Let’s Use Golden Jubilee to Restore Sidelined Landmarks [opinion]

IN a short while, the Golden Jubilee shall be history.

Another 50 years, Zambians shall celebrate, this time not the Golden Jubilee but a Century of political and, perhaps, of economic independence.

President Michael Chilufya Sata last year set the tempo for the celebration of the Golden Jubilee with his announcement at the opening of this current Session of Parliament and revealed plans to set up a high-powered committee of eminent Zambians to spearhead organisation of activities leading to the grand finale on October 24.

The impact so far has been noticed through some talk shows featuring some known leading personalities of the struggle for independence in electronic media and columns in the newspapers which have highlighted their heroic contributions to the struggle.

Noticeably, the struggle for independence plays a major part of the celebrations but of strength again are the events and personalities involved after independence who have shaped the destiny of this great nation.

Have they received equal attention or does it mean that history of Zambia in the last 50 years is only a preserve of the good guys? What about events that have re-shaped the outlook of Zambia, creating rogue merchants that have destroyed Zambia’s landscape and cities, hygiene and introduced filth and vigilantes of the dreaded by air.

Among all previous celebrations, the Golden Jubilee is the crowning jewel, the tiara that must be worn with pride and that must leave an indelible mark on the nation. It is a platform to successfully build on the future to avoid, as the nation gallops to the Century, the apparent moral decay and economic stagnation and critically answer the question whether independence was worthwhile.

Many activities have been held as preamble to grand finale on October 24. Some have been highly covered in the media, depending on the personality officiating. Others still have gone unnoticed. The Government has used all avenues that can receive and disseminate the message of Golden Jubilee.

Churches have been such avenues and credit must go to the leadership of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Zambia (PAOGZ) churches that have taken the message seriously and devote a part of the service to extol the virtues of being a Zambian in a politically stable Zambia.

On July 20, being a member of the Ndola Worship Centre, an affiliate of PAOGZ of Pastor Malama Zulu, I attended one such gathering of 27 churches for Big Sunday at the People’s Church on the Dag Hammarskjoeld Drive in Itawa near the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport.

Present also was the Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Howard Sikwela, an ordained pastor.

In his speech Reverend Sikwela who had cut his trip to Livingstone short in order to attend the Big Sunday referred to Deuteronomy 25:8-13 in which God instructed Moses to inform the children of Israelhow they shall observe the jubilee every 50 years. The PS equally directed the clergy to explain the chapter and its importance to the people and the nation as a whole.

Dwelling on 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 the PS extolled the veracity of the passage.

“God was referring to people who are called by his name and not politicians. The Church, therefore, should play the role of ambassadors and those who must carry the Lord’s identity. Our fathers fought for this country. We can differ in ideology but not to allow political parties deride us and tear this country apart,” Reverend Sikwela told the congregation.

Rev.Sikwela also quoted from 1 Timothy 3:1,2 and 1 Corinthians 15:8 that Zambians must remember each other in prayers and supplications and not take the work of the Lord in vain or compare ourselves to each other.

A prayer was offered on Isaiah 60, to ask the glory of God to come over Zambia.

Delivering his sermon CELEBRATING GOD’S FAVOUR, laying the foundation for celebrating the Golden Jubilee, Reverend George Mulenga of Ndeke read Psalm 11:3:”When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Rev Mulenga revealed three steps to help understand why the forefathers sought independence. The first step was sacrifice, living beyond self, beyond I that every citizen must sacrifice for the development and security of mother Zambia. Northern Rhodesia had its origin and Zambia has its own origin.

The second step is to explain the symbols of national identity to effectively understand the sovereignty of the state and bring out nationalism in the citizenry. Thirdly, we must understand the background of this country and where we were coming from.

“If we Zambians do not remember the background of this country, the segregation that was rife, even in shops, that compelled our fathers to wage the struggle we shall indeed be lost to reality. We must reflect on what went on in their minds when they approved the symbols of our national identitythen shall weappreciate our independence,” Rev. Mulenga said.

The three symbols of national identity are the Flag, Coat of Arms and the National Anthem.

Rev Mulenga said it was impossible for one to appreciate the struggle for independence if one does not understand the significance of those symbols.

Giving credit to the late second Republic President Dr Frederick Chiluba for declaring Zambia a Christian nation in December 1991, Rev Mulenga said looking at the national symbols, Dr Chiluba merely formalised what the fathers had envisioned when they accepted the concepts of the Flag, Coat of Arms and the National Anthem.

The Zambian flag has four colours – Green, Red, Black and Orange, and an Eagle in flight clutching the three. At its unveiling at midnight of October 1964, the flag had a distinctive green colour all around signifying the natural resources of the country.

Unfortunately, today the flag has lost its original colours depending on the maker.Various depths of green have been used and yellow has replaced orange. What do these colours signify and why should Zambians revere their national symbols? In the olden days, Zambians stood still as the anthem played but today they shall even be chatting.

