Brian Mulenga wrote,
I will start by making a controversial statement. Zambians are racists. We hide behind our supposedly friendly nature but always we try to be more Zambian than other Zambians of a different colour.
There are pictures of the Zambian swimming team at the Commonwealth Games on social media and yes only one team member is black and the rest are white. This does not make them any less Zambian than Zambians of African descent.
Take the kids on the Zambian swimming team. Gomes, Goveia, Shone. These are real Zambian names and probably more authentically Zambian than some of the people who trade on their skin colour,
This racism can be silly and rather stupid. Because some of these people , the kids on the swimming team, come from families that have been in Zambia for over 100 years and are Zambians by birth and citizenship. Take for example,the Shones. They are on the fourth or fifth generation of Zambians. They made Kasama home for a very long time and presently Shones can be found in Ndola as well as Kasama. They run one of the biggest trucking firms in Zambia called Kasembo transport. The Gomes family are also into transport and are also in their fourth or fifth generation here. The Goveia family is very African with Goveias found in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and once again they can count on over 150 years of African history and over 100 years in Zambia.
Another time I saw naked racism was when the Millers put up a promotional video for their Lilayi Housing Development Estate. The insults and generally racist comments were disgusting. The central theme was who let a white man have land in Lusaka ? The Miller family spring from a civil engineer who laid the first railway into Zambia and liked it here. He started farming in Lilayi in 1904. 110 years later the Millers are still in Zambia and not only do they employ hundreds of Zambians but have repeatedly proved their loyalty to their home, Zambia by investing millions of dollars in Zambia. They stuck with Zambia when times where hard and have reaped well from their faith in Zambia.Farmers House, Arcades, the Airtel Headquarters, the Stanbic Head Office. The root of this property empire was a farmers cooperatives, the Farmers Coop dating back to the colonial era. It owned Farmers House, Grosvenor House and operated out of a single row of offices where the building housing Luse stands. As white farmers gave up on Zambia and left the Milers bought up the shares in Farmer’s Coop.
The foresight of the Millers, i.e. keeping faith and keeping to a goal i.e. one day Lusaka would provide world class real estate opportunities has paid off well for them. This is real long term vision.
Earlier on another forum people assailed the Galaun family over having large tracts of land in Zambia. According to prevailing opinion land is for indigenous Zambians i.e. black people. My response is no Bemba, Tonga, Lozi, Tumbuka or Mambwe is indigenous to Lusaka. They are as foreign as the Galauns and if white foreigners (code for white people) should not own land in Lusak then black foreigners (Lozi, Tongas, Bembas etc) are not welcome to it as well Give it back to the Solis and Lenjes the real owners of Lusaka and its environs. To me this is simply cheap greed and envy!!!
Racism is always illogical,stupid and foolish. Take the anger against Galaun. How come no one hankers and chases after the massive empty tracts of land that can be found outside Lusaka ? There is a direct road to Mkushi from Kasisi (not the familiar road up to Kapiri and then you go right. This one goes straight across empty grassland) which passes through kilometers and kilometers of empty savanna grassland. How come no-one makes noise about that ? Why do they hanker after the land that has been made green and productive by decades of hard work ?
Is being Zambian only associated with being black ? How about the reality of the fact that 90% of Zambians only arrived in Zambia in the last 300 years ? To put it in perspective by the time Cape Town was being founded in 1652 the Bembas, Lozis, Lundas, Kaondes etc were all in DRC or Angola. The Ngonis are even more recent arrivals. They arrived in Zambia around the same time as David Livingstone in the 1840s.
So if we put this into context is a Zambian of white descent, fourth generation, who can show you graves of his family from as far back as 1905 less Zambian than a Zambian who only knows his family tree back to 1950 ? Is a Ngoni less Zambian full knowing his family are South Africans who only arrived in Zambia in 1850 ? Or does the colour of the skin determine citizenship ?
For me actions speak louder than words. The Millers, Shones, Goveias, Coventry, Kirbys, Benders etc are Zambian. They have proved it. They stayed when others left. They invested their savings here, they sweated and scraped.
One white acquaintance of mine always uses his Zambian passport and green NRC to devastating effect. He says producing it always shuts up people. Especially when he can not only put a village and chief there but also speak the language !!!! On one occasion he told me a stroppy policeman at a road block changed tone and claimed he was his cousin after they traded stories about common acquaintances back home at the village.
Zambia should take a leaf from the United States. Americans of every shade and hue proudly represent their country and they are proud to be Americans. When Zambians of a different colour try to do the same, a certain vocal minority always sink to the lowest common denominator, race. We all know Mpezeni’s heritage. Zwagendaba was a general in Zwide’s army and was defeated together with Zwide at Qokli Hill by the mighty Shaka. How come I never hear anyone calling him a foreigner and demand that he and the Moyos, Mkwananzis etc must give back the land they grabbed by force from the local Kunda and Chewa in Eastern Province?