we this desperate to try and seem relevant on social meldia sure???

    LET’S FIRST AMEND THE CONSTITUTION, & ensure its on par with Non failed States.
    Currently the President has too much power, which leads to Caderising the nation, just look @ ba Jonas advisors,& spokesperson & you will know what I’m talking about.
    Let’s have proper separation of powers, NOT appointment’s made in the interests of the Leader, & to serve his party @ the expense of sanity, & development.
    Then once wings like A.C.C, Police, Judiciary are independent of the ruling party, & it’s Leader, will we have a functioning NON FAILED KLEPTOCRACY LIKE THE ONE IN ZED TODAY!
    Only then we can finally tackle the National Anthem.

  6. How can we even debate this??
    Let this guy go and sleep.

    Please sit down. We have too many pressing issues to worry about this none issue

  7. Interesting article/ argument. A certain wise man once said, ‘before you remove a fence, ask why it was put there in the first place.’ Should that be the starting point? Is our anthem truly sexist, or is it meant to capture the spirit and diversity of our society, i.e one in which male and female thrive? In addition, I’m thinking terms like ‘man’ or ‘men’ are already used in a gender neutral sense(where gender is assumed to be male and female). There are many excellent things we can learn from Canada, but social engineering/experiments may not be one of them.

  8. Good thought provoking but lets start with this. After prayers today are we going to see dialogue among political parties, Are they going to start talking to each other, are opposition parties now going to be allowed to hold meetings like it is in a true democracy, and is ZNBC and public media which is run by all tax payers in Zambia going to start covering opposition parties which are entitled to news coverage, and is state house spokesperson going to be reminded that he is a civil servant and should not be insulting elders. I hope these prayers work please. I mean well

  9. Correct me if I am wrong but my opinion is that we have much more serious problems which require immediate attention than the wording of the national anthem. Let’s focus on how we are going to rebuild our crumbling economy by how much we are going to contribute as individuals and through different groupings.
    Note that it is not true and as a matter of fact just an exaggeration that women are discriminated against in a number of ways in Zambia or on the African continent. Male and female children have always gone to the same schools and clever ones have always excelled irrespective of their gender. Factors such as the parents’s or guardians’ level of education, exposure, civilization and resources coupled with the child’s determination, discipline and hard work will determine the…

  10. We might as well also have a gender neutral freedom statue or to help this author, a gender neutral history book of Zambia’s freedom struggle and the people who Pioneered for Zambia Independence…

  11. This sound like it was written from the comfort of a nice air conditioned apartment somewhere in the diaspora, if not Wesley must pull his head out of his ass and see the real issues that need fixing, not syntax!

  12. It ought to be ‘citizens/Zambians under the flag’ and not the sun. The other line sounds better ‘free citizens/nation we stand’.
    We could also remove the all religious lines.
    It’s not about feminism just making it sex/gender neutral and religious non aligned.

  13. When you hear this, some NGO somewhere are being dangled a carrot. After that you will hear homosexuality, chamba (weed), abortion and more.

  14. Kwena kupena nomba uku. People are hungry and have no jobs iwe ati change ifinshi. Suggest the best way to end poverty.

  15. Iwe do you know what mankind is? i hope you wont say there is womankind.
    Man is a noun which can be used to describe a human being regardless of sex. So leave things the way they are and if you dont know learn to ask dont expose your ignorance by writing lousy articles

  16. If we want to make some changes in our National Anthem, then we should also work on the education sector. Because the cut off point for boys is always higher than for girls, yet we claim this gender equality thing.

  17. @Zambian, that’s right. Basically gender equality ends up disadvantaging the male child. It is actually an injustice against the male child. Let these things run naturally. Do not wrestle with God.

  18. By the way, in the phrase ‘Free Men’ we stand, the word ‘men’ referred to both man and woman (gender neutral) We still use this when we say ‘man’ or ‘mankind’ to refer to humans. Nothing sexist about it. You could argue the same about the other reference.

    The writer is probably the only one who has ever thought of those references as being sexist. Has anyone else? When people raise irrelevant or ridiculous suggestions, you know they have a lot of time on their hands. Better to use it for worthwhile ventures and progressive ideas that will better ‘mankind’!

  19. The nation anthem of our great nation is inclusive.It even goes further by apportioning to each gender grouping. (Her and Men even though the woman is in men as well). It is a good debate but let us channel our innovations to something else. Indeed our great Nation.

  20. “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” Genesis 5:2. Adam means Man or humanity. So when ‘Men’ is used it encompasses a woman. A woman came from a man.

    • I like your contribution but Brothers did not come from man – get it??? So “Brother” cannot encompass woman – NO!

  21. Zambians under the sun makes sense and NOT Brothers under the sun.
    How about “Land of corruption under PF”, atleast somewhere in the anthem.
    Its a disaster isnt it!!!!

  22. I can only advise the author to start understanding things in a broader way. I encourage the author to learn and start understanding english. To me this person wrote the article without studying the subject. Be broad minded on such matters other than displaying your ignorance.

  23. National anthems are mostly lies. They are visions expressed as if they are present day reality. Dont waste time changing them to suit reality because they will become very boring. Just imagine if you wanted to reflect Zambian reality:
    Stand and sing of Zambia unproud unfree
    Land of laziness sorrow and disunity
    Failures in the struggle for the right
    We’ve lost freedom’s fight
    All one weak and chained

    Africa is China’s motherland
    UnFashioned with unblessed by God’s good hand
    All her people cant join as one
    Tribal enemies under the sun

  24. One Land and one Nation is but a cry
    Indignity and conflict neath Zambia’s sky
    Thats why our noble eagle is in its fright
    Twafwa under the sun
    All one weak and chained

  25. @ Divide (11.2)
    I meant should we deal away with the color black because it represents the black people of Zambia.Is it racist?

  26. With the current goings-on in the country, a gender neutral national anthem should be the least of our worries.

    Also, what good is a gender neutral national anthem when majority of the citizens can’t even sing the current “insentive” version?

  27. The author seriously sat down to pen this garbage… Do you not see what’s happening within the country?

    We are a third world country with third world problems… Certain issues should be left for those nations that have no problems thus have time to reinvent the wheel…

  28. I can see this guy is on weed. Why have you left out where it says ‘Africa is our Mother Land’? Is this not sexist? Any way, since you are on weed you can not see that which relates to women. All the best with your confusion.

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