Every year on October 24th, Zambia celebrates its Independence Day to commemorate the day that freedom was achieved from British Rule. The public holiday is celebrated throughout the country with street parades and merriment. Throughout the month of October, the Zambian colours of red, green, black and orange start to adorn many businesses and homes, and fabrics in a myriad of patriotic colours are sewn into amazing Chitenge designs.
On 24 October 1964, what was Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia, with Dr Kenneth Kaunda as the first president. The father of our nation is still going strong and enjoys dancing and partaking in the national celebrations.
This year marks Zambia’s 55th birthday and our Jollyboys staff will be CELEBRATING! We asked the staff…
“What does Independence Day mean to you?”
Though I’m Zambian, my parents worked abroad and I grew up in South Africa and Botswana. We generally only celebrated Zambian Independence Day when we had family visiting since we didn’t have many other Zambians around where we lived. I moved back to Zambia when I was about 15 years old, and Independence Day was the biggest party of the year. Lots of drinking and lots of chicken and rice (which seems to be what everyone wants during a celebration in Zambia). I love the Zambian chitenge patterns that are available just before Independence Day and the creative outfits that are showcased on the day.
I can remember as a child that on Independence Day, we had the day off of school and we would play Waida which is a game where 2 people use a rope and a third person jumps over. I could play this for hours before sitting down to a meal of chicken and rice with my family. On most other days in Zambia we eat Nshima but on a celebration, we generally have chicken and rice.
My family all gets together on Independence Day and it is like a family reunion in Livingstone. My great grandmother is still alive and was around in 1964 when Zambia gained Independence. She always sits down with the family and recalls stories of how life was before Independence and how things have changed since. Then we all have a meal of chicken and rice.