Happy Independence Day Zambia! The country will be celebrating their 55 years of independence on October 24, 2019. On this day in 1964, the British colony of Northern Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zambia, after overcoming extreme obstacles and decades of nationalist struggle.
The Independence Day in Zambia is celebrated annually on October 24. This special day marks the anniversary of the declaration of independence of Zambia from Great Britain in 1964. The road to independence wasn’t easy for the Zambians. There were extreme hurdles and complex situations that needed to be answered before the country got an ‘Independent’ status.
The Republic of Zambia celebrates its independence day with utmost enthusiasm and fervor. It is an opportunity to honor Zambia’s convention of solidarity and peace, reflected in the motto “One Zambia, One Nation,” and to reaffirm its commitment to a democratic future that guarantees respect for individual freedoms and responsible administration.
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Want to skip ahead to a particular section?
- 1 Zambia Independence Day: How did Zambia get its independence?
- 2 The British Rule & Discovery of Copper
- 3 A road to Independence: Not An Easy One!
- 4 Zambia Independence Day: National Flag
- 5 What Zambia’s National Flag symbols represent?
- 6 What does the eagle stand for on the Zambian flag?
- 7 Coat of Arms of Zambia
- 8 Zambia Independence Day Celebrations: Life, People & Traditions
- 9 How did Zambia Get its independence?
- 10 What was Zambia Called before independence?
Zambia Independence Day: How did Zambia get its independence?
Due to its landlocked nation, Zambia was not visited by European settlers until the end of the 19th century. Although there were contacts with outsiders but were limited to a few Arab and Portuguese visits, with no any long-lasting relationship.
In 1888, Cecil Rhodes, the leader of the British South Africa Company, signed a treaty with the Paramount Chief of the Lozi, and obtain mineral rights in the region. Suppression of tribal rebellions led to the complete control of the region by the British. This land came to be known as North-Western Rhodesia.
Additionally, parts of east Zambia were conquered by force along with Malawi. The British cracked down the uprising led by the son of King Mpenzi and gained control of the vast territories, that came to be known as North-Eastern Rhodesia.
Both these regions i.e North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia were administered by British as separate units, until 1911 when they were merged to form Northern Rhodesia (today called Zambia).
The British Rule & Discovery of Copper
The British administration in Northern Rhodesia (today called Zambia) was similar to its other African regions. A representative heads a small central council composed of Europeans delegated by the British government. The local rulers are permitted great freedom under this system of indirect rule.
In the late 1920’s, copper was discovered in Zambia, which led to an economic boom and the urbanization of parts of the country. This major development led to the extension of the railway and the building of the first smelting plants in the copper belt. By 1939, Zambia (then known as Northern Rhodesia) became a major producer of copper in the world and became a technically advanced nation.
A road to Independence: Not An Easy One!
After the end of World War II, the process of decolonization started in Africa. In 1953, the United Kingdom decided to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, consisting of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (now Malawi).
People of Northern Rhodesia strongly opposed this decision and took a strong stand against the formation of this federation. The federation resulted in the rise of two nationalist parties, and general strikes started in 1960-1961.
Following legislative council elections in 1962, the two parties joined forces to pass resolutions calling for the secession of the country from the federation and demanding full internal self-government under a new constitution.
For Zambia (Northern Rhodesia), the road leading to the Independence was complicated and full of hurdles than the other British African territories because the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland had to be broken first. Until the federation was dissolved, it looked as if Zambia could never become independent.
Due to strong protests by the forces of Northern Rhodesia, the federation was finally dissolved in December 1963. In January 1964, general elections were held in the country and President Kenneth Kaunda took the office 10 months later on October 24, 1964. The president renamed the country the Republic of Zambia.
October 24, is celebrated in Zambia as Independence Day, and one of the public holidays in the region.
Zambia Independence Day: National Flag
The National Flag of Zambia was adopted upon independence on October 24, 1964. It has a green background with an orange-colored African fish eagle in flight over a rectangular block of three vertical stripes, colored, from left to right: red, black and orange.
