Stand and sing for Zambia, cowed or hungry,
Lack of work, disjointed unity,
Visitors in the struggle for mineral rights,
We’ve bone freedom’s plight,
All plans, wrong but shrill.
Every time I sing the national anthem I never feel the passion or vision aspect about it. The song sometimes feels like an attempt to winding up the former colonialist who ironically are our donors. This song probably makes sense to the freedom fighters but to new generation to keep singing about this sort of freedom is ludicrous. Strong and free my foot! Weak currency, weak credit rating, weak disaster containment, weak infrastructure, weak! Weak! Weak!
And why do we sing about winning that freedom’s fight in the present perfect tense (“we’ve won freedoms fight”) as if it just happened. We haven’t just won freedom’s fight we won it a long, long time ago. To our children it is the BC years. We have declared ourselves ‘victors of the struggle for the right’ but we continue to deny ourselves rights to information, assembly and expression.
And then in verse two, we sing: “Fashioned with and blessed by God’s good hand”. Of course we are blessed by God’s good hand but never act like we are fashioned by Him. We are fashioned by the west and its cultures that are blatantly susceptible immorality. We stop addressing elder by “Ba” just because of corporate culture. We stopped prioritising service to elderly because of self-esteem inspired western principles. The ending of the second verse talks about brothers joining as one, well that blatant omission or insufficient categorisation of sisters, is just enough to madden our women and feminists of today.
In the third verse, Ati, “one land and one nation is our cry”, that’s not a cry it is a lie. Right now it is more like “one land and many nations”, with all these foreigners owning land with so much ease you will be damned to believe that one land and one nation is really our cry. Ati “like a noble eagle in its flight”. The noble eagles are the capitalist who fly from the blues, grab the fish and fly back, leaving us with crumbs to feed on like freelance village chickens.
I would rather we sing about what we aspire to be and not what we claim to be, when we are not. Let’s talk about equal opportunities for all. Let’s have a national anthem which will be a vision we can refer to as we abide by our constitution and craft our approach to prosperity. We have taken care of freedom it is time for prosperity.
With all due respect to the lyricist of the national anthem, the inspiration of the independence struggle as important as it is, at some point will become irrelevant. With times changing so rapidly let’s sing things that are real, colonial oppression is out of the equation.