Pan African heritage: Zambia

26 Sep

In the third part to my series on Pan African heritage, I would like to focus on Zambia.

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Zambia derives its name from the Zambezi River. The river runs across the western and southern border and then forms Victoria Falls and flows into Lake Kariba and on to the Indian Ocean. The capital is Lusaka. Bordering neighbours are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola.
It is a landlocked country with several large freshwater lakes, including Lake Tanganyika, Lake Mweru, Lake Bangweulu, and the largest man-made lake in Africa, Lake Kariba. The terrain consists of high plateaus, large savannas, and hilly areas; the highest altitude is in the Muchinga Mountains, at 6,000 feet (1,828 meters). The Great Rift Valley cuts through the southwest and Victoria Falls, the most visited site in Zambia, is in the South.
There are several game parks in the country; some consider Southern Luangwa to be the best game park on the continent.

The background of the national flag is green, symbolic of the country’s natural beauty, with three vertical stripes in the lower right corner. The three stripes are: red, symbolic of the country’s struggle for freedom; black, representing the racial makeup of the majority population; and orange, symbolic of the country’s copper riches and other mineral wealth. A copper-coloured eagle in the upper right corner symbolises the country’s ability to rise above its problems.

Zambia is a highly diverse country with over 70 ethnic groups. Each cultural group is acknowledged and celebrated each year in colourful festivals.
The total number of languages spoken in Zambia is 73, with the most popular being Nyanja, Bemba, Lozi, Tonga, Luvale, Lunda, and Kaonde. In the Livingstone area, Tonga is the most widely spoken of the local languages, while in Lusaka and eastern Zambia, Nyanja is the most popular, followed by Bemba.

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Traditional Zambian music is characterised by a lot of singing and dancing. The instrument that is played more than any other is the drum, and there there are others such as the thumb piano (kalimba, kathandi, or kangombio in some Zambian languages, or mbira in some cultures), and the kilimba (marimba or xylophone). Today, Zambia’s music is a mixture of traditional, African and western and contemporary sounds with influences from Zambia’s different traditional groups, music from other African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, and music from Jamaica and American genres.

Traditional art was expressed in pottery, basketry, carvings and stools. More materials are being used nowadays, such as metal (copper or wire), plastic and fabrics. Recycled art can be seen especially in tourist markets and curio centres.

The chitenge material is used in dress (particularly traditional dress, or wrapped around the waist like a sarong), but this type of African fabric has recently gained worldwide popularity in African fashion clothing and accessories.

Knysan was not the first

Zambia is noted for its rich wildlife and landscapes, using those resources to promote tourism with the slogan, “the Real Africa.” The most notable landmark is Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means “the smoke that thunders.” It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and even though it is shared with Zimbabwe, it is a source of great pride for Zambians.

For many years, the saying “Copper is king” was symbolic of the country because copper was the main contributor to the economy.

The main staple is nshima, which is made of maize (corn). “Mealie meal” is dried and pounded corn to which boiling water is added. It is cooked to a consistency of thickened mashed potatoes and is served in large bowls. The diner scoops out a handful, rolls it into a ball and dips it into a relish. The preferred relish is usually a meat—goat, fish, or chicken—and a vegetable, usually rape (collard greens) and tomatoes, onions, or cabbage. In rural areas, where meat is not an option on a regular basis, nshima is served with beans, vegetables, or dried fish. Mealie meal is eaten three times a day, at breakfast as a porridge and as nshima for lunch and dinner. Buns are also popular at breakfast, taken with tea.
Other foods, such as groundnuts (peanuts), sweet potatoes, and cassava, are more seasonal. Fruits are plentiful, including bananas, mangoes, paw paws, and pineapples, which come from the hilly regions.

The eastern part of the country has a climate suitable for the growing of cotton; coffee is grown in the north. Communities near lakes focus on fishing as a major industry, selling their catch all over the country. Zambia is host to a variety of freshwater fish species, including kapenta and bream. In areas where water is scarce, cattle and other domestic animals are raised.

end.

One Response to “Pan African heritage: Zambia”

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  1. Pan African heritage: Zambia | rosiemoteneblog - October 25, 2017

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