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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Billboard Written in Bemba in Solwezi Sparks Outrage from Locals

Rural News Billboard Written in Bemba in Solwezi Sparks Outrage from Locals

There was outrage in Solwezi, North-Western Province when a Government and Unicef sponsored billboard put up with the local language part on it written in Bemba.

The Billboard had the famous Bemba expression, “imiti ikula e mpanga”,  to mean the future below to the young,   and “Ndangala, Ndasambilila Ndakula” to mean I play, I learn and I thrive.

Local people felt that the local language on the billboard should have been written in any of the common indigenous languages like  Kaonde, Luvale, or Lunda.

Local authorities have since moved in and the billboard has been replaced with the one with writings in Kaonde, with “bichi bikoma yo ntanda” and “Nkaya, Nfunda, Nkomenako” respectively

Lately, billboards have become the center of contestation with calls by many stakeholders complaining about the many billboards written in Chinese across the country.

In May the Opposition New Hope Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) President Dr. Nevers Mumba called for the removal of all notices written in Chinese from all public places and replace them with English.

Billboard Now written in Kaonde

61 COMMENTS

  1. This is correct reaction by the Nsakwa yaba- Kaonde. Should one Zambia one nation be built on other tribes’ loss of their language?

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    • Who put the billboard there? Iam very sure he isn’t even Bemba. Anyway please correct it quickly. Naimwe amthola nkhani focus on more progressive things This can be resolved outside the media

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  2. It was probably just an honest mistake. The UNICEF employee could not differentiate local languages. What is the point of a billboard that can not be understood by majority locals?

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  3. Kci: They actually understand the Bemba language because most Bantu languages hv so much in common. The problem is that promoting only one or two languages will result in other languages eventually dying out. That would be a tragedy.

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  4. We keep saying it. These people are Tribal. The point is we do have a ‘common,’ language in Zambia; being English. If part of it is in English, you’re sorted which ever tribe you are.

    Most Zambians learn to read and write in English rather than a common dialect. When I was at school in Zambi, Lusaka Enfants, Lusaka Girls. Chipembi Girls. ….we were taught in English not local dialects. Things are messy in Zambia after President Kaunda who led for Unity.

    Really someghing needs to be done in those provinces. These people have become an island of their own seceded from the rest country.

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  5. Patriot Abroad: The Kaondes are merely saying we also belong in Zambia, please respect us. In the final analysis, it’s mutual respect that keeps the peace, not the government’s guns.

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  6. Imagine having a bill board in Kitwe with Lozi.

    The Kopala would not understand it.

    But I think we should be eager to learn other Zambian languages, simply because they are all beautiful. Instead, the government is imposing the Chinese language on citizens. Shame.

    As a Bemba, I can speak Tonga. I would like to learn more Lozi though.

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  7. Very intersting and correct reaction. Zambian tribes have enjoyed peace by living side by side and being equals. This is an act of provocation. Interestingly, the reaction would have been different if that was in Chinese.

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  8. That was not fair to those people in the province, at least people should learn to be kind enough to accept that other languages also exist like the rest in the country.
    I would promote that Kaonde or any other language from there could have done better than bemba.
    Speaking is different from reading speaking you choose what language you want to speak , but reading you read what has been put before you.
    I’m sorry that someone made such a mistake I wish such mistakes are never repeated

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  9. @ PATRIOT ABROAD, north westerners are not tribal, I don’t where your source of information on North westerners are tribal.
    Tribalism is more visible in the political arena. North westerners are rebellious.
    We gravitate to the opposition for a catalogue or reasons.

    When former UNIP secretary HUMPHREY MULEMBA formed his party we did not gravitate to his party on tribal or regional, it never went anyway. Second former vice president Enock Kavindele formed his party it was a flop in North western province.
    Lastly Dr Ludwig Sondashi has a party but not many north westerners are members

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  10. Was this an attempt to spread the “Bembalization” of Zambia?
    It cannot be an innocent honest mistake. Let’s be sensitive and have some intercultural competence! Mutual respect is what sustains the peace we have come to cherish!

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  11. When late vice president General Christon Tembo resigned FDD, eastern province together with some districts in northern province became FDD.
    The late Anderson mazoka ‘s upnd had a national appeal but it was southern province dominated party.
    Lastly sata’ s PF is mchinga province project. Thank you those are my personal thoughts

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  12. Let’s keep the spirit of one Zambia one nation. In such cases it makes sense to have a translation in English or the local language in the region. I can understand why the local are infuriated.

