Woman Made me Love Zambia

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

President Kaunda was young. Simon Kapwepwe was young. Mwinikayumbwa Sipalo was young. Peter Matoka was young. Julia Chikamoneka was young.  Chibesa Kankasa was young. Mutumba Mainga Bull was young. Chieftainess Nkomesha was young. Cairo Road in Lusaka was young. The Zambezi River was young. My parents were young. My brothers and sisters were young. My uncle and my aunt were young. All my friends were young. Zambia was young. University of Zambia was young. I was young.

I had just triumphed in my long struggle to complete my B. A degree at the University of Zambia in the Capital City of Lusaka in 1976. I pounded Cairo Road, Chachacha Road, and Freedom Way in search of a job. A few weeks later I was fortunate enough to land a job as a Training Officer in the Personnel Division of the Parastatal National Agricultural and Marketing Board (NAMBOARD). The massive national headquarters occupied four floors of Kwacha House in the North-End of Cairo Road. I

Zambia Airways flight from Lusaka to Mongu

Zambia Airways flight from Lusaka to Mongu

walked half an hour to work every day from my Uncle and Aunt’s house in Northmead.

After I had been working there for a few weeks, my boss sent me on my first field assignment. I was to inspect all the dozens of NAMBOARD depots scattered in the entire Western Province and to submit a written report after my return. My boss gave me a plane ticket with instructions that Mr. Imasiku would meet me at the Mongu air strip. When I went home that evening I told my uncle and aunt that I was very excited. I was going to visit a different part of Zambia; Western Province. My aunt’s response was to ask me to bring back some dried fish. I was so excited that night I could not sleep for fear that I would over sleep and miss my plane at the then Lusaka International Airport.

The 2 propeller Hawker Sidley 35 passenger Zambia Airways plane smoothly took off from the Lusaka International Airport heading west. It was a pleasant November day with such clear blue skies that I could see as far as the eye could see through the comfort of my window seat. After about an hour we landed at Mongu airstrip.

Mr. Imasiku looked about 50 with a slightly bald head and a mix of dark and some grey hair. He had a wonderful broad grin, sparkling small eyes, and reassuring deep calm voice. He was the NAMBOARD Assistant Provincial Personnel  Manager. Beside him was a brand new cream Land Rover which was one of the dozens of brand new Land Rovers NAMBOARD had bought that year that had just been distributed to all the provinces. The young driver was Mundia who looked 20 wearing smart well ironed trousers and a shirt; no doubt in readiness to meet me the big official boss from Kwacha House NAMBOARD headquarters in Lusaka. They both welcomed me and we drove to Lyembai Hotel.

The traditional dance

The traditional dance

The next two days, I visited the offices of the NAMBOARD provincial headquarters. Behind the office building was a large storage yard that had high piles of bags of fertilizer, ox-driven ploughs, agricultural pest control chemicals, seeds, storage tents, empty sack grain bags, pesticide sprayers, chains, ropes, irrigation equipment, pumps, and all kinds farm equipment spare parts. I attended part of the provincial depot manager’s workshop that was in progress. As I was walking through the offices, I heard loud heated raised exchanges of voices between 2 female personnel. They were speaking back and forth in SiLozi; until one of them said to the other in English:

“…….I don’t know why you expect me to do this! This is not my mother’s NAMBOARD !!”.

Since I did not understand any SiLozi, Mr. Imasiku later explained to me that the conversation wasn’t anything unusual as the two employees were having a normal disagreement among workers.

Since I had to learn some SiLozi, I asked Mr. Imasiku how do I ask for water and beer in SiLozi. In my own mind I assumed that if ever I was in danger of dying, these were the 2 things I would absolutely need to know how to ask for. He told me; asking for water was“Nikupa mezi” and asking for beer was“Nikupa bucwala”. Although I might have learned many other phrases, these were the most important phrases at the time which I still remember to this day many decades later.

That evening,  Mr Mundia dropped me off at the nearest watering hole which was about two hundred meters from Lyembai Hotel with the expectation that I could walk back to the hotel at my ease after whenever  I felt I had successfully “inspected” the Sinjonjo Bar watering hole that evening. Half way through my third Mosi, I saw what many men live for; a woman. She was not just any woman, she was a very beautiful woman standing next to the bar next to other people; she was stunning. Thirty seconds before my eyes landed on her, the drinking establishment had been boring with rather dim lighting. But suddenly there was a beautiful glow of light all around the bar and her like a halo.

Western Province of Zambia

Western Province of Zambia

She was wearing a fabulous bright yellow dress, oh! and a curvaceous figure that made me salivate,  large white sparkling eyes, and she was smiling in my direction. I quickly glanced around to see if her attention was to someone behind me. There was no one. My mind and body both panicked together. The Nyanja would call her “chiphadzuwa” (sun killer), the Bemba would call her “chipeshamano” (one who kills a man’s brain). I was immediately drawn to her like inswa insects are drawn to a bright light in pitch dark tropical night Zambia in December. The momentum of my confused body took a few fateful steps toward her and stammered:

“aaaa….b-w-anji?!!!” (…how… are you?) I asked in my Lusaka Nyanja. I stretched my hand toward her. She actually touched my hand in a split second handshake.

“……something… something.. Kaonde.” She replied smiling with a beaming face and sparkling eyes; that special inviting smile every man dreams of in his sweetest dream; a stunningly beautiful woman who is so obviously reciprocating the attraction.

“ eehhh…manje…what’s your name? Zina.. lanu?” I pointed at her as I stammered  with my heart beating very fast. “..nachoka ku Lusaka…(I have come from Lusaka)”. I was anxious to create a strong impression that I was a sophisticated city man; and not one of the Sinjonjo bar locals.

“…something —something Kaonde,” she replied again with her bright smile.

We obviously were not communicating. I looked around frustrated. Where was Mundia the young man when I needed him? At that instant I wished I knew more SiLozi than “nikupa bucwala”. I probably needed to know some ChiKaonde too, may be Lunchazi, Chokwe, ChiLovale, may be Chi Lunda. How could I know what she was speaking as my mind was racing for an urgent solution? This was a do or die emergency.

“Nikupa bucwala? Do you want a beer or a drink?” I desperately asked again reaching into my pocket for some money; even though I knew that was probably botched or poor conversation SiLozi  even in a watering hole.

“….something …something Kaonde,” she replied again with a bright smile.

At that point some man, who did not approve of what she was doing with me walked to her and they had a heated argument either in Kaonde, Luchazi, Lovale or SiLozi. I couldn’t tell. He grabbed her by her stiff arm as she resisted and pulled her away from me as she protested. She wanted to talk to me. I felt so helpless. Was the man her husband? Ex-boyfriend, cousin, relative? I knew that if that was her lover or husband, I would already be dead on the ground after his left hook landed on my jaw. Part of me wanted to intervene. But something in a split second held me back. It was my father’s voices when I was young about how to handle fights and other dangerous altercations in bars. My father’s voice was saying: “Walk away, walk away, walk away”. But my other voice was saying” “Be a man, get her from the beast of a man, she is stunningly beautiful, she loves you! You are young and strong. You could throw in a few punches. Be a man. Defend her against that animal of a man!”

NorthWestern Province of Zambia

NorthWestern Province of Zambia

I saw her in the corner of the bar in a full blown animated argument with the wretched man who was ruining my dream. I continued to finger my mosi on the bar counter as I waited like a coward for them to settle the argument. My thinking was she would soon come marching back  to me. It did not happen. The man dragged her by the hand out of the bar as she was resisting. I waited. Later, I looked around for her outside the bar. She was gone. I walked back to Lyembai Hotel dejected. I could not sleep. What was her name? What language was she speaking? Where does she live? Who was the man? Things had happened so fast in the bar that I did not have time to ask all these questions.

Early the following morning, Mr. Imasiku, Mr. Mundia, and I drove 190 miles (306kms) in the Land Rover through the November dry, hot and sandy Zambezi flood plain to Kalabo to inspect a NAMBOARD depot. Soon after leaving Mongu, we used the pontoon to cross the Zambezi River. There was so much thick sand that the road was just tracks of sand which our vehicle followed. I had never seen so much sand in my life let alone travel on it. The sand was so thick and deep that our brand new Land Rover could only drive a maximum of 35 miles per hour (56 km per hour) where the sand was less deep. Otherwise we drove at between 15 to 25 mph (24 to Km per hour) using four wheel drive during the long, hot, and slow 5 to 6 hour drive to Kalabo.

There were virtually no large trees in the sandy flood plain.

All along as we drove and made conversation, my mind was with the woman chiphadzuwa. I had to find some way of meeting her again. But how would I solve the language barrier?

At noon we pulled from the track and parked the Land Rover under the shade of some short bushes for lunch. We ate some buns and coca-cola. After lunch, I called Mr. Mundia our driver behind the Land Rover away from Mr. Imasiku’s ear shot.

“Mr. Mundia,” I said. “I met a woman at Sinjonjo Bar”.

Mr. Mundia began laughing holding his hand to his mouth leaning down while excitedly trotting away from the Land Rover as he clapped his hands together repeatedly.

“Bo Tembo,” Mr. Mundia smiled as he walked back toward me. “You have to watch out at Sinjonjo Bar. It is a dangerous place. I could see that you mind is somewhere else today.”

“Can you do me a favour?”

“Yes, sure. What!” Mr. Mundia paused.

“Tomorrow night when we return to Mongu, can you come to Sinjonjo with me? If she is there, you can translate for me. I didn’t know what language she was speaking”

“Ok, no problem,” Mr. Mundia replied. “We can go there. And I will even tell you if she is one of our local girls, Bo Tembo.” He laughed again.

“Hey Mr. Mundia,” I whispered as I tapped his hand. “But don’t tell your boss Mr. Imasiku because he might not understand since he is older.”

Part Two available upon request

 

 

Why Do We Love Animals?

By

Mwizenge S. Tembo

Author of “Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture”.

Professor of Sociology

On Wednesday, I came back from work in the evening. When I opened the front door, our white German Shepard dog was right there squeezing her nose against the door as both dogs do always when we come home.  However, Buddy, the other dog, was standing a few feet away with very droopy very tired looking eyes. He had a very slow staggering walk. Buddy would not even eat. He loves to eat. He looked miserable as his whizzy labored breathing got louder.

On Thursday when I got home at 4:00pm Buddy was lying across just behind the front door almost blocking it. He did not even lift his head. I jumped over him. His breathing was terrible. I called the Veterinary doctor to see if I could take him in

Buddy the dog during happier times playing with the ball in the back yard.

Buddy the dog during happier times playing with the ball in the back yard.

immediately. The doctor had already left for the day. I made an appointment to take Buddy in at 8:45am.

Buddy had not eaten for two whole days. There were two good pieces of nice chicken in the fridge. I cut them into small pieces and warmed them in a pot and made some gravy with it. I have been told a million times that people food is bad for our pets. I added this to his dry usual bowl of food. I put the plate right up to his nose as he lay there. Suddenly, he lifted just his head above the bowl and ate the food. That was to be his last very good meal.

Buddy liked to ride in the car. I winded through the back road of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley before arriving at the clinic. The doctor showed me the X-rays that showed so many things wrong including an enlarged spleen, enlarged heart, high fever, and many spots on his lungs including arthritis in his bones. The doctor said he could not say if any of it was cancerous. The prognosis was not very good. His breathing was so loud it was like a broken whizzing vacuum cleaner. I felt awful for him. He was suffering and about 15 years old. We got the dog when my mother-in-law passed away in 2008.

I was there lovingly patting his head as he closed his eyes and that terrible heart wrenching horrible  whizzing loud breathing for 2 days was suddenly gone. Buddy was put to sleep. Buddy the Australian Sheep dog was not suffering or in pain any longer. I had a feeling of great relief but also grief. Later I sent an email to the long list of family members to inform them of Buddy’s passing. Why do we love animals?

In January 2008, our family Beagle mutt that our 6th grade son had adopted from our local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) died after a short illness due to old age and perhaps natural causes. I expressed my grief in a column in our local paper. A few days later I received a hand delivered blistering 3 page hand written letter from a man who was behind bars in our town in Harrisonburg. He berated me for wasting column space and possessing poor intellect in expressing my grief over a pet. Didn’t I know Americans spent $43.2 billion on their pets when millions of people are starving and live in dire poverty? Wasn’t I aware of American and European imperialism and aggression that inflicted injustice, caused wars and conflict in the Congo in Africa and elsewhere? Did I know who the radical Malcolm X was? He expressed contempt for my views since in an earlier column I had expressed some positive sentiments about conservative black American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

My critic had been in and out of prison for several years. It was apparent he did not know who I was, my history, what I knew, and what I had experienced in life. I did not respond because growing up I was taught not to hit a man when he is already down.

In my humble opinion, from Kafulafuta, Gwembe Valley, Mpulungu, Lusaka in Zambia to America, Russia, Europe, Japan and the whole world,  we love animals because the same very powerful love we have for other humans is exactly the same love we have for animals. This simple explanation is probably the most powerful reason we should love and treat all animals kindly.

Could this be the End of Peace in Zambia?

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

When I saw the images of the massive fire at the large sprawling Lusaka City Market in which 1,901 shops were destroyed, I was alarmed. I was aware that fire gutted a market in Bauleni in Lusaka in August 16, 2016. I had not paid much attention since that time until President Lungu’s address to the nation in which he listed a chronology of terrible incidents all over Zambia that involved fires gutting public buildings and vandalism of ZESCO electricity pylons. There have been over ten such incidents since August 2016. I am both stunned and fearful about my home and country of Zambia. Could this be the end of peace in Zambia after 53 years? Could these destructive activities be the work of just a few criminals and copy cats? Is this the work of ambitious frustrated political saboteurs who want to send a message to the nation,  President Lungu and the ruling PF party? Is it that some Zambians want to wreak so much havoc and chaos that the country becomes so ungovernable that the ruling

Lusaka City Market Fire

Lusaka City Market Fire

government will look so weak that the opposition expect to reap huge rewards of political power once the dust settles?

Arsonists, Copy Cats and Criminals

There is a possibility that arsonists have set all the terrible fires. My limited knowledge of minds of arsonists from police crime documentaries is that arsonists all gain tremendous rash of physical gratification from the site of huge burning fires they have caused; the bigger the fires the better for them. Since everyone pays so much attention through word of mouth, news outlets, photos, and videos of the huge sight of the fire and the destruction it causes, there are some people who will imitate the terrible actions by setting new fires themselves; these are the copy cats. Those with criminal minds like to take advantage of such chaotic situations. The fires and the vandalism could be the actions of criminals. I am sure Zambia’s security forces have probably already investigated these possible motivations for these criminal actions that endanger public security.

Political Sabotage

I am sure that from the President, security forces, and ordinary citizens all over Zambia, people have an idea whether this is political sabotage or not. Because all the terrible incidents have happened among ordinary Zambians, those destructive people who carry out these terrible actions of arson and vandalism live, talk, go home, sleep and walk among Zambians. Some Zambians have to know who is doing this and why. I will not suggest any suspects as my aim is for everyone who is reading this to think in a wider picture about 14 million Zambians as opposed to narrow political motives.

Assuming that this is political sabotage, if the aim of members of disgruntled opposition political parties is to cause so much fear and chaos that the country becomes ungovernable, how can you be sure that once the chaos perhaps stops, you will assume political power if we have elections at all? If everything is in flames in Zambia how will you rule? If you as the opposition now somehow assume power later because the country has become ungovernable through your terrible actions, what will stop the next opposition parties from using the same strategy of planting chaos in order to later win power? The cycle of destruction would never stop. Are these the kind of politics we want in Zambia?

King Solomon and Cutting the Baby

The Biblical story is that two women had a serious dispute because each claimed to be the mother of the newly born baby. The case was brought before King Solomon. In order to solve the case, King Solomon ordered one of his guards to bring a huge sharp sword. The baby was laid on a pedestal. The King told the 2 women that he would order his guard to cut the baby in two so that each woman would have half of the baby. The first woman cheered and said the King’s decision was very wise. The second woman cried and between sorbs said she rather the King gave the baby to the first woman even though the second woman knew she herself was the real mother. When the King asked her why she gave up the fight, the second women replied she would rather the baby stay alive and live with the other woman. The King handed down his judgment and gave the baby to the second woman who the King believed was real mother because she did not want her baby to be killed and preferred the other woman to raise it. At least the baby would be alive.

The moral of the story is that all politicians in Zambia should follow the biblical King Solomon story. If you love your country, you do not want to create chaos, violence, and threaten or act in any way to destroy the country so that you can rule it. You should have enough love of the country and confidence that other elected Zambians can lead the country peacefully. You should be able to find peaceful means of resolving all political disputes.

Guard Peace Jealously

I will never forget being among now fewer Zambians who have lived through all the 53 years of peace since Zambia’s independence in 1964. Creating a nation of peace and tranquility is not easy. There are always challenges, serious ups and downs. We used to think President Kaunda was a madman whose public speeches during his 27 years always repeatedly urged Zambians to love one another; to avoid tribalism, racism, hate, and to fight ignorance, disease, and exploitation of man by man. In one of his hundreds of speeches during the 27 years, President Kaunda once warned potential political saboteurs who were said at the time to be meeting and plotting in dark corners, that once the whole country was engulfed in flames, there would be neither peace nor a place for the political saboteurs themselves and even criminals to enjoy their spoils.

My advice to any Zambians who will listen is that as a Zambian never ever take the peace for granted. Because once it is lost, sometimes it may never come back. Every Zambian has to guard the peace jealously. It means that if you are a young cadre in any political party and a fellow Zambian is urging you to engage in violent criminal acts, such as arson and destroying ZESCO pylons especially for political motives, you have to oppose him or her. Everyone has to work with other citizens to find peaceful ways of achieving change if you strongly feel Zambia is becoming undemocratic.

 

 

 

 

Does God Exist? Where Do We Come From?; Astrophysics for people in a Hurry: Book Review

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D

Professor of Sociology

Neil deGrasse Tyson,, Astrophysics for people in a Hurry, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2017, 222 pp, Hardcover, K174.35 ($18.95).

Introduction

When I was a child living at Chipewa Village in the late 1950s in Lundazi District in Eastern Zambia in Southern Africa, we were loudly playing children’s games including hide and seek. I was jumping and running around in the evening after supper with other children in the open village square. Adults congregated in front of houses and chatted around with household family members getting ready to go to bed. Suddenly from nowhere a massive very bright light descended directly on top of the village momentarily making everything look as bright as day light. Suddenly the light went off

Beautiful sunrise about to land at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka in Zambia. Did God Create the beauty and the plane?

Beautiful sunrise about to land at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka in Zambia. Did God Create the beauty and the plane?

and it was dark again. We all screamed running in different directions to our various homes. Out of breath my cousins and I asked my grandparents what that scary bright light was. My grandmother calmly replied that it was the wretched work of witches in the night.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Astrophysics for people in a Hurry, reminded me of this incident that I never witnessed again in my life. But I might have seen again and again but more on this later. In the village I attended Sub A or Grade One at Boyole Primary School. The very first religious knowledge class taught me about God, the origin of humans and the crucial role of  Adam and Eve in the fate of all humanity. Ten years later in Form 4 in 1970 at Chizongwe Secondary School in Chipata, I was to learn about Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Gravity (1642-1726) in physics in my Physical Science classes practicing the formula. Although in 1915 Albert Einstein’s discovered the very influential Theory of Relativity, I don’t remember it being in our physics textbook yet in 1970. How is all this related to Tyson’s just published new book Astrophysics for people in a Hurry? How is this related to whether God exists?

The Big Bang

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in the very first sentence of his book reminiscent of the Bible says: “In the beginning, nearly fourteen billion years ago, all space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period (full stop) that ends this sentence.” (p.17) “What!!??” was my reaction after I read the first sentence. Then there was the Big Bang. I could not stop reading until I finished the 208 pages because I wanted so many of my own questions answered.

The moon in the night sky in the village.

The moon in the night sky in the village.

Tyson goes on to describe the origin of the known Universe, distant galaxies, the famous Milky Way, stars, our solar system, matter, energy, and how the Earth may have become the only known habitable planet in the solar system. Tyson describes photons, atoms, molecules, constants, conservation laws, speed of light, the mystery of dark matter, cosmic distances; all without using any of the sophisticated mathematical formulas in physics. That’s why the book is for the lay person because even a non-Astrophysicist like me with some physics knowledge from secondary school was able to read and understand it.

Does God Exist?

What invokes questions in the book about whether God exists is the sheer unimaginable monumental events that have happened over 13 billion years and will continue to happen going into the future. All of them appear or are said to happen or have happened by chance. For example, the orbit along which our mother earth rotates around the massive hot sun happens to be just further enough from the sun that we do not burn but instead have incredible forms of life from tiny bacteria, insects, and trees to humans, elephants and to one time humongous dinosaurs. The sun’s energy through photosynthesis creates oxygen through plants. We humans and many other of the earth’s creatures need oxygen to live. No other planets, at least in our solar system, have these qualities that support so much life. Had our Earth been nudged just a little further away from the sun in our orbit several billion years after the Big Bag, the earth would be too cold to support our life.

Think of Your Origins

Enjoying the fire in the village. What is the relationship between fire and the speed of light?

Enjoying the fire in the village. What is the relationship between fire and the speed of light?

If you are a Zambian living in the village,  Lusaka, Kabompo, Gwembe Valley, and Livingstone and where ever you are, once you have eaten nshima with good relish, you are not necessarily rich, but you are comfortable, life seems good, shouldn’t you take a moment to think: “What was there before the Big Bang? Where did I come from? Why? What is Earth? How big is the Universe? What about the moon, heaven and all those thousand and millions of stars at night? Where did they come from? What is my role in the Universe? What is light or fire?” This book will give you some answers. But it will not give you the answer to the question: “Does God exist?” You will have to make up your mind after you read the book if you have not made up your mind already. About that bright light in the village? I now believe it might have been a shooting star or meteorite that was headed toward our village but combusted or burned up and evaporated into gas in the atmosphere perhaps 10 Kms high above our village. I have seen thousands of shooting stars especially even today when I visit the village and look at the bright moon and mesmerizing twinkling stars.

