CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Lusaka
THERE is no place like home is an â€˜ever greenâ€™ adage that has resonated with most if not all people of different cultures across the globe.
This adage reflected clearly on Zambiaâ€™s first republican President Kenneth Kaundaâ€™s face on Sunday April 3 this year as he set foot on the land of his birth at Lubwa Mission where his parents are buried.
Dr Kaundaâ€™s parents David Kaunda and Helen Nyamunyirenda were the first African missionaries to pioneer the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the Free Church of Scotland now part of the United Church of Zambia in todayâ€™s Muchinga Province.
The engraved inscription on the solid pan brick church building at Lubwa Mission which reads: â€œKaunda (David) brought the Gospel here in 1905â€ probably tells it tersely, aptly and better.
The serene mission has since its establishment provided social services like health and education to the people far and wide.
Added to the euphoric and nostalgic moment for Dr Kaunda was President Lunguâ€™s presence who capped it by declaring the age-old church building a national monument during a well-attended special church service.
Lubwa Mission Station is a national heritage site but the actual church building has not been part of the monument.
In declaring the solidly and firmly erected seemingly medieval building, President Lungu said Government will soon issue a gazette notice to formally and legally bring the historic declaration into effect.
â€œLooking at this place, I can see the sun coming in. It [church building] has stood the test of it time,â€ said President Lungu in reference to the pan brick church structure some whose rock tiled roof has some spaces, allowing the sunâ€™s rays into the place of worship.
The nostalgia in the historical place was shared by President Lungu who described the visit to Chinsali as nostalgic.
Mr Lungu pointed out that the undulating woody place has significance in Zambiaâ€™s history because it is home to some of Zambiaâ€™s founding fathers and that Dr Kaundaâ€™s rise to leadership emanated from there.
President Lungu said Lubwa Mission is an example of a place where good teachings are inculcated into people to do good for their society and the country at large.
He said posterity must be taught how Dr Kaunda who was born and bred at Lubwa Mission coined the motto â€œOne Zambia One Nationâ€ from the gospel and traditional teachings he learnt at Lubwa Mission.
President Lungu and Dr Kaunda later visited and laid wreaths at Lubwa Mission cemetery where Dr Kaundaâ€™s parents are buried together with other missionaries and notables such as veteran freedom fighter and educationist Reverend Paul Mushindo.
At Rev Mushindoâ€™s grave where Dr Kaunda also laid a wreath, President Lungu said it is unfortunate that some people have attempted to downplay Rev Mushindoâ€™s importance for political expediency when he deserved place in the history of the country.
The Patriotic Front (PF) under the leadership of late President Michael Sata initiated the construction of Paul Mushindo University in Chinsali which is nearing completion in honour of Rev Mushindo, who among others, accomplished an arduous task of translating the Bible from English into the Bemba language.
â€œThe man who lies here is one of the greatest men in our history, apart from preaching the gospel and translating the Bible from English into Bemba, he was also an educationist, he wrote many books and did other remarkable things. For me I will play my part in making sure each one of such great people gets their deserved place,â€ he said.
The President believes it is important to create libraries and a historic record of institutions and people who contributed immensely to Zambiaâ€™s development.
He wants people to be privy to information and history about the contribution of the countryâ€™s forefathers as this can help them appreciate their role and significance in the countryâ€™s history.
His advice to the media is to help highlight the importance of personalities that have made valuable contribution to the country. President Lungu who also visited Dr Kaundaâ€™s birthplace site said he will ensure the place is appropriately preserved for posterity.
President said there is need to preserve and maintain Dr Kaundaâ€™s birthplace site and ensure that it is depicted in its original form to showcase to local and international tourists.
And Dr Kaunda thanked Mr Lungu for taking time to visit his birthplace where he told President Lungu: â€œYour Excellency, Thank you for coming to our home.â€
He called upon Zambians to continue supporting President Lungu in his endevours to develop the country.
Dr Kaunda points out that Mr Lungu has demonstrated zeal and a heart to continue developing the country and uplift livelihoods.
â€œLet us support him and continue growing in that direction and let the will of God continue to be done. I am now old and on April 28, I turn 92!â€ Dr Kaunda said in a jovial mood as congregants cheered and ululated during a church service in the building which is now a national monument.
And Dr Kaundaâ€™s son Kaweche said his fatherâ€™s visit to Lubwa Mission was significant.
Mr Kaunda said the former republican President was also happy to witness golden jubilee celebrations at Kenneth Kaunda Secondary School â€œwhich is named in his honour and is a stoneâ€™s throw from Lubwa Mission, his home.â€
As a family member, Mr Kaunda said the schedule of events in Chinsali was significant and that the family, was for the idea that he personally attends the occasion.
â€œWe usually represent him [Dr Kaunda] at functions but the event in Lubwa was significant and as a family we felt that he needed to get there,â€ he said.
He said President Lungu must be commended for facilitating the smooth movements of Dr Kaunda.
â€œWe thank President Lungu that he was able to facilitate the journey, as a family it was significant that he gets there, that is his home and he had not been there in a long time,â€™ he said.
And indeed there is no place like Lubwa Mission for the nonagenarian patriarch and celebrated statesman.
CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Lusaka