Magazine nr. 3
!!!NOTE: this webedition of Kambisa! #3 is not complete, for additionals and pictures get a paper copy!!!
Editorial – Young, Alive and Kicking
‘They’re treating us like animals’ by Desh & KJ
Best Friends: Edi Phiri and Gift Mulengaby KJ
Speaking up by Jotham Mwale
Love – the most excellent way by Angela Kabemba
An Oasis of Love – a child’s craving by Matongo
Half a loaf by Saili Nyondo
Nokowamubiyo by Desh
Life a Rose by Herbert Nthasu Mwiba Jr.
Police at budget-demonstrations
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
Death of a Fresh Rose by Nicolas Kawinga
A union for gardeners, maids and waitresses
The Story of my life by Prince Chamu
Whenever trouble dawns your heart by Matongo
Editorial – Young, Alive and Kicking
‘I hear people complaing we’re living in a landlocked country, we don’t have a harbour’, prof.
Luo told me in a recent interview, ‘but we’re living in a landlocked country, we are bordering
nine other countries. I don’t know any other country that has an opportunity like that! We should
be an haven of education, training people from Angola, Botswana, Tanzania…. look at the trade-
opportunities we have! Zambia is a incredibly rich country, we’ve got all kinds of landscapes, to
farm, to fish, anything… we’ve got minerals, there’s not a single one we don’t have – the only
thing we’re lacking is the attitude of the people. That’s what needs to be changed.’
How do we apply her lesson to the theme of this third Kambisa! – the children living on the
streets? We call them ‘streetkids’, they bother us when we are doing our weekend-shopping.
Signs along the road are warning us not to give beggars alms, supposing they’ll return to their
villages. But what if they have nowhere to return to? Society is changing, even village-life can
no longer offer assistance to anyone, we have to deal with the consequences.
Many of us have probably heard, not all of these kids might actually be as homeless as they
pretend to be; they might have a home to go at night, they might have guardians who’ve
instructed them to go and lie on the streets and make some money. Imagine the desperation a
mother must be in to tell her baby to wear rags and be hungry.
But what if that mother has sensed the cash a kid can bring in and doesn’t want to let go of that,
even if she could send him to school and feed him well – what if the elderly are exploiting the
younger ones to have another beer at night?
You are right, the problem doesn’t end with the kids alone. Some are being chased from home,
accused of being a witch or just being inconvenient, some have become too well-paying a victim
of abuse. No matter how much we try to outcast them, their problems didn’t start in isolation. It
might be a reason not to give cash, but can it be a reason to treat them with disdain?
These guys are strong
Nobody deserves to be sneared upon when asking for help, nobody deserves to be treated like a
disease. Let alone a child, no matter how independent, what a survivor he might be. Would you
be able to smile if you were sleeping under a bridge, if you were eating from a bin, if you were
fighting your best friends, if you had to beg people for a fee, if you couldn’t go to hospital when
you were sick, if you’ld be hungry for three days? They do.
These guys are strong – not because they chose these circumstances, but because it’s their live
and they have learned to adapt. In stead of looking down, you should be admiring. They are
humans, just like you. Offer them some respect, some sympathy – it’s what they’re lacking most.
We’re being fools, we’re surrounded by an army of young hardworking souls who can deal with
an inconvenience or two, but we’re complaining they talk dirty and they smell. In stead of
driving them into desperation, violence and purposeness, we should be empowering them,
encouraging them to show their beauty in a way we’ll be able to appreciate better. Prof. Luo
started by giving prostitutes means to become a mechanic or a teacher. What are you going to
do? I hereby open the competition, send us your plans, your proposals to help these kids.
Kambisa! will be monitoring you. Best plan by the end of this year will be send to parliament.
We need dialogue. Kambisa!BeHeard.
‘THEY’RE TREATING US LIKE ANIMALS’
by Desh & KJ
Here’s a pastor driving a Benz. He’s on tv every Sunday.
We found him at Just Chicken along Cairo Road and parked our Corola next to him. A
space is dividing our two cars. 2WICE gets out to buy some water. Me and Nasty are
remaining, unvisible behind out tinted windows.
The pastor pretends he doesn’t notice
Three kids are approaching the pastors car, it seems they are asking for something. He looks
disturbed and closes his window. We want him to know we’ve seen what he has done and
let our windows down. Now the kids are approaching us. They don’t recognise us, but ask
how we are doing. Without them asking for money, Nasty gives them a 10 pin – they are
looking hungry. They tell us they are going to buy nsima. I tell them ‘go ask from that man,
tell him we’ve seen him on tv’. They are going and knock on the window, but the pastor
pretends he doesn’t notice till the kids have to give up.
A year later I’m talking with this little boy, complaining. If somebody won’t help him, they
should just tell him – not treat him like an animal. Even when just asking how somebody is,
they look at his dirty clothes and snear at him. I’m remembering the pastor, he’s not the only
one mistreating this kid or his friends.
Once I found myself at Intercity police-station, arrested after being inpolite to an officer.
After about an hour they brought in a 11-year old, used by some bigger boys living along
the rails. The first two times he’d met them, they’d helped him by giving him nsima. This
third time though, they’d given him a bag to go and snatch a vcr. When the kid had wanted
to leave the burgled house, he heard the owner coming in, ran to the bedroom and hid under
the bed. Once found he got beaten severely and was taken to the cell in which he found me.
Now he was complaining his leg was lame and his ribbs were paining. When his principals
had seen him being caught, they’d fled.
His leg was lame and his ribbs were paining
‘Sometimes when we’re sleeping, the police come and beat us up’, the kids tell me. I think
the officers are hoping to get some information out of them. One of the guys got sick after
being badly beaten by the police. His friends took him to the Fountain to recover. Now he’s
back on the streets again. The kids don’t like the Fountain, ‘they just give you little nsima
and you’re many’. These kids are used to their freedom; eating what they want to eat, when
they want to eat. If they have their money, their self-made money. Some make up to 10 pin
a day, others get stuck at 3. Some of them digest it themselves, others take it back to their
Their magic is paid for in oranges and bananas. In return the witchdoctor gives them what
they call ‘brown spirits’ – spirits which make them strong when fighting their friends. Doc’s
got a tree which speaks and he can jump from Findeco-house without getting hurt. They
want to be powerful like him. He can change into any being. When a passer-by lady halts
where we are meeting, it is him to spy our conversation. His presence is everywhere, not a
something they fear but a something which is making them couragious.
The lady loitering around us is being ignored, but not so are three rude boys approaching from
Katondo. ‘Time’s up’, I’m being told. Hastely we shake hands as they disperse. After a failed
intimidation-attempt, the bully’s continue their way. These must be the thiefs, demanding
‘protection’-money from the kids. Mafiosi.
I used to feel bad when I don’t have money and they’re following me. I’ve been one of those
snearing at them, telling them off. Now I can see, they’re just these guys. Sniffing glue and dirty
speaking are not making them the bad guys we see in them. They’re just young people, we need
to advise them a bit if we think they are a problem. They want to get a 30 pin and start selling
chewing gums, plactics and cigarets, but fear the council will chase them and grab their stuff.
They want to go to school but find it too expensive. Instead of looking at them as
inconveniencing animals, we should see their potential and use the power of these strong
independent souls. Give them a way to develop it.
BEST FRIENDS: EDI PHIRI an