EVER ASKED YOURSELF WHY ZAMBIA COMMEMORATES ITS YOUTH DAY ON 12TH MARCH AND NOT 12TH AUGUST WHICH IS THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY?

By Thabo Kawana

Well, school time is on! Only on DAZ.

In 1962, at the height of the struggle for Independence, the leadership of KK led UNIP was mostly at loggerheads with the Harry Mwanga Nkhumbula led ZANC.

So since the two groups rarely saw each other eye to eye and wud clash each time they met, our then colonial masters always hatched plans around eliminating the leaders and operatives of each of these groupings and later blame them to killing each other while justifying their continued rule claiming we are savages and not ready for self rule.

That fateful year of 1962, Harry Mwanga Nkhumbula was in Katanga (DRC) visiting his colleague Maurice Kaulongombe then Katanga leader.

And Kenneth Kaunda and Co wr in Kitwe for mobilization. The colonial masters saw an opportunity to strike KK and Co and later blame Nkhumbula who was coming from DRC via Mukambo (Mufurila) thru Kitwe back to Choma.

The plan was hatched in Ndola to attack the Kaunda’s who wr housed at Mr Mutemba’s residence in Chimwemwe opposite Mindolo Police Station on the Kitwe Chingola rd. As they hatched the plan, one of the native (Zambian) cleaners eavesdropped on the plan and alerted the Youth after knocking of at 17.

The plan was to b implemented in the wee hours of the following morning. So at 18hrs, the Youth led by abena Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda (ABC) and others walked from Ndola to Kitwe and arrived around midnight wr they alerted and evacuated the Unip leadership of KK and Co from the Mutemba residence.

And according to plan, the colonial forces besieged the Chimwemwe house at 03am and petrol bombed it and sprayed bullets to ensure not a soul occupying the place lived. Luckily, the house was unoccupied as everyone was already evacuated by the Youth.

Came day break, KK and Co wr to hold a public rally in Chimwemwe wr they wr to among other things, expose the colonial masters.

Sensing embarrassment, the colonial regime decided to evoke the infamous POA and unleashed the entire Kamfisa Para Military Mobile Unit to contain and disrupt the Chimwemwe rally which was to be…. The mother of all rallies.

Determined to protect their leadership and allow for the public rally to take place, the Youth went into town and caused serious havoc wr they disrupted normal business and put stones, rocks and dust bins onto the roads.

This diverted the attention of police from going to Chimwemwe and instead went into town centre wr they ran battles with the Youth.

Unfortunately, all our Youth had wr stones as weapons while the colonial police opened live ammunition killing our Youth in their numbers.

They killed them, but still in their numbers the kept fighting and dying.

Meanwhile, at the Chimwemwe rally, KK announced that the rally was taking place at the sacrifice of young pipo who wr bn killed in town just so they cud hold the rally. KK announced and promised at the rally that, shud independence come, that day, 12th of March will b remembered and commemorated as YOUTH DAY.

Hence at the Unip Central Committee meeting held at kwacha house in 1966 (Two years after independence) it was decreed that 12th of March b a public holiday and remembered as Youth Day.

Further, a statue was erected in the middle of Kitwe CBD known as the “Chi Muposa Amabwe” (stone thrower) that remains so to date depicting the day the Youth fought with nothing but stones against gun bullets.

Today we remember, thank and salute the gallant Youth of 1962. Living and posthumously, pipo like Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda who was later to become the first Native MP for Chimwemwe Constituency and Minister of Finance, State House Chief of Staff among many other portfolios he held in his service to the Nation of Zambia.

Pipo like Mundia Sipalo, Omello Mumba, Justin Kangwa, Chandwe Musonda and many others too numerous to mention.

Without them sacrificing including their lives, we wudnt b here today.

So I ask, how dare u shan such an important day, how dare u take to drinking, insulting and engaging in acts of violence on such an important day, who do u think u are?

They played their part and fought for political independence, it is time for you the Youth of 2019 to play your part too and fight for economic freedom by getting as much education as u can, wr ever it is and wr ever you are.

Happy Youth Day.

Papa Thabo.

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