 

The Soul of Kinship

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

The soul of kinship has been the strongest pillar of my entire life since I lived in the village at Chipewa in the late 1950s. This village is located among the Tumbuka people in the Lundazi district of the Eastern Province of Zambia. It is because my life has always been deeply embedded in kinship that I have never felt alone in the worst of circumstances in life since my childhood up to my entire adult life. This is when I have been alone facing some of life’s most difficult personal challenges in school, my career, in marriage, family, child rearing, work, personal conflicts, illness, death, grief, the anguish of isolation, and loneliness in unfamiliar distant lands among strangers far away from my kinship. The soul of kinship is the feeling of having an intimate place as a member among a large group, the soothing feeling of unconditional Kinship Groupbelonging, recognition, acceptance, physical security, emotional comfort, and the love that all bind you to more than sometimes as many as 200 to 400 men, women, and children who are members of one’s kinship often in a village or many villages. The soul of kinship is the feeling that you are connected to all these people not because you are rich, poor, tall or short, educated or uneducated, beautiful or ugly, of a certain race, religion; but because you are just you as a living breathing human being.

The power and soul of kinship in the Zambian or African context cannot be fully appreciated unless it is described in order to understand its influence. This is why I will first describe kinship and then later describe the power of the soul of kinship.

Zambian Traditional Kinship

The Zambian and African kinship is very intimate, broad and uses many kinship terminologies. The nuclear family of the man, his wife, and their biological children is embedded in the extended family wide kinship network that includes and binds the man and woman family and entire kinship. There are mainly two types of marriages and families that determine kinship; the patrilineal and matrilineal.

The patrilineal families, marriages and societies practice customs in which when a woman is married she moves to her husband’s village or dwelling. Since my Tumbuka tribe practices patrilineal kinship customs, all my father’s brothers are my fathers or Dads or Adada. All my father’s sisters are my ankhazi or aunts and all their husbands are asibweni or uncles. All my father’s brother’s children are my sisters or dumbu and brothers or dumbu. All my father’s sisters’ children are my bavyala or cousins. All my mother’s sisters are my mothers or amama. All my mother’s brothers are my asibweni or uncles. All my mother’s brothers’ wives are my apongozi of which the closest English equivalent is aunt.  All my mother’s brothers’ and sisters’ children are bavyala or cousins. A girl or woman has exactly the same kinship relationships.

All my brother’s children are bana bane or my children or my sons and daughters. All my sister’s children are baphwa or nephews and nieces. All the children of my sons and daughters are bazukulu or grandchildren. All the children of my children are bazukulu chivu or great grandchildren.

Complexity of Kinship

What makes the kinship relationships appear complex to the outsider is that if there are polygamous marriages, all the described relationships apply or are followed. For example, if my father’s father had 3 wives, all the women are agogo or my grandmothers. All the children of the 3 wives are my father’s brothers and sisters. My mother’s father’s wives are all my agogo or grandmothers. All my grandfathers’ wives and brothers on both my mother and father’s families are agogo or grandmothers or grandfathers.

The few families, tribes or societies in Zambia that practice matrilineal kinship customs will have some differences in customs. In these societies, when the woman gets married, her husband moves to her village or kinship dwelling. In the matrilineal society, the boy is raised to identify, depend on, and be closest to his mother’s side of the family kinship who are his mother’s brothers or uncles.

These relationships I have describe so far do not even include some of the other numerous kinship relationships that are immediately established as soon as a man and woman get married and two large kinships relationships and families become united. All the couple’s brothers and sisters become mulamu or sisters and brothers’in-law. The mothers and fathers of the couple are asebele or parents-in-law. All of these  terms and relationships apply when the couple comes from polygamous families in which a man may be married up to 3 or my be even 5 wives with numerous children. The same applies if the woman is married to a polygamous man in which case the woman  may have 2, 3 or may be even 5 co-wives with numerous children including her own.

Kinship Baffles Europeans

When Europeans encountered Zambian or African kinship, they found the complexity so perplexing that a European professor or Lecturer in the 1970s at the University of Zambia describe this incident that he found baffling. His Zambian student was absent from class. When the student returned to class, the Professor asked him why he was absent. The student said his mother had passed away and he had to attend her funeral. Three months later the same student was absent again and the Professor asked him why he was absent again. The student replied that his mother had passed away and he had gone to attend to her funeral. The Westerner will assume that either the student was lying or doesn’t understand that he can have only one mother: that is her biological mother. But unless you understand the Zambian culture, as an outsider and especially Europeans, you may not understand that one can have so many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers or agogo or grandparents.

When I was young, all my siblings and I had two mothers; my mother and her younger sister, aNyaMsuzghika, who is now deceased. I also have two amama or mothers today; my biological mother in the village and my mother who lives on the farm in Chainda or Ibex Hill in Lusaka the Capital City of Zambia. Both of them have been significant in my life. They both treat and love me as their son and I love and treat them as my mothers. Everyone in my kinship knows and calls both of them my mothers.

How Do You Identify Them?

One question that is always expressed and baffles Westerners or even modern urbanized and Europeanized Zambians and Africans is: “If you have so many mothers, brothers, sisters in all these kinships, how do you tell them apart? How do you tell who is your real mother?” Who is the real relative and not real or distant relative does not exist in the traditional Zambian kinship. The way relatives identify each other is that they intimately know who is married to whom, their names, when they were born, what village or town they live in and lastly the language that is used to explain kinship is very specific to the culture. For example, my younger sister lives in Chipata. First, we are dumbu or brother and sister. We can say mkulu na munung’una older or younger sibling. Then we say tika dikana which means she was born next or immediately after me. If we are explaining to an extended family member and we say our mother is aNyaNthula they will immediately say: “Oh!! I know who you are or how you are related to me because your mother aNyaNthula is also my mother. So we are brothers and sisters.” Right there, the kinship bond is both explained, identity, and belonging are established.

Kinship Relationships

These kinship relationships are not just mere cold objective labels or words that as used to indicate who I am related to. But they are symbols of the social binding that exists between a large group of people. Dumbu or sisters, mulamu or in-laws, asibweni or uncle, adada father or dad, amama or mother or mom, ankhazi or aunt, vyala or cousin all are relationships with serious and deep obligations. This is how the kinship members share moments of joy but also support each other in times poverty, suffering, death, sorrow, loss, or conflict, or just the ups and downs of life’s troubles. It is probably the seriousness and depth of these kinship relationships that among the Tumbuka and Zambian traditional kinship relationships there are no step mothers and step fathers, there are no half-brothers or half-sisters, distant relationships or distant cousins. Regarding the significance of biology, no one is the real mother or real father, or real sister or real brother just purely based on the distinction of biological relationships. Of course this doesn’t mean people ignore or are not aware of biological relationships. It just means biological relationships are regarded as secondary or briefly dwelt on if asked especially by anthropological researchers, strangers, and outsiders. What seems to matter most are the deep social bonds that bind people embedded in the kinship relationships passed on from generation to generation for hundreds if not thousands of years.

First Meet Relatives

My father had just completed his teacher training at Katete Mission and was given his first teaching assignment at Chasela School deep in the Luangwa Valley among the Bisa people. My father dispatched my mother and I to visit her village. My mother for months had told me I had so many relatives in the village; grandparents, uncles, apongozi or aunts and especially young cousins my age that I could play with. I was so primed and excited to go to the village.

We boarded the Central African Road Services (CARS) bus via Fort Jameson (Chipata) to Lundazi and then to Hoya along the Chama Road. Once we got off at Hoya, we walked for about one mile in the bush path when we arrived at a small village. Several women came running towards us laughing and smiling and quickly grabbed my mother’s luggage from her head. A small old woman walked toward us lifting her hands up in the air with utter joy and with a small dance to welcome us. As all the commotion was going on my mother turned to me and said:

“This is your agogo (grandmother) a NyaKundambo and this is Jali-Jali village.”

With in an hour we were eating fresh and delicious pumpkins and sweet dobe fresh maize. My mother said all the people in that village were related to me. I could come there at any time. I would be welcome and I could stay. Soon we bid everyone farewell and continued to walk in the bush path toward my mother’s village of Chipewa. The women relatives from Jali-Jali escorted us for a little distance carrying my mother’s luggage on their head. Then the women who had hosted us turned back.

We Arrive at Chipewa

While walking along in the pleasant Savannah bush path or nthowa, we heard the loud melodious songs of njiba birds, the tiny blue nyasisi birds,  mthyengu birds and nyapwele birds. After the two of us had walked in the meandering bush path for an hour, my mother and I heard the sound of pestles and mortars pounding. We heard some loud voices, bleating of goats, and roosters crowing. The dogs began barking toward our path as we drew closer.

“We are near our village now,” my mother said.

I was bursting with excited anticipation. I had been told about the village for months. We were finally here. We emerged from the bush path leading into the eastern side of Chipewa Village. There were two straight rolls of rectangular roof thatched house stretching as far as I could see. The middle of the village open and empty.

“Ehhhh!!! a NyaNthula!!!” two women shouted once they saw us.

“Ehhh!!! a Nyina Yakhobe!!!!” 3 other women shouted.

They run towards us as the chorus of “aNyaNthula biza!!!!” spread around the village. The women grabbed my mother’s luggage from her head. Soon there were women ululating, raising their hands into the air, clapping, laughing with just sheer joy.

“You must be tired,” one woman said.

“You have been gone so long I almost didn’t recognize you!!” a man said.

“If you had written us a letter about your coming, we would have met you at Hoya bus station!!!” someone said.

“Ah! Ah! Ah! Is this your son Yakhobe?” one woman asked as she pointed at me.

“Enya,” (yes) my mother replied.

All the young children were gravitating toward me as they stared at me intently while keeping a discreet distance.

There were a cacophony of so many voices as the growing loud and excited entourage walked past ten houses until we arrived at my grandfather and grandmother’s house. My mother was given a reed mat to sit on and I sat beside her. There was a large group of men and women slowly gathering as the news rippled through the village that a NyaNthula the daughter of aMchawa had arrived with her son Yakhobe.

Soon a large group of men, women, and children had gathered from the entire village. Men sat on one side and women on the other side. A man stood up and called  a boy about my age.

“Jemusi!” he called. “You and your friends chase and catch the large red rooster. Give it to your mother so we can cook it for your akhazi aNyaNthula (aunt) and vyala wako Yakhobe (cousin). Yendeskani !!! (Hurry up)

The man was Asibweni (uncle) Mzimphu and mvyala (cousin) Jemusi (James). The two would have such an influential impact on my life growing up in the village.

Malonje

After a while of small talk, it was time for the Tumbuka malonje custom and ritual. During malonje, a guest describes in systematic detail their journey, the state of health of the family and people the guest they left behind and the purpose of the visit. My mother was center stage as she explained and described the chronology of the trip down to our arrival at Hoya, visiting agogo aNyakudambo and that the purpose of the trip was we came to visit relatives and family.

My agogo aMchawa described the malonje for the family and village. My agogo Tendelu concluded the malonje adding her own perspective.

The large group of relatives and other people from the village dispersed. This is when my mother began to introduce me to the relatives that would mean so much to me for the rest of my life. My avylala (cousins) Jemusi and Sokoyala who were my age mates. My youngest asibweni (uncle) later in life was to be called UBZ (United Bus Company of Zambia) because he worked for UBZ for a few years as a bus conductor.  My asibweni (uncles) Mzimphu, Kunotha, and Mwendapoli. Apongozi (aunts) aNyamhoni, Anyina Sokoyala, and Anyina Jemusi. Of course my agogo (grandmother) aTendelu and agogo (grandfather) aMchawa.

The First Day

That first day was emotionally so overwhelming that tears still flow in my eyes just thinking of those moments 57 years ago. As a child it was the underserved feeling of everyone in the village making you feel like a celebrity without having done anything heroic. As a child I kept asking my mother, why are they doing all these good things? Why are they so happy to see us? My mother kept saying: “Because they love us. We are their relatives.” As a child I just opened my heart and loved to all of them. How could I not?

That evening more than 12 nshimas were delivered to us in honor of my mother and I. Remember I had eaten pumpkins and sweet dobe fresh maize earlier in the afternoon? When eating my mother cautioned me not to over eat as all the food had chicken and other delicious ndiwos or ma dende with nshima. She said otherwise I would experience kutyumba which is when you over eat and spend the night in the toilet or bush. This was an important piece of advice because I experienced kutyumba as recently as 2015 in the village because I ate too much of the delicious food which included nshima with goat meat, delicious special nchunga ziswesi (red kidney beans), and plenty of juicy sweet fresh mangoes straight from the numerous mango trees.

So this was the first day of the beginning to the deepening of my soul of kinship that was to last a life time. So many both negative and positive things happened in the village. But all we members of my kinship love each other. Members die and new ones are born. Members marry from and unite with different families. We still keep track of where we are even as we scatter to cities and other distant parts of the world. The bond expands and continues. I invite everyone to join in this precious soul of kinship.

References

Tembo, Mwizenge S., Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture, Indiana: Xlibris Corporation, 2012

 

 

 

UNPD, HH and Treason Charge

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

I have been very busy with work. President Trump has been in power here in the United States for about 4 months. But many of us citizens who live with his reckless actions, poor governing, and ill-conceived twitter statements feel like he has already been in power for 5 long years. President Trump and his entire White House staff is under siege as the Russian hacking election scandal has cast a dark cloud on his administration. I have not been following Zambian politics since last October 2016. So when a friend sent me some news articles about politics in Zambia that perked my interest.

International News

Some of the international news articles had alarming headlines that President Lungu was becoming authoritarian; that democracy was in danger in Zambia. Some articles said Lungu was becoming a dictator locking up his opposition opponent because of trumped up charges. These articles never give you actual details because many of them are used to just throwing  labels around like “authoritarian”, “dictator” on

UPND Opposition Leader Hakainde-Hichilema

UPND Opposition Leader Hakainde-Hichilema

African countries without bothering about details. When I saw a headline that said the opposition leader had been charged with treason and thrown in jail for a simple traffic stop that sparked my interest to dig deeper.

What I found out just looking on line is that there were so many news stories published within Zambia reported from the government, from the police, from the opposition leaders and other public commentators. Opposing ideas, allegations of the PF and President Lungu abuse of power, public protests, court trials, demonstrations, reports of police arrests and torture, strong opinions, and even insults are being expressed freely through the press and public conversations. The international press and those who are saying President Lungu and Zambia are descending into authoritarianism and dictatorship are not telling the truth. At worst this is being disingenuous and intellectual laziness in reporting.

Treason Charge Stunning

When I looked at the events surrounding the treason charge, I was stunned. I was even more stunned when apparently one of UPND and HH’s cadres decided to put  video clips of the incident on the internet on YouTube. The aim of the video tapes was to show how President’s Lungu’s motorcade police car with its flashing lights nearly rammed into Hakainde’s car. I have driven on those narrow tarred roads in rural Zambia. As recently as July 2016 I personally drove from rural Lundazi all the way to Solwezi. How can an opposition leaders’ 60 car long motorcade drive next to the President’s motorcade? This should no longer be about election results but about 14 million Zambians respecting the security of the individual who is occupying the Office of the President. The incident looked more dangerous on the YouTube video clip than when you read descriptions about it. People who instigate these things should think seriously many times. There could easily have been a dangerous incident during the motorcade fiasco that could have sparked the whole Zambian nation on fire.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_fOxZNHWtI

2016 Presidential Elections

During the August Presidential election the PF and Edgar Lungu won 1,860,877 which was 50.35%of the vote; the UPND and Hakainde Hichilema won 1,760,347 which was 47.35% of the votes. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) declared the PF and Edgar Lungu the winner. The UPND lodged a petition alleging massive rigging by the PF. Both UPND and the PF were ready to present their cases in court. The Zambian Constitutional Court threw out the petition because the 14 days within which it is legally allowed to adjudicate and rule on the case had expired. The UPND supporters have staged protests and lodged court filings since then. National elections will never be squeaky clean. It might help for the opposition in Zambia to look at how opposition leaders both in Zambia and in other countries have handled similar situations.

In the 1960 American Presidential elections, President Kennedy won the national popular vote by 112,827 a narrow margin of 0.17% against Richard Nixon. After his loss, Nixon and the Republican Party discovered that in the crucial state of Illinois, thousands of dead voters had voted in that election. Richardson Nixon refused to file charges in court to protest the election result. He did not want to plunge the nation into chaos. Nixon peacefully worked very hard in opposition and won the Presidency 8 years later.

Respect the Office

Everyone understands that UPND and Hakainde have not made it a secret that they won’t recognize President Lungu. But creating a near dangerous Presidential motorcade incident should not be one of the ways to protest or resist. The courts also should never be used to overturn an election that was in August 2016.

What Mr. Hakainde Hachilema should have done during the very dangerous motorcade incident, was for him to order his own supporters in the long motorcade (See it on YouTube) to pull over and stop. His own supporters would probably have loudly opposed him. But then he should have stood up on a car with a megaphone and said something like: “We are not respecting Lungu personally as an individual but the Office of the President. He is the current leader of our country, let his motorcade pass safely.” That’s what a good strong leader and opposition would do from now up to the next election. That would improve the chances of Hakainde and UPND winning the next presidential election.

Origin of Knowledge Hidden in Zambian Languages

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

The legendary intellectual and scholar Ali Mazrui was giving a lecture to a small group of about 30 mostly African graduate students in a small classroom. The students were from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa. I was the only one from Zambia.  This was in my Berkey Hall Sociology Department at Michigan State University in October in 1978 when I was doing my Master’s Degree. I was sitting about five desks from Mazrui intently listening to this great intellectual who was not yet well

The legendary scholar and intellectual Ali Mazrui.

The legendary scholar and intellectual Ali Mazrui.

known and about 7 years away from being world famous. The lecture was a discourse of a theory he had been developing since the early 1970s about Africa and The Triple Heritage of indigenous African culture, Christianity and Western culture. Then the question and answer came. A student from Kenya asked Mazrui what he thought about the impact of Marxism on the African continent. I will never forget the exchange that followed until I die.

Lessons from Prof. Mazrui

Mazrui in his calm and authoritative voice said and this is not the exact quote: “Marxism will not prosper on the African continent so long as the theory did not originate in an indigenous African language and culture.” All hell broke loose and sparks flew. The student from Kenya accused Mazrui of being reactionary and a supporter of oppression of the masses and Western imperialism. Another student said Mazrui was against the suffering poor peasants who were being exploited and toiling in the hot sun all over Africa. Mazrui advocating the Marxist Revolution would help liberate the peasants another student said in a chorus of condemnation. Mazrui calmly repeated his first argument and went on to elaborate.

“Yes, Mazrui is right!!” I was screaming all of this in my head since I am shy.

But I also knew the obvious at the time. Marxist Revolutionary political rhetoric was so overwhelming and widespread on the African continent that had I openly opposed my fellow students purely on intellectual reasons on Mazrui’s legitimate scholarly point, I was going to be bulldozed. I knew because the University of Zambia closed two years before in 1976 over Marxist Revolutionary fervor on campus in relation to the legitimate revolutionary liberation war that was then raging in neighboring Angola.

Ali Mazrui and the explosive exchange that followed, taught this young graduate student at the time one important lesson: state your intellectual perspective or theory very clearly and pursue it while elaborating it without fear. This author went on to write his Master’s Thesis in Sociology on the “African Personality”.

Origin of Knowledge

The origin of knowledge today is embedded in Zambian or African traditional or indigenous languages. The vast majority of Zambians may not be aware of this, we actually ignore this knowledge and sometimes even oppose it. What this author has personally researched over the last 38 years including the meaning of Zambian traditional names supports

Students at Solwezi Urban School in the North-Western Province of Zambia in June 2016

Students at Solwezi Urban School in the North-Western Province of Zambia in June 2016

this statement. Dr. Chisanga Nebat Siame has a breakthrough contribution to understanding how present day indigenous Zambians may be descendants of and may have been at the center of building the great Egyptian Civilization about three thousand years ago. The author seriously uses mbebalogy (derived from mice)both to articulate the significance of Zambian languages in our history and for Zambians and Africans to never ever to be made to feel embarrassed and be ashamed of our Zambian indigenous or traditional culture and our complete history. Because it is ironically this indigenous Zambia culture in which knowledge is embedded that European racist ideology declared to be inferior since the Atlantic Slave Trade of Africans and European colonialism on the African continent.

Importance of Indigenous Culture

The importance of our Zambian indigenous culture cannot be realized until we understand our complete history going back to 100,000 to 50,000 years ago. The Eurocentric Zambian and African history that is taught in virtually all schools and textbooks all the way to University education focusses on European influence since the 1800s. Some of this history is distorted as the European powers were trying to distort and deny the crucial presence and role of Zambians and Africans in world history because of  European deep racist beliefs that Zambians and African were inferior.

Students at  Rukuzye Primary School in the  rural Eastern Province of  Zambia where the author did Standard 2 or Grade 4 in 1963.

Students at Rukuzye Primary School in the rural Eastern Province of Zambia where the author did Standard 2 or Grade 4 in 1963.

This history tends to focus from 1492 when Columbus discovered the Americas, from 1609 when the first ship full of African slaves arrived in Virginia in the United States, and lastly European colonialism over the entire African continent from 1885 to 1960s. Europeans use this short period from 1492 to 1960 or only 468 years to erroneously portray Zambians and Africans as always being victims, slaves, or the colonized in the Eurocentric history beyond being inferior victims of superior Europeans and other cultures. This is false or untrue. For a detailed, complete discussion, and recommendations of what you as the Zambian or African reader can do go to any of these links: “Principles of Mbebalogy (Mice): Zambians Dig Our Past to Move Forward” http://ukzambians.co.uk/home/2017/05/21/principles-of-mbebalogy-mice-zambians-dig-our-past-to-move-forward/

http://hungerforculture.com/?p=1720

 

 

Principles of Mbebalogy (Mice): Zambians Dig Our Past to Move Forward

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

 “Amama na Adada, katundu nimzito. Ningasenya nekha yayi” (Mother and Father, the luggage is too heavy. I cannot carry it alone.” – Mwizenge S. Tembo

Introduction

Why is it that from Nouakchott in Mauritania in North-West Africa, through Nigeria to Durban in South Africa; from Cape town in South Africa though Tanzania to Bargaal in Somalia on the Horn Africa through Cairo in Egypt to Benghazi in Libya, people with  black or dark skin are regarded as inferior? Why is it that from Chile the Southern tip of South America, through Brazil, Caribbean Islands, Mexico, United Sates and Canada people black or dark skin are regarded as inferior? Why is it that from Europe, through Central Europe, Russia, India, China Thailand all the way to Japan, Banda Sea, Papua New Guinea, Tonga Islands all the way to Australia, people with black or dark skin are regarded as inferior? While Europe was the main culprit in spreading all of this negative beliefs and racist ideology about black Africans, modern genetic knowledge tell us Africans are the origin of virtually all human beings;

Boy holding Mbeba (mice) in a village in Lundazi district in Eastern Zambia

Boy holding Mbeba (mice) in a village in Lundazi district in Eastern Zambia

all 7.5 billion of us today. How is all of this possible?

