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MUCHINGA PROVINCE: A place of natural abundance

Moono John

24th October, 1964 will always be in the memory of many people who emanate from the borders of Zambia as it is the day that gave birth to the great nation now known to the world as Zambia. Formerly known as Northern Rhodesia, was a protectorate of the British government when the British South African Company was overseeing the premises. In 1924, Northern Rhodesia became a British colony. Northern Rhodesia was colonized by the British until after the aforementioned date that gave birth to a new nation and signaled the end of British rule over this land.
Zambia draws its name from the river that runs from the north-west part of the country through Mozambique to the Indian Ocean. The country was divided into 9 regions which are called provinces. The nine provinces were; Lusaka province which is the home of the administrative capital of the country, Southern province which is home to the first capital of Northern Rhodesia and also the home to the tourist capital Livingstone. It is named after a Scottish missionary who is said to be the first white man to see the Mosi-o- Tunya that means “the smoke that thunders” and later he named it after the then Queen of the Britain, Queen Victoria. Western Province home of the magnificent Mongu-Kalabo Bridge, North- Western province the emerging industry hub of the country, Central province is the historical home of Broken Hill man, Northern Province which is the home of the Mwela rocks and the Chishimba Falls. Luapula Province is the home of many water bodies prominent among them is the Lake Bangweulu and the Mambillima Falls. Eastern Province is the home of the famous presidential holiday site Mfuwe and finally the Copperbelt Province which is the industrial hub of the country. Zambia had maintained these provinces for a good number of years until in 2011 when then president of the Republic of Zambia His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata made the pronouncement of the tenth province to be named Muchinga.

Muchinga Province draws its name from the Muchinga Escarpment. The escarpment runs from Mafinga through to Mpika. Though scary on first sight but it is a beautiful scenery that can be turned into a tourist attraction. This is because it is such a rare scenery worth of watching. Muchinga means “meandering through a terrain before getting to the destination”. However, it is worth noting that the meaning of Muchinga is subject to debate because little or no research has been undertaken to find out the real meaning of Muchinga. The province is rich in history and is at the centre of the history of Northern Rhodesia to becoming the present day Zambia. Muchinga province has contributed immensely to the political development of Zambia.
Zambia’s journey towards political emancipation became at a place called Mwenzo in Nakonde district right in the heart of the province. This was a mission centre of the London Missionary Society. A man named Donald Siwale is said to have begun a political movement to emancipate the black majority of the ills of the white minority rulers of the country at the time. In 1912, Donald Siwale formed the first welfare society which helped many blacks to know about the rights and privileges. The man is fondly remembered by a school named after him. The school is called Donald Siwale Technical Secondary School in Nakonde district. While the place at which the movement started houses a girl’s boarding school. The school is called Mwenzo Girls Secondary School. The two schools are just in close proximity to each other. Another historical site worth of note in Nakonde district is the Old Fife Barrack. This was the barrack for the British soldier who during the world war fought with their Germany counterparts. Apart from the aforementioned sites in Nakonde district, there is another tourist attraction that has a place in history. We are here today because of history and a serious neglect of our historical background means that our future is bleak. The Zwangedaba burial site along the Nakonde-Mbala road at a place near Kapwila is one historical site that needs serious marketing and taking care of. Zwangedaba was a Ngoni king who led his people from South Africa where they were running away from the wars of Shaka popularly known as the Mfecane. He led his people who eventually settled in the eastern part of Zambia but unfortunately for him, he died in Nakonde on there to the eastern province. His remains remained in Nakonde and that should be guarded judiciously as a famous heritage site in the country. These historical sites should be well managed and well marketed as they are key places in the political journey of our great nation. The country can earn good foreign exchange once these places are marketed as tourist sites. A brief history about them should be stored at a museum in these locations for people from within the country and outside the country can come and learn more about them.
In addition, the first republican president of Zambia Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda was born on 28th April, 1924 in Chinsali district at Lubwa Mission. The aforementioned place is in Muchinga province and as fate would have it, the son from the province went on to lead the liberation struggle and eventually became the founding president of Zambia. Therefore, because of its place in the history of the country, it is worth including among the heritage sites the country has to offer to the world.

Another of the people to have been so active in the liberation struggle is the late Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe as well as Robert Kapasa Makasa. Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe emanates from Chinsali district and was also in the first cabinet of the independent Zambia and has an airport named after him. This is the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe international airport in Ndola. While Robert Kapasa Makasa has a university named after him. This is the Robert Kapasa Makasa University in his hometown of Chinsali which is under the Copperbelt University.
Another son of the soil of Muchinga province is the late Michael Chilufya Sata. Michael Chilufya Sata born in Mpika district in 1937 came and added his name to the political development and eventually led the country as a president. At the time of his death in October of 2014 he was president of the republic of Zambia. Many sons and daughters of the land who have their roots soiled in the province had dedicated the lives to liberation struggle and others still raise the name of the province in the current political arena.

