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Of great kin- Julia Chikamoneka

She left this world in 1986, but her spirit lives on. Thank  you Julia Chikamoneka for standing up for our rights as the people of Zambia. For believing that you could make a difference. For fighting with the only weapons you had -your voices, your bodies, your vision for a better future for generations to come. As Zambia celebrates 50 years of independence today I reflect upon this great woman who was one of a number of women who were a part of the liberation struggle. I am proud and honoured to be of such great kin.

Mary Lombe  daughter to Mulenga Lombe son of Chief Chitimukulu-Ponde of Zambias Bemba ethnic group, was born in 1904. She later was christened Julia and even later took the name Chikamoneka (meaning “victory will be seen”) for her fearless attitude in Northern Rhodesia‘s independence struggle and as a mantle to cover her operations during the independence struggle.

She started her career as a housemaid, then became a restaurant owner, during which period she became politically involved attending rallies, planning protest marches, and organizing boycotts of shops that discriminated based on race. Not having a formal education did not hinder  her from being a leader in the independence struggle. Chikamoneka was known for her effective fundraising in addition to leading protest marches. She also provided food and shelter for people politically involved and risked arrest by opening her house for political meetings. She inspired women to take an active role in the independence struggle.

Julia Chikamoneka, along with Zambia’s first ever First Lady, Betty Kaunda, Emilia Saidi and Mandalena Mumba petitioned colonial authorities for the release of detained political party leaders. Her most dramatic protest occurred in 1960 when she marched to the District Commissioner’s office and slapped him. Then, accompanied by Emilia Saidi and Mandalena Mumba, proceeded to strip down to her waist before leading a group of women protesters on a march to the national airport.

Affectionately called “Mama UNIP” for her contributions to the party that led Zambia to independence. Her contribution was publicly acknowledged, in 1969, when President Kenneth Kaunda (1924– ) bestowed her with the Order of Distinguished Service. When she died in 1986 she was accorded a state funeral and buried with full military honors.

I have indulged in a number of pictures from this era from the National Archives in the UK.

Portests in 1960s_Zambia

Protests in 1960s_Zambia (source The National Archives UK)

Happy Independence day Zambia!

Further Reading and references:

http://leahkabamba.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/brief-history-and-activism-of-mama-julia-chikamoneka/

http://zambia-buzz.blogspot.se/p/the-cloth-i-are-cut-from-saluting.html

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Matebeto-om att uppskatta din älskade

Har sorterat bilder i några dagar och har hittat en massa som jag skulle vilja visa er. Jag hittade bilder  från “matebeto” ceremonin som min familj hade ordnat för att visa tacksamhet till min man Mattias, för det han har gjort för mig och våra barn. Matebeo är en gammal ceremoni från Bemba stamgruppen. En bemba matebeto är en obestämd ceremoni för att uppskatta varandra även långt efter människor har gift sig. Ceremonin går ut på att laga alla Zambias viktigaste rätter under en hel morgon.  Jag fick äran att laga helstekt kyckling och att röra i den stora nshima grytan. Jag kände mig hedrad då. Vilde verkligen visa min man att han betydde ALLT för mig.  Maten sedan bärs in till festlokalen av glada dansande kvinnor. ( Jag fick vara med också) Traditionellt är det inte riktigt tänkt så. Varje rätt bärs fram till Mattias och han får en detaljerad beskrivning på rätten och dess symbolik. En kvinna tvättar hans händer och fötter. Allt under trumspel, dans och skratt.  Det är fest. Mattias känner sig sedd och älskad.

Det känns så långt borta. Skulle jag vilja dra ihop hela min familj för en hel dag av matlagning bara för min man? Vad gör han för att visa att han uppskattar mig? Så skulle jag nog tänka idag. Nu när vi bor i Sverige, där tid och ork känns alltid som värsta bristvaran, och där allt ska vara så jämlikt. Men när jag tittar på filmen väcks jag av positiva varma känslor. Jag blir påmind om hur mycket jag blev älskad tillbaka för att vi ( jag och min familj) älskade först.

