We have been busy over the past few days with arrangements for the local celebrations here in Mwandi and what has struck us is how much this country is loved by its ordinary people and loved by ordinary people connected in many ways to Zambia throughout the world. The events held now are in stark contrast to the rather controlled stuffy, elitist and formal programme arranged over the Independence Celebration in October 1964.
On Facebook under Zambian Independence Celebrations, Scotland 2014 we saw that there were a number of events held in Scotland as well to commemorate this important occasion. There were pictures of the Reverends Morton, Wilkie and MacKenzie, all three were former Church of Scotland Missionaries in Zambia at the time of Independence. Over 80 Zambians in Scotland and friends of Zambia gathered for a party at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh on Saturday 18 October 2014 to celebrate. After dinner they were entertained by the Mthunzi Culture Group.
A scarf designed by Alex Pearce, a third year student, at the Scottish Textile College to commemorate the Zambian Jubilee, is shown here on a photograph taken by Hamza Yousaf MSP, the Scottish Minister for External Affairs who attended the event.
The weekend concluded with a Service of Thanksgiving held at South Leith Parish Church in Edinburgh. The Preacher was the Rev Gavin Elliot, another former Missionary to Zambia. He thanked God for the 50 years of peace and tranquillity enjoyed by Zambia and for continuing to bless the country. He said that Zambians should expect their political leaders to act as leaders of a Christian nation. He challenged all Christians in Scotland to demonstrate their faith in daily life as many Zambians do. The main message came from Joshua 24 16 1, 15-24 where Joshua warns of the dangers of serving foreign gods and urges them to serve the Lord and incline their hearts to him.
INDEPENDENCE EVE 23 OCTOBER 2014 (Mwandi)
0900h Schools Debate
1800h Outdoors Interdenominational Church Service
2000h Independence Braai (Barbecue) and Entertainment
2400h National Anthem and Hoisting of the National Flag followed by Fireworks.
Ida and I attended the Church Service then came home to let Florence away who was baby-sitting. As we do at Hogmanay just before the “bells”, we woke up the excited children and packed them into the car still in their pyjamas and drove them round to the District Commissioner’s Office Grounds across the mulapo (seasonal inlet) from our house. There we joined in a Caterpillar dance and they were given Coke and Fanta to sip as we awaited the countdown. At 1155h we gathered round the flagpole and sang the national anthem as the flag was slowly raised and broken at midnight to cheers and applause. Around half a dozen large rocket type fireworks were released breaking over the night sky in a display of silver, gold, red and green echoing and reflecting our national colours. This brought the day to a fitting conclusion.
INDEPENDENCE DAY 24 OCTOBER 2014
0900h March gathers at MTN Telephone Tower
0930h March-Past under the Trees at the Primary School
National Anthem –School Choirs
Introductory Remarks by Comperes
Welcome by Headteacher
Speech by District Commissioner
Poem by School Children
Cutting of the Golden Jubilee Cake
On Independence Day after breakfast and dressed for the occasion: Mubita in Chipolopolo top, Ellie in Girls Brigade Uniform and Ornelle, Omeri, Omedy and Omari all wearing clothes in Zambian colours, we dropped them for the March through the village to the school. They joined their friends. Ida and I were complimented too for our appropriate sartorial elegance, she in a musisi in the Ananmoyo colours and I in the kilt topped by a Golden Jubilee sitenge madiba shirt. The rest of the morning we spent seated under the shade of the trees at the Primary School watching the programme unfold. The continuity was well taken care of by two local teachers, a gender balanced duo at the microphone. After lunch the traditional Mwandi Old Firm Soccer Derby took place with the Chalk Breakers playing the Injectors. On this occasion the School Teachers beat the Hospital Workers 3-1. This result has since been contested as it is being scurrilously alleged that some of the more elderly teachers had players from the Senior Secondary School Team play in their stead!
And finally another friend of Zambia and former Paris Missionary, Philippe Burger brought this interesting documentary on Youtube, downloaded and posted by Patience Chisanga, to my attention. If you have not seen it, it is worth watching. It was shown on ZNBC in mid-September on a programme called Today with Zamtel The First Independence Cabinet. It deals with how the Cabinet was formed, who were members and what was the vision for the country then and of local interest to us, Sikota Wina is also interviewed.