Zambia hits 57 in new dawn but without KK

AS THE nation prepares to celebrate its 57th independence anniversary this coming Sunday, two notable facts stand out. This significant day, for the first time since October 24, 1964, will be commemorated without the founding father and former president Kenneth Kaunda. Dr Kaunda, who died in June this year, was among many other freedom fighters who fought to ensure the liberation of Zambia from her colonial master – Britain. The second notable point being that this year’s commemoration will be held under a new government that was ushered in after the August 12 elections, meaning there could be some minor differences from previous commemorations. However, these changes do not outdo the importance of celebrations, whose emphasis has always been to emulate the spirit of the founding fathers who fought tirelessly to liberate the country from the colonial masters. Their priority was to unite all the citizens regardless of which part of the country one came from. It did not matter what language one spoke, what faith or political persuasion one held; they believed that everyone was equal and was entitled to all opportunities and rights like the next person. It is hoped that in this new era, important days on the Zambian calendar like Independence Day will be celebrated responsibly especially by young people who have a tendency of drinking excessively, being violent or exhibit unacceptable behaviour, especially in public settings where people who want to spend quality time with their families are often disturbed. During public holidays such as Independence Day, young people and children should be encouraged to embrace what the day stands for and to appreciate the patriotism and accomplishment of freedom fighters, most of whom were also quite young during the struggle. They should be encouraged to reflect what their personal contribution and legacy will be in the process of national development, the same way Dr Kaunda and his compatriots contributed to the liberation struggle. This is only possible if those given the responsibility of nurturing children and young people make a deliberate effort of always displaying patriotic tendencies as a way of instilling positive feelings and thoughts in the minds of children and young people, otherwise the struggles of the founding fathers will be in vain. Children and young people should be taught to appreciate the role played by all freedom fighters, some who lost their lives during the struggle and never got to enjoy the fruits of their labour. To strengthen feelings of patriotism among children, it is equally important to teach children and young people that not everyone is the same, and that as Zambians, they should accept this diversity. Only then will young people and children begin to understand that patriotism means much more; it is about loving one’s country, all its people for the sake of unity and integrity. If feelings of patriotism are not encouraged, especially among young people and children, the country runs the risk of losing the positive gains, including what the One Zambia One Nation motto stands for. Young people and children should refuse to be used for wrong reasons by those peddling personal agendas to divide the country because they have the power to build or to destroy the country by making the right choices. This influential group of the population can be the catalyst that Zambia desperately needs to reclaim that position of being an oasis of peace in this new dispensation. As long as everyone, including parents, join hands, it is possible to reach the ideal state where everyone will be able to live in harmony and peace without any forms of discrimination because that is what Dr Kaunda and colleagues envisioned for Zambia. Covid-19 is real; stay at home and keep safe! Remember, children are our future. until next week, take care. For comments: pcmalawochilufya@yahoo.com

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