The Zambian smile

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:04:05 +0000


By Kanyanta E.Kaunda

Zambia is endowed with a resource so valuable in nature that it cannot be bought or sold, a resource so high in demand that  individuals from warring countries  flock in its pursuit  of peace.  

That so priceless ingredient that nations will crumble without, that can only be fueled by the peaceful citizens that labor night and day setting aside their struggles to exhibit the most priceless resource; the Zambian smile. Smiling is one of the warmest forms of expression it connotes joy and approachability and also boosts the immune system.

The Zambian smile is such a vital asset to our national identity. being among the friendliest people on the continent, the joy of our people greatly boosts tourism and business altogether. Many war torn countries lack the industrial diversity the country enjoys.

Though it may seem a trivial gesture ,smiles create a huge impact upon its audience. Walking through the streets of Lusaka, the average individual will be greeted by a scattered array of pearly whites from faces in a distance. From the woman selling cassava and cucumbers along the side walks, to the jovial taxi men sharing a hilarious conversation.

These are common sights in many parts of the country.

The ability of many countrymen and women to put aside their daily burdens to revel in a monument of joy and happiness, giving the nation a burst of life creating a conducive environment for social and cultural interaction. With such a simple gesture, individuals add light to even the most dismal days. The simple joy experienced in a mutual conversation, or over a shared meal in one of the city’s makeshift stalls is enough to fill the average citizen with glee so immeasurable, it squashes down all  the sorrows of yesterday and fears of tomorrow. Through these brief  moments of joy, the mind escapes the shackles of unpaid rent, school fees along with a million other pressures. Laughter is considered a way to provide little moments of heaven to relieve our mortal ladden souls. Each day the people of mother Zambia toil through a maze of challenges, from the fierce struggle for employment, to putting food on the table, to pending debts and debilitating llnesses . However regardless of how fierce our personal battles , the nation never fails to accommodate a multitude of other ethnicities and races that all collectively adorn our beautiful land.

Since colonial times the Zambia has seen its fair share of struggles, many of our grandparents would not consider their legacy complete without a vivid recollection of how difficult it was to buy bicycles through a tiny window or how many scars they obtained in the struggle for independence. Despite the many ups and downs the nation has endured, it lives on to This day to breathe hope for a new generation. Scars of the past do not determine the course of the nations future. White and black Zambians  co-exist in relative harmony regardless of past tensions. The nations unwavering ability to overcome trivial challenges in the pursuit of a greater good overcomes the nation at the best of times. Since time immemorial, the country has been home to more foreign nationals , during the struggle for independence in southern Africa the country played host to individuals individual from countries such as Zimbabwe, Namibia and south Africa. Due to our friendly reputation, Zambia has played host to refugees from various countries, providing the much needed solace unavailable in their own troubled home countries.

In true Zambian spirit, refugees are assured a second home in the bossom of mother Zambia. The government through the help of donor organizations has been setting up camps and resettlement schemes for displaced individuals.

The friendly spirit in Zambia, permeates  not only the social but business sector. People from many countries and religions are able to set up business in Zambia thanks to the conducive peaceful atmosphere in the country . With 51years of peace under our belt there is no question as to why the country  smiles.

It has been noted by some that the actual shape of the country on the map of Africa resembles a smile. With such hype some might wonder ; what is there to be happy about when the country continues to suffer economically with many citizens living in abject poverty. To say the least the Zambian smile is inspired by those little victories that make all the difference.

To the call boy who succeeds in feeding his family at the end of the day, to the employee whose loan finally got approved, all these little victories deserve the joy in the world.

For this reason the country has been able to overcome political, cultural and tribal divides under the guiding motto of founding father Kenneth Kaundas one Zambia one nation. A nation that shares, a nation whose people understand the value of each individual weather foreign or indigenous brings in the fulfilment of national prosperity.

Through the tolerant nature of the nation’s people individuals of all walks I life are able to conduct business side by side.

A walk through Lusaka town center will reveal scores of young men from neighboring countries offering hair braiding services and selling custom slippers along the road and bus stations.

Alongside them are their Zambian counterparts also in various businesses brought together by the common goal of earning a living, each respecting the common factor that brought them in that place regardless of where they originate from and opting to embrace and coexist as opposed to challenge and intimidate their counterparts.

The people of Zambia understand that it the nation  is home to many and is large enough to accommodate us all despite our differences on racial, religious, tribal and economic grounds. Recent reports of xenophobia in certain parts of the continent have done little to ease the age old tensions.

However, even in light of these incidents, the nation continues to share in its love and peace. It is hardly a surprised to find a bunch of call boys dancing their sorrows away in a makeshift pub with the biggest grin in the world, a personal happiness that only the Zambian spirit would bring.

Resisting the challenges of today with a good laugh and a good conversation, keeping alive the precious Zambian smile.


The author is a journalist and currently pursuing her Bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at Cavendish University. For comments, contributions email .


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