This article will explore the major aspects of this persistent and deeply embedded belief that people with black or dark skin, where ever the live on the planet are the most inferior. The article will suggest that the best way, not just to think about it in terms of theoretical knowledge, but to actually change this negative belief is to start with Zambia as ground zero or starting point. The determination and urgency about acting on the solution to this serious problem starts now. You should show or give a copy of this document to the President, his cabinet, all leaders of political parties, the Ministry of Education officials and teachers. If you have access to this article print some hard copies and send them to all Chiefs in all rural areas of Zambia. Circulate hard copies of this document to many people among 14 million Zambians especially those in remote parts of Zambia. Those of you who are educated in Zambia and in the Zambia diaspora abroad, and have access to the internet can circulate the document much more easily. The press will already have access to the Principles of Mbebalogy.

Boys after after a mice hunt on the outskirts of Lusaka the Capital City of Zambia.

Boys  after a mice hunt on the outskirts of Lusaka the Capital City of Zambia.

This article will use the better informed and traditional method of principles of Mbebalogy (or mbewalogy which is a linguistic variation) to suggest that all 14 million Zambians have to dig our past to get rid of deeply embedded racial and cultural inferiority complexes in order to move forward. This will take 27 years for Zambians to both understand and change the incomplete and poor knowledge we have now. It took this author 27 years to discover by accident some of this knowledge you are about to read. This is because in addition to acquiring Western or Eurocentric knowledge, this author also acquired and lived the indigenous or traditional knowledge among the Tumbuka people in the village in the 1950s. This author speaks Tumbuka, Chewa and Nyanja Zambian or African languages and deeply understands and has lived with the customs. As compared to just reading about them. This is very crucial.

President Kaunda founded and ruled Zambia for 27 years. The legendary great fighter against apartheid in South Africa Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years before he was released. It took Dr. Chisanga Nebat Siame, political philosopher and self-trained philologist 27 years, to find the important and crucial key to understanding how we Zambians and Africans can today dig real and accurate knowledge about our past so that  we can get rid of inferiority complexes in order to move forward. Dr. Siame found the key to understanding our complete and original Zambian African history not because only of acquiring Western Eurocentric knowledge including a Ph. D. but most especially because he is both Namwanga, Bemba, and deeply understands the Zambian and African culture from within. This is very crucial. We will start with deeply examining our indigenous Zambian cultures in remote areas among the 72 tribes, explore knowledge in urban Zambia, and then coordinate this with exploring Zambian history to all the remote and most distant corners of  the world. The principles of Mbebalogy happens to be a near perfect analogy and metaphor to explain and strategize how we Zambians will work on this for the next 27 years.

Purpose of Treatise

The purpose of this treatise is three fold. First, to discuss and explore the broader, full, complete, authentic and more genuine Zambian and African history from a hundred thousand to fifty thousand years ago to the present. This approach to Zambian history is the best, most honest and most complete for Zambians, Africans and for all humanity where ever they may be.

Second, besides all other written existing written records that tend to focus on Zambian history since European colonialism in the 1800s, the new approach will focus on the deepest aspects of indigenous Zambian technology, customs, and the knowledge that is treasure our ancestors deeply inscribed and embedded  in Zambian languages and traditional names of Zambians. This Mbebalogy and Zambiology approach will unveil the key to digging Zambian history going back from 50,000 years ago up to 3,000 BC.

Third, this treatise will invite and urge you to act, participate in and be part of this digging of the genuine Zambian history as myself, Professor Mwizenge Tembo (Zambian Names) and Dr. Chisanga Nebat Siame (Philologist and Etymologist) have found the keys. Many of you Zambians may have the keys with you but you just don’t know what you don’t know. We will duplicate the key to digging Zambian history and give copies to all 14 million Zambians. The treatise recommends that all Zambians from 72 tribes and languages in rural Zambia begin to dig for this history immediately mainly using language and the deepest traditional or indigenous names of Zambians. What will be investigated is whether these languages and names are connected and have links to modern and indigenous technology, languages in in many places in rural Zambia, Africa, Europe, China, Japan, Australia, North America among Native Americans and in South America. After 27 years of digging, Zambians will revise all school, university textbooks, and common knowledge to incorporate the newly dug out knowledge.

Nomenclature

This method of digging for specifically Zambian knowledge is so new that using English and other existing languages may contaminate what Zambians will be doing. So as in any fresh field a new nomenclature should be established. This treatise uses the digging for mbeba as the most powerful analogy and metaphor. The author wants to immediately squash any sneering, giggling, demeaning jokes about digging and eating mice.

First and foremost, digging for mice is not “eating rats”. There is a huge difference which all urban folks may not know. The mice that they dig among one million people among the Tumbuka, Chewa, Nsenga, Ngoni, in Eastern Zambia and Malawi are the ones that dig and live primarily in farm fields where food is grown. These mice eat maize, sweet potatoes, peanuts, pumpkins, peas, beans, and cassava. These mice have a light brown back and white underbelly. While as rats which are regarded as disgusting, dirty, and dangerous are grey in color and found in homes in the villages. Once caught they are immediately killed and discarded as vermin.

The use of Mbebalogy is not the only approach to digging for Zambian indigenous knowledge. There are other customary ways of obtaining food that knowledge has embedded itself in. Among the Lozi most of whom live in the Zambezi flood plain, fishing or Litapi is very important. The Lozi may want to use Litapology as a medium for digging and investigating the indigenous knowledge. The Tonga customs are steeped in cattle raising. Ing’ombelogy may be their new term or medium of digging for the new knowledge. The Bembas from the Northern Province and Easterners have always had chimbuya or joking tribal cousinship. Bembas traditionally may have had the custom of hunting for bakolowe (monkeys). Their new way of digging knowledge would be Kolwelogy. Many of the 72 tribes in Zambia may have many different indigenous deeply embedded customs which carry with them knowledge stretched over numerous generations. The fresh knowledge that Zambians will did about the true history of Zambians in Zambia and the world going back to 50,000 years, will be called Zambiology. All students, lecturers and scholars from the 17 Zambian Universities can also establish their own specialties in the new field of  Zambiology.

Basic Tenets of Mbebalogy

The reader needs to know the basic elements of Mbebalogy to best appreciate the use of this powerful analogy and metaphor as it has strong parallels with getting this proposed brand new knowledge. If the reader would like to know the full details of mbeba (mice) you can read the full article which is available on line: “Mice a Delicacy”.

Before boys form the village embark on a mice hunting expedition, their aim is to hunt mbeba, catch them and bring them home to feed their families. The hunters have to have the right tools; hoes, axes, nthonga (knobkerries), and mphici (short sticks). They have to know where to find holes which they can dig and are likely  to catch mbeba. They can never be 100% sure that every hole they did, they will catch mbeba. There are more than 14 types of mbeba each type with very sophisticated unique habits which the hunters and diggers have to know. The hunters survey a large geographical area. They dig in so many different holes with different levels of success and failure. There are numerous terms that are used to express difficulties, obstacles, dead ends, disappointments, successes, and breakthroughs that reflect what they encounter in order to achieve success; taking mbeba home to feed their families.

The parallels between principles of Mbebalogy or how to dig mbeba and how to dig for our complete Zambian and African knowledge are compelling and so brilliant that the hand of our Zambian and African ancestors must be invoked in its use. Before we embark on digging our true and complete African history and knowledge, we must make sure we have all the tools we need. We need to have digital recording equipment, physically visit and learn about and deeply embed ourselves in all the knowledge and history in the 72 tribes in rural and remote parts and villages of Zambia. We need to know what urban Zambians know and what they can contribute especially from all the 17 universities. We need to travel, physically visit, and live in all remote parts of the entire Africa and the world to dig and find out about Zambian and African history. Where ever there is success, the Zambian should bring that knowledge home, like mbeba hunters do, to feed their family. After 27 years we will have dug and brought home enough genuine and complete Zambian history for our own benefit and that of our families and the nation. After the 27 years, we will be able to revise the common knowledge and all the textbooks used in schools from primary school all the way to the university.

The new and Complete Zambian African History.

Evolutionary evidence suggests that 3 to 8 million years ago, many varieties of small bands of creatures called Hominoids and Hominins from whom humans or homo sapiens eventually evolved lived and were scattered in East Africa, Chad, Kenya, Ethiopia, and all the way to South Africa. Australopithecus robustus lived 2.0 to 1.0 million years ago in South Africa, and lastly Australopithecus  boisei lived 2.6 to 1.0 million  years ago in East Africa.

Author in front of his hut in the village in Lundazi District in Eastern Zambia.

Author in front of his hut in the village in Lundazi District in Eastern Zambia.

Most of these species died or went into extinction. Groups of species of Homo called Homo erectus and Archaic Homo sapiens migrated in the first wave from Africa 1.7 million years ago to North Africa through Saudi Arabia, and spread to the Middle East, to Asia and Europe. This first wave died or went into extinction.

The second wave of small groups of Anatomically Modern Humans (AMHS) migrated out of Africa 150,000 years ago through Saudi Arabia and spread to the Middle East, Europe, Asia, North and South America. This is the wave from whom the 7.5 billion humans we have today evolved from. How is the evolution of Homo sapiens or the human being related to Zambians and using Mbebalogy to dig our history?

We Zambians and Africans may be both the origin and descendants of the first humans. The fossil remains of our ancestors have been found in dozens of locations from Ethiopia, East Africa in Oduvai Gorge, and all the way to South Africa.  Zambians will remember some of our Form II or Grade 9 history that the skull of the Broken Hill man was found in Kabwe which archeologists dated to 25,000 years ago. The town of Kabwe used to be called Broken Hill during the British colonial period in Zambia.

The most important aspect of these archeological findings is that after so many earlier species of Homo erectus and archaic Homo sapiens had died or gone into extinction because they could not adapt and survive, we Zambians and Africans survived to migrate to populate the rest of the world. Survival over thousands of years was not easy in the harsh savannah environments, freezing ice age in Europe and other geographical impediments to survival.

Chronology of the Genuine and Complete Zambian History

There are two ways of digging and putting together a description or chronology of the genuine and complete Zambia history: the first one can use existing knowledge from archeologists and evolutionary anthropologists. Some of this history is distorted as the European principle authors were trying to distort and deny the crucial presence and role of Zambians and Africans because of  European deep racist beliefs that Zambians and African were inferior. This history tends to focus from 1492 when Columbus discovered the Americas, from 1609 when the first ship full of African slaves arrived in Virginia in the United States, and lastly European colonialism over the entire African continent from 1885 to 1960s. Europeans use this short period from 1492 to 1960 or only 468 years to erroneously potray Zambians and Africans as always being victims, slaves, or the colonized in the Eurocentric history beyond being inferior victims of superior Europeans and other cultures. This is false or untrue.

The genuine and complete history is that Zambians and Africans migrated from Africa to all remote regions and Islands of the world from 150,000 years ago. We Zambians and Africans 10,000 years ago crossed the Bering Straits on Eastern Russia and present day Alaska to populate North and South America. We Africans were in Europe, Japan, India, South Pacific Islands, China, all the way to Australia. During this time we were not “black Africans” but just people or “banthu” which means humans in my indigenous Zambian Tumbuka and hundreds of other indigenous Zambian and African languages. Europeans have wrongly racialized and invented “banthu” to mean “black Africans” which is a recent invention since the 1700s. All 7.5 million people in the world are actually “banthu” or human beings which is the original meaning.

Because of their technological ingenuity, Zambians and Africans may have left massive complex monuments about which they left no written documents to describe how these monuments were built. These monuments include massive structures on Easter Island in the South Pacific and in South America. The Zimbabwe ruins is one of the structures. The Egyptian Civilization and the massive complex pyramids were created after early humans lived and migrated in small bands, communities, villages, chiefdoms and kingdoms for thousands of years. The arguments as to whether Egypt had white or black people may be irrelevant as race the way Europeans introduced it since the 1700s may not have existed then. Africans or Egyptians in the north were olive skinned and those further south towards the equator were darker skinned because of relative exposure to the hot sun relative to the distance from the Equator and nothing more.

The Egyptian civilization existed 3,107 years ago. It existed for 2,010 or more than two thousand years from 3100 B.C.E to 1090 B.C.E. This was about 760 years before the ancient Greeks. The great Ancient Egyptian Civilization which Africans established was 2,460 years before the very young European Industrial Revolution. Alexander of Greece had gained control of Lower Egypt and establishes the city of Alexander in 330 B.C.E. Greeks ruled Alexandria for 3 centuries or 300 years until the Roman conquest. The Roman imperial rule, law and religion were imposed on Egyptians in 30 B. C. E until the 4th century. The period of Jesus also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth the central figure of Christianity occurred from 7-2 B.C. E. to 30 -33 AD. Historical Age of Islam took root from 640 -1600 AD.

The most important point is that when all of these events were happening, we Zambians and Africans were the people doing all these things. The Eurocentric racist history always very subtly refers to “Sub-Saharan” Africans as being separate from Northern part of light skinned contemporary Egyptians, Southern Europe and the Middle East. The idea is to cut off the very dark skinned Africans in the so-called “Sub-Saharan” Africa. This has been a successful attempt to cut off we Africans from our own history. What will truly establish our genuine and complete history as Zambians and Africans is what Dr. Chisanga Nebat Siame found out in his 27 years of research; the names and languages of our Zambian and African ancestors who migrated and settles all over the world can be found everywhere in the world today as evidence that we are the strong foundation of the 7.5 billion people today.

Dr. Chisanga Nebat Siame and Zambians in Ancient Egypt

During the last 351 years since the European Atlantic Slave trade of an estimated 10 million Africans to the Americas and European colonization of Africa and racist ideology of Africans as inferior, Europeans have maintained that Africans could never have developed the great Egyptian Civilization. They have even successfully separated Egypt from the so-called black Sub-Saharan in order to enhance the myth that Africans are inferior. This ideological racist myth has been repeated for so long that even many Zambians and Africans have come to believe and accept it. These Zambians and Africans to day might look at the massive Egyptian pyramids and compare them to the grass thatched huts that most rural Zambians live in, and wrongly believe and conclude that their ancestors would never have been able to build such massive sophisticated monuments. Europeans and their scholars for a long time have denied that any Africans were involved in the Egyptian civilization. Their argument was that if they built the Egyptian civilization, where are those same Africans and their descendants to day?

Dr. Siame has cracked the code which shows the connection between present day Zambians who are living and breathing and their connections to the ancient Egyptian Empire. The Egyptian civilization was the first to create a large empire, establish writing using hieroglyphs, large scale political economy, the bureaucracy and built the sophisticated massive pyramids. Dr. Chisanga Siame in 2013 published an article titled: “Katunkumene and Ancient Egypt in Africa” from the Journal of Black Studies of 20 March, 2013. The author badly wishes all 14 million Zambians, scholars, lecturers and student from the 17 Zambian Universities would read this article.

Dr. Siame had cracked the code which shows the connection between present day Zambians and ancient Egypt. He found out that the Bemba term uku tunkumana  about two thousand miles away South of Egypt may have descended from the name Tunka Men the name of the ancient kingdom of Sudan suggesting a connection between the Bemba of Zambia people and ancient Egypt. Dr. Chisanga Siame also discovered that his clan Namwanga name of Siame in Zambia may be traced back to the Kings of ancient Egypt named Pharaoh Siamen who ruled in Egypt from 986-967 B. C. E. Dr Siame found connections between “the mushabati of the Silozi language of Western Zambia and the word umhlabathi found in Sizulu and SiXhosa” in South Africa (p.265). Both could be traced back to the Egyptian Pharaohs burial practices. He also found out that the use of Nya prefix to denote a woman among my own tribe the Tumbuka, as is NyaBanda or NyaNkhata, and my own living mother’s maiden name NyaNthula may have come from ancient Egypt when our Zambian and African ancestors lived there three thousand years ago. The author found out, for example, through Dr. Yozenge Chondoka’s book A History of the Tumbuka, that his own Tumbuka people may have migrated from deep in the Congo to the present location in Lundazi in the 1400s. This is contrary to the European colonialists who had documented that the Tumbuka arrived to the present area in the 1800 from an unknown region.

At this time you may be asking so many questions just I did when I first read the article in 2013. How did Dr. Siame come up with this knowledge? Why this information didn’t come from important famous big name scholars and journals with big grants from Europe especially Paris and London? May he Harvard or Oxford University? Isn’t this an internet hoax? Isn’t his what the late eminent African scholar the great Ali Mazrui called “Romantic Gloriana”? Where Africans appear to always claim they founded great civilizations but with no archival proof? The answer is simple but also complicated.

The key or code to discovering the connections of Zambians to places anywhere in the world are two key factors: our languages and our traditional names. This means learning about our history through deeply understanding our Zambian languages: SiLozi, ChiChewa, ChiTonga, ChiBemba, ChiKaonde, ChiNgoni, ChiTumbuka, ChiLuchazi, Ovimbundu, ChiLunda and many others. Learning English only or French only will not make us discover our true history. Our traditional Zambian names carry the history of our ancestors up to this day all over the world going back to 50,000 may be even 100,000 years ago.

How did Dr. Siame crack the code? He graduated with a political science degree from University of Zambia in 1976. He obtained his Ph. D. in Political Philosophy from Northwestern University. These degrees did not prepare him to do this research. He had to study on his own for 27 years mastering hieroglyphs, looked at the work of Egyptologists, and especially that he focused deeply on studying comparative philology, and then the morphology, phonology, semantics and syntax of language. There is so much information in his short 20 page published article. He had to work very hard for many years on his own in a very solitary way to make these discoveries. Today he has written 2 volumes and is looking for only $5,000.00 (Five thousand dollars) or K47, 000.00 (Forty-seven Thousand Kwacha) to publish his great historic work.

Dr. Siame and this author were classmates at University of Zambia from 1972 to 1976 where we got the best education in the world. Both of us are thankful that the founders of our great nation of Zambia made it possible for both of us to get a university of education. Both of us are grateful as we realize today that both our families would never have been able to afford a university education including our Ph. Ds without the Zambian people and the government scholarships we received.

Conclusion

The principles of Mbebalogy and Zambiology might appear exclusionary and to buck disciplines that Europeans already established in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution. Educated Zambians, African Americans, urban Africans and others might accuse the author of needlessly reinventing the wheel when it is already there. But establishing these 2 approaches is the only and best way to go to the real origin of knowledge about the history of Zambians and Africans.

The author did not come up with these ideas as an academic exercise. He began to think about discovering complete real Zambian and African knowledge when he was an undergraduate student at University of Zambia staring in 1972 which is 45 years ago in his dormitory in Africa Hall 5 Room 26. The more urgent pressing additional factor is the the author has grand precious children who are born here in America. The reality that they are born to be regarded as inferior because of their skin color greatly bother the author. Because he himself was born and grew and in the village in Zambia in Africa with tremendous dignity during which he never experienced racism. The aim of these proposals is to instigate action that will both discover the complete history of Zambians but also in the process reinstall the dignity of Zambians, Africans, and all people who are black in this European tragically racialized world where people of African heritage continue to be seen as inferior. This new knowledge will also help the entire humanity to reestablish its true history and the dignity of humans all over the world. I hope first and foremost that someone will help Dr. Siame publish his great work. Second, I hope all the readers will act in one way or another after they read this article to embark on this daunting but exciting journey of Zambians digging the past to move forward during the next 27 years up to 2044.

References

Do White And Asian Expats Look Down On Black Africans?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNmVd29lmAs

South African Cave Yields Strange Bones Of Early Human-Like Species

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/09/10/437249183/south-african-cave-yields-strange-bones-of-early-human-like-species?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150910

See These Amazing Images of Easter Island Statues With Bodies—Who Knew?

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/easter-island-head-bodies-293799

Current World Population

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

Mice as a Delicacy

https://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/food/mice.shtml

Africa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa

Lucy (Australopithecus)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_(Australopithecus)

http://worldpopulationreview.com/population-of-jamaica/

Recent African origin of modern humans

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recent_African_origin_of_modern_humans

File:Map-of-human-migrations.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map-of-human-migrations.jpg

PAPUA NEW GUINEA MAP – PHYSICAL MAP OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

http://www.ezilon.com/maps/oceania/papua-new-guinea-physical-maps.html

Banda Family History

http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=banda

The Search for Adam and Eve

http://www.virginia.edu/woodson/courses/aas102%20(spring%2001)/articles/tierney.html

Race in Antiquity: Truly Out of Africa

by Dr. Molefi Kete Asante

http://www.asante.net/articles/19/race-in-antiquity-truly-out-of-africa/

Atlantic slave trade

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages

Afrika, Llaila., Melanin: What Makes Black People Black, Long Island City, N. Y.: Seaburn Publishing Group, 2009.

Anta Diop, Cheikh., edited and translated by Mercer Cook., The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1974.

Bernal, Martin., Black Anthena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Vol. III, Linguistic Evidence, New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press, 2006.

Bernal, Martin., Black Anthena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Vol. I, The Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985,  New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987.

Chondoka, Yizenge., Bota, Frackson F., A History of the Tumbuka from 1400 to 1900: The Tumbuka under the M’nyanjagha, Chewa, Balowoka, Senga and Ngoni Chiefs, Lusaka: Academic Press, 2007.

Darnell, John Coleman., and Manassa, Colleen., Tutankhamun’s Armies: Battle and Conquest During Ancient Egypt’s Late Eighteenth Dynasty, Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2007.

Darwin, Charles., Evolutionary Writings, Edited with an introduction and Notes by James A. Secord, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Ember, Carol, Ember, Melvin and Peregrine, Peter., Anthropology, 14 Edition, New York: Pearson, 2015.

Encyclopedia of Zambian Names, Edited by Chanda Penda, Lusaka: Pensulo Publishers, 2013.

Heine, Johan., and Tellinger, Michael., Adam’s Calendar: Discovering the Oldest Man-made Structure on Earth 75,000 years ago, Johannesburg: Zulu Planet Publishers, 2008.

James, George G. M., Stolen Legacy: How the Wisdom of Ancient Egypt was Transformed into Greek Philosophy, San Diego, California: The Book Tree, 1954.

James, George G. M., Stolen Legacy,  Made in the USA, Lexington, KY 22 July 2013.

Kennedy, Randall., Nigger: The Strange Career of a troublesome Word, New York: Vintage Boos, A Division of Random House, Inc., 2003.

Khapoya, Vincent., The African Experience: An Introduction, 4th Edition, New York Pearson, 2013; pp. 59-81.

King, Richard., African Origin of Biological Psychiatry, New York: Afrikan World Books, Inc., 1990.