Att visa uppskattning. Det kan nog behövas ibland. Vill du se filmen titta på vår facebook sida.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=579451085424764&set=vb.319721774731031&type=2&theater

Stora nshima grytan

Jag rör i den stora nshima grytan

Händer och fötter ska tvättas

Händer och fötter ska tvättas

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Neither Black Nor White

This is my first post this year. I have been book keeping for the last few days and feel the need to do the same with myself. In 2012 a number of debates and discussion with regard to colour, racism, ethnocentrism have made headlines in Sweden. The Tintingate saga, the gingerbread costume ban, and the revised traditional Disney Christmas edition to mention a few.

I am neither black nor white. I am neither African or European. I consider myself  BOTH Swedish and Zambian. I was born and raised in Zambia on a farm outside of Kabwe in the 70s. My father is from Kalix in Sweden and my mother from Mwembeshi in Zambia.

At the age of 12 I went to boarding school in Zimbabwe, then five years into its independence. In an effort to promote integration the government had stipulated quotas to ensure that private schools had balanced numbers of ethnic groups represented. Racial segregation had legally been abolished but racial tension still existed. At the age of 12 I wrote a letter to the headmaster disturbed over the fact that blacks and whites did not share the same showers. As a teenager I experienced that mixed relationships were uncommon.  Racism in Zimbabwe was deep rooted, fixed and had developed from years of supression, loss of loved ones and traditional values passed down.

At the age of 12 I understood that I was neither black nor white.  I am ” a coloured” , a “half-caste”,  ” a goffle”… I laugh. I have not used those words in years. Today I acknowledge this as my strength. My roots firmly set in Zambian soil, holding on to a large family and social network with ubuntu principles where  “I am what I am because of who we all are, ” but also nurtured by a Swedish environment to explore, discover, critically analyse and grow individually. I moved to Sweden for tertiary education when I was 19.

I do not feel threatened or offended if asked where I really come from. I dont speak Swedish like a Swede and I don’t master my tribal language, Bemba.  There is most often no racistic motive in often odd or awkward questions or comments. A deeper and more worrying concern is a growing nationalistic movement and increased intollerans to a multicultural Sweden. Kurdo Baksi in Debatt shows that 72 percent of all hate crimes have racist motives. Simply put, one can say that more than 10 people are affected daily by this form of hatred.

Our opinions and points of reference are formed by past experiences. Nigerian author Chimamandi Adichie describes how prejudices and  preconceived ideas are shaped by the stories we are exposed to, and she emphasises the dangers of a single story.

We owe it to ourselves and our children to broaden the picture in persue of the dream…

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  — Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream” speech: August 28, 1963

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Dorothy Eriksson, My Inspirational Mum

My mother is an inspiration to many.  She is the director of Chankwakwa ltd. Chankwakwa is a small family business based on homemade quality and family tradition, producing natural foods.  A role model in inclusive business. The term inclusive business refers to profitable core business activity that also tangibly expands opportunities for the people at the base of the economic pyramid (BoP). Her products are  HACCP, ECOCERT and Fairtrade certified, all costly and extremely time-consuming exercises for a small-scale producer.

A recent collaboration has seen her sun dried mango in fair trade ice-cream produced by Hansens Is which is available in COOP and many other stores in Denmark and Sweden.

She runs a bakery. Over 100 families are directly or indirectly employed through her various enterprises. She is involved in AWEP African Women Entrepreneurs Programme. She supports women both physically and spiritually through her work with Women Aglow. She was selected to represent Zambia at the 2012 AWEP programme in the US. She has been covered by both local and international Media.

She is a mother of 4 and  has been married to my father for 42  years.

To me she is Mummy. A mother that has persevered through many years of struggle. A mother that taught us family values and encouraged us never to give up.

