CHIMBUYA: PROVIDING CONTEXT*
*_Mischievous Cynicism: When the Pre-vexed Take a Text Out Of Context And Use It As A Pretext_*
By Sunday Chilufya Chanda
Zambia is a country with 73 ethnic groups that coexist peacefully in their diversity.
Central to this is the practice of Traditional Cousinship commonly referred to as “Chimbuya” between the various tribal groupings such as the Ngoni and the Bemba for instance.
The Ngoni/Bemba chimbuya dates back to the Bemba-Ngoni wars of the 19th century which were fought at Ng’wena. Over a period of time, the hostilities were replaced by a peculiar kind of humour that belies a mutual respect between the two tribal groupings.
It is therefore common to find either tribe “taking over” the other grouping’s funeral by supervising the kitchen at the funeral house and/or the internment at the burial site in comical fashion.
A similar relationship exists between the Tonga and Lozi tribes.
Tribal cousinship humour is practised on a day to day basis and it has become an accepted cultural norm that permeates through the social strata of Zambian Society.
It is in this context that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu- a Ngoni, took a humorous jibe at his traditional cousins -the Bembas by saying out of ten thieves, six are Bembas. It was a light moment that needed to be taken in its context of jest.
As a Nsenga, President Lungu can get away with any joke or illustration to do with Bembas – it is traditional cousinship at work just like a Bemba can get away with a murderous joke involving Nsengas, Ngonis Tumbukas etc.
It is also the same manner Lozis make Tongas the subject of their jokes and the Tongas equally return the hilarious favour.
It is therefore shocking that the Opposition could even demand for responses from Government including those asking Her Honour the Vice President to “substantiate” a jocular statement the Head of State made about the Bembas.
We expect the colleagues in the Opposition, inside and outside the legislature are of age to appreciate where the tribal cousinship comes from. Unless these individuals, especially those who belonging to the Bemba-speaking people have lived in infantile isolated hibernation all their lives, we would expect that they would understand “Chimbuyaship”.
Their impish attempts to cook up a storm in a teacup are mischievious.
To take a text out of context the way they’ve done, and to use It as a pretext for their pre-vexed is simply juvenile .