I have not stuck to my leaders’ celebration deadlines. What I have discovered is, researching African leaders takes a whole lot of time, that I did not realise would be essential. I am still researching my next leader but thought I would take this time, to write about Zambia. We as a nation, are a year older. Today, marks fifty years of independence, and like every year, I am moved by a heightened sense of Patriotism. Many of us forget that the luxuries we now enjoy were bought at great cost to many. The term independence should not be taken lightly; we have lived in peace for 50 years! We are a free people, free to come and go as we please, we have access to education and land, we have the power to decide our fate.
Generally, my point is, we are better off under our Zambian sky than we were under Rhodesia’s sky. I constantly criticize us as a people and talk about our failings, but today, I pray and hope we see what was won. Whatever equalities have been achieved for the African, would not have been possible without independence. Whatever dreams have been made possible—those are the things that the blood of many bought.
Today, we have made progress, but we still have to admit that we have a long way to go. We have regressed in some ways, and yes, HIV has not helped our efforts, but 50 years should be the point where we draw a line in the sand and get up and instil in those of us who have not yet acquired it, a sense of personal responsibility in where Zambia is today. It is us—and only us—who can solve our problems. In the same way that our forefathers challenged the colour bar, without waiting for support from the rest of the world (yes there is a place for partnership, but our house is ours to clean up), we have to challenge the poverty bar. In the same way that they had to fight the corruption of the colonial British (Yes, I said it, they were corrupt), we have to fight our own corruption. We have to starve it, we have to kill it, in ourselves, in our hearts and homes, in everything we hold dear.
We have to get up and give hope to the countless children who call the streets home, the disabled, to those in need of our strength. We need to live for our God and live up to our motto, “One Zambia, one nation”. We are one race, with all our differences, we are one. Let’s live beyond political parties, beyond tribe and race and be the next level of change we need. We have come a long way, and God be praised for this journey, but let’s all wake up and fight the next phase of the war for Zambia’s future. Happy Independence Day my land and people, and may God bless you all, and cause his face to shine upon you, and as we unite, may we begin to see the fruits of our labour.