Future uncertain – a note on Finnish Independence Day

“Life was better in the colonial days” – a statement I’ve heard several times. It’s hard to hear that said for two reasons among several

The first is that Zambians as a people know so little about the colonial history of Zambia. We learn a few paragraphs in our history books and a few grainy ZBC documentaries. We look with fondness on the infrastructure of colonial days – the roads, schools, hospitals – without doing the math – calculating for whom that infrastructure was meant – and without considering the motives of builders.
The second reason is how our present situation can be so desperate that we sit and ponder such a notion. Those are the words of people whose spirit is broken and are now looking for outside intervention; a vendor at the roadside who abandons has meagre stall to pursue a foreigner who may or may not have wealth to spare but the vendor clings to the vaguest possibility that the passerby may hand him a sum so vast that the vendor will be freed from his misery.

In the words of KK “Always view with some suspicion those who contrast the good old days with the evil and dissolute present. Take my 
 word for it, the people who prate on and on about the good old days are likely to be suffering from defective memories and would most certainly refuse any invitation to return to the past if [...] possible.” (1973)

In the meantime, “Zambia shall be free” is still a future uncertain. As a people we know so little of our past that it constantly regurgitates itself into our present.  

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