*Interesting Fact: The placement of the eagle and block of stripes at the Zambia National flag’s fly is notable as most emblems on flags are placed at center or at the hoist!
What Zambia’s National Flag symbols represent?
Zambia’s National Flag colors and emblems are rich in symbolism. Each of the four colors represents an aspect of Zambia.
- Green Color: stands for the nation’s lush flora, representing the country’s national resources and vegetation
- Red Color: represents the nation’s struggle for freedom
- Black Color: represents Zambian people
- Orange Color: represents the land’s natural resources and mineral wealth (primarily copper)
What does the eagle stand for on the Zambian flag?
The orange-colored African fish eagle flying above the colored stripes on the Zambian flag represents the people’s ability to rise above the nation’s problems. The eagle also appears in the national coat of arms.
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Coat of Arms of Zambia
The coat of arms of Zambia was adopted on the day of independence, 24th October 1964.
The orange-colored African fish eagle represents the nation’s hope for the future and the people’s ability to rise above the nation’s problems.
The pick and hoe represent the country’s economic backbone: agriculture and mining
The shield represents Victoria Falls with white water cascading over the black rock. The Victoria Falls is a representation of the Zambezi river, from which Zambia takes its name.
The shield is supported by two figures: a Zambian man in Western garb to the left and a Zambian woman in traditional garb to the right. These figures represent the common man and woman of the nation.
The coat of arms of Zambia also has emblems of Zambia’s natural resources: agriculture and wildlife, minerals and mining.
Zambian Motto: The country’s motto is “One Zambia, One Nation” which stresses the need for solidarity in a nation of more than 60 ethnic groups.
Zambia Independence Day Celebrations: Life, People & Traditions
Zambian Independence Day comes every 24 October. It’s the day when the country escaped out from under British rule back in 1964. The national day event is a huge patriotic parade in Lusaka, the capital city, yet smaller events take place all over the country.
The Independence Day in Zambia is celebrated with patriotic zeal and fervor. The day begins with special prayers for peace and stability in the region. The center of independence day celebrations is Lusaka, the country’s capital city.
The celebrations start with a flag-raising ceremony, followed by a huge military parade including the special gun-salute, and display of advanced armories. Hundreds of Zambians including outside tourists as well, head out to the capital city to enjoy the military parades and special performances.
There are Zambian Independence Day seminars and speeches by the government officials, where tribute and respect are paid to Zambia’s freedom fighters and ancient rulers who struggled for the country’s freedom and turned the impossible to possible.
Special Independence day functions are also held throughout the country, where the young generation is taught how the freedom of Zambia was gained from British rule and how their ancestors struggled to get the separate homeland.
On Independence Day, all important public and private buildings are decorated with national flags. Many residents decorate their houses and towns with pennants and lights. Firework shows are also put together on the eve of Zambia Independence Day.
At the capital, Lusaka, the celebrations occupy the streets with music and dancing for 2 days on a row. This is the reason why many Zambians and foreign tourists head to the capital to enjoy the celebrations and experience the city at full throttle! The lovely cultural dances and music performances further add glitz and glamour to the event.
For many Zambians, the Independence Day is one-of-a-kind holiday they look forward to each year. Families and friends plan a picnic to recreational spots, where they chill, relax and enjoy. Traditional dishes, cultural dances, and entertainment performances make this public holiday memorable.
Importance of Independence Day in Zambia
Zambia’s National Independence Day marks the anniversary of the country’s independence in 1964. It is celebrated as a national holiday on October 24 each year. For two days, including October 24, Independence Day celebrations and parades are held all over Zambia.
Labor and youth organizations marks alongside the military with cultural dances and music. Various tribal dances are performed in Independence Stadium, and there are aerobatic performances by kids. October 24 is also the occasion for the final game of the yearly Independence Soccer Trophy.
