MARTIN NKOLOMBA, Lusaka
TODAY Zambia celebrates its youths at all strata and across all sectors of its economy. Undoubtedly, these young people have made immense contribution to the country’s development dating as far back as the pre-independence era.
Zambian youths have since time immemorial proven themselves in honour of their country. From a political perspective, it would almost be a sin to forget the gallantry with which youths participated in the struggle for independence.
Led by extraordinary leaders in their very age bracket, most illustrious of whom was Zambia’s founding father and former President Kenneth Kaunda, of course, youths successfully fought for the independence of the country.
Their energy, conviction and relentless resolve formed a significant part of that much-needed backbone upon which Zambia attained her Independence.
It is not possible to give a narrative of all the great things youths did in the struggle for this country’s independence. No, it is not possible to measure their sacrifice in any written form, a number of them having lost their lives in the dreadful but rewarding struggle.
Youths have continued to honour Zambia post-independence. A myriad of examples exists, but one would be failing if in their tribute they don’t mention the country’s soccer and other sports heroes.
Godfrey Chitalu, Kalusha Bwalwa, Amon Simutowe, Lottie Mwale, Samuel Matete, the 1993 fallen heroes, were all youths when they put an indelible mark of Zambia in world history. These and many other unsung heroes have made the country proud and massively contributed to the development the country has thus far attained.
Always looking for opportunities to showcase their vision, ambition, courage and love of country, Zambian youths have not spared any sector. They’re playing central roles in many fields like accounts, commerce, law, politics and agriculture.
It’s not a lie that sometimes they have misapplied their golden energy as can be seen from the number of those that have committed criminal offences. Nonetheless, their overall contribution to the country’s development gracefully obliterates those blemishes on the face of the Zambian youth.
The government of Zambia its co-operating partners, despite its limitations, has provided an enabling environment for youths to be productive and excel. And a good number of them are already flourishing in the midst of challenges such as unemployment, themselves becoming employers and thereby helping Government.
As Zambia celebrates Youth Day, here is a glimpse of youths who are positively influencing society:
Mr Tembo is Kaumbwe Member of Parliament in Eastern Province. He’s playing a key role in national development by representing people in his constituency.
He could be the youngest president of the Local Government Association of Zambia and is the current executive Mayor of Kitwe. Mr Kangombe has worked hard to be where he is. He became independent counsellor for Riverside ward in Nkana constituency after graduating from Copperbelt University in 2006. Before that he served as Copperbelt University Students Union president. He is involved in community service as a civic leader.
Ms Malambo is Magoba Ward Councillor in Kafue. She is involved in community development and effectively representing youths.
Mr Mwila is a professional accountant and the youngest trade union leader at national level. He was elected in 2016 as National Road Sector Union President.
Mr Tembo is one of the youngest members of Parliament. He became member of Parliament following his victory in the 2016 general elections in Sinda. He is involved in a number of development projects.
A successful professional accountant and businessman, Mr Mukosa is Chinsali Central Member of Parliament and one of the youngest in the House.
Mr Chanda has been Mayor of Luanshya since 2011. He’s contributing to national development as a civic leader and businessman and therefore an example for other youths.
Ms Deka is one of the youngest executive directors, if not the youngest, in the country with much experience in policy as it relates to national development. She is currently executive director at Policy Monitoring and Research Centre.
The list above mentions just a few examples of youths who’re applying their talents, zeal and effort well. There’re definitely other youths all over the country who’re doing amazing work, including sportsmen and women like Kabange Mupopo, Catherine Phiri and members of the Zambia national soccer team at all levels.
Youths have been a pillar of strength in Zambia’s development agenda from time immemorial. They’ve always exhibited amazing energy that has uplifted Zambia in different ways. The vast majority of the Zambian population is in fact youth, representing a resource of uttermost importance. The examples in this write-up offer hope to many a Zambian youth that they can achieve great things if they align their energy, talent and their other resources well as some of their colleagues have done.
Fifty-three years after independence, Zambian youths can look back at what their predecessors have achieved and what they are achieving to energise themselves for higher contribution to their country’s socio-economic development.
MARTIN NKOLOMBA, Lusaka