By Saviour Chishimba
UKUPONOKA VS ZIKOMO AMWALILA: it’s wrong to judge a non-native speaker of a language when he/she uses a wrong word. President FTJ Chiluba of blessed memory visited His Royal Majesty King Mpezeni. King Mpezeni told the President about a bereavement in his family.
In response the President said, “…oh zikomo amwalila…”. The President was only told by his aides inflight back to Lusaka that he was actually saying to His Majesty, “…thank you that he died…”. In the latest edition I understand that the President used the word “ukuponoka” in Kasama. I remember when I was running some workshops in rural southern province and I was addressing the village heads as “basankwa”.
I am not a native Tonga and so it was all smiles and this meant that they understood and appreciated the fact that I was trying my best to learn Tonga. It’s totally unacceptable to make political statements out of the President’s use of the word “ukoponoka”. We must encourage the use of all Zambian languages because no single tribe or language is superior to another.
I am very impressed with how the President makes every effort to speak the language of every locality he is visiting. This is worthy emulating and next time I am in southern province I will use Tonga and if I make a mistake I know that I will be corrected with love because I am a learner. Strictly speaking we suffered serious beatings (“ukupumwa/ukuponokwa – impumo) and detentions for merely speaking the truth. #OneZambiaOneNation!
In the Picture (credit: News Diggers): the day I was kidnapped by police at Diamond TV. My shoes, belt, wallet, prayer shawl (tallit), etc remained at inquiries as the woman detective opened the police cell at Woodlands Police Station for me to go in for 7 days and 7 nights without trial.