Updated: Nov 1
"Go back to the land!” He said, those were the words of the late first republican President of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. He was a strong advocate for agriculture in our country, a true son of the soil. Who we are as a human race and what we do dates back to the soil. Agriculture and the food system has proved its relevance in how we have evolved as mankind. After being ignored and sidelined for generations especially in the food system, youths are taking centre stage, demanding for their rights as partners and not just some participant that is regarded important. This country has taken care of us by being generous enough to provide food, shelter, and all the resources we need to be able to thrive as a nation and a people of land of work and joy.
As the coin dropped and hit the ground, it could be heard a hundred meters away, the silence of a young leader, trying to reimagine the world and how he would contribute to this utopian world desired by many but advocated by the few. In that moment, the clarity of the situation showed him the relevance of meaningful youth engagement in the food system for the great of good of Zambia. He looked and gazed at the beauty that Zambia had to offer, amazing views, beautiful landscape and gorgeous forests. Nature at its best, in the hands of indigenous people, whose dreams are to just provide the basic needs for their families with hope that their own country will thrive.
Zambia is a true example of a blessed country, rich in minerals as well as the culture of its people, a land-linked country whose agriculture potential is untapped. “Go back to the land” he said, is the land dead? Has it been deserted? There is still hope for this nation to take advantage of this opportunity it has to position itself in the region as food basket, given its great history and amazing people. A sovereign nation, a free nation capable of lifting its people out of poverty, a nation that is strong and resilient.
The young leader realized the massive responsibility he had to help transform the food system, to stimulate different food system actors in creating an enabling environment for the youth to be sustainable and resilience towards the desired transition. The peace that the country has been experiencing for the past decades clearly depicts the character of the nation. Realizing the importance of meaningfully engaging young people as partners in the food system, a cause towards responding to the needs of the youth was born. Zambia, the land of hope, the land of opportunities, the land that great elders would call heritage, 59 years old of being an amazing mother. A mother that has given its children life, the beauty of nature, arable land to be able to grow food and dream for the future.
As a young leader, the contribution to the cause of making Zambia great is greater than being a good citizen, but a passion and patriotic action to create changes in the lives of the ones that are marginalized. Let’s sit around a table, sharing a meal to celebrate the amazing memories that this great country has created, united among friends and family completing the value chain in consumption of what this great country has provide. As we beat our chest with loud voices of praise and singing for the motherland, Happy Birthday Zambia!
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.