KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
A DOCUMENTARY on Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, leader of the African National Congress (ANC), which fought for the countryâ€™s independence from Britain, is set to premiere tomorrow at Ster Kinekor, Arcades Shopping Mall in Lusaka.
The documentary, titled â€˜Nkumbula: Liberating a Nationâ€™ by Chris Mukkuli, is a celebration of the life of Nkumbula and his contribution to the liberation struggle.
Mukkuli has talked to a number of personalities who came across Nkumbula including the likes of Sikota Wina, Vernon Mwaanga, Andrew Sardanis, Simon Zukas, Daniel Munkombwe and Giacomo Macola, author of â€˜Liberal nationalism in Central Africa: A biography of Harry Mwaanga Nkumbulaâ€™.
Mukkuli, like Macola, is out to present a clear picture of who Nkumbula was, and his contribution to the liberation struggle, not as presented by the United National Independence Party (UNIP) narrative.
Macola, in his introduction, said: â€œâ€¦ the bitter end of UNIPâ€™s one-party rule in 1991 has not been accompanied by a thorough process of historical revision. A scholarly opportunity has thus been missed of challenging the continuing hold of an exclusionary, UNIP-centred narrative of political change that blots out – or otherwise belittles – all the counter-hegemonic political and ethical projects that stubbornly refused to be silenced in the name of national unity.â€
Macolaâ€™s book began during his postdoctoral work in Zambia in the early 2000s, when, he was able to secure permission to access the archives of UNIP.
Mukkuli argues that there is not much information about Nkumbula, and that, what is presented does not reflect the true picture as it is history presented by the victor, and in this case, UNIP.
He argues that the reason Zambia African National Congress (ZANC) and indeed UNIP broke away from the ANC is not because Nkumbula was slow on independence, but because there was thirst for power among the nationalists who knew the British government would eventually hand over power to blacks.
He says the selflessness of Nkumbula is shown in the fact that he opted to form a unity government with UNIP in 1962 when he could have easily gone in with the United Federal Party (UFP) that had promised him the premiership and also signed the Choma declaration so as to end political violence.
â€œHe was very principled, a unifier. He started fighting for peopleâ€™s interests from an early age,â€ Mukkuli says adding that he has always wanted to do a story on Nkumbulaâ€™s fascinating story.
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka