Analysis: KABAMBA MWANSA
ZAMBIAN women are ranked first as the hardest drinkers of beer in the world. According to the data compiled by the World Health Organisation, no nation has harder-drinking women than Zambia, where 41 percent binge-drink at least once a week.
The statistics may be disputed or inaccurate. However, it is a wakeup call to a patriotic citizen to begin finding ways of solving the high levels of alcohol intake by Zambian women.
A true African woman and the family
It is very important to note that an African woman is an icon of identity for the family and home in an African society. Since an African woman has a special and exciting role to play in the family, any lapse can be thought of as a collapse of an African understanding of the family. It is through the initiative of a woman that a family is brought to life and there she stands as a leading light. An African woman is a home especially that her life in the society is centred on running the affairs of a home.
A real Zambian woman and the family
It is cardinal to note that the reference is not a black African woman but a woman who appreciates and embraces a Zambian worldview. She is one who represents the Zambian beauty regardless of race and her economic, religious, social and political standing in the society. Categorically, you cannot identify a Zambian woman without the following qualities: most dignified, respectful, forgiving, loving, pious, kind, gentle, tolerant, hardworking, patient, caring, all-embracing, steward and loyal. A Zambian woman is uniquely hilarious in that she is a selfless sharing person. A Zambian woman is one who ensures that her family makes a home within a house. She is a woman who values marriage and family life rather than any political, economic and religious status.
Unleashing women leadership
A Zambian woman is a leader in her own right. One cannot behold many Zambian women in public leadership but she enjoys her leadership in a more simple and private servant leadership manner. It is from private leadership, a Zambian woman makes a man a good public leader.
A Zambian woman is a person of insight, she has the ability to perceive intuitively into the nature of a complex person, situation, or subject. For instance, insightfulness of a Zambian woman can be deduced in a way she makes a man from a boy: a husband from a man and a parent from a husband. A Zambian woman is a person with intuitive foresight based on her ability to think ahead: the ability to envision possible future problems or obstacles. A Zambian woman is person of hindsight. The hindsight in a woman lies in her ability to understand and judge an event or experience after it has occurred. Special to her for instance is the ability of valour in keeping the pregnancy even when the man doesn’t take the responsibility.
With such giftedness of the Zambian woman, it doesn’t give a good picture to begin to lose such special attributes because of becoming hard drinkers. Therefore, it is such giftedness which needs to be valued and promoted rather than applauding them as hard drinkers.
Mitigating hard drinking habits among women
The greater deal in eradicating alcohol abuse lays in letting the women themselves begin to regain their values, to change their drinking habits and lifestyle. Let the women begin to take things personal so that their individual efforts may become an attribute for all.
Additionally, appreciating some positive traditional cultural values can reorient women who have fallen ill to the problem of alcohol abuse because many traditions do not tolerate beer drinking among women.
Let the Government, the non-governmental organisations and the Church begin to find ways of mitigating this growing scourge of alcohol abuse. Our concern is great because losing a Zambian woman is losing a home, family and a nation. Letting the Zambian woman into alcohol abuse is like committing generational suicide. So it is an exhortation to a Zambian woman to maintain and improve on her most treasured status. It is high time we started advocating ways that will promote a Zambian woman who moderates the consumption of alcohol. It is high time, too, our mothers began to reconsider their true and Zambian status where they play a guiding role in the society. A Zambian woman is the custodian of morality and a protector of traditional cultural practices. Therefore, let all the well-meaning Zambians answer this noble calling, come on board in mitigating the scourge of alcohol abuse among women, so that a Zambian woman may become a better example of a true African woman.
The author is a pastoral worker at Cathedral of Christ the King.