RUMINATIONS [On Lusaka’s Streets, an African’s Journey]_____________
[On Lusaka’s Streets, an African’s Journey]
THE other day, I was having coffee at the Eastpark MALL, a present-day fixture of Capitalism and materialism, a somewhat required evil.
Noteworthy is that it was coffee that Zambia didn’t grow, a dollar lost.
As the aroma of that coffee wafted onto my nostrils, jolting my brain into heightened alertness, I reflected at just how dominant foreign goods were in Zambia’s economy.
Low per capita income.
A deluge of thoughts hit me.
I fought back a tear.
The coffee done, I found myself on Thabo MBEKI road, named after one of Africa’s most brainy and illustrious sons, one of the most exemplary remaining Pan-Africanists that many presidents in Africa, today and in the future, should emulate.
This road led my thoughts to his father GOVAN, that military commander who once led _Umnkhonto we Sizwe_ , the spear that freed a people.
I was alone in the car but I found myself spontaneously raising my right hand to my head to symbolise my immortal salute to both the father and his son, a most African thing, paying homage to ancestors.
Adjacent to ZNBC, as I waited for the traffic lights to turn green, I reflected on the priceless value of parenting.
It is when we raise our children well that we build the required nations, I pondered.
Professors, the very best of our experts, must teach at kindergarten level, I surmised.
Turning into Alick NKHATA Drive, I looked at ZNBC on my right and thought of Maureen NKANDU and just how corruption and tribalism can stand in the way of the engagement of required talents, skills, competences and excellence for national development.
Brutes still, I consoled myself.
Himself a director of the then Zambia Broadcasting Services [ZBC], I wondered what Alick NKHATA would have thought about Chushi KASANDA , Thabo KAWANA and today’s ZNBC.
Shaking my head, I drove on.
It is new dawn, after all.
As I approached Haile SELASSIE Road, I saw the Ministry of HEALTH headquarters on my left.
The words ‘SHORTAGES, CORRUPTION,, PROCUREMENT CANCELLATIONS, DEATHS, crowded my mind.
But not wanting to awaken sleeping dogs and be troubled by them, I fought back my honest opinions about those quarters, whose HEAD remains questionable.
Nonetheless, stricken by a sense of nostalgia, I wished my beloved friend Sylvia MASEBO well, after all she is only a mere mortal.
It was whilst on Haile SELASIE Road that I wondered what seeds pf wisdom Queen SHEBA brought back to Africa after her visit to King SOLOMON.
You see, almost always, when a man and a woman visit each other, something magical happens, something divine.
Seeds are planted and nations can be born.
I prayed to myself that she had come back with these seeds and planted them on our continent, which seeds of wisdom, in due season, should give Africa its harvest.
On Dunduzu CHISIZA Road, by Ndeke Hotel, I found a horde of barely clad women, their hunger-beaten thighs and scraggy buttocks all too visible, a clear petition of decadence to the governing authorities, a salient advert for their own survival.
Their curious sight took me to today’s Malawi as I wondered what inspirational plays Dunduzu CHISIZA would have written about these creatures, the ‘wretched of the earth.’
Instead of getting an erection and reaching for my pocket at their tempting nudity, I got disgusted and was forced to think of the meaning of the struggle of Mama Julia CHIKAMONEKA.
I was heading to State HOUSE.
I had a message to deliver about the inseparable linkage between sovereignty, the survival of a people and their prosperity.
But as if to run away from that horde of whores, ravenously milling about my car like frenzied hyenas, I turned into Pandit NEHRU Road, only to find more camped there, as if a veritable act of sacrilege.
A friend of Africans, Jawaharlal NEHRU was an Indian anti-colonial nationalist, upon whom the liberties of today’s India are founded. Trust me, he wasn’t going to mourn the passing of THEIR Queen. He remains a priceless example to the free world to this day.
He was the father of Indira GANDHI.
I nearly crashed my vintage Toyota CROWN ROYAL SALOON as one of the women,, as if about to cross the road but merely a dramatic display of goods, suddenly lifted her skirts and pointed her malnourished bare Zambian arse at me.
I didn’t blink.
My eyes remained on the ball, the raod/journey, I mean.
Quickly, I turned into the United NATIONS Avenue.
Then Joe BIDEN came into my mind’s view, the current President of he United States of America.
He was addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations and urging all its member states to embrace HOMOSEXUALS and their kind.
Then Jack MWIIMBU’s speech in Zambia’s Parliament about our need to handle homosexuals carefully ‘because this matter had international ramifications’ came to my mind and began to make sense.
A people without their own culture are a people lost, I observed.
Whilst on that road I thought about Jesus, his Father and Zambia’s declaration that it was a Christian nation.
The phrase, ‘what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul’ suffused my mind.
I wondered what happens to nations that turn away from God, nations that lose their way, disobedient ones.
The picture of SODOM and GOMORRAH flashed across my mind, as if a hint.
As I rdrove on and reflected on the rule of Deviants, the Wrath of God and Zambia, my car died.
My car just wouldn’t move.
I was stuck on United NATIONS Avenue.
Many cars went past me, as if I didn’t exist, vehicles from many different nations, giving new meaning to the word united.
No one gave a hand.
That is how I abandoned that vehicle. I left it.
It is still there, as alien as before, no longer roadworthy.
I knew that, armed with only what God gave me, body and spirit, I would still make it to my destination.
I knew that my indefatigable spirit of self-reliance, firmly rooted in my identity, would still take me there.
I moved on.
I am nearly there.
Take my hand, Pilgrim.
Dr Canisius BANDA
22 September 2022