In this African lifestyle narrative, Zambia is our focus – a country situated on a high plateau in south-central Africa. Welcome to the land of the Copperbelt!
The name Zambia was derived from the Zambezi River, which drains all but a small northern part of the country. It shares boundaries with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east and Malawi to the east. Other neighbors include Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the south, Namibia to the southwest, and Angola to the west. Man-made Lake Kariba now forms part of the river border with Zimbabwe.
Culture and Traditions
Zambia’s contemporary culture is a blend of values, norms, material and spiritual traditions. There are more than 70 ethnic groups there, and most of the tribes migrated there a few centuries ago. They grew in numbers and many travelled in search of establishing new kingdoms, farming land and pastures.
English is the official language, but there are 73 spoken languages. Most Zambians speak Bantu languages of the Niger-Congo language family. The main tribes are the Lozi, the Bemba, the Ngoni, the Tonga, the Luvale, and the Kaonde.
Music is of great importance to Zambians. Singing and dancing is very popular in this country. Drumming is especially common, regularly featured in ceremonies and any celebrations. Traditional art includes the finest of basketry, pottery and unique carvings. Craftwork is very popular in Zambia. Using materials such as bamboo, grass and papyrus palm leaves, furniture pieces and different types of baskets are created.
Women in rural areas are generally assigned the tasks of managing the household and children and also work in the fields. Men are expected to do the fishing, hunting, and livestock management. Men usually have the final say in the family’s financial planning.
After Independence in 1964, the Zambian government recognized the role of culture in the overall development of a new nation. They began to explore the question of a National identity. Institutions to protect and promote Zambia’s culture were created, including the National Heritage Conservation Commission. Private museums were also founded and cultural villages were established to help artistic talents express themselves.
Attire and Cuisine
The style of traditional clothing varies from tribe to tribe. Generally, however, women usually wear loose dresses or long skirts and a blouse. Long trousers and loose fitting cotton shirts are preferred by most men. Due to low demands, traditional textiles and crafts have become scarce. Secondhand clothing markets are flourishing in their place.
Zambian cuisine is heavily centered around nshima, which is a food prepared from pounded white maize. Nshima is part of nearly every Zambian meal. In addition to nshima, Zambian cuisine includes various types of stew, cooked vegetables and different types of beer. Dried fish and insects are also eaten.
Zambia’s staple food is maize. According to Wikipedia, Nshima makes up the main component of Zambian meals and is made from pounded white maize. It is served with “relish”, stew and vegetables and eaten by hand (preferably the right hand).
Nshima is eaten during lunch and dinner. Nshima may be made at home, at food stalls and at restaurants. In traditional communities, the making of nshima is a long process. This includes drying the maize, sorting the kernels, pounding it and then finally cooking it.
Tourist Attractions in Zambia
Victoria Falls – one of the 7 natural wonders of the world! With a height of 354 ft and a width of 5,604 ft, they form the world’s largest curtain of falling water, with a noise like the loudest roll of thunder. Vapour rising from this rift in the Earth is visible for up to 48 km. It has even helped to water a rainforest on the other side of the cliff.
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Lower Zambezi National Park – One of Zambia’s more isolated wildernesses. It is a place kept intact by the invasion of mass safari going and ecotourism. A combination of muddy banks and miombo gallery woods, the 4,000-square-kilometer region is known for its immense floodplain. This seasonal wetland attracts groups of lions and elephants, buffalo and leopard. All assemble here to water and feed.
Lake Tangayika – the longest fresh water lake in the world and the second deepest after lake Baikal in Russia. The immense depth is because it lies in the Great Rift Valley, which also has created its steep shoreline. It reaches a depth of 4,700 feet, which is an astounding 642m below sea level. it stretches north to south a distance of 677 kilometres (420 miles) and averages about fifty kilometers wide (31 miles). The clear waters host more than 350 different species of fish and is well known for aquarium fish exports and excellent angling.
From this African lifestyle narrative, Zambia is indeed a beautiful land with many natural habitats for animals and water bodies. Yo u will have much to behold in the land of the copperbelt.
Some Zambian Festivals
Kuomboka Festival – a traditional ceremony that takes place at the end of the rain season. During this period, the upper Zambezi River floods the plains of the Western Province. The festival celebrates the move of the Litunga, king of the Lozi people, from his compound at Lealui in the Barotse Floodplain of the Zambezi River to Limulunga on higher ground.
N’cwala ceremony – celebrated by the Ngoni of Eastern Zambia. The first crops of the season are blessed by the Paramount Chief Mpezeni. A bull is then sacrified and some of its blood is drained and offered to the chief. Dancing follows and mock fights between the impis (warriors) recreate the various battles the Ngoni fought and won during their migration from South Africa to Zambia. The N’cwala ceremony takes place in February.
From this African lifestyle narrative, ZAMBIA is indeed home to many plateaus and natural habitats. Wherever to go to in this vast country, you are sure to be treated to beautiful scenery!