HOW DAILY MAIL GOT IT WRONG : I’ m violent …. ‘ndi wa lubuli’, says former President Lungu


“I’ m violent – Lungu”, reports the Zambia Daily Mail

…. ‘ndi wa lubuli’, says former President Lungu

By Kellys Kaunda

Getting straight to the point: the words, ‘ndi wa lubuli’, Bemba words directly translated into English as ‘I fight’, or ‘I am a fighter’, simply mean that the speaker is engaged in a figure of speech. It is not meant to be understood in the literal sense.

Figurately speaking, it means ‘I do not sit idly by and watch someone abuse me or abuse others’. It also means ‘struggle’, struggle for freedom or anything ideal or values. Applied to the case of the former President, it simply means he was not a push-over. He fights back.

And to be specific, he was saying that he was already fighting back and will continue to, no matter what is done against him. Nothing will stop him. His family may be harassed by the state; PF may be handed over to someone else; UKA may not be registered; his pension may be withdrawn; and he may even be arrested. But he will keep on fighting because he was a fighter – ndi wa lubuli.

Retrospectively, he may have also been thinking about his own political path which has not been without a fight. He had his application to run as MP on the PF ticket initially turned down, but he stayed on. His ascendancy to the Presidency was characterized by a bitter power struggle following the death of Michael Sata but he fought on and won.

He has been through three Presidential elections – in 2015, in 2016, and in 2021. Before this, he fought, pro-bono, for the justice of the survivors of the Gabon Air Disaster until, more than ten years later, they got what they deserved. If that is not how a fighter looks and feels like, then I do not know.

In intercultural communication, we are told that certain words and phrases may convey different meanings across different cultural groupings although they may be similar. Even in the English language, some words may have more than one application. Drawing conclusions based on one application is mischievous and misleading.

Lastly, in Zambia, the word ‘politics’ is translated in Bemba as ‘imipokoso’ which might literally mean ‘quarreling’ or ‘controversy’ or a ‘fight’. In Nyanja, it is translated as ‘ndale’ which may be translated directly as ‘quarrel’. And yet, in English, politics is neither quarreling nor controversy. But when we translate it the way we do, we know what the meaning is: it’s not quarrelling in the literal sense of the word.

Anyway, like most things in Zambia, this too shall come to pass.

The author has studied international relations, security, media and is immediate past Press Secretary of Zambia at the embassy in Berlin Germany.

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