King, Richard., Melanin: A Key to Freedom, 3rd Edition Seventh Printing, Baltimore: African World Books, September 2010.

Kottak, Conrad Phillip Kottak, Anthropology: Exploration of Human Diversity, 12th Edition, New York: McGrawhill, 2008.

Lefkowitz, Mary., Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism became an excuse for teaching myth as history,  Basic Books, 1996, 19997.

Malinowski, Bronislaw., The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia, Boston: Beacon Press, 1929.

Moore, T. Owens., The Science and the Myth of Melanin: Dispelling the Rumors Exposing the Facts, Buffalo, NY: 1200 Jefferson Avenue, 1995, 2002.

Why Darkness Matters: The Power of Melanin in the Brain, Edited by Edward Bruce Bynum, Chicago, Illinois: African American Images, 2005.

Muller, Gert., Black Origins of Ancient Rome and Black Emperors, London: Pomegranate Publishing, 2013.

Odden, David., Introducing Phonology,  2nd Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Rodney, Walter., How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Washington, D. C.: Howard University Press, 1974.

Serpell, Robert., The Significance of Schooling: Life-journeys in an African society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Sertima, Ivan Van., They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America, New York: Random House Trade Paperback, 1976.

Sharman, Fergus., Linguistic Ties between Ancient Egyptian and Bantu: Uncovering Symbiotic Affinities and Relationships in Vocabulary, Boca Raton: Universal-Publishers, 2014.

Siame, Chisanga Nebat., Katunkumene and Ancient Egypt in Africa, Journal of Black Studies, March 20, 2013.

Tembo, Mwizenge. S., Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture: Social Change in the Global World, Xlibris Corporation, 2012

Tembo, Mwizenge, S., Zambian Traditional Names: The Meaning of Tumbuka Chewa Nsenga Ngoni and Tonga Names, Lusaka: Jullubi Enterprise Limited, 2006.

The Death of White Sociology: Essays on Race and Culture, Edited by Joyce A. Ladner, Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1993.

Vincent Khapoya, The African Experience: An Introduction, 4th Edition, New York Perason, 2013; pp. 59-81.

Williams, Patricia J., The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Williams, Patricia J., The Rooster’s Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1995.

 

 

 

 

What Does God Look Like?: Questions from the Movie “The Shack”.

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

A strange small sickly brown dog emerged from nowhere and chased a group of children who were happily playing in my home village in Lundazi in the Eastern part of Zambia in Southern Africa. This was fifty-one years ago. The little sickly dog nipped one of the kids in the butt through his shorts as they fled. The tooth scratch was so small that the boy did not bother to report it to my parents. On June 15 1966, my 8

A small dog like this one came from nowhere and bit my brother

A small dog like this one came from nowhere and bit my brother

year old younger brother died a horrible death of rabies in my mother’s arms at the local clinic. The rabies medicine was there but my brother had been brought to the clinic too late. Had the bite been reported to my parents, they would have brought him to the clinic immediately about four weeks earlier? It was a tragedy for me and my family.

Life and Death

The twins of life and death in all their mysteries and especially the terrifying finality and irreversibility of death have shadowed human beings for thousands of years. As humans we have toyed around the edges of life and death. We have used technology to destroy and alter life. We have post ponded death where possible through use of medicine. As humans we have a tremendous sense of triumph, reckless bravado and sometimes hubris as we feel we are conquering the frontiers of knowledge about life and death. Although we celebrate the joy life gives us, but what we may consider unjustified or untimely death still terrifies, puzzles, frustrates, and humbles us. Our belief in God as the omnipotent power and creator has helped us to cope with and make some sense of these two mysteries that always shadow our lives.

Amidst all this mystery, what really drives us into deep seething anger that makes us question and sometimes in extreme cases dismiss God, is when tragedies happen to us or to any people we consider innocent.

Human Tragedies

Buried in our deep pain of tragedy we ask what kind of God will let the deadly war go on in Syria including the gassing of children and other civilians. Millions of people are fleeing the Middle East and North Africa as refugees heading to Europe. Many are drowning trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Why did God allow the First and Second Wars to happen in which millions perished? Why did God allow NAZI Germany, Hitler to even be born to gas 6 million Jews? Why did God allow Stalin to kill 20 million innocent Soviet citizens? What kind of God let the Atlantic Slave Trade happen during which Europeans used mind boggling brutality to forcibly bring 10 million Africans in chains to North America, the Caribbean Islands and South America?

European colonialism in Africa and elsewhere under the guise of “The White Man’s Burden” brought untold suffering and death on the continent. Thousands died in Belgian Congo and one Nelson Mandela sacrificed 27 years in jail to end the racist Apartheid policy in South Africa.  What kind of God lets innocent children become victims of cancer? Evil so overwhelms us in society that when we live very humble, clean, hard working lives filled with our strong beliefs in God, we exhibit righteous anger when evil and tragedy strikes us. We angrily ask, “Why me Lord? But I am your most faithful servant!”

The Movie: “The  Shack.”

Philosophers, religious leaders, scientists, and others have tried to grapple with these questions. The issue was the center of a heated public debate in the 1980s such that Rabbi Kushner wrote the book: “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”. Recently I watched the Hollywood movie: “The Shack”. When I arrived at the theatre, I was surprised to see so many older people in the audience. That puzzled me as I am not a movie buff and had just impulsively picked the movie because I did not have anything better to do. This is one of the very few movies that have made me think of so much after leaving the theater.

The movie addresses the very serious issue that many of us painfully grapple with in our own personal lives. When a tragedy happens to a good innocent person, is God to blame for having permitted the tragedy to happen? The movie made me ask for a millionth time: “Why did God allow my brother to die? Was God to blame? Should the owner of the rabid dog been hanged?” My parents never lost their faith in God and continued to be loyal and devoted Christians up to this day in their nineties still living in the village.

Is God Human?

The way God is portrayed in the movie “The Shack” made me come to one conclusion: for hundreds of years since the advent of Jesus Christ, the entire Christian faith has been wrong to portray God and Jesus in any human images. In fact God himself in the Bible says:    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” is one of the Bible’s Ten Commandments. Although I like or was comfortable with the way God is ultimately portrayed in the movie, that portrayal should not happen in the first place. Humanizing images of God, Jesus Christ, his mother Mary, and spiritual husband Joseph have created serious weaknesses, human biases, and distortions in the Christian faith. It is because of this human folly that for hundreds of years since the rise of statues and later the ability to make hundreds and now millions of photo images, Christ has been wrongly Whitened and Europeanized. This folly may have alienated millions of followers and potential Christian believers who are non-white or non-European. This may also create idolatry and vanity of worshiping their skin color among European believers and non-believers perhaps wrongly assuming that Jesus was white or European as understood today. It is also in this vein that some of the Christian missionaries abused Christianity for selfish ends during European colonialism in Africa and elsewhere. Some of these abuses may go on among some Christian believers today.

God and Jesus today

Even the current CNN special “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery” about Jesus and Christian history and other religious beliefs is victim of and perpetuates this folly as they portray Jesus’s history using images humans create. Do we really know that people during that era of Jesus Christ thought of people as “white”, “black”, “brown” or “Asian” or whatever physical categories of human we have created today in the presence of the deep racism Europeans created? All these images of God, Jesus, and other figures in Christian faith should never be humanized in any way.

 Reference

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou_shalt_not_make_unto_thee_any_graven_image

 

Strengthening Our Zambian Democracy

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

It was Professor Mubanga Kashoki in 1979 who said something so significant about Zambian or African scholarship that applies to day more than ever. In his scholarly article: “Indigenous Scholarship in African Universities: The Human Factor”, Kashoki said: “But perhaps the greatest failure of African Universities, particularly of the manpower-factory type, is to produce men and women who are, in the main, equipped intellectually only to reproduce concepts, models, theories, and solutions to human problems conceived, assembled, and packaged in Western settings by Western man.”(Kashoki, 1979: p.176) I would add beyond what Kashoki said that today this includes “Western woman”.

*

*Founders of Zambian Democracy

He implied that we Zambians or African intellectuals act as though the West has already discovered all the knowledge and all we have to do is follow Western footsteps uncritically imitating whatever they do. In many cases, Kashoki implies, we intellectuals abandon our original thought, abandon our countries such as Zambia and join them in Europe, North America and elsewhere. Many of us intellectuals now in the Zambian diaspora have done just that. To a large extent we can apply this thinking to the way we look at our democracy in Zambia and may be in other African countries. This article will explore briefly how we Zambians developed our own democracy, what has happened since the August 11 elections, compare Zambian democracy to American democracy, and finally I will strongly specifically recommend what we Zambians should do to further strengthen our own democracy since the disputed August 11 elections results.

Zambian Democracy

I was fortunate enough this past May and June to witness the Presidential electoral campaigns in Zambia and followed the drama of the August post-election results through the press once I returned to the United States. I have followed the American Presidential electoral campaigns between Hillary Clinton of the Democrat Party and the tumultuous Donald Trump campaign of the Republican Party. What can we learn from these 2 democracies?

The Zambian one is about 52 years old although some might wrongly argue that there was no democracy in Zambia until 1991 when the One-Party State ended. But that’s another serious argument for another time. The American democracy is 240 years old. Can we conclude that the American democracy is superior because it is bigger, involves 313 million people, older and more mature especially when we look at the recent Presidential campaign whose vitriol from candidate Trump was shocking and stunned everybody? Can we argue that the Zambian democracy is inferior because it is younger and after all in Africa, involves a small country of only 14 million people, especially when the legal and electoral system could not amicably resolve the election results impasse between United Party for National development (UPND) and Patriotic Front?

After 30 years of British colonialism and over 10 years of the struggle for independence, Zambians voted for the first time under universal suffrage of one man one vote. The United National Independence Party (UNIP) won the election in January 1964 in a land slide in which UNIP led by President Kaunda won 56 seats in parliament and the African National Congress (ANC) led by Harry Nkumbula won only 9 seats. The Federal Party led by White settlers virtually disappeared.

Something very significant happened in the evolution of the uniquely Zambian democracy from 1964 to 1991; the One-Party State. The vast majority of  Zambians from the 72 tribes joined UNIP with the burning objective of bringing development and self-reliance to Zambians. They wanted to dismantle the exploitative colonial capitalist system. In Chapter 16: “The evolution of government and multiparty democracy in modern Zambia from 1964 to 1991” in my book “Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture” (2012), I conclude that it was during the  One-Party State that Zambians developed the foundation of the multiparty democracy we enjoy today. Contrary to Western and many Zambian or African scholars, and other citizens who characterize this period as being led by “Kaunda the Autocrat”, “Kaunda the Authoritarian”,  “there was a dictatorship”, “oppression”, “One-party dictatorship”, that is not what actually happened in Zambia. The unique development of our own democracy involved everything good and bad that happened in Zambia over the last 52 years.

American Democracy

American democracy has existed for more than 240 years. The White European settlers of the original 13 American colonies fought the British Colonists and won in the Revolutionary wars between 1760 – 1791. During this period from 1791, women did not vote until 1920. The only people who could vote were White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASP) men who were wealthy, owned land and often slaves. About 4 million African-American during slavery and emancipation did not vote until after the passing of the Civil Rights bill in 1964.

During these 240 years, America may have been a virtual One-Party State because there was not one political party that strongly advocated the removal of capitalism and slavery of Africans. Why was this not the case if they were a multiparty democracy with powerful opposition? The Civil War was over whether the Southern slave states could continue slavery. Indeed, many Americans especially the top political leadership rightly believe that the American nation is always in the process of making a better  Union of the United States; it is always a work in progress in making the nation a better representative Republic. Technically, America is not a democracy in the sense of one man or woman vote to determine who is going to be the president, just as an example.

The shock that happened between Donald Trump and the Republican Party is part of America growing and continuing to strengthen her democracy. The American system of “Electoral Votes” which was created by the founders of the nation has resulted in Donald Trump getting 62,851,436 votes winning the Presidency. However, Hillary Clinton of the Democrat Party won 65,527,625 votes winning by more than 2.5 million of the popular vote more than Trump. If the American Presidential elections were by popular vote, Hillary Clinton would be President. But she lost because the democracy is based on the “Electoral Votes” system.

Experience of All Democracies

All democracies in the world have their own unique histories and challenges. There are those critics who will say: “How does little Prof. Tembo dare put the great America on the same level as useless Zambian democracy? America is big, sophisticated, old Western democracy and technologically very advanced and has sent man to the moon?” My point is that we fail to appreciate and recognize the challenges that we have overcome in creating our own democracy. But like Kashoki said 37 years ago, we in Zambia tend to be intimidated, look over our shopulders and elsewhere to find out what is authentic and empirically valid about our own intellectual and other forms of epistemology. We often overlook or give very grudging credit to events we ourselves or fore fathers initiated and our founders of the Zambian nation.

Zambia August Elections

There are those critics who will say that the non-existent,  or weak Zambian democracy failed to solve the UDNP and Patriotic Front (PF) election impasse, therefore my point of view is intellectually empty and simply supporting or giving cover to the alleged rigging by the ruling party  PF and President Lungu. These negative views would be misguided because I think all citizens of Zambia should see the election impasse as an opportunity to strengthen our democracy. The only question is how? Carrying on the grudge and protest about the August 11 election impasse for the next 5 years is unproductive and untenable.

 

During the August Presidential election The PF and Edgar Lungu won 1,860,877 which was 50.35%of the vote; the UPND and Hakainde Hichilema won 1,760,347 which was 47.35% of the votes. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) declared the PF and Edgar Lungu the winner. The UPND lodged a petition alleging massive rigging by the PF. The Zambian Constitutional Court threw out the petition because the 14 days within which it is legally allowed to adjudicate and rule on the case had expired. There have been protests and court filings since then.

My thinking is that this electoral impasse and many problems leading to the August 11 elections are things that we need to fix as Zambians. Before the next election, we need to make sure that many of the issues are resolved. Then our democracy will grow even stronger. The solution is not to denounce everybody and act as if we can just import ready-made democracy from somewhere, and install it to work best for Zambia. Whatever difficulties we are going through are what it will take to create a stronger democracy and therefore stronger nation going into the future.

Recommendations

  1. The various court petitions, critical opinions in the media, protest, and other means of expression against the August 11 election results can continue. The diaspora Zambians in South Africa apparently were petitioning President Jacob Zuma not to welcome President Lungu because of the Aug 11 election impasse. All of these actions of protest will not solve the next or future election problems not just alleged rigging. This is why I recommend that as Zambians we constitute a Commission of Inquiry with members from all the political parties including of course UPND and PF. The commission should agree first that the aim is not to change the current political leadership or to overturn the August 11 election results. It is too late to do that now. But rather to investigate thoroughly through public hearings all the problems of our current election process in the whole country. The commission should travel throughout the whole country to get citizen input. There are those critics who will say this would be a waste of time and money since we already know what, who, and what political party was wrong or engaged in rigging. My humble thinking is that if we do not know and address all the problems leading to our August 11 national elections impasse, we will not be able to solve the next or future election problems 4 or 10 to 50 years from now. Remember that we are creating our own democracy. Better to solve this problem now that there is peace than during a crisis after another disputed election result.
  2. The United National Independence Party (UNIP) and thousands of the founding fathers and mothers of Zambian democracy involved thousands of people including leaders such as Kenneth Kaunda, Simon Kapwepwe, Harry Nkumbula, Elija Mudenda, Reuben Kamanga, Sololom Kalulu, Justin Chimba, Titus Mukupo, Paul Kalichini, Arthur Wina, Sikota Wina, Munukayumbwa Sipalo, Numino Mundia, Peter Matoka, Mainza Chona, and Dauti Yamba. They met at Mulungushi Rock with delegates from all over Zambia every so often. They disagreed, resolved, and hammered out solutions creating national unity in the process of making “One Zambia One Nation”. I recommend that all political parties should participate in one massive national conference of unity so often to discuss and resolve all the issues concerning the August 11 national elections and any other problems to come in the future.  Remember that we are creating our own democracy.

 

References

 

  1. Mubanga Kashoki, “Indigenous Scholarship in African Universities: The Human factor,” in Ben Turok (Ed), Development in Zambia: A Reader, London: Zed Press, 1979.
  2. http://ukzambians.co.uk/home/2016/12/09/president-lungu-slams-zambians-in-diaspora/
  3. http://www.africanews.com/2016/09/05/zambian-court-throws-out-election-petition-case-lungu-to-hold-inauguration/
  4. Tembo, Mwizenge S., “How Zambians ruled and governed themselves in traditional and modern Zambia,” Chapter 9, in Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture, Xlibris Corporation, Indiana, 2012, pp. 197-219.
  5. Tembo, Mwizenge S., “The evolution of government and multiparty democracy in modern Zambia from 1964 to 1991,” Chapter 11, in Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture, Xlibris Corporation, Indiana, 2012, pp. 331-353.

 

 

America Just Married an Abusive Husband

America Just Married an Abusive Husband

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

They couple had dated for 18 months when they decided to get married. She loved him and he often said she was his angel. But that was when he was in a good mood. He was verbally and physically abusive. She ignored the verbal abuse as part of his expressing of the deep love for her. She convinced herself that the two times he had shoved and slapped her with an open palm was really mild. She was very sure that he would change as soon as they got married after the big wedding in 6 months.  Extensive research suggests that an abusive spouse never stops after marriage. To the contrary the abuse gets nbc-fires-donald-trump-after-he-calls-mexicans-rapists-and-drug-runnersworse and some spouses end up in the hospital and sometimes even worse as victims of murder after the marriage.

So it is that the nation may have just decided to marry an abusive spouse in electing President- Elect Donald Trump. All the signs of an abusive spouse were there. The candidate did not hide them. He never used the so-called dog whistle. Instead he used a megaphone. Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 15 2015 by insulting Mexican Americans who sneak across the border as drug dealers, thieves, and rapists. Racial bigotry, banning Muslims, xenophobia, the White Nationalist support, Ku Klux Klan, you name it, Trump has done or condoned it or looked the other way. During the 18 months the whole nation has had to endure one outrageous insult after another. His bullying of the 17 political Republican Presidential candidates rivals during the debates and campaigns during the primary elections was horrible.

The 65,527,625 people who voted for Hillary Clinton are the relatives on both sides of the family who objected to America marrying Trump because they had seen the abuse. The 62,851,436 who voted for Trump are the relatives who believed the groom Trump would change after tying the knot. They believed the bride when she dismissed the verbal abuse and claimed the physical slaps were mild and just part of a love relationship.  The 90 million or about 46% of the people who did not vote were the relatives who were too busy, indifferent, or  just  had a blast at the wedding. They didn’t care.

Now that the wedding is over and there are no signs that the spouse Trump is changing his abusive behavior, everyone is very tense and nervous. The Trump supporter family members are pleading to give him a chance and that he will now change once he is sworn in as President on January 20. Some of the family members who opposed the marriage are already saying “we told you he is a monster!”

Most abusive relationships don’t end well. But for the sake of  America, we should all just pray this holiday season for divine intervention in this already tumultuous marriage between America and Donald Trump.

The 2008 Obama Campaign: The Thrill of Making History

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

The year was 1962 and I was 8 years old. My father was a teacher at Mafuta Primary School which is 30 miles or 48 Kms. along the Chipata-Lundazi road in the Eastern Province of Zambia. One morning, a two door yellow Land Rover sped along our dusty road and quickly pulled up to the school yard. The passenger door opened and a large bundle of papers with many colors were tossed to the ground. As the papers blew all over the school yard, the Land Rover quickly sped away.

 

Signs on top of the door into Obama Campaign office in Staunton, Va

Signs on top of the door into Obama Campaign office in Staunton, Va

My parents later explained that the people in the Land Rover were members of the African National Congress (ANC) who had tossed some flyers to recruit people to join the political party. The reason they sped off very quickly is that they knew this was a strong hold of their rival United National Independence Party (UNIP). They were afraid to walk around because they could be beaten up or even killed. Harry Nkumbula was leader of ANC and Kenneth Kaunda was the leader of UNIP. This was at the height of the heated struggle for independence against British colonialism in the then Northern Rhodesia now Zambia.

Childrem and parents help make Obama campaign signs at the office in Harrisonburg, va

Childrem and parents help make Obama campaign signs at the office in Harrisonburg, va

This was my earliest exposure to what campaigning and electoral politics were. The impression was not positive. As my parents talked about politics as a child, I wondered why people would beat up and even kill each other because of belonging to different political parties. The most notorious and violent in Fort Jameson (now Chipata) was Lushinga who was said to be a member of ANC. Word was that he was so vicious that if he found you riding your bicycle along the road, he would not only knock you over with his vehicle, he would follow you in the bush driving the vehicle in order to kill you. The ANC were called mainyong’o among adults in this area which was a derogatory term in the Nyanja language.

The members of the political parties would sometimes burn the grass huts at night of their political rivals killing them. As political protest of defiance against the Britidh colonialism, some Zambians burned down schools. One such school was Dzoole which

I wait with large crown in line to attend an Obama campaign rally at James Madison University.

I wait with large crown in line to attend an Obama campaign rally at James Madison University.

was burnt down to ashes. My father had the difficult assignment of reopening the school in 1963. He taught his first Sub A (Grade One) class under a large Kachele tree before the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) rebuilt the school. As a child at this time, my thinking was if it was so bad, I did not want to be any part of any campaigning or being part of a political party. At that tumultuous and tense time at 8 years old in rural Zambia, there was no way I could have guessed what would happen in my future: that 46 years later, 10,000 miles or 16,000 Kms away on the other side of the world, I would be part of the most important and thrilling election campaign in history: the Obama 2008 campaign. How did this happen? Why was this unwilling author involved with no experience in electoral campaign? What suddenly motivated him? What was the improbable journey and the drama of the Obama campaign given the overwhelming and daunting historical odds against an African American or black candidate in white American society?

Politics in Zambia: 1962 to 1964

British colonialists had occupied, oppressed, exploited, and in many cases humiliated

Town residents of Bridgewater gather and listen to a campaign organizer in the Bridgewater town campaign office.

Town residents of Bridgewater gather and listen to a campaign organizer in the Bridgewater town campaign office.

Zambians on their own land since the early 1900s. By 1962, Zambians had been fighting for independence for more than 20 years. The only difference between 1962 and 1964 is that they could smell victory. The British had imposed the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953 on the 3 territories over the vehement opposition and objections of Zambians and Africans. This became one of the major rallying points for the decade that was to follow in the struggle against colonialism.

As children in our household, my father and mother frequently referred to the tensions and violence among the UNIP and ANC political operatives in the region. My parents said a man known as Kenneth Kaunda of UNIP and Harry Nkhumbula of ANC were fighting for our freedom. Once we were independent, my parents explained, we would have freedom to do what we want. Our government would build schools, hospitals, roads,  and create jobs.

