Thursday, April 18, 2024

Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture: My Gift to Zambians


By Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D. Emeritus Professor of Sociology

“In my humble view, this book, Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture, fulfills the desire for understanding and appreciating our Zambian and African culture among my fellow citizens and non-Zambians whether they live here in Zambia or abroad in the diaspora”. —–President Kenneth Kaunda, p.12

Mr. James Mwape invited me to be a guest for two hours on his internet broadcast “Brain Drain Blog Talk Radio” in the State of New Jersey in the United States of America. The internet audience was about twenty thousand Zambians and those in the Zambian diaspora. I was a guest on 21st November 2009. I addressed “Immigration, Assimilation, Cultural traditions”. So many listeners called in with many questions.

I was a guest on Mr. Mwape’s “Brain Drain Blog Talk Radio” at least four times when I realized something disappointing and shocking: many Zambians especially in the diaspora did not know about our Zambian culture and indigenous technology. Virtually all the listeners were expressing a deep frustration and hunger for knowledge about Zambian culture and indigenous technology. To cut a long story short, this is why and how I decided to write and self-publish the book: “Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture”. The book was written in such a way that the vast majority of the 17 million Zambians with some good education would be able to read it.

The first nine of the seventeen chapters of the book describe our history of traditional Zambian culture and technology. The second eight chapters describe how Zambians, or you the Zambian reader can improve your life by applying or using the Zambian culture and technology in your life today. Ms Ruth Mugala and Ms. Claire Miti are two Zambian women who wrote Chapter two: “How girls and women are raised and their roles in traditional and modern Zambia.” Mr. James Mwape and I co-wrote Chapter six: “The role and influence of traditional dances among Zambians.”

The book’s seventeen chapters include: “The significance of identity, names, and naming customs in Zambian culture”, “Zambian traditional foods, nshima meals, eating customs and habits”, “The role of traditional medicine and healing among Zambians”, “The role and influence of religion and Christianity, witchcraft and spirituality among Zambians using some real life examples”, “How Zambians ruled and governed themselves in traditional and modern Zambia”, “How boys and men are raised and their roles in traditional, modern Zambia, and abroad in the Zambian Diaspora”, “How Zambians should adapt to traditional foods, nshima meals, eating customs, habits, and modern foods and eating styles,” “The evolution of government and multiparty democracy in modern Zambia from 1964 to 1991”, and “The challenges of life as a citizen and descendant of Zambia and global world”.

When the book was published in 2012, I had an opportunity and was honored to present a copy to President Kaunda who had graciously written the foreword. I called the State House and was in the process of arranging to present a copy to President Sata when I ran out of time and had to return to the United States. President Sata soon passed away. The book is so important that I was planning to ask President Sata to present a copy to each of his cabinet ministers. The book is so important that members of the NGO community, 17 million Zambians, teachers, lecturers, and students from the more than 30 Universities in Zambia should use it for teaching, learning, and writing papers in colleges and universities, about Zambian culture and indigenous technology in the global world.

Dr. Emeka Enweluzor, Nigerian Mechanical Engineer in the United Kingdom said about the book: “I recommend the chapters on raising boys and men and girls and women for counsellors, social work practitioners and international agency workers/NGOs who work in orphanages.”

The biggest question from the Zambian readers might be how is this book a gift when it is not free to every Zambian? There are internet scams and so much corruption today. Isn’t this Tembo man creating a clever publicity scheme in which he will sell millions of books fraudulently to make personal profit and become a rich millionaire? If it is an important gift to Zambians, why haven’t you heard about it? Why is this book not available at every corner bookstore right now in Zambia for free or at least at a very cheap price? These and numerous skeptical questions are legitimate. I will try to answer them as candidly as I can. If you do not believe me as a fellow Zambian, so let it be.

When I completed my Ph. D. in 1987 in the United States, I returned to work in Zambia at the University of Zambia and Institute of African Studies. The Zambian people had paid for my education from 1964 to 1987. My poor rural parents with 9 children would not have been able to pay for my education. I dedicated my life to try to help and thank my fellow Zambians in any way I could. I have a record of participating and being a leader in public service volunteer organizations in Zambia for the last 54 years. When I discovered to my alarm in 2009 that there was not one good source of knowledge about Zambian culture and indigenous technology, I chose to write the book over three years while working full time.

Numerous other people helped that I acknowledge in the book. There is only so much I can do as an individual to bring this gift back home to the Zambian people. I am not wealthy. To preempt any wild speculations, I have earned nothing from the book. The book is seven thousand and five hundred miles or twelve thousand kilometers away in the United States. Many copies of this gift need to be brought back to Zambia where the majority of the intended consumers live. This is where I will need your help.

Tell everyone about it including family, friends, students, teachers, and lecturers at universities and colleges. If you have contacts with President Hakainde Hichilema and his cabinet ministers, ask them to get a copy of the book. It is the best book ever for every Zambian that you may not have heard of that needs to be brought home to read and use. Ask your nearest bookstore for the book. Maybe ask to make a down payment to the bookstore before they order the book for you.


  1. How about making the book available for purchase as an ebook? I have seen some copies being sold on Amazon and ebay but they are all paperback. Some readers now use Ebook readers. I have well over 100 copies of books in the palm of my hand and can travel lightly.

  2. If you really mean it as a gift just upload it on the internet and let everyone access for free otherwise its just another money making scheme.

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