Showing posts from February, 2015

Mpundu Mutembo: restoring the national symbol

By Jack Zimba

“THAT is me,” says Mpundu Mutembo, pointing to a statue towering a few metres above us. I couldn’t have believed him if I hadn’t been told who he was before we met. The solid black figure he was pointing at did not really mirror the light-complexioned man standing next to me. Time has separated old Mutembo from his ageless youthful figure cast in stone.

Unveiled on October 23, 1974, the Freedom Statue has come to symbolise Zambia’s freedom from the British colonial regime, and has earned its place on some of the country’s most important articles, including its currency.

But for Mutembo, the statue represents much more than that; it is his life.

Back in 1954, aged only 18, Mpundu Mutembo and his twin brother Arnold got involved in the political struggle against the colonialists in their village in Northern Province.

The twin brothers’ efforts to climb the education ladder had only taken them up to Standard Four.

They dropped out of school after their father’s death…

Ringston Mwale: Defying all odds to vote

By Jack Zimba

RINGSTON Mwale arrives at an isolated polling station in Lumezi Constituency, Lundazi, in style – with two of his four wives in tow. The pensive look on his face tells of the seriousness he attaches to what he was about to do; to vote for Zambia’s next President.
After casting his vote, he leads his small delegation out, clearly proud of what he had just done.
I decide to follow the 67-year-old patriarch back to his home. His wives, however, warn me about the long distance and so I borrow a bicycle to ease my travel back to the polling station.
We pass a few homesteads made up of mud houses and a few maize fields, but mostly we walk through bush in paths that crisscross and disappear into the overgrowth.
We cross two streams, steadying ourselves on makeshift bridges made out of logs. It is a long hike and the afternoon heat is punishing. My feet begin to hurt, but I keep in step with the old man, consoled somewhat by the beautiful green scenery.
To me, this is adventure, for…