The Independence Day in Zambia is an opportunity to honor Zambia’s convention of unity and peace, reflected in the motto “One Zambia, One Nation,” and to reaffirm its commitment to a democratic future that guarantees respect for individual freedoms and responsible administration.
The day is an important reminder for the Zambians, to pay respects to Zambia’s freedom fighters. It’s also a powerful reminder that together the nation has the power to overcome the biggest obstacles in their path. The citizens proudly celebrate their unity as a nation, which, since Independence still holds strong.
Many Zambians commemorate this special event by participating in charitable activities by visiting and sharing lovely gifts with some of their vulnerable groups in society. In this, they feel compelled by a sense of honor to share the delight of their independence by sharing what they have with some of the orphanages in Lusaka who are in desperate straits especially under the predominant financial circumstance and hardships.
Zambia Independence Day: Interesting Facts
*OMG Fact: The Zambian forest beside the Victoria Falls receives “rain” 24 hours a day, seven days a week!
The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in East Africa. It shares borders with eight different countries including Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Botswana. Read on to find out interesting and unknown facts about Zambia.
- National Language: English
- Religion: There is freedom of worship in Zambia. Christianity is followed by over 60% of the population.
- National Bird: The Fish Eagle
- National Currency: Zambian kwacha, meaning ‘dawn’
- Zambian Cuisine: Zambia’s staple food is maize. The cuisine is heavily centered around nshima, which is a dish prepared from pounded white maize. Nshima is part of every Zambian meal. Zambian cuisine also includes: various types of stews, beer, dried fish and insects, and cooked vegetables
- In Zambia, traditional beer is made from maize
- Termite hills in Zambia can grow as big as a small house
- Zambia is a landlocked country of rugged terrain and diverse wildlife, with many lush parks and safari areas.
- Victoria Fall in Zambia is double the height of Niagara Falls in Canada. Victoria Falls in 108 meters in height!
- Zambia relies on copper as one of its biggest exports. The country produces around 1.5 million tonnes of copper a year.
- Zambia is home to the Big Five of Wildlife including lions, rhinos and elephants.
- The world’s biggest man-made lake, Lake Kariba, is located in Zambia. This lake is used for commercial fishing options and to supply electric hydropower to Zambia and its neighboring region, Zimbabwe.
- Zambia was named after the 4th biggest river in Africa – Zambezi.
- Animism is practiced by a large amount of the population in Zambia. The people here have a belief that things in nature such as animals and trees have supernatural powers.
How did Zambia Get its independence?
Zambia gets the independence from Britain. In 1964, October 24 Zambia (Former Name: Northern Rhodesia) gain its independence Britain.
What was Zambia Called before independence?
The former name of Zambia was Northern Rhodesia. After gaining independence in 1964 it named as Zambia.
Which Countries colonized Zambia?
In 1964 the Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia which are now the Zimbabwe and Zambia were under the British Sphere of influence. At the start, the whole territory was administered by the BSAC (Rhodes British South Africa) Company, which ultimately showed little interest in the province and used it as the source of labor.
Why did the British Colonized Zambia?
The Colonization of Zambia actually begins in the 1890s when the Lozi Chief Lewanika was deceived during signing a concession which actually gave the BSAC company an excuse to invade the lands. But later on, in 1924 the BSAC company get the control over Modern Zambia.
What is Zambia Famous for?
Zambia is quite famous for the Victoria falls, but besides this, it has amazing natural water resources as compared to any other southern African country.
When was Zambia colonized?
Zambia became the official British Colony in 1924. The Zambia history of the Zambia Colonization starts with the town of Livingstone. It was established by the BSAC Company.
How did Zambia Become a Country?
Zambia gains its independence from Britain. On 24th of October 1964, the Northern Rhodesia (modern name Zambia) gets its independence from Britain.
What was Zambia Called before 1964?
Before 1964 Zambia was called the Northern Rhodesia. After gaining independence in 1964 it named as Zambia.
Is Zambia is a democracy?
The politics of Zambia actually takes place in the democratic republic framework where the President of Zambia is the head of the state.