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  13. Very insensitive. we are already battling with the Chinese billboards iwe you go and put Bemba billboards in Kaonde speaking area. infact, Bemba billboards should only be put in Kasama, Chinsali, Luwingu and Mungwi districts. Mbala, Nakonde, Mpulungu, Isoka we want Namwanga, Mambwe. Mpika, we want Bisa. Serenje, Mkushi, Kapiri, Kabwe, Chiombo we want Swaka, Lala, Lenje. Mansa, Samfya, Mwense, kawambwa, we want Ushi, Ngumbo. Copperbelt we want Lamba, swaka, Lima. Are we together?

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  14. Patriot Abroad, you lack critical thinking. No wonder you do not differentiate a language from a dialect. Kaonde and Bemba are separate languages. They are not dialects.

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  15. Very good my mbuyas. But do more also let those callboys at bus stations stop saying “abaleya, abaleya” and use the kaonde language instead lol.

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  16. Patriot abroad on this one you are wrong. The Kaonde are very nice people. Mjipiyepi my Kaonde, Lunda and Luvale cousins. The did well in replacing the billboard.

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  17. It was wrong to put a billboard in a language that isn’t widely spoken in the area. The problem with the PF is that almost everything is being done in Lusaka and it’s likely that billboard wasn’t done in Solwezi. Most decisions by the PF aren’t made in the interest of the public in that of the people who make them and it’s nchekelako at the centre. That aside, of concern is the icreasing resentment in the area towards tribes from other regions especially those considered as aligned to PF. It has now become common for people in this area not to cooperate with those who speak other languages. There is also a rivalry between the 2 fighting tribes in North Western. If no one moves in to calm the situation things might get worse. People who are working in the mines are mostly from the…

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  18. In human relations, don’t just pay attention to the spoken word. Try to listen to even to the silence or the unspoken word. Even if the Kaondes had not spoken out, it behoved those who put the billboard up to ask themselves if the Kaondes had approved of it. This is wht sensitivity to the feelings of others is about. Suppose something is stolen from me and I stay quiet. Only the worst of thieves would think that I’m not hurting.

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  19. Please sure there is no need to debate on issues that are straight forward. You can not go to China and display your language on a bill board or shop.
    Zambia is for Zambians and we respect regionalism.

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  20. If you read Patriot abroad’s post he hasnt mentioned any tribe. Why do people HERE think he is saying Kaondes are tribal?His statement could be referring to Bembas. He just said and I quote: These people are Tribal.

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  21. It is never the message itself that is ever at fault, but the way that message is presented.

    Patriot above delivered that message badly.

  22. Don’t get your knickers all twisted. The matter has been straightened. And for those insinuating that some regions would be intolerant, I have seen all sorts of languages depicted in places like the Copperbelt which is Zambia’s melting pot. Chill fellas, chill.

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  23. All tribes have there unique rich culture. It starts with language. I was recently in Southern province and ALL billboards where in English and Tonga. No Tumbuka.
    What insensitivity to print Bemba on display boards in Kaondeland!
    Let’s not confuse regional identities with One Zambia, One Nation slogan.

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  24. Patriot Abroad: U’re wrong about Chipembi Girls’ school. The local language which the pioneer missionaries left @Chipembi is Lenje. It was also the medium of instruction in religious services. All girls who attended Chipembi from all corners of the country easily picked up Lenje because it’s an easy language with some commonalities with other Bantu languages. On the contrary, it’s Kaunda who expelled the Lenje language from the school system. That’s not running govt for unity but promoting a form of imperialism.

  25. Barotse post
    11 January 2020

    ZAMBIA’S BEMBA HEGEMONIC AGENDA: Government advertises job in Barotseland whose added condition is speaking Bemba fluently in the Lozi speaking territory.

    ADVERT WAS IN DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER FOR 5 JANUARY 2020

    IF TRUELY THIS WAS AN OVERSIGHT , THEN IT AN OVERSIGHT TOO MANY, WHY IS NOT ANY OTHER LANGUAGE, BUT SAME ONE POPPING UP? LETS LEARN TO RESPECT ONE ANOTHER’S LINGUISTIC DIFFERENCES BANE, AND ALSO LEARN TO SPEAK OTHER LANGUAGES TOO SO THAT WHEN IN ROME YOU PRACTICE WHAT THE ROMANS DO.

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  26. @Brian Mpenzi, Kaondes are rebellious…..to the point of voting for just one party each general election??? Why not others different to PF? I feel it’s because they see their identity in their Tribal image than Zambian unified by a common E blush language.
    @Nemwine, the common official language English was included but thanks for the history of Lemme. Luckily I was at Chipembi 72-76, so was taught in English as KK had already passed that change.
    @Lipikisha, your critical thinking is not up to scratch either. You failed to understand the critical reasoning that English is the Common language which sorts different languages and dialects.
    @Nzelu, I agree with replacing it with their language but still say English sorts the differences.

