Stories written by Lewis Mwanangombe

Defying Elders and Changing Zambian Tradition

David Mubita has long been known in the family as a fool for starting trouble. The latest was getting circumcised secretly and nearly cast out by Grandfather Ndumwa. But Mubita may turn out to be the wisest in the family.

Rural Zambia’s Drinking Supply Fraught with Danger and Disease

Bupe Bana-Victor has lived in the Mwense district of Luapula Province in northern Zambia all her life. And for her, water talk is synonymous with the Luapula River, which lies just 20 metres from her village and snakes through the entire region before it joins the Lualaba River – a tributary of the mighty Congo, Africa’s second-largest river.

The Barotse Flood Plain, about 190 kilometres long and 70 km wide, floods during the peak rainy season that starts in late January.  Credit: Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

ZAMBIA: No Longer “Waiting for the Mangoes to Ripen”

Eight years ago when Mary Sitali’s husband divorced her, by sending a traditional letter to her parents saying that he no longer wanted her and they could "marry her to any man of your choice - be he a tall or a short man, the choice being entirely yours," she returned to her village in rural Zambia with their two children and no way of supporting them.

The Barotse Flood Plain, about 190 kilometres long and 70 km wide, floods during the peak rainy season that starts in late January. Credit:Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

ZAMBIA: No Longer “Waiting for the Mangoes to Ripen”

Eight years ago when Mary Sitali’s husband divorced her, by sending a traditional letter to her parents saying that he no longer wanted her and they could "marry her to any man of your choice - be he a tall or a short man, the choice being entirely yours," she returned to her village in rural Zambia with their two children and no way of supporting them.

ZAMBIA: Chinese Underage Sex Scandal Sparks Emotive Debate

Zhang Daliu, 46, a carpenter from China never imagined himself in the dreadful confines of a stinking and overcrowded Zambian jail where conditions are so terrible that they lead to gastronomic disorders and skin diseases within days of confinement.

Rebecca Mwanza inspects a hammer-mill. Credit:  Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

ZAMBIA: Making the Most of Limited Capital

Proponents of microfinance often portray it as the empowering extension of credit to vulnerable but diligently self-employed poor people - often women - who support each other to improve their livelihoods as well as repay their loans. The image is true, to some extent, but in many parts of Africa, microfinance institutions have somewhat sharper teeth.

Relatively few Zambian entrepreneurs can afford to access microcredit. Credit:  Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

ZAMBIA: Microfinance Beyond the Reach of the Poor

According to the World Bank, less than eight percent of Zambian adults have bank accounts. For the millions who make their living in the informal economy, this prevents them from earning interest on any savings they have or securing credit needed to expand small businesses beyond mere survival.

ZAMBIA: Women Resume Struggle for Representation Ahead of Elections

Zambians head to the polls sometime before October and civil society groups are working hard to ensure their voices are heard. Groups which were excluded during the 2005 elections and the National Constitutional Conference that began in 2007 are mobilising to ensure they are not excluded.

Concina Haajila with her voter registration card. Credit:  Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

ZAMBIA: Young Voters Push Grassroots Issues to the Fore

Concina Haajila was only a year old in 1991 when Zambia turned from 27 years of autocracy and dictatorship to political pluralism and democratic governance. During the past 20 years she and millions of her peers have grown to adulthood and become disenchanted with the politics of their nation which have swung from an issue base to hero worship and personal purse enlargement.

Tonga cattle are one of many species dependent on the Kafue Flats ecosystem. Credit:  Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

Pulling Together To Protect Zambia’s Kafue Flats

Dams, sugarcane plantations and rapidly growing population threatened the health of the Kafue Flats, a richly diverse wetlands in southern Zambia. But growing recognition of more sustainable use of its water and fertile soil are securing the health of the ecosystem.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Boost Cross-Border Trade for Food Security

Small-scale traders on either side of the Mwami Border Post between Zambia and Malawi are key to meeting local demands that larger importers do not.

The royal barge leading the 2008 migration to winter settlements on the edge of the flood plain. Credit:  Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

WATER-ZAMBIA: Lozi Make Annual Migration to Higher Ground

Josias Akataama spent March watching the moon wane above, and flood waters rise from below. Only with the sighting of the new moon, would the men, women and children of Kandiani know when they could leave the water-logged village for higher ground.

SANITATION-ZAMBIA: Turning Urine Into Gold

When he ordered his colleagues at the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia to save all their urine in a plastic bottle in the office toilet, they thought he was mad. But German sanitation specialist Christopher Kellner wanted to demonstrate why he calls urine "liquid gold".

Paramount Chief Mwata Kazembe of the Lunda people being presented to the people. Credit: Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

ZAMBIA: Let our Chiefs Govern

The Litunga of Barotseland, King of the Lozi, has no judicial or legislative authority. No supervisory control over government projects, and worst of all he cannot stand for elected office. Yet successive Zambian presidents have deferred to him.

The ECZ has failed to drag offenders of election violence to court. Credit: Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

ZAMBIA: Violence Threatens Polls

Prisca Musonda is an ardent supporter of Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata and his party. She has travelled with him to most parliamentary constituencies campaigning in elections.

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