Facts About Zambia's Culture, Geography, and History
The capital, center of commerce and administration, is Lusaka. The country’s flag is green with an orange-colored African fish eagle in flight over three vertical stripes, colored, from left to right: red, black, and orange. Read on to find out 12 interesting facts about Zambia
12. In 2010, the World Bank named Zambia one of the world's fastest economically reformed countries.
When the price of copper declined on the world market in the 70s-80s, the Republic of Zambia started to experience negative growth. When the Chiluba government took office, it privatized many state companies to encourage production.
The government also liquidated companies that were operating in the red. In 2010, the World Bank named Zambia one of the fastest economically reformed countries as the price of copper had risen and more investment was being made in the tourism and agriculture industries.
11. The size of Lake Kariba deceives unknowing visitors into thinking they are looking at the ocean
Lake Karimba is a manmade lake that lies on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The lake is 223 km long and at its widest point measures 40 km. Covering an area of 5,580 square kilometres and with a holding capacity of 185 cubic kilometres.
It is the largest man-made lake by volume in the world. Its massive size is able to fool visitors to the area into thinking that they are looking at the ocean. It is so large that it has its own islands.
10. The Zambian forest beside the Victoria Falls receives “rain” 24 hours a day, seven days a week!
Between Zambia and Zimbabwe lies the “greatest curtain of falling water in the world”. Have no idea what this is? This curtain is the great Victoria Falls that lies on the Zambezi River.
The river transforms into thunderous columns of water as it ferociously throws itself over a wide, basalt cliff. As the waterfalls, it creates a spray that is visible miles away. The spray created is so much that it is always raining in the Zambian forest beside the falls.
9. Zambians enjoy telling stories and conversing in their spare time
In the Western world whenever children or adults get little free time, they grab for the nearest gadget. In Zambia, the age-old tradition of storytelling continues as a way to pass time and relax with friends and family.
Reliable sources inform that storytelling continues to be a relaxing activity not only in the rural areas but also in the cities. The preferred time to engage in conversation or to tell stories is during the evenings. The stories often have a supernatural theme or come with some type of lesson.
8. Zambians expect friendly persons to call on them unannounced
Zambians are certainly a welcoming group of people. When visiting a Zambian, it is not necessary for you to call ahead. They do not have a problem with you showing up unannounced.
They will welcome you with a friendly smile and offer and a gift. With that said, if you have a Zambian friend whom you haven’t seen in a long while, this is a reminder to pop up at their house.
7. National symbol is the African Fish Eagle
The national symbol of Zambia is the African Fish Eagle, which looks much like the American Bald Eagle. It is on the flag and on the country’s coat of arms. The African Fish Eagle represents freedom of the people from colonial rule and the ability of the country to rise above its struggles.
6. Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world
With the economic reformation, many persons became unemployed as companies were sold or downsized. With the low price the copper is fetching, many companies have reduced production.
This adds to the social issue of poverty that Zambia faces. Zambia is one of the world’s poorest countries and poor living conditions. An estimated 60.5% of the population live below the poverty line.
5. Early humans inhabited present-day Zambia
You must live under a rock if you have not heard the discussion about early humans at some point in your life. Scientists, through carbon dating, offer up significant evidence that shows that early humans inhabited present-day Zambia. The Victoria Falls Museum has records showing the activities of the early people on display. Another destination to add to your itinerary.
4. Greetings are always exchanged before a conversation
Zambia, like many other countries, has its own social etiquette. It is considered well-mannered for a person to be greeted before any conversation begins.
If you are out and a person approaches, you are the one who should greet the person and not the other way around. When persons of the opposite sex meet, if the woman does not offer her to be shaken, the man should withhold his greeting.
3.‘Lobola’ which is the bride price is still widely practised in Zambia
Even though the country has had some western influences, paying lobola or bride price is still a common practice.
When a man and woman decide to get married, several meetings are arranged between the bride to be parents and the potential groom’s go-between or Shibukombe.
After several meetings, the go-between pays the family of the woman the lobola. In the olden days, cattle would be accepted but now families prefer that the lobola be cash. The lobola signifies that the man is grateful to the parents for growing the woman.
2. Funerals are a major event in Zambia
In Zambia, family members begin funeral rituals as soon as they learn of the person’s death. The news is announced to everyone via phone call or the radio. Family members and friends travel from great distances to attend the funeral.
In Eastern Zambia, at the home, male mourners gather outside and produce deep and loud moaning sounds. Locals call these sounds kukhuza and the women's coming cry chitengelo.
The women also cook and the men drink and talk. There is a day for the digging of the grave. After a few days, the body is laid to rest with much weeping.
1. Animism is practiced by a large amount of the population
Animism is the belief that things in nature such as animals, trees, idols made from stone or wood, and ancestors have supernatural powers.
Zambians believe that witch doctors have power over them and are able to predict events as their ancestors, animals talk to them.
As this is very much a part of their beliefs, Gambians who have converted to other religions still practice these beliefs but in private.
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