Rights to enhance culture


THE Bill of Rights is legally defined as a declaration of individual rights and freedoms, issued by a national government. In other words it’s a state’s guarantee of its people’s liberty.
Arguably, the Bill of Rights forms the cornerstone of governance.
In the much publicised Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill 2016, there are intriguing proposed clauses that border on culture which I thought could be digested on this platform.
The Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights
43(1) states: “Subject to Article 258, a person has the right to use a language of that person’s choice.
(2) A person who belongs to a cultural or linguistic community has the right, with other members of that community to:
(a) Enjoy that persons culture; and
(b) Form, join or maintain cultural and linguistic associations.
(3) A person shall not be compelled to:
(a) Perform, observe or participate in cultural practices and rites or
(b) Form, join, contribute maintain or pay allegiance to a cultural or linguistic association”.
The proposed clauses that encourage indigenous culture to flourish are not only vital in preserving our rich and diverse heritage but encourage culture tourism.
Cultural tourism rides on the lifestyle of the people; their art, architecture, religion, beliefs and other basics that shape their way of life.
Ironically, most individuals have somewhat neglected their own ethnic tradition.
In Zambia today, there are many households across the country that have very poor vocabulary of their mother tongue.
In fact, some individuals have inferiority complex to speak their mother tongue in public even when they have an opportunity to do so.
Imagine, you were walking down the road and you accidentally knocked your feet on a stone, it is an opportunity to cry in your own mother language, painful as it may be.
Of course if your house is on fire and you need help you should shout loud in a language common in the neighborhood.
With today’s lifestyle, where technology is slowly galvanising a homogeneity society, it is important to guard indigenous traditions that give us a cultural identity.
Clauses of the Amendment Bill that encourages, the preservation of our cultural heritage should be supported unanimously.
If local traditions are not preserved, the country will have a blurred cultural image.
Yes! Culture evolves with time but we should strive to preserve traditions that shape our identity as Zambians.

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