Sunday, May 26, 2013

Scott urges Zambians to be proud of their past

By Mwala Kalaluka
Sun 26 May 2013, 14:01 CAT

VICE-President Dr Guy Scott says Zambians should celebrate the Golden Jubilee of African freedom without forgetting that barely 20 years had passed since the last shots were fired in anger in one of its neighbouring countries.

And tourism, arts and culture minister Sylvia Masebo says Africans should free themselves from foreign domination and oppression by embracing and developing their rich and diverse culture.

During festivities to mark Africa Freedom Day and the Golden Jubilee of the African Union at the Lusaka Showgrounds yesterday, Vice-President Scott urged Zambians to be proud of their past and continued liberation efforts in the southern African region.

"This is the climax of the week of celebrations for Africa Freedom Day," said Vice-President Scott who had earlier joined ordinary Zambians on stage to dance to a Luvale song titled 'Ng'oma Yami' performed by the Green Buffaloes Band. "Zambia has itself been nearly independent for 50 years."

But he said although Zambia's struggle for liberation from colonialism may have ended in 1964, it continues to contribute and suffer as a result of its neighbours experiencing fighting.
"It is not nearly 20 years since the last shots were shot in anger in the southern African region," Vice-President Scott said. "Let us be proud of our contribution and our continuing contribution to this cause."

He said even as the country was struggling to liberate itself from poverty, it was imperative that the forefathers that rendered personal sacrifices to liberate Africa were appreciated.
He urged Africans to clearly understand their past.

"So that we face our future with a great sense of determination," said Vice-President Scott. "Since I am from a minority ethnic group, there are some people from the minority group like my father Alexander Scott, Simon Zukas who also contributed."

And during a cultural night gala held on the eve of Africa Freedom Day at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Masebo wondered why the audience looked like people who were in mourning when the event was about celebrating Africa's birthday.

"I think that the Lusaka provincial minister Freedom Sikazwe was right. We don't seem to be in a celebratory mood. Surely this is a very important event where we are celebrating our 50th birthday," she said.

"We are gathered here so that through the arts we can celebrate and recall the revolutionary decision taken by 32 individuals."

Masebo said the fore-runner of the OAU, the African Union AU had come up with a Charter for African Renaissance and that part of it documens thematic areas that build the capacity of the continent's cultural sector.

She noted that apart from its objective of eliminating all forms of alienation, exclusion and cultural oppression, the Charter for African Renaissance seeks to promote freedom of expression and cultural democracy.

Masebo said cultural democracy could not be separated from social and political democracy and she said the government had completed the process of drafting the art, culture and heritage bill that would culminate in the formation of an art, culture and heritage commission.

Masebo said these efforts coupled with the soon-to-be established New Media and arts college in Chilanga district were not only the government's tangible commitment to the development of the cultural sector but also a vehicle for job creation.

"Without our cultural identity Africa will have nothing to contribute to human diversity," said Masebo.

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