Blessing discusses Zambia’s rich cultural diversity, and why Unity Day is a significant reminder to the nation.

Zambia is a country with rich cultural diversity, so every year on the first of Tuesday of July, the nation celebrates Unity Day. Everyone around the country on this day, reaffirms our binding oath with peace, solidarity, mutual respect and the importance of all life in Zambia. It is a significant reminder of our rich culture as a nation, woven firmly together with over 70 ethnic groups each with unique traditions, languages and customs (Geography of Zambia).

For most Zambians like me, Unity Day is a time for national reflection and joyful celebration. It invites us to reflect on our contribution to bringing people in our communities together, toward the unity of the nation at large. It makes us rethink our attitude towards those who differ from us and embrace values of inclusivity and understanding. This, therefore, builds a sense of oneness outside our ethnicity whenever we take part in community activities or other acts of togetherness with other cultures. Therefore, today marks an awakening of the spirit of oneness and togetherness that exemplifies our citizenship as Zambians. It is a celebration of our unified identity rejoicing in the unique cultures that define us and bring richness to our nation. 

I remember my first encounter with Unity Day. I attended a local celebration – the experience was eye-opening. I got to interact with Zambians who had different cultures from me, listened the stories they shared, and appreciated the diverse fabric that characterises Zambia. That experience sealed it for me – the notion that Unity Day can never be a mere symbolism of unity but a real, everyday practice in how we can interact and work together. 

One of the influences on my understanding and respect for diversity comes from my grandmother. She always tells me tales about the different ethnic groups that inhabit Zambia, how leaders such asKenneth Kaunda, a Bemba man, and Harry Nkumbula, a Tonga man, both played crucial roles in mobilizing the population and leading efforts towards Zambia’s independence, showing true unity and cooperation. It is through her stories that I learned the richness of the history, traditions, cultures, and values of different communities. In her own way of sharing these tales, she fills them with messages of respect for each ethnic group. The wisdom she shares through her stories continuously sharpens my appreciation for Zambian culture that exists within our borders and the harmony that is tied to our national identity. 

As we celebrate this year’s Unity Day, there is need to take a confident step towards the strengthening of our social cohesion to build a more inclusive society. To embrace the common aspects of humanity as well as the differences in culture. To promote a united and cooperative future where each person is valued. Through activities like community outreach, we can foster a deeper understanding of Zambian culture, coupled with advocacy for social cohesion through education.

Additionally, Unity Day is a reminder of people’s strength and will to build a united nation. It calls upon all of us to fight prejudices, accept differences, and build bridges that will link us to one another. This celebration stimulates our thoughts about life towards the purpose of unity, peace and solidarity.

May this be a day to have fun and learn while forming meaningful connections as we work in unity, to preserve our heritage and build confidence for a better tomorrow. Happy Unity Day!


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