As children you always react to the mood of your parents and the family to any outside events that you might not even understand fully as a child. One day as the 1962 general elections were taking place, my parents said something very new and strange that excited us all children. My parents said that soon after the elections, the British colonialist bazungu would leave and we would no longer be Northern Rhodesia. We would be the new free and independent country of Zambia. My brothers and sisters looked at each other with tense smiles. We children immediately ran outside and began to scream in unison as we jumped around.

“Tifuna Zambia!! Tifuna Zambia!!! (We want Zambia! We want Zambia!)

Ndani afuna Zambia?!” (Who wants Zambia!???) I led the chant screaming at the top of my 8 year old voice.

“I-i-i-ine!!!!”, (Me, me, me) my younger brother and sisters responded loudly. We marched around the house many times screaming. We were to do this for months to come.

“The Federation was dissolved in December 1963 and universal adult suffrage elections which Zambians called One Man One Vote were held in January 1964 in which UNIP won an overwhelming majority of seats in parliament 56 and ANC won only 9.” (Tembo, 2012:215)

Over the years as I have reflected over our Zambian struggle for independence, I have always wished I had been an adult to contribute to the struggle. During independence from 1964 to date 2016, an opportunity to even be involved in Zambian elections campaigns and let alone vote had never come up.

Obama Campaign 2008

African Americans have a long history of enduring racial brutality and oppression from whites over the last 300 years. Voting and let alone any African American aspiring to be

I put up campaign signs in my yard.

I put up campaign signs in my yard.

President was so out of the question many in America believed it would never happen. So when a little known African American Senator from the State of Illinois with a strange name, Barack Obama, that did sound like Smith, Brown, or Johnson announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States, nearly everyone dismissed it as a joke or impossible. Barack Obama announced his candidacy on a cold morning in February 10 2007 in Springfield Illinois. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdJ7Ad15WCA  At that time Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic Party candidate, had 45% in the opinion polls and Barack Obama had only 12% and was behind in the polls by 33 points. Not too many Americans had reason to support or waste their vote on an African American or black candidate that was so behind and would never win the primary and let alone the General election.

Jumping into the Campaign

After almost a year of campaigning, an election result that stunned not only the American nation but the entire world: little known Barack Obama had won the Iowa caucus primaries on January 3, 2008. Obama had won by 37.6%, John Edwards by 29.7% and the heavy favorite Hilary Clinton came in third with 29.5%. I saw Obama’s electrifying victory speech on TV that night. I was mesmerized. The whole nation was mesmerized.

When anyone decides to be involved in a major event, one can remember the exact moment when it happened. In April 2008 at my college campus, I had just finished my working out at our college gym and was walking out. I casually picked up the Newsweek magazine which had an article titled “Barack Obama: How He did it”. I read it all. That was my tipping point. I decided there  and then that I was going to get involved in the Obama campaign.

Obama’s Books

I first read Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream”. Later I read: “Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance”. Barack Obama’s ideas not just impressed me but his experiences convinced me that I shared lot in common with him. The part of his life I found most appealing was that in his quest to understand his father and Obama’s own African heritage in Kenya, he did something unusual may be for many people who have been

City residents gather in the Harrisonburg Obama campaign office on opening day.

City residents gather in the Harrisonburg Obama campaign office on opening day.

westernized: he visited his rural remote home village in Kenya. These are places that are often dismissed as just primitive. This is the place and heritage that terrifies Westerners and urban people in general. He had lived in Indonesia and had gone to Harvard. He had endured some racial victimization in hotels even when he visited Nairobi in Kenya. In my view, this man was truly so educated, sophisticated, and optimistic, and humble at the same time. I believed he would make a huge difference if elected to live in the American White House.

Getting Involved

I had to first contact local Democratic Party organizers. I was supposed to go to Zambia that summer to help build the NKhanga Village Library in Lundazi. My mother-in-law had just passed away after battling cancer for nearly 2 years. My wife, I and the entire family were in grief. I also experienced the worst headaches I had never had before and since then. When I saw the doctor, my blood pressure was sky high. The doctor advised against flying out of precaution. I therefore dedicated my entire summer from May to August to the Obama campaign.

As Obama campaign picked up momentum from January 2008, it captured the

People showed up to vote at  dawn . It was an exciting day.

People showed up to vote at dawn . It was an exciting day.

imagination of millions of Americans and even the whole world. There were regular Democratic Party campaign offices. But then thousands of citizens, both white and black, volunteered to open campaign offices using their own homes. This happened in small and large towns. Obama gave electrifying campaign speeches to large mass rallies ranging from 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 to as large as 75,000. Obama’s wife, Michelle gave campaign speeches in support of her husband to smaller venues. Volunteers were needed to make phone calls, conduct door to door campaigns, distribute yards signs, and write to the local press. Monetary and food donations were needed to fund the campaigns. I participated in voter registration for both Democrats and Republicans at my college among students and faculty on the college campus dining hall lobby.

Campaign Offices

The first Obama campaign office was opened 10 miles or 16 Kms. north of us in the City of Harrisonburg which has a population of 52,478 of whom 78.4% White, 6.4% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 8.2% from other races. A couple who are residents of my home town Bridgewater volunteered for

Large signs welcome Obamas' 2 daughters to the White House on Inauguration Day.

Large signs welcome Obamas’ 2 daughters to the White House on Inauguration Day.

their house to be the town’s Obama campaign headquarters. Bridgewater has a population of 5,644 of whom 95.18% White, 2.48% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.94% from other races. The town of Staunton which is 25 miles or Kms. South of Bridgewater has a population of 23,746 of whom 83.29% White, 13.95% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.52% from other races. I attended all the 3 official opening receptions the new Obama campaign offices in the 3 towns. It was very heartening and such a joyous occasion to see the beaming faces of men, women, old, young, children, white, black and all races working to make the Obama campaign a success.

DSC_0068

Holding a sign at the Mall during Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C

Over the months I checked on the computer every day to see which primary election Obama had won that day and which one he had lost. I checked every day to see the election opinion polls to see how many points Obama was up or down. I put up campaign signs in my front yard. I donated crates of soft drinks, cookies or biscuits, and sandwiches for campaign headquarters volunteers. I saw many citizens bring cooked food to the campaign headquarters. We went on door to door campaigns in our neighborhoods. The momentum for the Obama campaign had built so much in the entire country of 305 million people that there were so many campaign buttons that represented various campaign groups that had mushroomed all over the country. There were groups such are Police officers for Obama, Women for Obama, Children for Obama, Fire fighters for Obama, cyclists for Obama, back packers for Obama, Volunteers for Obama, Joggers for Obama, Athletes for Obama, Book Lovers for Obama.

Election Day

After 10 months of heavy campaigning, the Election Day had arrived. My wife and I woke up early. There was a long line at 6:00am already. I took some photos. According to instruction, I was on standby all day to find out if I needed to drive any voter to the voting precincts. As it was getting dark in the evening, an old car pulled in front of our house. An old white woman slowly walked toward our house and knocked on the door. When I opened the door she asked me if I had already voted. She was just checking to make sure. I had tears in my eyes just to think so human beings at their best during the entire long campaign.

Large crowds gathered at the Mall in Washington D. C. on Inauguration Day.

Large crowds gathered at the Mall in Washington D. C. on Inauguration Day.

That evening on November 4, 2008 my wife was sitting in bed and I was about to go to the bathroom when TV announcers said that Barack Obama had just passed 270 electoral votes. He would be the 44th President and the first ever African American or black President of the United States. The camera panned to the large crowd that had gathered in Chicago in Barack Obama’s home town. It showed Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, and many others in the crowd in tears; they never thought that a black man would ever be President of the United States in their lifetime. The election results were that 69,498,516 or 52.9% of the American voters had voted for Barack Obama and 59,948,323 or 45.7% had voted for his Republican Party opponent John McCain. It was one of the most gratifying, exciting, and memorable events I have ever been involved with in my life. There were so many great memories of the goodness of the American everyday citizen and how we can pull our hearts together to achieve something that no one ever thought could be possible. That was a message from a great nation that I would never have known I would be part of those days in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) when I was 8 years old in 1962.

References

  1. Obama, Barack., Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, New York: Three Rivers Press, 1995, 2004.
  2. Obama, Barack., The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006.
  3. Tembo, Mwizenge S., Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture: Social Change in the Global World, Xlibris Corporation: 2012.
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdJ7Ad15WCA
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationwide_opinion_polling_for_the_Democratic_Party_2008_presidential_primaries
  6. http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/results/states/IA.html
  7. http://www.newsweek.com/barack-obama-how-he-did-it-85083
  8. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=american%20popultion%20in%202008
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2008
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrisonburg,_Virginia
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgewater,_Virginia
  13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staunton,_Virginia

 

 

The Dangers of Election Violence and Tribalism

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

The twin ugly problems of tribalism and election violence could easily plunge our otherwise beloved peaceful nation of Zambia into utter mayhem. This is why ahead of the August 11 Presidential elections, every citizen in and outside the country must be vigilant in denouncing these two evils. Do not take this advice as hyperbole, exaggeration or just a bored ivory tower ignorant intellectual Zambian away from Zambia who is being needlessly alarmist. I was in Zambia recently for 6 weeks during the election campaigns. I traveled to villages in Lundazi. I travelled all the way to Solwezi. I saw cities such as Kitwe, Chingola, Kalulushi, and Ndola.

 

The Grand Opening of the Solwezi City Mall in June 2016. This would not be possible if peace is lost.

The Grand Opening of the Solwezi City Mall in June 2016. This would not be possible if peace is lost.

Since the last and this coming election, too many provocative allegations and grievances have just been boiling underneath the political surface. They may just need some incident which will be like lighting a match and the nation can explode into violence. Reports of election violence have led to a lot of finger pointing about who started or is doing it. The police appear powerless. It appears the leaders of political parties are unwilling to openly condemn and take responsibility where the violence and even some deaths have reportedly occurred due to political election violence and sometimes recklessness caused by some members of their political parties.

Taking Peace for Granted

Because the Zambian nation has never experienced the tragic dark forces of wide spread election violence, deadly conflict or war since independence in 1964, it is easy for leaders and the entire nation to be complacent and assume that it cannot happen to us. We should never fool ourselves specially leaders of the political parties. The most recent example is the post-election violence that occurred in Kenya in 2007-2008 between the Kikuyus and Luos and many other so-called tribes. Hundreds were killed and perhaps thousands displaced trying to escape the violence. We should all be aware that it can happen in our country. It can happen if from the top political party leaders all the way to the cadres in the

Chipata

People conducting their daily lives in Chipata. This might not be possible if peace is lost.

streets and villages no one is loudly warning and advising everyone that political election violence is unZambian.

History

The citizens of Zambia and leaders need to know why tribalism and its twin evil of racism that Europeans hatched, have always led to unimaginable torture, violence, and liberation wars. I have been privileged in my long college or University teaching career to have studied the causes of tribal, racial and ethnic conflicts all over the world especially since European colonialism in the world over the last 300 years. Europeans created racism to justify the exploiting and oppressing of non-European peoples all over the world including in Africa and Zambia.

Lusaka City Resident commuting home in minibuses during the early evening. This might not be possible in the peace is gone.

Lusaka City Resident commuting home in minibuses during the early evening. This might not be possible in the peace is gone.

There is no scientific or social evidence that a white person is inherently superior to a black person because of his or her race or white skin color. There is no scientific or social evidence that a black person is naturally inferior to a white person because of his or her race or black skin color. Any social and economic differences between the races were and are socially created or constructed and maintained. This is the most difficult idea to see and appreciate because most of us do not know what we don’t know.

The same argument applies to tribalism in Zambia and all of Africa today. There is no one tribe in Zambia of the 72 tribes that is naturally superior to all other tribes. There is no one tribe that is naturally inferior to all other 72 tribes in Zambia. All the tribal differences you might see in Zambia whether political leadership, education, levels of development, regional differences in development, and many others were all socially created or constructed. This means as a nation we can together fix or find solutions to those problems in order to eliminate the tribal differences.

Tribal Conflict in Africa

Children eating sugar cane in a village in Lundazi. This might not be possible if the peace is gone.

Children eating sugar cane in a village in Lundazi. This might not be possible if the peace is gone.

Many nations in Africa alone have experienced tremendous racial and tribe-based turmoil, violence, deaths and sometimes war due to deeply entrenched racial, tribal, and religious differences. But not we Zambians. The Biafra War in Nigeria was from 1967 to 1970. It was the Igbo fighting the rest of Nigeria. Somalia was torn apart in the early 1990s. That country has not recovered. The Tutsi and Hutu tribal conflict in Rwanda led to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in which 800,000 people were killed. This tribal conflict went back to the 1850s.White Rhodesians caused the deadly war in Zimbabwe and then the tribal conflict that followed after independence in 1980 was tragic and deadly. South Africa and the whites created the deadly racist apartheid policy which has left deep scars in that nation. The list is long of these tribal conflicts. Why not Zambia?

Zambia Lucky and Blessed

Zambia is both lucky and blessed. Soon after Zambia’s independence in 1964, the small number of white die hard racist settlers fled to mostly Rhodesia and racist Apartheid South Africa at the time. Those few whites did not like that Zambia had come be ruled by black Africans. That was lucky for us. Then our founders made one of the best, and wisest decisions in the whole world: they wanted Zambia to be a non-racial and non-

A man drinking munkoyo traditional Zambian brew at Matebeto restaurant in Lusaka that serves traditional Zambian cuisine. This might not be possible if the peace is lost.

A man drinking munkoyo traditional Zambian brew at Matebeto restaurant in Lusaka that serves traditional Zambian cuisine. This might not be possible if the peace is lost.

tribal society. They did not just engage in mere slogans or talk. They went ahead and implemented the policy in education, government, political leadership, hospitals, entertainment, national broadcasting, the police, the army, the air force, higher education and all avenues of the Zambian life. The leaders relentlessly preached love and tolerance among all of us among the 72 tribes. This is why today Zambia is probably the most peaceful and well integrated societies not just in Africa but in the world. If any of the developed countries were as well integrated as we are, they would be boasting about it everywhere. We would be reading about it in all textbooks from Grade One to University level.

Stay Vigilant

Because many of us Zambians do not know what we don’t know, we may take the peace and tranquility for granted. We may engage in incendiary rhetoric, election and other violence not knowing that we have it so good. Other nations in Africa and the world do not have it that good. This is why during these coming elections let’s all be very vigilant, exercise restraint and carry this peace forward. The peace we enjoy is the best gift and heritage our founders could have given us as a nation.

The Soul of Fatherhood: What Makes a Good Father?

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

While there are plenty of magazine articles, TV programs, and other sources on how and what it means to be a mother, there is very little about what it means to be a father. Most TV programs and discussions in the media tend to make fun of fatherhood. Some serious articles tend to always focus on the abusive, oppressive, drug and alcohol addicted, dead-beat dad, controlling, dysfunctional patriarchal father who is said to be the relic of the old traditional past but is said to dominate the behavior of many fathers today. While some of the problems of bad fathers exist, there is very little information on what it means to be a father today. This article is meant for perhaps millions of young men to day who would want to know what it takes to be a good father who is married to the mother of the child or children.

Fathers must spend time to play with their children. Source: Google Images.

Fathers must spend time to play with their children. Source: Google Images.

Any boy past puberty and adult man can be a father in a biological sense. But being a good father demands more. This article is going to discuss fatherhood from point of my own experience and wisdom. I have been married for 36 years. My wife and I have raised 3 children. I have also taught sociology in college for 36 years during which I taught sociology of the family for 6 years. I discuss the “Soul of Fatherhood” because being a father is more than just being able to buy groceries, changing a diaper or two, and barking orders to your children. Fatherhood means the deepest essence of the calm masculine strength, presence, persona, love and humor being infused into a child from when they are a baby in the womb (they can hear the voices), to the crucial adolescence, all the way to being an adult man.

History

Fathers must spend time to play with the baby

Fathers must spend time to play with the baby

 

For thousands of years, fatherhood meant being able to fight as a warrior as a member of a tribe to protect and defend one’s village and family. The man had to fight in war. The man had to be able to kill wild animals such as lions, bears, tigers, leopards, and others to defend the man’s family. Providing for his family required the man to know how to hunt for food, and later farming skills. These were skills boys and young men had to know before they could seek a wife to marry. As the European Industrial Revolution was spread all over the world through European colonialism in the 17th and 18th centuries, fatherhood increasingly meant learning the skills of reading and writing and being able to get an office or other job. Today the police and the army play the role of protecting the nation-state in general. As women have increasingly joined the labor force and gender equality in marriage has be emphasized, fatherhood has become increasingly difficult to define.

A young father proudly holds his new born daugher

A young father proudly holds his new born daugher

High levels of unemployment both in the Western and Third World means it is increasingly difficult for young men to play the role of a father by being able to provide for the family.  The abandoning of the traditional socialization of boys and men, high levels of divorce and single motherhood mean that young men today increasingly go into marriage and other arrangements without having a clear knowledge of what it means and it takes to be a good father. The general tolerance of single motherhood means men and fatherhood may be seen as less important. This is not true. Fatherhood is very important for all children and more so for boys.

In order to be a good father, you need first, foremost and most important to realize that this is a full time role that you will play to eternity or the end of your life. Second, you need to be a good provider, protector and defender. Third, you need to be always there in the household taking care of the child, children and their mother. Fourth, both you and your wife or the mother must share a deep common bond beyond marriage; the unshakable and even unspoken conviction in both of you that raising your children and their welfare comes first within the context of love between the two of you. This is one of the key reasons why marriage vows include: “Till death do us part”. This vow is what provides the enduring love for you and your wife but also for the children. Fifth, as you go about being a father, some best parts of fatherhood are never realized at that moment when you are raising your child, but much later in life often when the child is an adult.

Fathers must spend time with their children teaching them how perform certain tasks such as how to change a flat tire.

Fathers must spend time with their children teaching them how perform certain tasks such as how to change a flat tire.

Fatherhood Eternal Role

If you would like to be a good father, you have to completely embrace, enjoy and look forward to the role for the rest of your life. This attitude will make it possible for you to make the necessary sacrifices, adjustments, and changes as you raise and support your child or children. It is when you play the role of father half-heartedly that you will not be able to enjoy it and make the necessary sacrifices to be a good father. When I picked up my new born son and my wife that morning at University Teaching Hospital Maternity ward years ago in Lusaka in Zambia, I knew I was ready to be a father. I have enjoyed the role ever since as my wife and I had more children.

Provider and Protector

The most challenging and demanding aspect of fatherhood, is being a good provider. This means providing good and safe housing, having a job to provide food, clothing and security for the family. This role is very difficult to play today as there is high unemployment and most jobs require high technical skills. Well paid unskilled jobs are very few especially in developed countries. Being a protector means being the first line of security both inside and in the perimeter of your home. Children and their mother should never have to feel unsafe or threatened inside and outside the home. Being a good protector does not necessarily mean owning a gun. It just means developing the physical and mental capacity to react when there is an intruder or anyone who threatens the home.

Sons and daughters have different experiences with their fathers. Source: Google Images.

Sons and daughters have different experiences with their fathers. Source: Google Images.

Always Be there

Being always there for your wife and especially the children might be very difficult since society created the office job during the Industrial Revolution. For thousands of years, fathers and mothers live together in villages and worked side by side while farming to provide for the family. Therefore the father was always physically around. In today’s world of 18 hour work days to earn a living, the father and sometimes the mother might not always be physically present to raise the children. This is the tragedy of children who grow up and say: “I never saw my father. He was away at work every day. He missed my birthday parties.” It is for this reason that a father might consider changing jobs so that he can be with his children.

Being with the children means not just playing with them but doing certain tasks together. I learned how to take apart an entire bicycle and repairing it from watching my father. I watched my father use an axe to chop a tree with such power, efficiency and precision. I watched my father calmly kill a dangerous snake. When my father was away for most of the day, his coming home was a big celebration for my siblings and my mother. He usually brought goodies in his famous brown brief case on his bicycle; bananas, bread, sugar, wild meat, beef, buns, a live chicken for us to either slaughter or raise.

When as a father you are around most of the time, you can then be able to help discipline the kids. This has never meant beating the children contrary to what is a popular impression whenever people discuss discipline. It often just means the father’s deep voice telling the toddler to stop doing something dangerous. This might be one of the good biological evolutionary reasons men have deep voices. It sometimes means just doing the chore with the children until it is completed and reinforcing that with the child or children. This is how a father can teach his child the important discipline of completing a task once you have started doing it. You can take time to tell significant stories about your life as you spend time with your children.

Fatherhood also means not just choosing to do pleasant things with the child but also to be there during difficult times such as sickness. My father took me and my siblings so many times to the clinic by bicycle when we were young.

In 1989 my wife and I almost lost our son in Lusaka in Zambia. He woke up sick that morning with diarrhea, vomiting, and a temperature. I took him to a private clinic at noon. He was diagnosed with malaria. After taking the first malaria dose, he got worse with diarrhea,  he was quickly dehydrating, his breathing became shallow, and the whites of his eyes were flickering. My wife sent me back with him to the doctor at 16:00 hours. The doctor said they had misdiagnosed my son. He had a stomach bacterial infection. Back at the house my very sick son took the first dose of the antibiotic. An hour later he was asking for food because he was hungry. This was sweet music to my wife, I, and any parent of a very sick child. Before I was a father, I liked to go to the bar a lot to drink after work. Had I gone drinking in my car that evening, I will remember this for the rest of my life.  I believe my son would probably not be alive today. He would have died during the night while his father was away drinking. He was that sick.

Fatherhood and Sex

The biggest elephant in the room is the questions: “How is the sexual experience during fatherhood?” During the traditional past in the Zambian and African society, they used to practice what anthropologists call the post-par tum sex taboo. It was a custom where after the wife had given birth, it was a taboo for the couple to have sex until after 18 months to 2 years. During the traditional past, as long as the woman was breast feeding she never had a period. As soon as she stopped breast feeding weaning the child, she would resume menstruation. This may no longer be the case for the vast majority of women.

One of the ways to be provider in the role of a father is to fish.

One of the ways to be provider in the role of a father is to fish.

Since the woman was breast feeding the baby during that period, it was believed that if a woman got pregnant the child would die. The belief was that the pregnancy contaminated the woman’s breast milk which she was using to breast feed the child. The question as to how the father or the man lived without sex during that period has never really been investigated. My suspicion is that first on the list of how the man coped must have been masturbation. Second, is that the husband and the wife slept apart as the wife was sleeping with the baby. The man must also have made himself physically busy. He probably went on long hunting trips and had hobbies.

