Africa was not on top of my list. I dreamt of visiting Australia, New Zealand, India and Iceland. I didn’t have any connection to Africa at all…until my postdoctoral project brought me there and I immediately fell in love with Zambia. Today is a special day for the country I consider my second home: 56 years ago, Zambia became independent from the British. Today, there is music and dancing in every single village.
Although today was a happy day, life becomes increasingly difficult for local people. The Kwacha (Zambia’s currency) is getting weaker on a breathtaking speed. When I arrived to Zambia in July, one dollar was still worth about 16 Kwacha. Mid October, it reached 20.6. Consequently everything becomes more expensive: petrol, rent, food, water. The only thing that doesn’t increase is the salary.
In other countries people would demonstrate, maybe violently try to force politicians to do something about this misery. Not in Zambia though, it’s the most peaceful nation I’ve ever got to know. In fact, president Lungu doesn’t care about the country at all. It doesn’t even embarrass him to invent new regulations how how to squeeze every single Kwacha from the poor before he hopefully has to resign. The current government is corrupt (fair to say it’s not the first corrupt one) and careless. International economic trust meanwhile equals zero. One spark of hope: the next election is in a couple of months.
In 1964, the nation was thrilled about their independence. Now everything would become better, no more suppression, eventually autonomy. Let’s keep hoping that the next president will finally strive to improve things. The people deserve it! They’ve waited long enough.