Muchinga province despite being a rural province has had a great contribution to the country’s political emancipation and has also great amount of potential in terms of tourism. Great effort should be put in marketing and developing the province in order to make it more attractive and being the hub of tourism in the country. The province has vast unexplored land and is home to some national monuments. Some of them are the Nachikufu Caves in Mpika. The caves are a magnificent sight and save as historical site for the people of the stone-age period. The caves provide us with evidence of people that lived during that period of time. The paintings have been interpreted and have historical significance according to the time in which they lived in.

As country that is on the path of diversification from mining as the main economic activity of the country to other sectors of the economic such as agriculture and tourism. We should seriously consider beautifying such places to make them more attractive to both local and foreign tourists. Charity begins at home says a famous adage. We as people should first learn to appreciate and visit our heritage sites before we can think of marketing them to the world. A serious paradigm shift in the way we do things is need for our tourism sector to be among the best in Africa if not the whole world.
Another national monument worth of mention is the Chipoma falls in Chinsali district. This natural wonder is one of the water bodies in the heart of the province has not been given the publicity it deserves. Magnificent water bodies such as the Chipoma falls should be well marketed. In addition to the Chipoma falls is the Lwitikila falls in Mpika district. Just like the Chipoma falls, Lwitikila falls has not been well publicized for the world out there to know about them. The province also has a hot spring in Shiwang’andu district. The hot spring is known as Kapisha Hot spring. This is a rare sight and so it should be well publicized and marketed for the world to know how much a rare sight it is. The major water body that the province has is the Chambeshi River.

The Chambeshi River acts as a demarcation between Northern and Muchinga provinces. It goes through Lake Bangweulu and comes out as Luapula River. Therefore, the name Luapula means “come through or go through” The Bangweulu swamps in Chief Kopa’s area are another water body in the province. The Lake also demarcates Luapula province and Muchinga province. Therefore, it is imperative that as a country we seriously need to market these heritage sites properly so that these parts of the country become economically viable too. Not only will it change the face of the province but it will also help accelerate the diversification process as it will be based on tangible actions and not mere pronouncements.
The province is also blessed with a number of national parks and some of the national parks dotted round the province include Lavushi Manda, North Luangwa and South Luangwa national parks. The national parks are home to many wildlife animals. Watching wild animals is a magnificent and euphoric experience that last a lifetime. And it being a rare opportunity for many, marketing these national parks and the kind of wildlife in them will be of great benefit to the nation as more and more tourist will be willing to visit these national parks.

The province has nine districts. The province was robbed of the historical value when the President Edgar Chagwa Lungu decided to demarcate Mpika district into three districts. Mpika used to be the largest district in the country. Some geographers speculated that Mpika was as big as Malawi and as big as Luapula province. This was the pride of the province however, it has been taken away from the province to accommodate for accelerated development. This is because the country is in a hurry to develop. The districts in the province are Kanchibiya, Lavushi Manda, Mpika, Chinsali, Shiwang’andu, Isoka, Mafinga, Chama and Nakonde districts. Nakonde is on the tip of the province up north and is the gateway to East Africa. The border town is a hive of activities as people from different countries converge on the Nakonde- Tunduma border to conduct various business activities.

The major languages spoken in the province are Bemba mostly in Chinsali district and others on the northern side of the province as well as down south in Mpika, Namwanga mostly spoken in Nakonde and Isoka districts and Tumbuka mostly spoken on the eastern side of the province. The Namwangas of both Nakonde and Isoka district have a wonderful traditional ceremony called the Mutomolo Traditional ceremony which is celebrated in August. The ceremony is held during this time of the year to thank the ancestors for the good harvest and pray for rains for the coming farming soon. The timing of the ceremony as it is held post harvest period and just at the beginning of the preparations of the coming season. It is held in Nakonde district at Chieftainess NaWaitwika’s palace. The people of this region of the country are predominantly peasant farmers. The crops grown in this part of the country are mainly maize, cassava, millet and groundnuts.

Muchinga province though a rural province but is abundantly endowed with many natural wonders and places as well as having a place in the heart of the history of mother Zambia. The country’s diversification agenda can only take effect with mental diversification on the part of the citizens also taking effect. Marketing of the tourism potential of Muchinga province will great benefit the nation. The province will also contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of this country. We are a country sitting on abundance in terms of the God given natural resources and it is our duty to market ourselves to the outside world for our development agenda to take the diversification stance into being a serious reality. It begins with us. Muchinga Province a place of natural abundance


Published by MyWritings

A Writer, A Diplomat in Waiting, Climate Change Advocate and a Football Administrator

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