  27. @Fwebashili Ma Triabalists, Thank you for back up!!
    @Indigo Tyrol I don’t know about the bad delivery. Think it’s the bad understanding, at fault. All I meant was that if English is the official language of Zambia then any Zambian should not be offended if a poster is in other Zambian language or dialect because they still are included by the commonality of the chosen official language English.

  28. UNICEF should do better than that. It is critical for a project to be attuned to local context. Otherwise the neutrality principles are lost

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  29. Patriot Abroad: English is a compromize official language because we hv not developed a new African language to take its place. We’re debating an old issue here. First Zambian linguist Mubanga Kashoki has advocated developing a new African language in Zambia in order to take care of complaints associated with imposing a language on others as is the case in today’s Zambia. It’s also a human rights issue.

  30. This is what happens when you have some moronic cadres masquerading as civil servants in Lusaka picking their relatives for jobs in rural areas….just imagine where the resources are going to.

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  31. Patriot Abroad: There’s a point u don’t seem to grasp. The current policy has condemned some languages to a slow death with accompanying discrimination for those who speak them. Those languages that hv been chosen hv been growing in usage due to government a subsidy. A Canadian scholar who specializes in studying diverse societies has observed that linguistic discrimination often leads to discrimination in other walks of life. His name is Will Kymlicka and he points this out in the book LANGUAGE RIGHTS AND POLITICAL THEORY.

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  32. You can never stop a river from running you can only direct it. Whether we like it or not some languages with time will be born others will die.

    Language is for communication and we only need to to do so. The more we encourage English the more only one or two languages in Zambia will survive. Do we really need all the 72 tribes speaking their language. Definitely no. We only need a few known by all and that won’t be English

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  33. CK: You’re ignoring the arrogance of those whose languages are chosen. Those whose languages are left out soon encounter marginalisation in other walks of life. Is that fair? Kymlicka’s research was not based on Zambia but his findings certainly apply. Linguistic domination has led to domination in other areas of life.

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  34. Zambia should criminalize tribalism and make a capital offence So that those want to promote this evil are dealt with ruthlessly.

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  35. Patriot Abroad–When I say you need critical thinking, I mean it. How can you make such a sweeping generalization that Kaondes are rebellious? This is an example of stereotyping which is very dangerous.

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  36. @ Patriot abroad you are a mad tribalist with tribal instinct in your DNA.Unicef is mostly composed of foreigners and not Zambians.For your attention you ***** ,Iam Bemba and have learnt and could speak the following languages, Lozi, Nyanja, kaonde , Luvale,Lamba,Bunda,Lunda and Tonga and Iam a happy zambian. what’s your problem for you to always blame the Bembas for all the wrong in the country.Your self you could probably only speak you mothers language only of the 72 ethnic zambian languages and that’s why you hate the Bembas so much.Waba something paweno.

  37. I think they should just be putting all billboards in English to avoid tribal conflicts. Putting a specific language can steal lead to other tribes within the region complaining. People interpret and understand things differently.

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  38. Perplexing , Mandarin on bill boards is ok , Bemba is not, but I get the drift. Erase Chinese , tell your all weather friends to have English on their advertising as the main lingo n rest comes in second n small details.

  39. …so why do you allow Chinese on bill boards when no one can read not even one sign or letter. Mandarin belongs in China n Zambian languages stay Zambian. What a contradiction !

  40. Imagine having a billboard written in Tonga in Kasama try to respect other tribes too they belong to Zambia stop dividing the country.

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  41. I get you Nemwine. But if he did his studies from let’s say the middle ages he wouldn’t have come to the same conclusion. England, as we like to think was not all English, so are all other known nations now. His studies are based in areas where language was imposed on those who were ruled.
    It is a fact that language plays a very important factor in development. It’s not by chance that every one in the world want to learn English for trade, Latin for law and Russian for intelligence. What’s going on in Zambia is a political tribalism not sociological one. Give Zambia 50 years more that argument won’t hold.

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  42. East Africa is rapidly changing for the better because they have adopted things that unify them. Kiswahili has since been used to bring that unity. It’s a slave-master language though a small tribe owned it in Tanzania but today it’s uniting people across the region.

    Insisting on sticking to our own way of life is refusing to evolve. I am not inferior to bemba just because I learnt the language by being born and raised on the coperbelt. There are many in my situation and we don’t give a damn about it. We have moved on and learnt more languages within and outside Zambia.

    The more a people interacts the richer their language and worldview. I am a Zambian my passport doesn’t bear my tribe or language.