The man expended energy farming. I know that during that period, I joined a local informal recreation soccer group of 8 men and played soccer every day after work and came home tired after expending so much energy. My work and hobbies also kept me very busy. My wife was also very busy with the baby, work, and household chores. What may have kept the couple excited during the wait was looking forward to the night they would have sex again. The father having sex outside marriage was also unthinkable as there were also taboos against adultery. A few couples in the traditional past may have solved the problem by the wife agreeing that her husband take a second wife.

Father and Mother Common Bond

The married father and mother is perhaps one of the most important bonds; the deep conviction between the married man or father and the woman or wife that raising children transcends whatever their temporary moods or feelings every day might be. This provides stability for both the children and the couple. When this is the common bond, then the parents are less likely to think of quitting or the “D” word or divorce at the slightest problem parenting. This conviction created the most stable environment for fatherhood. I share this conviction in this article. http://sufferingsoul.com/suffering-soul-child-divorce/

Best Part of Fatherhood

The best part of the fatherhood is the immediate gratification you get from your child calling you “Daddy” and crying that they want you to carry them if they are small. Playing with them and taking them on a walk or just eating with them. The bigger and better part is when you have done all the hard work raising them and now they are either in school, college or an adult. You as a father will feel as a sheer miracle that you had the privilege of being part of raising this human being form when they were a baby. That good feeling is indescribable and can never be fully conveyed to someone who has never been a real or good father. That feeling of being a father will be with you for the rest of your life.

Travelling to Solwezi in 2016.

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

Since the Curriculum Development Center (CDC) of the Ministry of Education approved my novel “The Bridge” to be used for teaching English Literature in Secondary Schools from Grade 10 to 12, there was one thing I was very anxious to do: I wanted to go to a few Secondary Schools do deliver a copy of the novel. I wanted to meet some teachers and students. I had already made the 746

Students at Solwezi Urban Secondary School

Students at Solwezi Urban Secondary School

Kms journey to Lundazi in the Eastern Province. But this time I wanted to go to Solwezi. I had never been to North-Western Province. If all went well, I wanted to drive all the way to Mwinilunga and beyond. I wanted if possible to go to the source of the mighty Zambezi River at Kalene Hills north of Mwinilunga.

Journey to Solwezi

The evening before my departure for Solwezi, I made all the preparations. I found my Google Map and printed the directions from the Internet cafe. I was going to travel South of Ndola and Kitwe which was the shortest cut to Solwezi. I filled up my tank at Manda Hill gas or filling station in Lusaka near my lodge. The filling or gas station attendant checked and topped all my fluids including my clutch or brake fluid for my F15 Ford Ranger which was going to growl itself to Solwezi this time. Something strange happened. As I

The Headmaster Mr. Mbimbi first left and Teachers at Solwezi Urban Secondary School

The Headmaster Mr. Mbimbi first left and Teachers at Solwezi Urban Secondary School

was driving back to my lodge, the clutch problem reared its ugly head again. I could not change gears. I limped the vehicle back to the lodge. The Avis Manager immediately calmly said they would bring another vehicle with a full tank of petrol for me to be ready to go to Solwezi the following morning as planned. There was no need for me to change my plans or to drive the vehicle to the airport. The agents promptly brought another vehicle which was a smaller Hyndai SUV.

Lusaka to Chingola

The distance from Lusaka to Chingola is 410 Kms or 254 miles which was supposed to take me 6 hours to drive. But it must have taken me close to 8 hours because I broke my own rule: never follow Google Map directions without having first some ground human intelligence. People have

The Deputy Headmaster at Kyawama secondary School in Solwezi where I left my novel "The Bridge".

The Deputy Headmaster at Kyawama secondary School in Solwezi where I left my novel “The Bridge”.

driven into oceans at night and drowned in their vehicles. Others have driven into the deadly Death valley Desert in the Western part of the United States and have driven in circles and have gotten lost and died. Google maps are not perfect. The Google map showed that I could drive south of the town of Ndola toward Luanshya to Solwezi. When I reached the Luanshya junction I should have stopped and asked people about the road. I did not. The paved road had some of the worst pot holes I have seen since the mid-1990s. The drive that should have taken me about 45 minutes may have taken about 2 hours. The Google maps short cut took me to Kalulushi which I should not have done before I found my way to the road to Chingola.

Chingola to Solwezi

I arrived at the Chingola Solwezi junction at about 6:00pm or 18:00 hours and turned left. The road was gravel or unpaved. The Hyndai suddeny began to shake, vibrate, and rattle as I drove from side to side to find a smoother part of the road. Two massive trucks drove the other way and left me in such blinding dust that I stopped, turned on my head lights and flashing hazard lights. My heart began to pump really fast. What did I get into? I began to ask myself. Did the road turn into a paved road somewhere ahead? After about 20 minutes of just the worst dust and rattling of the vehicle I stopped to ask a young man. How is the road like to Solwezi? His answer was that some parts were paved and some were not.

The road to Luanshya had the worst pot holes. Never trust Google Maps completely.

The road to Luanshya had the worst pot holes. Never trust Google Maps completely.

As I resumed my tough journey, it crossed my mind that I should probably turn around, sleep in a comfortable lodge in Chingola, and head back to Lusaka. The resolve to finish what I had started overwhelmed me.

I experienced some of the most difficult driving conditions. There was very thin but thick dust swirling ahead from trucks. I was driving mostly on detours as most of the road was being paved. The Hyndai vehicle minute after minute, hour after hour, rattled and shook. It was tossed in the air on some of the huge speed bumps that I could not see ahead of time. It was dark. Occasionally we got a short paved part of the road but the paved part was so small and in many cases had rough sharp edges dangerous to tires, and huge pot holes. You did not want to get a flat tire in this total darkness. After 4 punishing and grueling hours of 176 Kms or 109 miles, I triumphantly arrived in Solwezi and stopped at a gas or filling station to ask for the nearest lodge.

The trucks caused so much dust on the Chingola Solwezi Road.

The trucks caused so much dust on the Chingola Solwezi Road.

I drove around for a while as I could not find a room at several lodges. When I finally found a room at Florianna Lodge, I was ready to just take a shower and sleep. It was after 24 hours.

Solwezi Town

When I woke up in the morning, I had very good breakfast at the lodge with very friendly and courteous staff. People here mostly spoke Bemba as lingua franca. Mr. Sonny Mugwagwa gave me a brief lesson in the Kaonde language.  Muji byepi is “How are you?” Buulong Mwaane is “I am fine”. Mr. Sonny Mugwagwa at Floriana Lodge gave me 4 names of Secondary schools in the town of Solwezi. I decided I would go to Solwezi Urban Secondary School and Kyawama Secondary School. When I drove down the main street, I had not noticed this during the night. The whole town was covered with dust; buildings, cars, structures all had this red dust. Many town people acknowledged the dust as a problem.

Secondary Schools

The Solwezi town will have no dust once the road has been paved.

The Solwezi town will have no dust once the road has been paved.

I went to Solwezi Urban Secondary School and met with the Headmaster Mr. Mbimbi and some of his staff in his office. We had very good conversations. I gave them a copy of my novel “The Bridge”. Later I was able to meet a few of the students.  I ate nshima for lunch at a restaurant which had dingi or buffalo as relish. I really enjoyed my lunch. In the afternoon, I went to Kyawama Secondary School where I met the Deputy Headmaster whom I gave a copy of my novel.

Return to Lusaka

If the trip from Chingola to Solwezi was that punishing and grueling, I had not prepared the resources and time to drive to Mwinilunga and beyond to the source of the Zambezi at Kelene Hills. I decided  to return to Lusaka the following day. The most encouraging thing I learned from my trip to Solwezi is that the massive construction camps and dusty road detours mean that the entire road from Chingola to Solwezi will all be paved in the next few years. At that time the beautiful town of Solwezi which was buried in dust will be clean.

 

 

Do you like to Wear Used or Second hand Underwear? : Book Review

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D

Professor of Sociology

Kenneth Mwenda, Ph. D., LLD, DSc(Econ), Anthology in Law and the Social Sciences, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada: African in Canada Press (www.africanincanadapress.com) 2016, pp. 1111, $25.00, K230.00, Hardcover.

“A nation that stood tall above others and gave its best to the liberation of Southern Africa from colonial rule and apartheid”. – Kenneth Mwenda

Introduction

Do you like to wear used or second hand underwear? My answer is that the very thought of my private parts residing in an intimate apparel which had previously housed some other man’s parts, would make my manhood shrink in revulsion. I would not wear it even if the Ministry of Health had certified the used underwear had been washed in boiling water for 24 hours. Wearing

Professor Kenneth Mwenda

Professor Kenneth Mwenda

such a used garment would most likely threaten my matrimoniAnthologyal stability as my manhood would go on strike and refuse to fulfill its conjugal obligations. Whatever your answer is, I never knew that there are some men in Zambia, Africa, and probably elsewhere who welcome wearing used underwear. You may be wondering what wearing used or second hand underwear has to do with the book about anthology of law.

I would not have contemplated let alone been regaled by these thoughts had I completely succumbed to my initial erroneous judgment of the book by its title. Quickly looking at the title amidst the contemporary tidal wave of internet explosion of thousands if not millions of books and other commercial junk that is competing for my attention, I didn’t think the book was for me. This is because Professor Mwenda is an eminent legal scholar who has a stellar career in the legal profession. He read law at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and has published more than 25 books in the legal field. When I saw an email of the published just hot off of the press, Kenneth Mwenda’s Anthology in Law and the Social Sciences, I assumed if I read the book I would yawn through legalese. When I read the book, I was pleasantry surprised.

Structure of the Book

Kenneth Mwenda’s Anthology in Law and the Social Sciences is one thousand one hundred and eleven pages long of short easy to read articles meant for the non-legal ordinary reader like you and I. The volume is divided into three parts A, B, and C with a total of 88 chapters. Although he calls most of the 88 short articles “chapters”, let that not intimidate you as I was able to read many of the first 25 “chapters” or articles in between watching a boring blow out American

Do men like to wear used or second hand underwear?

Do men like to wear used or second hand underwear?

“National Basketball Association” (NBA) basketball playoff game in which the San Antonio Spurs trounced the Oklahoma City Thunder 124-92.

The format of the articles is that Prof. Mwenda raises a subject of very high public interest such as “should you wear used underwear”? He includes interesting anecdotes in the stories. Then he skillfully infuses and injects a legal perspective or public law into it. In this way the articles both entertain and educate you, they expose the reader to topics they never thought or knew about, and how the topic may relate to both national and international law.

Do women like used or second hand underwear? Do they like a used bra?

Do women like used or second hand underwear? Do they like a used bra?

For example, although I would not want to wear used or second hand underwear, I am not sure I want to stop other people who might make the choice. After all, the famous saying is that “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. But Zambian law does not think so. “In Zambia, the Inspection and Acceptance Criteria for used Textiles Products (ZS 559:2004) criminalizes the selling or buying of second-hand underwear.” (p. 24) According to the article, other countries such as Zimbabwe and Ghana have passed similar laws prohibiting the sale of second-hand underwear for hygiene reasons. I would not have known this was even an issue if I had not read Kenneth Mwenda’s Anthology in Law and the Social Sciences. I am assuming some men like myself might

Do women like used or second hand underwear?

Do women like used or second hand underwear?

have strong views against wearing used underwear. What about women? Would they wear used underwear? Would they wear a second-hand bra?

As I read article after article, Kenneth Mwenda’s Anthology in Law and the Social Sciences did not disappoint me. The first few that I have read include: “Legalizing marijuana: to smoke or not to smoke?” “Working for a lousy boss”, “Does international law permit the searching of a diplomat?” “Can A Christian divorce and remarry?” “Falling in Love with Africa”, “Growing up and moving out of your parent’s home.”

Are You a Patriotic Zambian?

Part B contains many unedited extracts from the media which covers 93 pages of the book. One media story that attracted my interest was “Chileka Man Conceals Ex-Wife’s Private Parts Again” of August 27, 2009. In Malawi a man used magical powers to conceal his ex-wife’s private parts such that when she wanted to physically consume their love with her new lover, her private parts disappeared to both lovers’ frustration. Of course the Malawian courts got involved. Another article I found interesting was: “Did Kaunda Lead Zambia illegally?”

In the patriotic article Prof. Mwenda says Nelson Mandela went to Zambia first during his first visit abroad after 27 years in prison. Nelson Mandela with President Kaunda in Zambia in 1990.

In the patriotic article Prof. Mwenda says Nelson Mandela went to Zambia first during his first visit abroad after 27 years in prison. Nelson Mandela with President Kaunda in Zambia in 1990.

Part C of the book from Chapter 88 starting at page 915 contains: “Public intellectualism and philosophical inquiry through metaphors and muses”. This segment of the book has well over forty of these metaphors and muses. But Kenneth Mwenda’s Anthology in Law and the Social Sciences had one article that made me shed tears and made me proud of my patriotism as a Zambian was the piece: “A nation that stood tall above others and gave its best to the liberation of Southern Africa from colonial rule and apartheid”. Among us educated Africans being educated and “objective” often means always mercilessly contemptuously tearing apart your own country’s heritage and leaders. This piece spoke volumes about being very proud and positive about our own country both the past and present. If you are a Zambian you should inscribe this quote in your heart and all the public spaces in Zambia. We don’t beat our chests about it. But we have been and are a great nation.

Dead Aid: Book Review

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D

Professor of Sociology

“I would rather know it than be threatened by it”. – Mwizenge S. Tembo, September 26. 2005.

Dambisa Moyo, Dead Aid: Why Aid is not Working and How there is Another Way for Africa, London: Allen Lane, Penguin Books, 2009, pp. 188, $19.95, Paperback.

Introduction

A powerful billionaire at a major international aid conference called her and her book “Evil”. At a different forum an American-based Zambian intellectual blasted and excoriated her book as advocating that millions of poor Zambians and Africans should be denied life-saving assistance and therefore would die by the millions if Dr. Moyo’s views were implemented. The few comments by Zambians that I read on line on the internet expressed outrage that a Zambian would advocate such a deadly policy. The handful of Zambian critiques supported the billionaire claiming he was a kind man who was saving their lives. It never occurred to these few Zambians who were critical that a foreigner was unfairly calling one of their own Zambian intellectual and her intellectual ideas “Evil”. All of this unjustified and over the top vitriol was because Dr. Dambisa Moyo had just published the book: “Dead AID”.

Dead AID by Dambisa Moyo

Dead AID by Dambisa Moyo

International Flight

I was flying to Zambia in 2009 when the book caught my eye at the airport in Johannesburg. I bought it with the intention of reading the whole book on the long flight and may be using it for teaching my College or University students. I may have read a chapter or two but got distracted and never finished it. I was very surprised when on March 12, 2016, Dr. Moyo was still defending “promoting evil” remarks the billionaire had made in 2013 regarding her book. I decided I would read the entire book which I did in one day in between a very heavy work schedule.

Book Review

Dr. Dambisa Moyo in her book: “Dead Aid” explains very clearly in the very first chapter of the book: “The Myth of Aid” that there are 3 types of foreign or international aid. The first is humanitarian or emergency aid which is distributed in response to natural disasters such as earth quakes, the Asian tsunami in 2004, famine, disease epidemics such as Ebola in West Africa. The second is charity-based aid which is distributed on the ground by organizations in affected countries. This is the aid that might target malnutrition, empowering poor women, promote health care, birth control, or fight against poverty in general. The third is systematic aid “- that is, aid payments made directly to governments either through government-to-government transfers via institutions such as the World Bank (known as multilateral aid).” (p.7)

Dr. Moyo devotes about a paragraph to discussing some of the criticism that could be leveled at both emergency aid and charity aid in terms of how the aid is distributed and other weaknesses. She hastens to add: “But this book is not concerned with emergency and charity aid.” (p.7) She says that the significant emergency and charity aid that goes to Africa gives the wrong impression to the international community, the West, Africans, and Zambians that all types of aid to Zambia and Africa must be good aid doing good work helping and saving lives.

Dr. Dambisa Moyo devotes the first 4 chapters of the book criticizing and debunking the myth that the estimated one trillion dollars of systematic or government-to-government aid that rich countries have distributed to Africa since 1940 has resulted into meaningful, strong, and sustainable economic growth. She argues that this type of systematic aid has failed in Africa. Instead may have resulted into the decline of GDP and worsened corruption and may have fueled even civil wars in Africa. In the first four chapters or 68 pages of the book, she discusses “The Myth of Aid”, “A Brief History of Aid”, “Aid is Not Working” and “The Silent Killer of Growth”. She includes statistical and empirical data to argue her case in critiquing systematic or government-to-government aid.

Suggestions for Better Economic Strategies

In second 6 chapters or 86 pages or part II, Dr. Moyo devotes to “A World without Aid”. The six chapters include a discussion of: “A Radical Rethink of the Dependency Model”, “A Capital Solution”, and “The Chinese are Our Friends” and “Making Development Happen”. In a very pragmatic and non-dogmatic ways, she proposes some radical ways of how African countries could find and establish alternative ways of getting capital to use for economic development. She discusses and infuses the better role of flows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as a better alternative for economic development in Africa rather than aid just as other countries do use FDI. She explores the role of trade, micro-credit organizations loans, and remittances from abroad as possible collective and better alternative means of creating economic growth in Africa while weaning from the aid dependency model.

Throughout the book, Dr. Moyo draws our attention to the reality that it will not be easy for Africa to eliminate the dependency on aid. “Africa is addicted to aid. For the past sixty years it has been fed aid. Like any addict it needs and depends on its regular fix, finding it hard, if not impossible, to contemplate existence in an aid-less world. In Africa, the West has found its perfect client to deal to.” (p.75)

Zambian Critiques of Dead Aid

When I was in graduate school doing my Ph. D. in the 1980s at the height of the anti-Apartheid Struggle, a black South African classmate told me that many books were banned during the Apartheid era. He did not want even his family members to know he was secretly reading some of the difficult to get banned books because if apprehended the whole family might have been hauled to prison. So at night he would pretend to go to bed in his tiny bedroom. He would retrieve the banned book from a secret location in the room. He would read the book using a torch or flashlight. Whenever anyone opened his bedroom door he would switch off the flash light and pretend to be asleep.

If Dambisa Moyo’s “Dead Aid” has erroneously acquired a bad reputation, you may find yourself unwilling to read it in case you are called names such as you are person who advocates “Evil”. Whether you are an ordinary Zambian, an educated elite, a college or university student, political party cadre or government official or an aid advocate, I recommend you read the book. You can even read it secretly. No one has to know. That’s why I came up with the saying: “I would rather know it than be threatened by it”. Never let the unknown intimidate you. All the 17 universities and colleges in Zambia should be reading this book so that we can have new perspectives and a robust debate. May be we could have better policies for economic growth into the future of Zambia.

International Critiques of Dead Aid

If you are an international critique of “Dead Aid” come up with better explanations as to why you disagree with Dr. Moyo’s argument. Read the book if you have not done so yet. To simply argue that Africans will die if Aid is taken away is to take the lowest denominator moral high ground. This is the argument that seems to imply that Africans, all 1 billion of us, are so helpless like children, that anything that takes away Aid will just kill most of us. One of the international critiques states: “Moyo is not offering a reasoned or evidence-based position on aid.” This statement appalled me because the entire book is full of statistics and arguments based on empirical logical arguments. What “evidence-based” position on aid does the person criticizing have? Let them show the evidence.

Conclusion

This review does not nearly cover or reveal everything Dr. Dambisa Moyo says in the book. She says some provocative things that I will leave for the readers to uncover. I found those ideas intellectually stimulating as I have thought them myself and have expressed them in some of my books. May be after you secretly read the book, let’s have a lively discussion and debate.

 

 

Term “Bride Price” Should be Banned

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

The term “Bride Price” should immediately be banned from use anywhere in Zambia and Africa to refer to one of our cherished customs. I realize that the Europeans invented this term “Bride Price” in the 1700s and 1800s to refer to a fundamental aspect of Zambian and culture may have done it out of ignorance at the time. The great late eminent African scholar Ali Mazrui would have called what those early Europeans did to distort the meaning of this custom “European cultural arrogance”. I understand that the Europeans and their scholars, some of whom may even be Zambians and Africans, may still want to use it. If they so choose they can use “Bride Price” within the confines of European borders all the way to Britain, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece along the edges of the Mediterranean Sea. The people on the African continent must boycott and ban this term from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt all the way to Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, all the way to South Africa.

I will first explain to you why the term “Bride Price” must be banned, abandoned and boycotted. Second why there is so much confusion and ignorance about the term “Bride Price” among Zambians and Africans ourselves. Third, why the term “lobola” should be used instead using a dramatic social incident involving lobola going on in my large extended family right now. Lastly I will explain the proper traditional use  of “lobola” today if you would like to engage in it as a family whether your ethnic group or some of the 72 “tribes” in Zambia practiced lobola or not. I will end with the conclusion of the advantages of lobola in the 21st century marriages and extended families.

The book has more details about marital and other customs

The book has more details about marital and other customs

Why “Bride Price” Should be Banned

When Europeans first began to sail along the West coast of Africa in the 1600s, they did not know anything about Africa and African culture. In fact they called the interior of Africa “The Dark Continent” because they did not know about Zambia, Africa and Africans. When the Industrial Revolution occurred in Europe there was tremendous excitement among Europeans. Adam Smith’s “Wealth Nations” vividly reinforced the dominant advantages of the just discovered capitalism which hinges on commerce as the buying and selling and free market exchanging of everything including physical commodities, services, land, minerals, tobacco, sugar, cotton, silk, spices, indigo. Later on the famous Karl Marx exposed the key inner workings of capitalism. It was not surprising that Europeans went on to enslave anywhere from ten to 20 million Africans in the brutal Atlantic Slave Trade and European Colonialism in Africa in this atmosphere of practicing and enjoying the fruits of newly found capitalism and advancement of science.

It was in this atmosphere that Missionaries like David Livingstone and mining prospectors such as Cecil Rhodes arrived in Zambia and Africa from 1850s onwards. It was later in the late 1800s to the 1940s and 50s that anthropologists began to create knowledge about us Africans and Zambians for the benefit not of us Africans but European audience however misleading and distorted this knowledge might have been. It did not matter to the Europeans then perhaps even now. They had no ideas about complex kinships, marriage and family customs that had existed among us Zambian and Africans probably for many centuries perhaps going back to 100,000 to 50,000 years ago since Zambians and Africans are the origins of all the 7 billion people.

