Sunday, September 01, 2013

'Poverty would be eradicated if everyone worked hard'
By Editor
Sun 04 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

PASTOR Angelina Sichilongo, of Kitwe's Pentecostal Holiness Church, urges Zambians to "take advantage of the tranquility the country enjoys and use it as a God-given opportunity to work hard to improve their living standards".

Truly, as it is said, 'Lesa tapela ku minwe, apalamikafye'. It is up to us all, as citizens of this country, to take advantage of the opportunities available and exploit them for our benefit. Our daily deeds as ordinary Zambians must produce an actual reality that will help improve the conditions under which we live and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.

The political leadership of this country alone cannot deliver all the things we hope for. We cannot build and economy or a society purely on the basis of entitlement. The state will provide the necessary infrastructure required for development and our progress, but the responsibility to turn this into tangible personal benefits will depend on mobilising our own sweat equity as individuals. We have to make a contribution to our own wellbeing.

What is going on, the development projects government is undertaking, in themselves, guarantee us nothing as individuals. They offer us instead the opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure. They are both a promise and a challenge. They are a promise in the sense that if we work hard, we can utilise them to improve our lives. They are a challenge because what we get out of them will depend on what we ourselves do and on no one else.

A decent society is not based on handouts from government, on rights. It is based on the duties we have for our own wellbeing. And, of course, to all should be given opportunity, and from all responsibility demanded.

Attitudes have to change. The world in which we live has changed.
A life of ease is a little worth of a nation as of an individual. People who do nothing, who don't work, who don't strive after great things should not be admired. We should admire those who embody effort.

In this life, we get nothing save by effort. It is hard to fail; but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. Far better is to dare mighty things, even though checkered by failure, than to take the rank of those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

It is also important to pay attention to the observations made by Pastor Sichilongo on extravagance: "As women, let us not just think of going shopping or jumping on every latest fashion every time our husbands give us money. It is such tendencies that breed poverty at household level…" There is too much money being wasted on unnecessary consumption and luxuries. We have people in this country who are spending so much money on clothes, cosmetics and cars but don't have even a hut they can call their own. And as pastor correctly observes, they continue to live in rented accommodation. It doesn't make sense.
Clothes are not an investment. There should be a limit on how many clothes one has. And one should seriously consider other things before buying a car. It is difficult to understand how someone can spend so much money on so-called Brazilian hair yet they don't have even a hut of their own. When you look at some of our women's annual hair budgets, they would complete the construction of a reasonable house. Look at the cell phones they carry - extremely expensive ones. For what? And look at their airtime bills per month. And look at how relatively little they are spending on the welfare of children, on things such as a good diet for their family! This unbridled consumerism if not well managed will derail us as individuals and as a nation. There is need to put a lid on it. But, of course, the state will not do that for us. That will be infringing on our rights. It is up to us as individuals to do something about it.

No country can long endure if its foundations are not laid deep in the material prosperity which comes from thrift, from hard and unsparing effort.

What Pastor Sichilongo is preaching to us is that what our country needs is not the life of ease, but the life of strenuous endeavour. There is no substitute to hard work. There is no substitute to being thrift.

And Pastor Sichilongo is right when she says: "Poverty would be eradicated if everyone worked hard." It is only through individual and collective hard work that we shall ultimately eradicate poverty. If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease, if we shrink from hard work, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by and win for themselves greater material benefits from our own opportunities, the opportunities God has given us.

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