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  43. i have leaved is Solwezi for sometime this hate non north-westen language has been going on for a long time. it’s not a hiden fact that today most of the offices ,shops, banks use this language to communicate. A language is a no matter where it’s spoken and should just accept bembe has penetrated solwezi and abuot 50% speak bemba. i am not a bemba but this hate for this language is not good for combined poeple of solwezi it’s one Zambia one nation. let;s discuss about progresive issue not this tribe issue.

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  44. CK @ 44. Swahili is Kenya’s 2nd language. Same for Uganda. Don’t tell me Kenya is more united than Zambia, let alone Uganda. Both countries hv seen violence of the kind Zambia does not know. If u look at my postings, I hv pointed out the commonalities in our Zambian languages that make it easy to learn each other’s languages. If French and Polish missionaries at Kasisi mission in Lusaka could learn Lenje and British missionaries at Chipembi could also learn Lenje, why not our fellow Bantu language speakers with whom we share some names and words? In fact all Zambian girls who went to Chipembi easily learned it. Wht’s different about today? It’s bcos KK’s govt chose local imperialism aftr fighting the British one.

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  45. Further to my posting above, the fight against British rule was more about the discrimination Africans suffered in Northern Rhodesia and not about whites per se. The white missionaries who practised no racial discrimination had no problems in their relationship with Africans. In fact it’s the white missionaries who gave Africans education, medical services and taught them modern methods of farming.

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  46. @Nemwine. I love the argument, how I wished this platform could be used for such deep and honest discussions. Bravo.

    I guess all young nations have similar difficulties in uniting their diverse people into a unitary nation. We are honestly grappling with this issue and it’s negatively affecting us as a nation and slowing our move towards that unity we deserve. At least unity for purpose.

    On a positive note, we have really tried to live together in harmony despite our numerous tribes and languages spoken. That’s indeed a mile stone for us.

  47. CK: I agree. There’s something about us Zambians that some of our fellow Africans admire. I hv hesrd it with my own ears. But we can do more. Yes, it has been a good exchange of views. No emotion, no insults. If only it could be like this always.

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  48. Technology can help. Enter the messages in the full list of languages recognized by law.These languages are: Bemba, English, Kaonde, Lozi, lunda, Nyanja, Tonga. Separate them by English, if you like. The message will continue to move forward. Viewer then read the message written in a language that they can understand. At another level, statistics will play a role. Some languages have wider audiences than others. Some languages are majority languages. Some languages are minority languages. In general, majority languages serve as common languages of communication. In general, a majority languages that is closely related to the minority language will be more easily absorbed by minority language audiences. Minority languages complement majority rights. Minority rights are different from…

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  49. Some languages are majority languages. Some languages are minority languages. In general, majority languages serve as common languages of communication. In general, a majority languages that is closely related to the minority language will be more easily absorbed by minority language audiences. Minority languages complement majority rights. Minority rights are different from minority rights. When minority language speakers reach a reasonable statistical proposition approved by local government authorities, then such minority languages could be utilized in official local public communication.

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  50. Dr Makasa Kasonde: A bit of history will help. As subjects of a colonial empire, we lived in separate communities wth minimal contacts wth other tribes unless they were our neighbour. Then mining started, the railway line was laid and white farmers came. They all needed African labour. Missionaries concentrated on evangelizing, education and medical care. Communication across tribe btwn Africans, whites, Indians and whoever was in the colony became an issue. Chilapalapa or Chikabanga was chosen at least on white farms, the mines, the railways or wherever all races in the colony interacted such as shops. The missionaries respected every language group and they learned my language Lenje, wrote it and translated scriptures in it wth help of early converts to Catholicism and Methodism at…

  51. Kasisi and Chipembi. I remember attending Mass on Sundays presided over by Lenje-speaking Polish priests as recently as 1975 in the village. Somehow things started changing especially, after death of Fr Stephen Luwisha. Priests from other parts of Zambia started getting posted to our area. Not that it was a problem. Whereas Polish priests were speaking Lenje our own fellow Bantu language speakers never bothered, perhaps after getting a signal from the UNIP govt. That’s hw Lenje was ejected from the church. No explanation was given to converts.

  52. Mr Zed: If u hv no argument to make, just stay away from the debate. Not even the church can be trusted because it’s part of the problem.

  53. Mr Zed: You don’t know the difference btwn language chauvinism and tribalism. On that basis, the debate may be beyond your scope. Objecting to use of the Bemba language is not the same as objecting to the presence of Bemba people in N-W province. Unfortunately too many people don’t know that.

  54. C Kayembe @58: I object to the building of one Zambia one nation on the ashes of the identities of some communities. The Zambia Kenneth Kaunda laid a foundation for is one where the languages of some communities are becoming an object of ridicule. There are many people who don’t know this and some who don’t want to know this. Don’t raise irrelevant issues here. Chines billboards hv been objected to already.

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