The European explorers, missionaries, travelers, and especially anthropologists observed numerous customs many of the so-called tribes in Zambia and Africa were practicing. They may have noted at the time that among these primitive people called Africans,  that when a man wanted to marry a woman, he had to transfer a certain amount valuables to the bride’s family; chickens, goats, cattle before the marriage could take place. The Europeans were so overwhelmed with capitalism, superiority complex and economic exchange of commodities that they wrongly called the custom: “Bride Price” and we as Zambians and Africans are stuck with that wrong term to this day. As a consequence among the 1 billion Africans especially the educated, we freely use “Bride Price” as it truly reflects what goes on in our marriages.

“Bride Price” does not exist

What many Europeans, educated modern Zambians, Africans, and other outsiders do not know is that the term “Bride Price” does not exist in any of the more than 18 Zambian major languages and may be 72 dialects, ethnic groups, and the 72 “tribes”. It may not exist among the 2,000 African languages and dialects. Even in Uganda where a feminists are fighting to eliminate the “Bride Price” which oppresses women in marriage.

For example, if the term “Bride Price” existed among say the Tumbuka people of the Eastern Province of Zambia and Northern Malawi, it would be called “kugula mwanakazi” which translates into English as “to buy a woman”. It would also be called “mtengo wa mwanakazi” which translates as “price of a woman”. These are expressions that are used for actual buying of commodities such as dresses, chickens, bicycles, and shoes. Instead the term that is used to refer to what goes on during complex marriage customs is “lobola” about which I will go into detail later. The distorted term “Bride Price” was inserted in all the press, books, college and university text books which are read around the world including our Zambian and African scholars. This had led to everyone wrongly believing we practice “Bride Price” which is the selling and buying of women and girls. There may have been some protests about the demeaning and dehumanizing nature of the use of the term “Bride Price”. The anthropologists and the editors of these text books that are circulated worldwide replaced the term “Bride Wealth” apparently to soften the use of the harsh term “Bride Price”. The distorted meaning of buying and selling women is still the same.

This book has fascinating details on how marriages were traditionally conducted.

This book has fascinating details on how marriages were traditionally conducted.

The Etic and Emic Perspectives

There are those who will argue that the use of “Bride Price” to describe a very important marital custom among Zambians, Africans, women rights campaigners, and radical feminist anthropologists is legitimate or accurately describes what is really happening because the natives themselves, including myself, are incapable of realizing what they are doing: buying and selling a woman. The argument is that it takes a clever outsider who is objective and educated may be with a Ph. D to actually explain the reality of the very rich social experiences if practiced the way it was in the African traditional society. The belief is that the “emic” is the perspective that the natives, local people, or insiders who say they are practicing the “lobola” custom will have. The “etic” is that perspective of the critical expert, objective, superior, more educated, better informed individual that calls this marital custom “Bride Price”. This “etic” perspective is what everyone should believe. The author strongly disagrees with this outdated point of view.

Lobola the Best Term

Zambians and Africans should never ever use “Bride Price” as it does not exist in any Zambian or African culture. Instead, lobola or any equivalent term in your indigenous Zambian or African culture should be used.  Lobola may have been practiced among some ethnic and tribal groups going back to the 1820s. There is evidence of the practice among the Zulu in the Chaka Empire in the 1820s. (Ritter, 1955, 1978) The Ngonis and other tribes may have spread the marital custom among the peoples in present day Zambia, Southern Tanzania, Northern Malawi and elsewhere in Southern Africa.

What Happened During Lobola?

Let’s say John NKhata of Mtema Village knows a young woman Mary Mvula of Basiti that he would like to propose marriage to. John would go to Mary Mvula’s village and propose to her. If she finds him attractive and accepts the proposal, very complex social relationships and actions begin to develop. John’s family will select a Thenga or go between to go to Mary Mvula’s family to begin talks about malowolo. Immediately there were social ripples of excitement between the 2 large extended families of the couple because the two families were going to unite. Marriage in Zambian traditional society was never only about just the 2 people getting married. The malowolo negotiations would take numerous visits back and forth between the 2 families and villages. After may be 6 months to a year, the lobola may have been two cows and may be 3 or some other valuables. These were never meant for the father of the Mary Mvula to enrish himself or just to spend on his own. Almost always traditionally as livestock, it was seen as a modest investment to be kept for the whole family. The lobola was often never given in total before the marriage. What you are reading here about how lobola is conducted is very simplified and abbreviated. But the entire lobola social transactions and involving large kinship networks were very complex but very enjoyable and useful for the couple and the 2 large extended families in the two villages.  Read Tembo, 2012; Chondoka, 1988, and Ngulube, 1989 for more details about this custom.

Lobola Custom in 2016

In May 2015, I received an email and later a phone call from Zambia. My large extended family in Zambia regularly hold family meetings which are modeled after the traditional mphala of the Tumbuka people or insaka among the Bemba people. They discuss family marriages and wedding arrangements. Often they get together to attend to funerals. One of our young men who is an engineer, who I will call David, had met and proposed marriage to a young woman from Central African Republic, Rita, who he had met while both were attending school at CrytalRose Polytechnic State University in Los Angeles in California. They wanted a traditional marriage including lobola. I was appointed the Thenga (go between) because I was an elder and knew the traditional marriage customs. I was surprised, honored and humbled to participate in this role. The first question I asked myself: “What young people today who are less than 30 years old, who grew up in the city like Lusaka, live abroad would want to practice the traditional custom of lobola in marriage?”

To cut a long story short, I consulted by phone and email with the Thenga from the bride;s family for 6 months. Both couple’s families are scattered in the Central Africa Republic Mali, Zambia, the United States and Britain. At one time we suspended the negotiations for more than a week because there was a death in the bride’s family in Bangui. Her uncle had died. Eventually, we came up with a lobola amount of several cattle equivalent in money. Members of the families will travel to Lusaka for the wedding soon. The couple will return to the United States as man and wife to start their lives together after the wedding. But families on both sides already know each other so much better because pf the lobola negotiations besides many other rich customs.

This book has more details about traditional Zambian culture and marital customs.

This book has more details about traditional Zambian culture and marital customs.

“Bride Price” distortions

There is plenty of confusion about the misuse of this very useful marital custom. There was headline in the international news a few months ago: “Uganda’s Bride Price Ruling Marks Women’s Rights Milestone, But Clashes With Customary Laws.” http://www.ibtimes.com/ugandas-bride-price-ruling-marks-womens-rights-milestone-clashes-customary-laws-2059128

Some will see my advocating this lobola which many will misinterprete as the same as “Bride Price” as setting back women’s rights in Uganda, Zambia and the rest of Africa. This would be throwing out the baby with bath water. This attitude or opposition would be understandable in that the use of “Bride Price” in the headline and in Uganda and elsewhere bears confirmation of the original sin or distortion when Europeans mischaracterized or distorted the custom. What compounded the problem is that virtually all educated Africans who use European languages have wrongly accepted the use of the term “Bride Price” instead of lobola.

The men and families who charge high “Bride Prices” because their daughter is educated or very valuable are playing right into the hands of the original Europeans who coined the distorted or wrong term “Bride Price”. The Ugandans and other modern Zambian and African men and families who abuse this “Bride Price” as license  to abuse their  wives and keep them captive when she wants a divorce are also ignorant because that was never the intended purpose of lobola in the traditional customs.

Conclusions

Practicing the original lobola in a positive traditional way with all its cultural and customary richness would be very valuable for strengthening marriages and strengthening families that unite in marriage today. Tribes and ethnic groups that traditionally never practiced the lobola custom can adopt it too to strengthen their marital experience. No Zambian and African should be prisoner of archaic terms that Europeans invented centuries ago to portray negatively what Zambians and Africans had enjoyed for ages. You will notice that I have avoided the use of the term “pay” to describe how the groom’s family delivers lobola to the bride’s family. This is another negative power of using English because it is a very powerful hegemonic tool for distorting our culture and creating the epistemology that both oppresses and distorts how we see our own lives as Zambians and Africans.

References

  1. Chondoka, Yizenge A., Traditional Marriages in Zambia: A Study in Cultural History,Ndola: Mission Press, 1988.
  2. Kottak, Conrad Philips., Anthropology: Exploration of Human Diversity, 12thEdition, New York: McGrawhill, 2008.
  3. Ngulube, Naboth M. J., Some Aspects of Growing Up in Zambia,Lusaka: Nalinga Consultancy/Sol. Consult A/S Limited, 1989.
  4. Ritter, E. A., Shaka Zulu,New York: Penguine Books, 1955, 1978.
  5. Tembo, Mwizenge S., Satisfying Zambian Hunger for Culture: Social Change in the Global World,Indian: Xlibris Corporation, 2012
  6. http://www.ibtimes.com/ugandas-bride-price-ruling-marks-womens-rights-milestone-clashes-customary-laws-2059128
  7. http://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/articles/TraditionalAfricanFamily.shtml
  8. http://hungerforculture.com/?page_id=334

 

 

The Kukaya-Kufwasa Center for Contemplation of Knowledge – Part Two

by Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

I was triumphantly standing on a hill overlooking one of the many breathtaking beautiful valleys in Zambia particularly during the rainy season of December. I was not alone. I was standing before the beautiful scene with two other intellectuals; Marita Banda, Mulenga Kapwepwe, and an eight year old girl Temwani Banda who was Marita Banda’s niece. What were we doing here in the wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of the Capital City of Lusaka with its nonstop action everywhere you go? This was the beginning of the culmination of the longtime dream I have had over the last 10 or even 30 years to establish a serene location in the Savannah wilderness where Zambians can

Right to Left Mulenga Kapwepwe, Marita Banda, and Temwani Banda

Right to Left Mulenga Kapwepwe, Marita Banda, and Temwani Banda

contemplate knowledge. We were scouting for a location of The Kukaya-Kufwasa Center for Contemplation of Knowledge near the Chongwe area along the Great East Road. If you have not yet done so read part one of this story to understand the background to this article.

Woman Breaks Intense Discourse

Mulenga Kapwepwe, Marita Banda, Temwani Banda and I were standing in a circle deeply engaged in an intense discourse of intellectual ideas in the middle of the Savannah grassy wilderness on top of a hill. We discoursed about gender in traditional Zambia and contemporary Western distortion of the status of Zambian women. I elaborated on the Zambian Temba Sangweni philosophical thesis about how the womb may influence human thought process in psychology. Idea after idea kept coming. We were so focused and engrossed that we lost track of time and where we were standing. At one time I remember in the periphery of my consciousness of my eye being aware of a boy walk by with a herd of cows. Suddenly a slender woman perhaps in her fifties approached us and paused about 20 meters or 20 yards from where the four of us were standing.

Village Headman Ngobela

Village Headman Ngobela

We instantly stopped as if coming out of a dream. The woman politely greeted us in somewhat very halty broken Nyanja. We responded.

“Banthu wadabwa kuti nibandani yayimira apa na motoka panthawi yotali?” she asked. (People in the village have been wondering what strangers standing around in the bush with a vehicle were doing?)

Strangers Standing in the Bush

That’s when it suddenly hit me. I have lived in the village since the 1950s and conducted research in rural villages in Eastern and Southern Province for many years. The first cardinal rule of protocol if you go anywhere in a rural area for an extended time, you have to visit and seek permission of the headman. In the midst of the spontaneous philosophical and intellectual discourse, we had lost track of time and became unconscious that were spending too much time just standing in the bush; 1 man, 2 women and a young girl. It doesn’t get and stranger than and as puzzling as this.

Village Headman Ngobela with Mwizenge Tembo

Village Headman Ngobela with Mwizenge Tembo

I apologized profusely and told her talakwa; twa phwanya mwambo. (We were wrong we had broken custom.) I explained to her that we had seen the beautiful valley and the hills from near Chongwe on the Great East Road. We wanted to see how the valley looked like from here on this side. I assured her that our stay was peaceful. As a matter of courtesy I offered that we pay a visit to the village headman. The woman entered the vehicle and we drove to the village to meet the headman.

We Meet the Headman

We entered the mphungu; which is a small round structure with a grass roof but with open sides. We sat down until the Headman who had been summoned arrived. He sat down, greeted us in a mixture of Lenje and Lusaka Nyanja languages. He told us he was Headman Ngobola. He told us his village is in Chief Bundaunda which is between Chieftainess Nkomeshya and Mphashya further East in Rufunsa region.

One Zambia One Nation

We told Headman Ngobela that the land was beautiful and that the woman who had met us was very friendly since we had not consulted him first. He said the land we had been standing on belongs to a Tumbuka man. He also said there were 2 Bemba men who had settled in the area. I told him that in my home village in Lundazi, there was a Tonga man who had married and had settled. He was speaking Tonga with Tumbuka accent. We all laughed. This is when Headman said something that was very profound. It makes me and should make every Zambian feel very proud and lucky to be a Zambian. Referring to people from various tribes who have settled in his area; Headman Ngobela said in his painful mixture of the Lenje and Lusaka Nyanja language:

“Mlemdo abwera ni katemo kakuthwa. Tizinkhala wa mtendere. Kaunda anatigwirisa One Zambia One Nation.” (A visitor sometime comes with a sharp axe. We should live in peace. President Kaunda united us Zambians under One Zambia One Nation”. At the end of our visit, we were given some very delicious bagful of mangoes.

Woman who found us who late r gave us a gift of mangoes.

Woman who found us who late r gave us a gift of mangoes.

Conclusion

Our trip had been more than successful. We learned by accident what the Kukaya_kufwasa Center for Contemplation of Knowledge will do in being a hosting place for intellectual and philosophical ideas. The fact that all the villages had a strict accounting of who steps on their land created the traditional security which is the comfort and security of all village life in Zambia. Although we had been only scouting and not yet chosen where the center may be located, this was a very good start.

References

  1. Bohannan, Paul., and Curtin, Philip, Africa and Africans, 4th edition, Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1995.
  2. Kufwasa http://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/articles/kufwasa.shtml
  3. Kukaya http://hungerforculture.com/?p=1537
  4. http://hungerforculture.com/?p=1212

The Kukaya-Kufwasa Center for Contemplation of Knowledge

by Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

I was in awe triumphantly standing on a hill overlooking one of the many breathtaking beautiful valleys in Zambia particularly during the rainy season of December. This was just beyond the Chongwe Bridge East of Lusaka along the Great East Road. I had turned east on to the narrow muddy gravel road at Kazemba junction just inside Rufunsa jurisdiction. I had driven in the rental 4 wheel Ford Ranger pickup truck for 16 Kms. or 10 miles deep into the Savannah wilderness. There was a creek whose small concrete bridge might have been washed away last year. The 4 wheel drive sailed through the bottom of the shallow bridgeless creek as easily and as smoothly as changing a baby’s diaper or nappy.

Temwani pointing to the beautiful valley. Marita Banda in the middle and Mulenga Kapwepwe.

Temwani pointing to the beautiful valley just after Chongwe River bridge. Marita Banda in the middle and Mulenga Kapwepwe.

I was not alone. I was standing before the beautiful scene with two other intellectuals; Marita Banda, Mulenga Kapwepwe, and an eight year old girl Temwani Banda who was Marita Banda’s niece. What were we doing here in the wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of the Capital City of Lusaka with its nonstop action everywhere you go? This was the beginning of the culmination of the longtime dream I have had over the last 10 or even 30 years to establish a serene location in the Savannah wilderness where Zambians can contemplate knowledge.

Mwizenge Tembo admiring the beautiful valley, while Temwani Banda and Mulenga Kapwepwe look on.

Mwizenge Tembo admiring the beautiful valley, while Temwani Banda and Mulenga Kapwepwe look on.

What would be the reason of such a remote difficult to reach location? Why not open such a place in the middle of Lusaka so that seminars and workshops can be held there which everyone can attend? What will be the name of the place? What will be special about it? Am I, Mulenga Kapwepwe and Marita Banda the best and most educated intellectuals in Zambia? Why bring an 8 year old child to such a serious event? So she can jump around, rudely whine that she is bored with being in the bushes, and cause us to leave early?

The Kukaya-Kufwasa Center

The reason why the four of us were there will be explained in a rather an unusual fashion. We live in a world today in which every moment we are bombarded and overwhelmed with excessive chatter and information of little value or right out being irrelevant. I will explain the purpose of the center while describing something that happened spontaneously as the four of us were standing there in the Savannah

Marita Banda and Temwani Banda with the beautiful valley behind them.

Marita Banda and Temwani Banda with the beautiful valley behind them.

wilderness for hours undistracted. You will read information jam packed into this one short article because that is what happened. But there are even more surprises. If you are impatient and don’t want to read long articles that don’t say what is important in half a page in 5 short bulleted points, its time to skip this article entirely or come back to it later when you have more  kufwasa time. May be you don’t know what the “kufwasa” Zambian philosophical term means. May be this is one reason this article may be very important. http://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/articles/kufwasa.shtml

I had first sent an article earlier in December to both Mulenga Kapwepwe and Marita Banda to read. Then I asked them if they could come on the historic trip with me. The title of that article was: “Kukaya-Kufwasa Center for Contemplation.” The idea was to bring a young girl and boy on the trip to accompany us. The reason will be explained later. The young girl Temwani Banda was quickly found but we could not find a young boy. We ran out of time.

Contemplating Knowledge Kukaya-Kufwasa Center

As we stood overlooking the beautiful valley surrounded by the serene wilderness it is as if the spirits of our ancestors going back hundreds of years had suddenly reentered our minds. There was no spirit possession here. We just begun to talk. It was nothing formal. I expressed my wish and internal drive to both share with other Zambians and go beyond the knowledge that both indigenous and foreign that I had acquired over the last 50 years. I told them about philosopher Michael Polanyi “Tacit Dimension of Knowledge”. I told them of my encounter with Temba Sangweni; a Zambian 12th grade intellectual who inspired me who was searching for knowledge in 1989 or 28 years ago.

Mulenga Kapwepwe admiring the beautiful valley.

Mulenga Kapwepwe admiring the beautiful valley.

Marita Banda brought up her knowledge of the Maharishi Effect; that the energy expressed in knowledge in humans happens in subconscious process of communication and contemplation. I told them that a week earlier, my 91 year old father who is a retired teacher told me again about “mdulo”; the traditional indigenous belief that if a young woman has improper sex and goes on to cook and serve food especially older men and women, the people become victims of mdulo which is a cough that had no scientific modern physiological explanation. The treatment is herbs. Of course the West and other Eurocentric Zambians have dismissed this and other indigenous knowledge as superstition. They will often say everyone knows those African natives live in dirty dusty unhygienic mud huts, unsanitary environments, and worst of all believe in witchcraft.

Marita also shared her deep interest in epigenetics and how they might relate to both our indigenous knowledge and improving our lives today. It was then that she said something very profound: we can really use the best from both worlds; the indigenous and Western. I agreed and added that better still we could push the frontiers of knowledge into a better, deeper and newer different direction as our ancestors might have done thousands of years ago before Europeans enslaved us via the Atlantic Slave Trade and before European colonialism over the entire African continent.

Mulenga Kapwepwe who had been listening intently had walked away briefly a few meters away. She and Temwani were deeply engrossed in the flora and fauna, and the flying and walking insects. Mulenga was using her cell phone to carefully photograph these beautiful fascinating creatures and tropical plants.

Mulenga Kapwepwe chimed in with something very profound. She said the sad part is that we as humans are changing ourselves losing so much of what we have had for over a hundred thousand years. Western technology was erasing so much of what we had learned from our physical environment as humans. She cited the example that the Western society is totally dominated by the tick tock time. As a result Western bodies have only 2 rhythms while the natural bodies here in Zambia and Africa may have up to 7 rhythms. She added that rhythm and grace are what gives us humans speed and the richness of syncopation in our lives.

I added that we Zambians do not have polyrhythmic dances anymore as the Western dominated linear rythmless choreography dance through video clips dominate our entertainment. We were actually right there and then both kukaya http://hungerforculture.com/?p=1537

and experiencing kufwasa http://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/articles/kufwasa.shtml

and that’s what this center was going to do; provide a serene space where Zambians can engage and contemplate deep thought and intellectual discourse.

The role of the Child

The late Nigerian Writer is the one who might have said it best. He had said being a child in Zambia and Africa gives you the best position to observe and understand life around you including that of adults. I also subscribe to the traditional Tumbuka expression: “Mwana wopulikila wakurya tuwemi”,  which translates with complex metaphors as: “A child who listens to adults eats good delicious things”. The purpose of bringing 8 year old Temwani Banda to the event was that she can later bear

An 8 year old child sits next to the women attending a meeting of the construction of the Nkhanga Village Library in June 2009

An 8 year old child sits next to the women attending a meeting of the construction of the Nkhanga Village Library in June 2009

historical testimony; that she was there when the three adults were scouting for the Kukaya-Kufwasa Center for Contemplation of Knowledge. She turned out to be the best behaved child we could have brought along. She was curious and asked questions along the way without being disruptive. At the same time she enjoyed the precious opportunity as a child should. We as Africans have traditionally allowed children to attend the most solemn of adult gatherings so long as the child behaves him or herself. Describing this custom among the TIV of Nigeria, Bohannan and Curtin (1995) say: “….children are allowed to go any place, so long as they keep quiet. They can go into the most solemn court proceedings and sit down and listen. ….children at the age of eight or nine often get interested in court cases or political meetings.” (p.73)

Conclusion

The article cannot be concluded as more happened as the four of us were deeply engrossed in quite complex intellectual discourse in the middle of the beautiful Savannah Wilderness. A second part will have more intriguing details. A woman politely intruded and broke our kufwasa.

References

  1. Bohannan, Paul., and Curtin, Philip, Africa and Africans, 4th edition, Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1995.
  2. Kufwasa http://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/articles/kufwasa.shtml
  3. Kukaya http://hungerforculture.com/?p=1537

 

Lusaka is a Driving Nightmare

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

I had just finished shopping at the Downtown Shopping Mall on the South-End of Cairo Road around the Kafue Round About. I turned left heading South to Kafue but I was going to Manda Hill on the Great East Road. I had to turn right at the robots toward Lumumba Road. I didn’t want to go to Lumumba Road because I knew there would be more traffic congestion. The U- Turn back toward Cairo Road was wide open. As soon as I made the U- Turn into an unusually wide open lane, I knew I was in deep trouble when a Traffic Police Officer stopped me immediately. He politely told me I had broken a traffic code as I was not supposed to make a U-turn. My protesting that I did not see any big visible “no U-Turn” sign did not change the officer’s mind. I was invited to the back of a make shift police station at the back of a van where I paid the fine.

Traffic Standstill on Cairo Road in Luasaka.

