The rapid urbanization seems to have divided
Zambia into two worlds: the rural old village
communities with traditional living patterns and the
modern cities with a Western influenced lifestyle. The
division can create tension, but many Zambians move
seamlessly between the different cultures.
For many writers, the country's linguistic divide has
made it a difficult choice: to either express themselves
in their local language and thus limit their prospects
to broader success or to write in the language of
colonial power in English and primarily reach the
educated elite. Dominic Mulaisho and Binwell Sinyangwe
include writers who have chosen to write in English.
Namwali Serpell, who is active in the United States,
became the first Zambian author in 2015 to win the
British Caine Prize for African writers founded in 2000.
She won with the novel The Sack (Sack).
Latest population statistics of Zambia, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
In art and music, influences from both traditional
and modern culture are felt. One of Zambia's most
popular artists is singer Maureen Lilanda, who mixes
African and Western music. During the 2000s, several
artists have appeared on the national music scene with
African pop, hip hop and rap on the repertoire. Some of
them have made careers in South Africa.
Within the art there is a rich sculptural tradition,
which is represented by, among others, Friday Tembo and
Since the late 1990s, groups of young intellectuals
have been working to develop national identity through
online forums. Among other things, they have coined the
Regime-critical artist gripped again
Hip-hop artist Chama "Pilato" Fumba is arrested by police as he talks about
state corruption at a meeting in the town of Livingstone. According to police,
the organizers lacked permission to hold the meeting and therefore Fumba was
arrested. He is released on bail a few days later pending the trial to be held
in mid-January 2020. Fumba has previously been arrested on several occasions for
criticizing the country's leaders.
"President Lungu involved in log smuggling"
President Lungu, his daughter and a number of ministers are accused in a
report of being involved in illegal timber exports to China. The international
organization Environmental Investigation Agengy (EIA), which maps and combats
environmental crimes, writes in the report that large quantities of rose wood
are smuggled out of Zambia each month despite a ban on felling and transport of
this kind of wood in force in 2017. EIA writes that Lungu with several are part
of an illegal network that handles smuggling and that the state-owned lumber
company ZAFFICO is used as a cover. Jean Kapata, Minister of Land Affairs and
Natural Resources, is one of those mentioned in the report. He dismisses the
allegations by saying that the government is under siege by hostile domestic and
foreign forces and is threatening the EIA with a legal process.
15 years in prison for homosexuality
Two men are sentenced to fifteen years in prison for having had sex with each
other in a hotel. The men are believed to have committed an "unnatural act".
Tolerance for sexual minorities is low in Zambia. President Lungu has spoken out
strongly against LGBT -personers rights despite foreign creditors pushing for a
more liberal view of such matters. The US ambassador to Zambia criticizes the
prison sentence and is subsequently declared undesirable in the country, leading
to Washington calling him home.
Separatist leaders are released from prison
President Lungu pardons separatist leader Afumba Mombotwa, who was jailed in
2016 and sentenced to ten years in prison for treason. Mombotwa, leader of
Linyungandambo, is one of the groups that requires the self-government of the
Lozi people's kingdom Barotseland in western Zambia to be restored. Four other
prisoners were also pardoned when Lungu celebrated his 63rd birthday, including
journalist Derrick Sinjela who in 2018 was sentenced to six years in prison for
court strife (see December 20, 2018).
Hunger in the wake of the drought
The Red Cross aid organization warns that around 2.3 million Zambians are
facing an acute food crisis as many crops have been devastated by drought and
flooding. The figure has risen from 1.7 million in just one month. Southern
Africa is experiencing the worst drought in several decades when the usual
rainfalls have not gone away while temperatures have been record high. In the
worst affected areas, where residents are referred to survive on wild fruits and
roots, there is also a lack of drinking water, a Red Cross spokesman said. The
drought primarily affects western and southern Zambia while the northern and
eastern parts of the country have received too much rainfall, which has led to
Reforms will strengthen the president
President Lungu understands that his government will go ahead and try to push
through a number of constitutional changes despite great opposition from the
opposition and civil society. According to media reports, the changes mean
strengthening the president's powers. The president is given the right to
appoint judges and ministers, change the electoral system and approve loans
without consulting Parliament. The central bank's monetary policy also falls
under the control of the president.
Risky to sing about dogs
Opposition politician Chishimba Kambwili, is accused of defaming President
Lungu. Kwambili has posted a video on the Internet that has become very popular
and where Kwambili performs a song with the lyrics "some dogs from Chawama do
not tire of traveling". Chawama is a slum suburb of the capital Lusaka where
Edgar Lungu lived before becoming president. When the arrest occurs, Lungu is in
Japan, and the week before he visited India. If Kambwili is sentenced, the
sentence can be imprisoned for up to three years.
Monitoring cooperation with Huawei is denied
Zambia's government denies media reports that Chinese telecom company Huawei
has helped Zambian authorities to spy on oppositionists. According to the US
Wall Street Journal, tech from Huawei has helped monitor bloggers who have
started a government-critical news site.
Start shot for campaign against corruption
Hundreds of people start a campaign against corruption and hold a first
meeting in the capital Lusaka. The protesters wearing yellow t-shirts
demonstrate with placards outside Parliament, singing regime-critical songs and
waving yellow cards. The action is led by anti-corruption activist Laura Miti
and singer Chama Fumba, known as Pilato.
Swap at the finance minister post
President Lungu dismisses Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe without
explanation. New Finance Minister becomes Bwalya Ng'andu, Deputy Governor of the
country's central bank. Mwankakatwe had been sitting at her post for just over a
year and had received internal criticism for the austerity program she initiated
in an attempt to reverse the weak economic growth, which is partly due to low
copper prices in the world market. The switch to the finance minister post seems
to have been appreciated by international investors. When the news became known,
the value of Zambian government bonds rose.
The president threatens mining companies
President Lungu goes against the majority owner of the country's largest
mining company KCM. Lungu threatens to dissolve KCM and sell the Indian-owned
company Vedanta's stake to other stakeholders. The reason is that Vedanta has
failed to pay some employees and subcontractors. President Lungu has at all
raised the tone against the activities of foreign mining companies, accused them
of not paying taxes and threatened to throw them out of the country. The hard
line could increase support for Lungu in the region where KCM operates, which
could be crucial to his chances in the 2021 election, writes AFP news agency.
Killed minister is charged with abuse of power
15th of May
Emerine Kabanshi, who was Minister of Social Affairs until September 2018, is
charged with abuse of power. She is suspected to have been involved in
embezzlement of aid funds to be used for grant payments. As a result of the
suspicions, the United Kingdom canceled its aid to Zambia and the following day
Kabanshi was forced to resign (see 19 September 2018).
The opposition leader claims attempted murder
Opposition representatives say they will report President Lungu and a handful
of his closest associates to the ICC because of acts of violence against the
opposition. According to the largest opposition party UPND, party leader
Hakainde Hichilema was subjected to an assassination attempt at a general
election before a filling election just over a week earlier. UPND states that
Hichilema was shot by police and had to flee into the bush to save his life. The
police say that the disjointed belligerent meeting participants but deny that
sharp shots were fired.
Minister arrested for corruption
The country's anti-corruption unit announces that Minister of Infrastructure
Ronald Chitotela has been arrested and will be prosecuted for two cases of
corruption. According to a representative of the anti-corruption unit, the
minister has tried to conceal his holding of two properties which he is
suspected of having acquired illegally.