Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Dear Africana Woman,
Yesterday was my sister’s birthday. Happy Birthday Kapumpe. It was also the day Zambia put to rest our founding president Kenneth Kaunda. By the way this is the guy that imprisoned my grandfather, Goodwin Yoram Mumba. You can read about it in The Legacy of Legends. I have always fancied being a politician, that’s if it were less cut throat. I say things like, “Please do not take crazy pictures of me because I still have a political career to think about. I don’t need this to surface years later at a critical moment.” Lol
Seriously, when I am President, my first 100 days would be characterised by three reforms; the removal of white Jesus statues from the churches, the introduction of financial literacy to the curriculum in all education levels and a Culture Audit Indaba. Can you tell why it would be a struggle to be voted in? You see, it’s not easy to make people understand that the saviour we have been conditioned to wait for never existed but has always been within. Before, any real reform can happen in Zambia and most African countries, there needs to be a mass reformation of our minds.
I hate to break it to you but White Saviour toxicity continues to date because we the Black People are the gatekeepers. The Church plays a major role in this by tapping into our subconscious in order to keep us compliant. They make us rely on nations not on the African continent to donate, to lend us money, to tell us their best practices as if we live in the same type of environments. May I be clear, I am not saying Christianity is bad. I am saying you have been conditioned to worship white men. Jesus was not white. In fact, the colour of his skin should not matter. Hear me out. As a good Christian, you grow to Love Christ deeply, with all your heart, mind and soul. But be honest with yourself, when you hear the name Jesus, what is the mental image that comes to your mind? A white man, in a long white robe, with long hair, who has European facial features with no tan even though he lived in a desert. Be honest. There is what is called unconscious bias which is defined as prejudice or unsupported judgments in favour of or against one thing, person, or group as compared to another, in a way that is usually considered unfair. So now tell me when you ask a layman who is a staunch Christian to choose between two products, one is from a white man and the other is made by a fellow country man, which will he choose? The unconscious bias kicks in and he will lean towards the image of someone he loves so deeply to his core, as opposed to he that is in his like image. If you are still not clear, he will choose the product made by the white man. We have to recondition our minds at a subconscious level to love our Africaness over coveting whiteness.
Can I just say that it is not your fault that you are this way. Do not feel ashamed about it. I struggle with this too. However, when you are aware you can choose not to be complicit. So I would take away all the statues and images of a white Jesus. If the churches really must have their statues well they can be statues of colour with African features, which do exist to date in European Churches. The point is not vandalism, the point is raising our collective awareness as to who we really worship, the image of man or a God that is beyond our understanding.
The second reform would be to include Financial Literacy to all levels of education. It would be a required subject / course for all. You see we talk about how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and yet there are poor people that became rich because of sound financial practices and discipline. You see I believe that everyone can be an everyday millionaire. From your gardener to your teachers to tradesmen. Everyone can be a millionaire if they had the tools. We need to normalise talking about money in our homes with our families. The problem is that we have been told that a prestigious job will make us rich. That’s a lie. The truth is we need people to do all kinds of jobs otherwise society would not function. We need to restore dignity to all forms of work. Whether you are a trash collector or a carpenter does not diminish your importance or add shame to you. You are actually very important. Imagine if we did not have trash collectors, we would be a stinky country. The key here is to teach our people that wealth is not built overnight, it grows over time. So imagine if a child in grade 1 started putting money away at that age. Where would they be at age 30? She could be doing the job her heart tells her to do, she could be a homeowner, she could be living out her dreams. Why? Because she built her saving muscles. She did not fall for instant gratification by going into debt. She does not spend all of her income but lives beneath her means. She was held accountable by her family and friends who all live by good financial practices. You know, when we say put a little aside, even if its K10, when you do start it seems insignificant but over time you begin to put more aside and it grows exponentially. In primary school, we should be teaching our children the basics of financial literacy, how to save, how to track your money consistently, how to create budgets. We will make it fun, give them projects. In secondary school, we should be teaching how to make your money work for you, how to make money, and how to invest money. In tertiary education, we should teach students how to set themselves up for success after their education, including demystifying insurance, funding their retirement, asset building, diversification of income streams, and the process to home ownership. You know things that actually matter as opposed to memorising theories like pollination. You can ask any of my friends from primary school the definition of pollination and they will say it without missing a beat but the truth is knowing that pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma has not helped them survive their every day lives. I also recognise that many adults would want access to these types of lessons, therefore, I would also set up Finance clinics. To drive my point home, you do not need to be a hot shot lawyer to live a comfortable life. If being a hairstylist makes you happy, then go ahead and do it with no shame. Be proud, chin up, chest out and be the best Hairstylist you can be. You have the power to your own financial liberation. Stop waiting on the government, or NGO’s or Foreign Investors or Western / Eastern Countries. What about you? When are you going to show up for yourself?
My third reform would be to initiate a Culture Audit Indaba. Indaba means a meeting to discuss a very important topic in Bantu languages. One would fear that the primary goal of this would be to eradicate our culture, but quite the opposite is true. I think we need to bring to light indigenous knowledge. These are the things that we do well as a people that have been passed down for centuries because we know our land, we understand our terrain. In Zambia this includes the Western Province canal system used for transport and irrigation, the sustainable wildlife management systems among the Lozi and Bemba tribes, traditional iron smelting amongst the Tumbuka/Chewa tribes and the traditional medicine practiced among many tribes in Zambia. It’s important to facilitate where Indigenous knowledge and modern advancements meet. When they do meet it is not a war for superiority but a fusion to create something even stronger. We also need to be reminded of who we are as a people, by telling the stories of both women and men who were our heroines and heroes from ancient times to present. Granted, sometimes our history may be tragic and violent yet we must hold space for those uncomfortable conversations, which serve as a reminder of why we cannot repeat histories mistakes. At the Culture Audit Indaba we shall also open the floor to current cultural practices / beliefs to discuss whether we should continue doing things as ‘it has always been done’ or whether it is time to let go of practices/beliefs that served a past generation better. Bringing to the table traditional teachers, and healers. Let’s talk about initiation practices, marriage counselling, and dare I say it, homosexuality, Oh I lost some people. Listen we have to be able to have uncomfortable conversation in a safe space. Our Cultural Agreement is an unwritten document that actually holds more power than the lawful