On Oct. 24th 2011 Zambia celebrated its 47th year of independence. The new president Michael Sata in his address to the nation said " We celebrate our liberty and freedom from the shackles of colonialism - freedom from oppression that we suffered at the hands of our colonial masters. " Liberty for Zambians, however, has had its challenges notably from 1973 to 1991 when a one party state was in effect. Under this dictatorship there was no political freedom, of course, secret police were used to spy on citizens and people experienced great hardships. In conversation with Zambians my age, as I heard stories of rising in the wee hours of the morning to queue for basic items such as cooking oil, sugar, mealie meal, and soap - always in dire shortage - often returning home empty handed, I remembered those carefree years of plenty I enjoyed as a university student ( from 1973 to 1980 ). What a contrast from the life experiences of my brothers and sisters here.
This week as I purchased fertilizer which has risen about $10.00 Canadian per 50 kg bag from last year sadly contemplating how further out of reach this necessary product has become and delivered food to a senior man in Mbayi who I found reading his bible while into a third day without food ( who I told to get word to me before reaching this state! ) I thought about President Sata's comment - " Corruption is a cancer which delays and derails national development by fattening the pockets of a few selfish individuals at the expense of the majority. "
The theme for this year's independence celebrations was ' Rejuvenating our Prosperity and Patriotism through the fight against Corruption. ' With a new government in place, Zambians are hopeful of better days ahead. I quote from an editorial in The Post Oct 24, 2011 - ' As our Lord Jesus loved His country, so we love ours and wish it to have peace, prosperity and a fully representative government in which everyone shares.' It is a privilege to be here, supported by your donations, helping out as under a new government Zambians eagerly anticipate a brighter future.