Editor's Comment

Yes, we need to preserve our identity

THE national anthem of Zambia is an important national symbol, as it represents our rich history, traditions and beliefs as a people.
The national anthem, like other national symbols, reminds us not only of our identity but our liberation from colonial rule.
It is a symbol of patriotism and reminder of the values that we as a people ascribe to.
Through the Zambian national anthem, values such as unity, peace, dignity and hard work are espoused, among others.
By singing the national anthem from time to time, citizens are reminded of and affirm to live in unity and peace.
The national anthem is also a strong reminder on the need for all sons and daughters of the land to work hard and ensure dignity for all.
A national anthem is also intended to stir feelings of patriotism and pride among citizens by reminding them of their nation’s glory, beauty and rich heritage.
It also helps unite citizens by one single song or music. During the performance of the national anthem, citizens, despite their ethnic differences, rise in unison and sing the song with great enthusiasm.
While the national anthem plays a very important role in fostering patriotism and other national values in the country, it is sad that over the years it has lost its meaning and rightful position.
Years back, particularly in the UNIP era, singing the national anthem was an integral part of every public meeting, including in schools.
No public meeting or school assembly could take place without singing the national song.
However, over the years, the enthusiasm of singing the national anthem has been diminishing.
This unfortunately is also reflecting in the waned patriotism among Zambians.
It is evident that as the older generations that fought and witnessed the independence struggle diminish, so are the levels of patriotism.
Today’s generation has lost the sense of attachment to their country.
We have citizens who have no sense of pride for being citizens of this great and blessed nation. They sing praises for other countries while condemning their own motherland.
This is also why we have more people asking what Government will do for them as opposed to what they will do for their country. This is the kind of attitude that encumbers development.
Some citizens and even those in public offices today find it easy to sideline locals in service delivery in preference to foreigners because they lack patriotism and understanding of where the country is coming from.
Today, we hear of chiefs selling huge tracts of land to foreigners for a song leaving their subjects stranded.
Surely, it cannot be business as usual when the country’s identity and sense of pride is on the brink of being eroded.
It is for this reason that we commend the National Dialogue Forum for acting patriotically by proposing that any person who does not sing the national anthem at a public gathering or depicts any political symbol will be liable to imprisonment for a period of up to two years.
While a maximum sentence of two years is too harsh, there is need to find a way to compel all citizens to uphold the national identity.
Entrenching patriotism and upholding the national anthem has been on President Edgar Lungu’s agenda.
This is why he directed that citizens should know and sing all three stanzas of the national anthem at every public meeting.
The resolution by the NDF will, therefore, enforce the President’s directive.
We do not expect any hurdles in passing this resolution in Parliament because it is for the good of the country.
As was in the past, schools, both private and public, have a role to play in entrenching national values in pupils.
The Bible says teach a child the way he should go and when they are old they will not depart from it. Similarly, there is need to entrench patriotism at a tender age. This way we will raise patriotic citizens and leaders.

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