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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Zed Culture Part II: Happy 48th Zed!

Me flying like the youthful Zed Nkwazi (eagle) I am over the Mosi-Oa-Tunya aka
Vic Falls, Livingstone.  That flimsy contraption aka microlight was the one of
best and worst experiences of my life!
Today marks Zambia's 48th year of Independence from the British Empire, and the day it changed it's name from Northern Rhodesia to Zambia.  It was the 9th African state to free itself from it's colonial power.  Did you know that it was almost called Zambezia, (after the Zambezi river, 4th longest river in Africa and the water that creates the Mosi-Oa-Tunya: The Smoke that Thunders aka Victoria Falls), which is now the name of a Hollywood CGI animated film starring the voice talents of Samuel L. Jackson set at the Falls and is of course about animals!  There's a random nugget of useless knowledge for you.  Another less useless and more interesting nugget, (I hope), is that we have 19 national parks, the largest is Kafue: it is the size of Wales and is the second largest in Africa.  And today is Pele's birthday too, no wonder we are football crazy!

Our country is still young, and though we started off well, being one of the richest countries in Africa in the 1970s thanks to our copper and our first President, Kenneth Kaunda, investing in education and providing youth with educational opportunities around the world, and coupled with them repatriating to bring the skills they had learnt abroad back home, we have now done a 360.  Many of our educated have flown the coup, and there are no longer the ready opportunities our parents enjoyed.  However, instead of being pessimistic, nihilistic and Oscar the Grouch about our situation like this dude who glibly and speciously wrote a piece titled Zambia's 48 years of dependency, how about looking at why we have regressed/ stagnated and how to move forward?  I really can't stand people who whine and complain and offer nothing to rectify the situation.  They just want to stew in the smell emanating from the poop they are talking about and watch as the stench chokes the hope and optimism out of people.  That is not patriotic.  Patriotism is love for one's country, and sometimes it has to be tough through constructive criticism that aims to foster and catalyse positive change through progress.  Listing all our problems is not criticism, it's compiling a list.  Not looking at what is working means that that list is incomplete, unbalanced and negatively skewed.  Not seeing the potential that exists in so many areas of society, culture, business and development here in Zambia is short-sighted and unpatriotic.  You should want to improve what is wrong with your country, not just point and cackle and watch as it goes down in flames because if we are a Christian country, that is what Jesus would do - he'd step up man!  More on that in Part I, where you can also find links to Zambian blogs written by people who actually love their country and are proud to hail from it.  Clearly this dude falls in the former category I was talking about :(.  If he wants to talk about how our issues and what we can do to fix them, he should have a chat with this dude: This is how you write an Independence post that challenges the status quo while hoping for a better future and wishing the country well!

What I wish for my country over the next two years leading up to our 50th anniversary is the potential of our youth to be realised.  We are going through a renaissance that is evident in other African countries too.  We can see youth leading through mobile technology in East Africa, particularly Kenya with Ushaidi that is now the go-to global platform for emergency and disaster reportage and has gone beyond that with out very own girls here in Zambia using it to map out all the female tech orgs on the continent.  Or how about those Ugandan med students that figured out a way to do ultrasounds with a basic mobile phone and our West African friends who are leading the way by culturally embracing their Africaness creatively with fashion, music, tv and film? Or our North African brothers and sisters who used social media and protests to enact political and social change?  Or how about here in the South - former war-torn countries like Angola and Mozambique are moving on up the development scale quicker than you can say what I just wrote peacefully?  And how about the youth that comprise our national team stepping up in Gabon and winning AFCON, realising the weight on their shoulders and stepping up to ensure this momentous event in our history occurred.  Today we will forget how they have haphazardly performed since he he he he. We shall remember again tomorrow though...

Zambian youth have a lot to offer, they want to improve themselves and they believe they can do it on their own soil.  Unlike the troll who wrote that article, they are optimistic despite what seem like insurmountable problems.  They may have been disappointed that what they voted for last year has not come into fruition, but every day I hear of some enterprising youngun looking for a scholarship, starting a small business to get them through school and trying to find a way to make their mark by improving themselves.  We need to encourage these kids, not give them reasons to give up hope and eschew optimism.  We need to keep our future bright and hungry, like these guys who made a video of their rendition of our national anthem, proudly donning Zed football paraphernalia:

There have been times I have wanted to give up, to stay out in the West or defect to Kenya or South or Nigeria but I haven't because in the end ndi mwina Zed! I am a Mwana ba Afrika who is proudly Zambian.  This is the time to be here, there is so much to be done and so many ways to make a life, to travel new paths and explore new possibilities.  There are endless things to discover due to the diversity in ethnic groups and we can look at ourselves from other angles too: what  does our national identity mean today, what is our role in SADC and and what do we offer to the African identity?  We need to get rid of people like the dude who wrote the Watchdog piece, looking to outside with rose-coloured glasses, ignoring the fact that Europe and the USA are going through a serious financial crisis that has made many of their people instantly poor and that many are struggling too. Like I have said, no one has THE answer, the magic pill, the silver bullet. There is nothing I hate more than a colonised mind.  I wonder if he has ever left the country.  Having spent the best part of 2/3 of my life in the West, from what I can see, things are not necessarily always better, just different.  Different climate, different cultures, different peoples, different priorities that bear different problems and solutions.  But we have many similarities too - we are all trying to make our worlds better, and sometimes we make them worse.  We are all flawed and WE ALL HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR GREATNESS IN OUR OWN WAYS.  What we need to do here in Zambia is stop looking outside for answers, but look within, because they are there for the taking! We need to take contolol! I leave you with two songs: one by Cactus Agony that I just love because it is such a patriotic song with soul and profound insight into who we are and how confused we are as a nation and what we can do to rise up and take control of our Zambian identity and the other is my favourite song right now, and the best song that Zone Fam has done in my eyes that is Proudly Zambian in every shape and form. It's a party-starter and today is a day of celebration :)

Actually before I do that...

One Zambia, One Nation! Nafuti Nafuti! Donchi Kubeba! Whether we are governed by UNIP, MMD , PF or who knows in the future, what is important is that we as a people band together and rise up as a nation, become great again and soar proudly like the eagles we will always be, coz don't tell anyone, Zambians are on the move baby!

Ummm yes I made sure that all the colours of our flag are in this post and talked about eagles to make sure that element of the flag is included as well he he he...Okay I'm done ;}

No I'm not he he he. Added a new tag and theme to the blog: Y Zed ie. Young Zambia.  To kick off I have added a new section on the right-hand side with links to Zambian websites and blogs belonging to Zed youth.  And check out my views on Zambia over the years he he he he.


  1. MBA you're living the high-life o! Flying microlight over the motherland...priceless! Sounds like you had a memorable independence day. Happy belated!! Miss you!

  2. My independence day was chilled, went to a barbecue he he he. That photo was from a coupla years ago. Miss you too mate :)