This has been more pronounced in Zambian sportsmen and women and no wonder their results are appalling. They seem lost to the importance of adorning Zambian colours!

This author, a former Sports Reporter for this newspaper, has noticed the chasm that has developed between the current crop of sportsmen and women, and youths of the independence era. At independence, we were taught to appreciate the importance of national symbols. At school activities of the day began with singing the national anthem.

Children were taught the meaning of each colour in the Flag and the symbols in the Coat of Arms and to appreciate the lyrics of the national anthem.

Observe current soccer players. It would seem many of those called to the national team do not even know a single line in the national anthem, even to mime it, a major contrast to their North and West African counterparts who appear proud, honoured and excited to be playing for their countries.

Those players holding their right hand to the chest sing along as their anthems are being played. But look at Zambians. They will be mute, hands akimbo or plainly sagging on their sides, showing no interest at all. This must change. Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)and other sports organisations must inculcate nationalism in these flag carriers, as they are called.

What do colours in the Flag stand for?

The Green, an embracing colour, signifies abundance natural resources Red for the blood that was shed for the struggle Black stands for the people and Orange denotes the wealth or minerals of this country. The Eagle symbolizes freedom urging Zambians to rise above problems.

Rev Mulenga relished the symbolic presence of the eagle on Zambia’s national symbols and extorted Zambians to equally study them to overcome woes facing the nation. In the Bible, he said, the eagle is portrayed as a fearless bird that does not flinch from any threat.

The eagle has a keen and sharp eye capable of spotting any prey even when flying at high altitudes. “There is no fear in the eagle as it flies in the sky its keen eyes observing even the minutest movements on the earth.Confronted by the storm, it will open its wings and face the storm,” Rev Mulenga said adding,

“This was the spirit our fathers had when they chose the eagle. As the eagle rises and heads into the storm it challenges us Zambians to the same, rise up in unison above all problems,” he said drawing a deafening ovation from the congregation.

The eagle is hence on the Coat of Arms perched between the hole and pick, two vital tools used in farming and mining, denoting Zambia’s agriculture as the mainstay of the economy seeing that copper is a wasting asset, mine shaft, a zebra showing the nation’s abundant game or the wild life.

Other landmarks are a cob of maize denoting Zambia’s potential in agriculture, the cascade of black and white standing for the Mosi-Oa-Tunya, the water that thunders and the abundance of water in Zambia which boasts of 45 per cent of water in Southern Africa.

The greatest consideration for which Zambians must credit the founding fathers is the presence of a man and woman holding the Coat of Arms. Clearly there was no gender imbalance in their minds. They assessed Zambia could move forward if both sexes played their role.

“If we followed the path of our founding fathers, there would be no need for FAWEZA (an association that promotes women in education). Women and men were considered equal and mutual partners in the development of Zambia,” Rev Mulenga said. “It is there on the Coat of Arms.”

Rev Mulenga challenged those who doubt the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation to revisit the lyrics in the national anthem. Each line brings the nation and its citizens closer to God. The stanza is a praise to God just as the song extols Zambians to perpetual unity to build a g and free nation.

Many misguided individuals have indicated they would boycott the Golden Jubilee celebrations. This can only come from jokers and nihilists who wished to see the disintegration of the country.

The Bible says in everything give thanks.God has been faithful to Zambia that in 50 years of independence His grace has reigned supreme. Many countries in Africa, Americas and Europe admire Zambia’s stability. Many have not known peace since independence and despite the abundance of wealth are wallowing in poverty.

In United States, the role model of many of Zambia’s proponents of freedoms or liberties, it took the death of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, to realise that Africans were human beings. The famous 14th Amendment made in 1868 which enforced racial discrimination against blacks was only struck off the Federal Statutes in 1953 by the Supreme Court ruling of new Chief Justice Warren.

Rev Mulenga recalled the incident in Mufulira where a nationalist showed the stupidity of colour bar. He bought a bicycle, and refused it brought through the door, but the keyhole. Africans were not allowed to enter a shop but bought their things through a key hole. All amenities were segregated.

It is a fact that Zambia had four distinct residential areas and two shopping centres. These were the coloured quarters, Hillcrest in Ndola, Kanini for Indians and the unmistakable Madras in Lusaka. The townships, unlit, ugly and teeming with population, and without proper amenities, were for Africans. Prime areas were reserved for whites.

Dr. Chiluba brought dignity to Africans ignored for 27 years after independence. With Mr Sata as Minister of Local Government the townships received electricity under the township electrification project. Thus today, Chifubu, Twapia, Matero and many others have power. They all have a reason to celebrate. And there many others reasons too.

Zambians need to rededicate the national landmarks or forever sink in the quagmire.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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