History of Zambia: The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, neighboring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, in the south-central part of the country, where the majority of the population is concentrated.
British Colonization: The eighteenth century saw Zambia colonized by European explorers, firstly by the Portuguese, and towards the end of the nineteenth century Zambia became the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, during Britain’s golden-age of empire. From 1911-1964 Zambia was known as Northern Rhodesia, a colony rich in minerals, part of Britain’s vast empire. For most of the colonial period, the country was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South Africa Company.
Politics: On 24th October 1964, Zambia became independent of the United Kingdom. The socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) maintained political power from 1964 until 1991, under President Kaunda; a single-party state as the sole legal political party prescribing to the motto ‘‘One Zambia, One Nation’’. The reign was totalitarian and highly militaristic, endorsing guerrilla warfare as a means to maintain power. However, after numerous riots and attempted coups, 1991 saw a change in political power towards a social-democratic Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, beginning a period of social-economic growth and government decentralization, continuing in the present day.
Social: The official language of Zambia is English, and the official religion is Christianity, and due to British colonization around 70,000 expatriates from Britain lived in Zambia until 1964, the majority leaving post-independence. Due to this colonization Zambia has adopted many European cultural traditions and is highly urbanized. However, traditionalist art and culture is still very visible. Free schooling is offered until age 12, and the adult literacy rate is 80.6%. Chibeza’s thoughts on Zambia: ‘‘Zambia is quite similar to England: girls are encouraged to go to school, to work and also have children and a husband. Although if your skirt is a little too short an old woman might tell you off. The British economy is better and in terms of education and resources I have a lot more access in Britain.’’
Jack Bowen and Laura Hunt