064_G18_InFocus_Zambia

Global_18

In Focus Zambia Dr Livingstone, I presume? David Livingstone was just one of a host of foreigners through the centuries to have arrived in Zambia and fallen in love with the country. Though it has urbanised faster than many other African countries, many long-standing traditions and festivals continue to shape Zambia’s culture A. H. Saleh Zambia is a land-locked southern African country cradled by the mighty Zambezi River, which tumbles a roaring 108 metres to form the world’s greatest waterfall, Victoria Falls (or Mose o Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’ in a local dialect), at the border with the country’s southern neighbour, Zimbabwe. The fi rst European to set sight on this natural wonder was the 19th-century Scottish missionary and explorer, David Livingstone. Awestruck, he decided that “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their fl ight”. His often dramatic accounts of his adventures drew thousands of British and other Europeans to embark on journeys to the ‘heart of Africa’. However, the British were only the latest in a long list of migrants from the surrounding territories to settle in the area. Successive waves of Bantu-speaking peoples displaced the original inhabitants, the Khoisan hunter-gatherers, from the third century on and the movements only petered out with the arrival of the Ngoni and Sotho people from the south in the 19th century. Consequently, the rich ethnic fabric of Zambia is composed of 72 different ethnolinguistic groups, each with their own cultural traditions. Over time, some languages, such as Bemba and Nyanja, have come to dominate, but other languages such as Lozi, Kaonde, Tonga, Lunda and Luvale are widely spoken and programmes in these languages are broadcast on the national radio. English is the offi cial language but, as in other African states, a local version called 64 l www.global -br ief ing.org second quar ter 2014 global


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