Dorothy Eriksson

Dorothy Eriksson

Mango Cutting in Chankwakwa Factory

Mango Cutting in Chankwakwa Factory

Resources>

IVLP participant, Mrs. Dorothy Eriksson, Managing Director of Chankwakwa farms.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201103070770.html

http://exchanges.state.gov/multimedia/ivlp/awep.html

http://www.one.org/blog/2012/06/22/chankwakwa-natural-food-admired-by-african-business-community/

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En zambisk måltid i ett svenskt hem

Mitt hem känns nog ganska svenskt trots att det ligger mitt i Zambia. Det bryggs gevalia kaffe och äts kaviar, bakas bullar och kladdkaka. Men några gånger i veckan kokas det också nshima, den zambiska huvudfödan. Det är en tjock gröt kokt på majsmjöl som sedan äts med olika tillbehör. Ofta har folk bara råd med grönsaker och man kokar dem med tomat och lök. Med grönsaker menas blad från alla tänkbara växter, blad från pumpaplantan, från sötpotatis, kasavaplantan, olika vilda växter som i våra ögon räknas till ogräs. Man äter gärna torkad fisk till det, eller kanske inälvsmat, men det ultimata favorit tillbehöret är stekt kyckling. Denna nshima tillagas i varje zambiskt hem till både lunch och middag, en zambier har inte riktigt ätit förren han/hon fått sin nshima! Mina barn älskar nshima, och inte konstigt att det är en favorit då det äts med händerna!

Nshima, kyckling och pumpablad

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Changing of seasons

September in Sweden

I usually am up early every morning. A trait I have carried with me from boarding school days in Zimbabwe. Studies were somewhat easier in the cool stillness of the morning, shared only with a few crickets.

It’s 7 degrees ( 5am) this morning and getting colder and darker daily. The 24 hours of daylight at midsummer are now down to 13 hours. Three months from now we will have an expected 4 hours of daylight.  The birch trees outside my window are slowly shifting colour from green to an impressive array of yellows and reds. There is something special about this time of year.  A sense of sadness over the fact that summer is gone, but also a sense of comfort in a return to daily routines after an intense summer and with it a sense of  longing. A longing for the winter and snow. For candle lit dinners. Welcoming lights in the windows. A burning fireplace. Christmas.

We have lived in Sweden for just over a year, and we now know what to expect with the changing of seasons. A very welcoming thought.

September in Southern Africa

Zambia and Zimbabwe both move towards their hottest and driest months with temperatures over 30 degrees.  I have carried two very heavy pregnancies in this season, so I often associate this period with a deep longing and preparation time for a new birth. Despite the intense heat and the lack of water, this is one of the most colourful periods with numerous species chosing to blossom. The pastel purples of the Jacaranda to the deep red Flamboyant (flame tree). Heavy expectations. The land thirsts for water. Farmers plan for their next cropping season. A longing for the rain and with it a new season.

Jacaranda tree

Jacaranda tree

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Kul med kapsyler

Kul med kapsyler

Vem behöver leksaker när allt du behöver är en syster / bror och några kapsyler? Eftersom många barn växer upp i fattiga familjer i Zambia har de aldrig vetat vad det är att äga en leksak. Ändå leker de. Det är fantastiskt vilken kreativitet dessa barn har. Något jag tror att många barn i västvärlden har förlorat på grund av dataspel, mobiltelefoner och en ständig stimulans från dyra leksaker omkring dem. Barn här kan plocka upp några kapsyler, lite ståltråd och i deras händer blir det till en bil. En bit trasigt tyg blir en docka. Strängar av plast rullas upp och får duga till fotboll. Jag är tacksam för att mina egna barn har lärt sig att använda sin kreativitet på samma sätt. Trots att de äger fler leksaker än genomsnittet av afrikanska barn så uppskattar de fortfarande de enkla sakerna som pinnar, kapsyler och andra kasserade föremål. Det är till och med svårt att veta vad man ska ge dem i födelsedagspresent då den mesta leken sker utomhus med hemgjorda leksaker … Jag tror nog att jag kan ge dem en stor burk kapsyler i julklapp!

En person som säkerligen lekte med kapsyler och ståltråd som barn är konstnären Spider vars produkter du kan hitta på SavannaHomes webshop.

Bottle Top Bin

Korg tillverkad av kapsyler och ståltråd

Click for english…