This article is dedicated to the memory of Elijah Jani Lungu. Thanks for believing in me when men cast a plague of doubt on me. I am glad to say I beat the odds and "Wearing it proudly as your son" as you would put it.
October 24, 2014 marked fifty years of Zambia's independence and I took a moment to reflect. It is the duty of every living being to take a journey back to their roots and reconnect with their past otherwise they are cursed to a meaningless existence, lurking in the shadows as a lonesome wanderer sans direction sans destination sans destiny.
I took my journey back to 1964 as I attended the overnight Independence gala celebrations at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia on October 23, 2014 to usher in Independence Day. As the clock struck midnight, the flag was raised to full mast, the crowd in uproar so profound I could swear I felt the earth shake. This must have been the atmosphere in 1964. Everyone was in a frenzy giving birth to childlike friendships. This moment was nostalgic only comparable to the moment Zambia won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. Badgering landlords ceased to demand for their rentals offering more debt write offs than the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank combined. Alright, that is an embellishment but I am sure you get the picture. The oneness was indescribable, for a moment nothing could divide us not even political inclination.
At this moment I realized that this is what made us Zambian, the love for our country and our shared dream. This was enshrined in us and ran deeper than we could envisage; being Zambian was not a decision but rather a state of being. This formed our identity and the onus was on us to preserve it and wear it proudly as children of this great land. In the true spirit of 10101(Ten ten one) nomaone (Zambian and Proud).
However, over the fifty years, as a nation we seem to have engulfed ourselves in separatist behavior defining each other by our race, creed, color and ethnicity and forgetting what being Zambian means. Most of all we have lost the urge to dream the Zambian dream subjecting ourselves to meaningless existence and senseless motion in pursuit of short term gratification sinking deeper into a myopic culture. The dream which led a young boy from Petauke in the Eastern Province of Zambia to envisage a world beyond the cornfields resulting in a change maker, ushering in the first computerized locomotives not only in Zambia but Africa. That was simply a-maize-ing. I am proud to say he passed on the dream and it still lives in me.
The challenge is upon us to rise above all of these prejudices like the eagle, our national emblem and seek to foster unity of purpose in the quest for national development. We are symbiotic beings and the persecution of our fellow beings is self-persecution. We need to retrace our dreams and those of our founding fathers on which our nation was founded; once etched in the depth of our hearts and have since been wiped away by the myriad of arm chair critics whose sole purpose is to bring us down.
I am a Zambian and an Afr-I-Can that defines impossible as I'm possible. We live in a Zambia full of possibilities only if we can change our mindset. Poverty is more mental than physical and if we can break the shackles in our mind then we can truly be free.
To begin is success half delivered, not to start is failure. I know the journey to reclaiming the Zambian dream is going to be long but beyond the horizon I see a new Zambia filled with goodness. Let our lives be testimonies that we lived and may our names be written in the sands of time.
God bless our great nation Zambia at fifty years and for many years to come.