Traffic Standstill on Cairo Road in Luasaka.

Driving in Lusaka is any driver’s worst nightmare. There is congestion night and day in virtually all parts of the city. Cairo Road is probably the worst. It took me over 30 minutes to drive from Katondo Street across to the Main Post Office. If I had walked, it would have taken me may be 5 minutes.

A “Zambian Watchdog” article of May 2011 has a head line that says: “Traffic Jams and used cars terrorize Zambia’s Roads”. Another article by Kelvin Kachingwe in UKZambians web page in February 2008 said: “Lusaka becoming auto jungle – 50 vehicles per day are being imported”. It is estimated that 300 used cars are being imported into Zambia every day.

In spite all the traffic congestion, to be fair, I never saw any traffic accident in the two weeks I drove in Lusaka last month. Drivers help each other out and every driver negotiates incredibly tight space leaving mere millimeters between vehicles which often may raise one’s temperature and levels of anxiety.  Is there a solution to the traffic nightmare and gridlock in Lusaka? There are two possible solutions: first an underground train system and second a new massive sophisticated road highway system around Lusaka. Doing nothing or just building more side roads are not best solutions in the long run.

Underground Tunnel Train System

Lusaka should have 5 major underground train tunnels. The first train tunnel should be from the round about going to the Kenneth Kaunda International airport near Chelston on the Great East Road all the way to Cairo Road. The second underground train tunnel should start from Zanimuone or Landless Corner on the Kabwe or Great North Road all the Way to Cairo Road. The third train tunnel should start from Bauleni, Mtendere, partially under Independence Avenue, under the current Intercity Bus Terminal and Railway station, and finally connect to Cairo Road between Churchhill Road and Independence Avenue. The fourth train tunnel should start from Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens along Kafue Road all the way to Cairo Road. The fifth train tunnel should start from Chilenje and Chilenje South extension through Kabwata, and Kamwala Shopping Center under the Independence Avenue flyover bridge into Cairo Road. The whole area underground between Cairo Road, Cha-Cha-Cha Road, and Freedom Way should have a massive underground railway station where all the trains form the City will interchange.

Traffic Jam during rush hour along the Great East Road in Lusaka.

Traffic Jam during rush hour along the Great East Road in Lusaka.

Sophisticated Road Highways

If the underground tunnel is deemed not possible or too expensive, Lusaka should have a sophisticated road highway system. Four lane highways should be constructed on elevated massive pillars on top and along the five major current road arteries as described already; on the Great East Road, Independence Avenue from Mtendere and Bauleni, from Chilanga on the Kafue Road, and from Zanimuone on the Great North Road all leading to and some highways bypassing above Cairo Road. We cannot afford to have any major roads on the ground anymore as construction has used up all the ground space in Lusaka. These highways would be high speed expressways where there would be no stopping allowed. Slower cars and other limping vehicles would use the current ground roads underneath the elevated highways on massive pillars. The Highway Traffic Officers would enforce the new rules.

Advantages and Benefits

All of these recommendations if implemented would ease road traffic congestion in most parts of Lusaka, save billions of Kwacha in money spent on petrol by thousands of idling vehicles that are caught in perpetual traffic jams. The life spans of the vehicles would be extended. People would sleep better as they would not have to wake up very early to drive to work which would lower costs of medical conditions that happen due to stress. The flow of commerce in the city would be improved.

 

 

Everyone Needs Kukaya

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Introduction

What is a Kukaya? Kaya is a Tumbuka language noun which depicts a physical place in Savannah Africa where people who are closely related due to deep kinship ties build houses, huts, and dwellings that they share. Calling it a village limits the meaning of kaya as it has a deeper emotional meaning to Zambians and Africans who still live and identify with kaya. Ku-kaya – the prefix Ku is an adjective that denotes “to” as in Tumbuka: “Nkhuluta Kukaya” “I am going to Kaya”.

Kukaya is where all the houses of people you love are next to each other.

Kukaya is where all the houses of people you love are next to each other.

Kukaya is where your soul can wander. Kukaya is where girls and boys go to school to learn, gain knowledge and skills that they may use later in their adult lives as women and men. The boys and girls are learning in the modern school while being raised within the deepest aspects of their roots, traditions, and culture; chikayaKukaya is deeply buried in your heart although you may be ten thousand miles, 16,000Kms, or just four hundred miles or just 600Kms away. Kukaya is a place where all the people you love so deeply smile,  speak to you, quarrel with you, mourn with you and even laugh in the most comforting language; your mother tongue.

Kukaya in Zambia

Kukaya in Zambia and Savannah Africa is a place where you are related to all the children, boys, girls, men and women. Kukaya is a place where the maize for cooking the nshima, nsima, or sima staple traditional food, the peanuts for the nthendelo peanut powder and the delicious ndiwo, dende, umunani, or relish that is cooked is so fresh as it has just been picked from the garden just next to the house. Kukaya is where the food has been carefully cooked using wood fire taking plenty of time and served while the whole family eats together with plenty of love.

Kukaya is where all the women, girls, children spend time together. Children know who they are.

Kukaya is where all the women, girls, children spend time together. Children know who they are.

Kukaya as the seat of the soul is a place where all the chickens clack and roosters crow, goats bleat, cows moo, nkhunda domestic pigeons sing, pigs roll in the mud, dogs bark, cats catch rats. The livestock all intermingle with the people. Kukaya is where you can enjoy succulent fruits such as fresh pawpaws, mangoes, guavas, bananas, oranges, and wild fruits. Kukaya is where children as young as five years reveal their soul as they play with the freedom that most children can’t even dream about in the contemporary cities and urban life. Kukaya is where children even go to school through miles of bush paths while being watched and cared for by all adults. Kukaya is a place where you can walk barefoot and wear a t-shirt and enjoy your daily commune with nature and spirit of the beautiful daily blue sunshine of the Savannah.

Kukaya is where you play drums, dance, and sing all night to the Vimbuza Spiritual dance.

Kukaya is where you play drums, dance, and sing all night to the Vimbuza Spiritual dance.

Kukaya and Nature

Kukaya is where people don’t cage pet lions, snakes, wasps, frogs and all creatures because one can see these creatures everyday if one wants to. Kukaya is where the thatched houses and homes of your father, mother, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins are all next to each other. Kukaya is where you quarrel with relatives but you still remain close. Kukaya is where at night you can see all the twinkling stars and the bright Milky Way. Kukaya is where the moon lights are mesmerizing. Kukaya is where you hear the distant singing and rhythmic sounds of the vimbuza dance drumming deep into the dark night as one turns over in one’s sleep.

Kukaya is where children drink fresh clean water from a hand driven borehole pump.

Kukaya is where children drink fresh clean water from a hand driven borehole pump.

Visit Kukaya Soon

Kukaya is where during the cold nights in June one can sit with relatives around a fire late into the night chatting about yesteryear while you bury sweet potatoes kandolo deep in the hot red ambers of the fire as a late night snack. Kukaya is the only place where the grave yard has all your relatives from bygone days are buried in one place. Kukaya has a special place in our hearts that we yearn to visit and dream about every day.

The reason this author has tremendous grief for all Zambians and Africans who don’t know kukaya is that this is what they are missing; it is simply put Heaven on Earth.  So make an effort to visit kukaya soon especially during this holiday season.

 

Ta-Lakata: Tears of Africa – Book Review

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Princess Zindaba Nyirenda, Ta Lakata: The Tears of Africa,  New York: Eloquent Books, 2009, 209 pp., 30.00 US Dollars, Hard Cover.

The world has information technology explosion; the internet, the cell phone, texting, twitter, blogs, journals, television, and on-line Newspapers. There are thousands of books being published every day. As I was quickly browsing through the “Acknowledgements” of  “Ta – Lakata – Tears of Africa”, something unusual caught my eye. A few italicized words were in a language dear to my heart: “akulu bane-yebo” – my older brother thank you; “mukanilinda yebo” – you escorted me thank you; “Bena Mphamba, munyakeso cha!” – we are Mphamba people, no one else. The italicized language was my mother tongue; the Tumbuka African language from ten thousand miles away from Lundazi in the remote Eastern Province of Zambia in Southern Africa.

Ta-Lakata Tears of Africa

Ta-Lakata The Tears of Africa

Excitement

I was excited; I took a triple take at the cover of the book, and quickly flipped through the pages. What I saw was not only heartwarming but very stunningly familiar. I wanted to tell everyone I met, call my neighbors, my friends, all Americans, Africans, and all Zambians to read the book. This is the story of a woman who grew up about twenty-one miles from my home village. But her adult life is very different. Although we never crossed paths earlier in our lives in Zambia, we share a very common foundation just growing up with some aspects of traditional Zambia. This common foundation may be true for and shared by many Zambian and African women as well as men of her generation.

She was born Princess Zindaba Nyirenda of the royal family of Chief Mphamba of the Tumbuka people of Lundazi in Zambia. What makes her story riveting and keeps you turning pages is how she immigrated to the United States at the age of 21 in 1985.  She accompanied her husband with their children but experienced unpredictable pain of separation and suffering with her whole family being ten thousand miles away back in Zambia in Africa. The most devastating is when dozens of her siblings, relatives, and former classmates died of HIV/AIDS. Zindaba recalls them as the dreaded midnight calls. She sought solace and comfort in God, prayer, and the Bible during such moments of deep grief.

“Ta –Lakata; The Tears of Africa”  is the untold story of the contemporary African who has the long umbilical cord connected to Africa but lives abroad most of her adult life. How does one reconcile the tensions of the abject poverty, death, AIDS orphans, and the suffering that exists in Africa, on the one hand,  and the wealth, affluence, and excesses of the  Unites States, on the other hand? No wonder Zindaba feels frustrated, disappointed, depressed, and in some cases angry.

Narrative Tone

The urgent-tone narrative of the book is right from the busy multi-tasking contemporary reader who has the cell phone in hand, texts and twits people, eats a hamburger while watching TV: the book reads fast and furious. The book demands not to be put down not even for a few minutes. The title “Ta Lakata” draws on the metaphor of dry leaves falling off the tree, floating away, and falling all over the world. These are the Africans and Zambians who floated away from the homeland tree of Africa but live all over the world today including the United States.

Zindaba shares intimate details about her family growing up in the city and then a rural  small sleepy town of Lundazi. Her journey from this small town, to St. Monica’s Girls Catholic School, to University of Zambia, and finally the United States is fascinating because she uses a furious and in some places provocative narrative. Describing childhood in her family, Zindaba says: “The Nyirenda children were known in our town as “tubazungu” (the little white girls), because we spoke a lot of English and led a pro-Western lifestyle, and because in a place that traditionally expects only boys to be leaders, we, the girls, created our own entertainment for the village children.” (p.25)

This reflects the many contractions and conflicts that were inherent in many Africans of many generations perhaps since the 1880s in the classic novel “Things Fall Apart” by the renowned African writer Chinua Achebe.  This is the conflict between Western Christian culture and indigenous Tumbuka or African lifestyles. For example, describing  her experiences in the village Chinamwali traditional girls initiation ceremony, Zindaba says:

“Here I was, a girl from the city who danced to discotheque music like the songs of Michael Jackson’s  “Thriller” and The Commodores, reciting all their lyrics by heart. And the women in the village were beating drums demonstrating and teaching me how to wiggle my waistline. “My God, this child is stiff!” they would exclaim angrily……..After this whole episode, I graduated with mkanda strand of beads adorning my waistline, ……….” (p. 103-104)

Conflicting Influences

Clearly, these powerful conflicting influences are apparent in her entire book.

Zindaba links her personal family tragedy to the last five chapters in which she challenges all readers to day to find a solution to poverty, HIV/AIDS, orphaned children and death in Africa. Zindaba proposes that the heavy contamination of drinking water and pollution by the mining industry chemical waste disposal, unclean drinking water in the entire country, and malaria may be leading to poverty, disease, suffering, and the high death rates in Zambia and Africa. What is the reader going to do? Why is there so much silence among Africans and Zambians about these serious problems especially wide spread deaths from HIV/AIDS?

“This AIDS epidemic is indicative that the land and the air is so polluted, and people are not going to survive until we address the source of this calamity and dilemma in the Southern hemisphere. People are dying, suffering from every single thing and more – a product of careless mining efforts and mess that is man-made, engineered by human hands in the quest of materialism and spreading civilization – and no one is doing anything about it. People are choosing to remain silent, and this silence reigns.” (p. 169)

Is it because of deep shame? She does not spare herself blame for being silent for so long. What is very eerie is that in the very last part of the chapter of the book, she gets another mid-night phone call; her sister had just died of HIV/AIDS.

African Elites

The book is about the elite Africans who were born in the 1960s at the dawn political independence from European colonialism in Africa coming to intellectual maturity. They want to tell their own story and ask the difficult problems of globalization today. The book is passionate and refreshing as it is no longer about how an American reporter, Western technocrat, or International AID worker sees the lives of Africans. We have enough of these books.  It is an African herself passionately expressing and narrating her point of view and perhaps the views and experiences of many Zambians and Africans in the Diaspora.

I highly recommend this book for all readers who want to understand what it means to be an African living abroad to day. I especially recommend it for all young and older Zambians and Africans who live in the Diaspora. This book will expose you to a little bit about our history, the role of Christianity and spirituality in our lives, some of the triumphs, joys and nostalgia we enjoy. Zindaba will also expose you to the pain, grief, heart breaks and frustrations we endure every day, and some of the hope, the possible questions and solutions to our lives. The book really expresses the strength and resilience we have always had as Zambians and Africans.

 

 

What Good is Thanksgiving this year?

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

We are only fourteen days from the terrible Paris attacks in which 130 people were killed and scores wounded. Before that, suicide bombings in Beirut had killed 43 and wounded 239. Two days before the Paris attacks, Boko Haram in Nigeria had killed an estimated 60 people and wounded hundreds in suicide bombings. There is heightened anxiety and vigilance about whether these terror campaign bombings and shootings will hit the American streets. One can ask the question: “What should we have Thanksgiving for when we are living with so much terror, death and war?” Where is God?

This is what we should characterize not as the fog of war but the fog of life. The most troubling memories from those who survived the immediate aftermath of the total destruction after nuclear bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan to end WW II, was not just the utter devastation itself the likes of which no one had seen before. But it was the aimless wandering of survivors as there were no other human beings in sight to help the wounded survivors and the destitute in cities of more than 300,000 thousand.

This Thanksgiving we should be thankful that the survivors of the Paris massacres, the Beirut bombings, and the Boka Haram killings have police, the military, emergency workers, hospitals, doctors, nurses, families, neighbors and all of us who offered them love and consoled them. We should be thankful that those killed can be laid to rest is safe peaceful cemeteries. We have been there with candle lights at make shift memorials.

Cooked Turkey ready to be served at the Family Thanksgiving table.

Cooked Turkey ready to be served at the family Thanksgiving table.

These tragic events this Thanksgiving may be the best moments for us to acknowledge what we have lost, appreciate what we have, and the best we can truly hope for tomorrow. We have lost so many people and military members in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. We have lost so many lives to guns due to gun violence in cities, neighborhoods, streets, families, schools and colleges. Many of us may have an empty seat at the Thanksgiving table because a member of the family passed away this year who might have been a patriarch or matriarch in so many ways we might never have truly realized until they were gone. Others are grown children who have moved away to distant places for work and marriage. All we have is their empty seat and place mat. Pets that used to hover under the table may also have passed away.

The brightest part of Thanksgiving is if the family has the newest member who was born or was adopted this past year. The new exciting addition of the baby may sooth some of the emptiness we may feel as families. That empty seat will have a baby booster on it with a young person who is wondering what this spectacle is all about with all the chatter, cheer, laughter, smells and taste of food, and clanking silverware. Next year the new member of the family will forever know what Thanksgiving dinner is and will happily anticipate and participate in it for many years to come. We should all be thankful that we have each other and can still feel good, have hope and be optimistic about tomorrow. If anything happened we still have other people who love us and can depend on whether we are in America, Nigeria, Syria, France, or Beirut this Thanksgiving. May be God is still present after all.

Principles of Electricity in a Zambian Language?

by

Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.

Professor of Sociology

Since the British colonized the then Northern Rhodesia now independent Zambia in late 1800s, we have been made to believe that English is the only, best, and superior language to express thought. We have English as the official language which we use in education from the first grade all the way to secondary school and university. Since Zambia’s independence about 50 years ago, with Zambia now having over 17 universities, we have never really seriously questioned or even explored whether English is the only and best way to express sophisticated thought. What about our 17 major Zambian languages which include Nyanja, Bemba, Tonga, Lozi, Kaonde, and dozens of others? Can they be used to convey sophisticated thought?

Communicating in a Zambian Language Video Clip

I have always known that our indigenous Zambian languages may be best for communicating, exploring, and even for research and development, technical inventions and innovations which we have been erroneously made to believe are only possible using English only. There is a 2.12 minute video clip that has been viewed more than 56,000 times that clearly confirms that we can use our Zambian languages to explain basic principles of electricity as one example. The language the boy used to explain his ideas is Lusaka Nyanja which is the lingua franca of the Capital City of Lusaka. In the video clip, a poor boy from Misisi compound in Lusaka holds a model he had built from discarded material himself to explain basic principles of electricity. https://www.facebook.com/samson.phiri.7/videos/1050732518280060/?pnref=story

He does this in such a surprisingly articulate way, that even I, as a grown man who has a Ph. D but not in electrical engineering, could instantly grasp the principles of electricity from the Kariba Hydroelectric Dam to my own domestic use may be in Lusaka or Kitwe, or Luanshya. Some have suggested that Zesco should have used this boy to explain power shading to the public.

Recommendations

The vast majority of viewers of the video clip comment that Zesco should sponsor the boy, government should sponsor the boy, and some even have said they could individually volunteer to sponsor the boy to get an education. He is clearly a boy who lives in poverty right now. My own reaction is that large institutions like Zesco and especially the Zambian government may already be preoccupied. Samson Phiri who made the video can track down the boy. He can start a fund drive that will first and foremost educate the boy. I would start by donating a hundred dollars myself toward the fund. If there is more money, he can start a program that will educate all the boys and girls who have been found to be as intellectually creative as that boy. There are thousands of talented boys and girls in Zambia who are like the boy in the video. But because of poverty and lack of opportunity, the boys and girls cannot use their creative talents for themselves as well as for the whole nation.

1.Abiudi Banda in Grade 9 when he was 15 years showing one of his projects in Entomology. He had made an insecticide from natural products; tobacco and 3 other ingredients from the bush.

 Abiudi Banda in Grade 9 when he was 15 years showing one of his projects in Entomology. He had made an insecticide from natural products; tobacco and 3 other ingredients from the bush.

First and foremost, we have to make sure that corruption is completely removed. If the 56,000 viewers of the video clip each donate just 5 dollars or K65.00, a total of 280,000 dollars or K3.6 million would be raised. If we can keep all the corruption out of this, this would be enough money to educate the boy, but may be hundreds of other boys and girls who have similar creative talent but live in poverty. If we harness this boy’s creative talents, there are also other benefits for you and me and the whole country. There are many possible benefits but I identify the possible two.

Teaching Pedagogy

What the boy is illustrating in the video clip is what is called teaching pedagogy in sophisticated lingo. The boy clearly illustrates teaching methods or how we should teach from the first grade, all through secondary school, up to higher education in colleges and universities. His methodology and simplicity should be incorporated into teaching which may involve bilingualism. This means teaching both in indigenous Zambian languages and English language in order to maximize clarity when explaining a complex subject to anyone especially students in a classroom and even the public. All my fellow teachers from grade one to college lecturers should take note of the basic fundamental principles of this video clip.

Abiudi Banda showing his natural insecticide.

Abiudi Banda showing his natural insecticide.

Construction of Models

The simple hand held but quite sophisticated model illustrating basic principles of electricity and the power grid can be manufactured on a large scale by Zesco and other manufacturers in Zambia. These models can be of so many different types of sciences which could be sold to thousands of schools. The models could be in biology, physics, chemistry, geography, astronomy, botany, medicine, anatomy, physiology, computers, engineering, and many others. The simple but cheap models could be exported to neighboring and other countries in the world which could also use them in schools, colleges and university. That could create both jobs in the country and exports. Instead of waiting for hard to convince foreign investors, Zambian entrepreneurs, companies, educators, individuals and others could easily join in this very exciting possible profitable venture that could help enhance education.

Abiudi Banda showing me a plastic container which can heat water by inserting electrodes in the container.

Abiudi Banda showing me a plastic container which can heat water by inserting electrodes in the container.

Creative Talents in Zambia

There are thousands of young boys and girls in Zambia who have creative talents but live in poverty. One such boy is my own nephew Abiuldi Banda who lives in poverty with his parents, his brothers and sisters in Lundazi. But the boy had incredible creative talents, curiosity and was always experimenting building and testing different models of science from when he was a small boy. Once he completed Grade 12 in 2012, he was admitted to UNZA. But his parents did not have money and the government bursary was not available to him. He is now languishing with wasted talent that he and the nation could benefit from. There are thousands such boys and girls in Zambia. As a nation we just need to harness these talents for the benefit of both the individual boys and girls but also for the entire nation of 13 million people. Mr. Samson Phiri could start the ball rolling without waiting for the government, Zesco, or someone else to start what would be the best project for the nation ever.

A plastic container which can heat water by inserting electrodes in the container.

A plastic container which can heat water by inserting electrodes in the container.

Zambian Languages and Sophisticated Idea

If you are still skeptical that Zambian languages can be used to express sophisticated ideas that can only be expressed in English, I believe in practice. I wrote an academic article in

My son Sekani Tembo who was a Third year computer major in at an American College showing his cousins, Abiudi and Nina, a lap top computer behind the Castle Hotel in Lundazi in 2009.

My son Sekani Tembo who was a Third year computer major in at an American College showing his cousins, Abiudi and Nina, a lap top computer behind the Castle Hotel in Lundazi in 2009.

English a few years ago. I translated the abstract into Tumbuka and Nyanja languages. You can try also to translate the abstract into Lozi, Kaonde, Tonga or Bemba Zambian languages. There is a link to the complete academic article in English. The title of the article is: “Eurocentric Destruction of Indigenous Conceptions: the Secret Rediscovery of the Beautiful Woman in African Societies.”

  1. http://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/articles/BanthuBakaziKukongolaAbstractDec92009.pdf (Nyanja)
  2. http://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/articles/BanthuBanakaziKutowaAbstractDec92009.pdf (Tumbuka)
  3. http://people.bridgewater.edu/~mtembo/menu/articles/AfricanBeautyRevisedMarch162010.pdf (Abstract and Full Article in English)