As we celebrate 50 years since Independence Open Zambia takes a quick look at the celebrations planned for the occasion, as well as at how some of our brothers and sisters from the region have marked their own Jubilees before us.
The Church kick-started this week’s Jubilee festivities on Monday with an Interdenominational thanksgiving church service at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Guy Scott officiated over a tasteful ceremony, befitting of the momentous occasion.
Scores of familiar musicians, artists and performers will adorn Lusaka from Thursday Eve through to Saturday in what is expected to be an event worthy of the Jubilee. Renowned figures such as Amayenge and Afro-Jazz artiste Maureen Lilanda are to perform and their voices will be offset against performances from the Livingstone-based National Dance Troupe, Amaombe, Zambia National Service and Chota cultural ensembles.
Jason Phiri, a choreographer for the Ministry of Tourism, said the Golden Jubilee festivities are expected to start on Friday from 09:00AM at National Heroes stadium until 19:00PM before the curtain opens for the centrepiece performance. Choreographers from Zambia and China have been preparing now for 3 months for this finale, which the visiting Heads of State are expected to attend.
According to Foreign Minister Kalaba notable attendees will include the Heads of State of Namibia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe,Uganda and Rwanda. Kalaba has also stated that the Nigerian Government has confirmed that it will send its vice-president to Zambia for the event. Of course now our own President will not be in attendance there is much speculation that those Heads of State planning to attend will no longer do so.
His Excellency Michael Sata has decided to honour the event with the creation of a special Single Class Golden Jubilee Medal that will be awarded to 1365 individuals for their services to Zambia. The list of recipients is overflowing with many well-known names in Zambian history, from KK to the 2012 Chipolopolo Boys. Even those who have sadly passed away before the landmark event have been posthumously honoured, including the late freedom fighter Arthur Wina.
Celebrations will occur up and down the country during this day of national unity. Many other countries have already celebrated their independence, here’s a look some of the SADC jubilees that have already occurred to give us a taste of what’s in store.
Earlier this year in July our brothers and sisters in Malawi celebrated 50 years of independence with a daylong series of events. It commenced with a national prayer service at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe. The main event at Civo Stadium included dances, concerts, and police and army parades. There was also a football match between Mozambique and Malawi, which ended in a one-all draw. Tens of thousands of people were ferried in by government vehicles from across the country to view the occasion.
On June 30th 2010 the Democratic Republic of Congo celebrated 50 years of independence. There was a military parade in Kinshasa, the capital, involving 15,000 soldiers and hundreds of tanks and other military vehicles.
In December 2011 Tanzania had their 50 years of independence celebrations; there was a weekend-long festival and a grand celebration at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. Other celebrations included The Kilimanjaro Uhuru Climb, which involved 200 people who climbed the mountain across four different routes on Kilimanjaro, carrying the Uhuru Torch.
With the Jubilee closing in Zambia can be proud of 50 years of independence. As a country we have come so far and milestones such as this one can help us reflect on our achievements and in turn reflect on areas we need to progress in.