Less formality, thank you!
There is too much ceremony in Zambia. Roll out the red carpet! Don’t talk bad of the president! Address all ministers as ‘honourable’! Crawl for the chiefs! Respect your elders! I know it is part of customs and traditions in Zambia, but it is holding the country back. Formality creates barriers, and makes us forget that we are all human beings. Ceremony reinforces the feeling of ‘us’ and ‘them’, and makes us believe that some people are better than others. The president and his train of ministers and other VIPs are no better than you and I. They are simply humans with as many strengths and faults as the rest of us. Why, then, does everybody have to bow and scrape for them? Why can’t they be approached on a human-to-human level? When society is riddled with hierarchical segregation, as is the case in Zambia, it slows down development. Ceremony is one reason why Zambia is struggling to develop, as we seemingly accept that some people are more deserving than others.
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly