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Why a Unity in Diversity?
March 20, 2006
March 20, 2006 Issue #0012


Written by Enestle Zimba,
Founding Editor
(c) copyright 2006 Zambia African


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================== TABLE OF CONTENTS ===================

o Africa’s Best Kept Secret
o Just My Thoughts
o Resource Centre
o Free Trials


o Why is Zambia Africa’s best kept secret?

...Because the Zambian ethnic groups are a good example
of unity in diversity. But it wasn’t always like that.
The fittest or major group reigned supreme...

But perhaps none of the major ethnic groups of people found
in Zambia today are really indigenous. Take for example,
the Bemba, the most populous ethnic group in northern
Zambia. About two centuries ago, they arrived here running
away from a fierce chase after a battle that occurred in
Kola, the Mwata Yamvu Kingdom in the present day Democratic
Republic of Congo.

The same circumstances explain the presence today of
the Lunda people of Luapula Province. Remember their
colourful Umutumboko Ceremony they so proudly hold
yearly at the end of July. Yet the turmoil in Kola
did not end there. Another offshoot resulted in yet
another Lunda group that ran to and settled in northwestern Zambia.

In the Western Province, the Lozi people were
conquered by an invading army of the Kololo people,
who were dead on the run from the greatest warrior,
King Shaka. The kingdom of Shaka was in the now KwaZulu
Natal Province in South Africa. Today the Lozi people
celebrate the most colourful Kuomboka Ceremony, the
annual event that takes place in the Zambezi Floodplain.
The next Kuomboka Ceremony is due at the end of March.

The most populous in the Southern Province are the
Tonga people. Neither are they indigenous. They were
the early ‘birds’ to settle in Zambia but strangely they
also originated from Kola, in the Democratic Republic of

Other major groups of the Eastern Province are the Chewa
and Tumbuka people. They too originated from Congo.

The fierce Ngoni people are now settled in eastern
Zambia. This is again the result of the adventures
of the warrior Shaka, king of the fiery Zulu people.

Chief Mpezeni, his Impi army and the Ngoni were among
the many groups of people that ran away from King Shaka.
Others being the Kololo mentioned above.

In their quest to get away quickly the Ngoni left behind
their wives and children. But on the way they stole
cattle and “picked up” new wives in the lands they
conquered and passed through. They married the women.

Today the Ngoni live with their language virtually
forgotten. The children grew up speaking their mothers’
tongue. Having lost their precious Zulu language the
Ngoni jealously guarded their traditions especially
the Nc’wala Ceremony. This is another of Zambia’s most
colourful annual ceremonies. One took place recently
on February 25.

So what’s so special about Zambia’s ethnic groups?
Inclusive of the major ones mentioned above they total 73.
What’s more, they live in harmony and have done so
since the end of the tribal wars of the previous century.
The last one involved the British with their superior
Guns. The Ngoni could not be equal to the task!

There has never been a war in Zambia since then and the
country is a classic example of unity, a haven of peace
for refuges from civil strive in the surrounding countries
of southern Africa.

Up to 500,000 refuges have taken resident in Zambia at
one time or another. Refuge camps are everywhere. In the
east, in the north and in the west.


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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~JUST MY THOUGHTS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Africa people might look leisurely in their outlook.
But this comes from traditions and a way of life. Off
the farming and harvesting periods people usually had
plenty of time on their hands. So they were never in a

Why would they indeed? After all the sun would surely
rise the following day. Then it would travel slowly
across the blue sky and sink slowly down. And
commercialization was unheard of.

What was the implication of this? Time was immaterial,
well not quite useless but taken a little differently.
Just imagine. You wake without a care in the world about
dashing off somewhere. You woke up any time. You had the
whole morning to do that.

So if you told someone you would visit them the following
morning that did not mean any particular hour. In fact
it meant any time starting from dawn or indeed between
morning and noon. Afternoon might mean the whole period
up to sun set.

So people traveled long distances in unhurriedly mood.
Talk about being casual! They took time to cover thousands
of kilometres such like the Ngoni people and all the
others did. They ran away or more correctly walked,
albeit slowly, from the tip of Africa near Durban in
KwaZulu Natal to Tanzania near the Equator. Those
thousands and thousands of whopping kilometers were
covered over many years. So there was no actual
running, surely not.

Strange but truly true. This attitude of outwardly
behaving leisurely like they have all the time in the
world has not rubbed off completely. But, however,
modernity is catching up, and real quickly. What with
the concept of global village now literally having
knocked down the African door. The African is under
threat of changing his way of life rather fast,
perhaps too fast?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~RESOURCES CENTRE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FREE TRIALS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Written by: Enestle Zimba
Africa’s Best Kept Secret Ezine (Abkse)
(c) copyright 2006 Zambia African
73 Eucalyptus Avenue,
Luanshya, Zambia

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