Zamfacts

This is an archive of the (nearly) daily feature on Facebook presenting a new fact about Zambia. Short and easily digestible … dig in!

December:

Victoria Falls was named after Queen Victoria by David Livingstone when he discovered it in the colonial era. The indigenous name is Mosi-oa-Tunya meaning “The Smoke That Thunders”. (Dec 9)

Zambians speak of their pride from being one of the most peaceful countries in Africa and citizens of a functional and peaceful multi-party democracy. (Dec 6)

Kapenta, small sardines often dried and eaten with nshima, was artificially introduced into Lake Kariba – the large man-made lake on the Zambezi river. They are fished from barges at night with bright mercury lights that attract the fish to the surface. This fishing has become an important part of the economy around Lake Kariba. (Dec 4)

The top boxers from Zambian tend to be female over male. Catherine Phiri defeated Canada’s Nathalie Forget in an October bantamweight title bout. (Dec 1)

November:

Alcoholism is a serious social problem in Zambia. It tends to be more pervasive than addictions to smoking, in contrast to Canada, and may be catalyzed to cheap varieties and low control on sales. (Note that this is less factual and by observation and discussion with friends here -though I wish I had some more concrete evidence at hand) (Nov 29)

It is mango season. (Nov 28)

It is tradition in Zambia have all or part of the wedding cake to be a fruit cake, some of which is to be saved and fed to the couple’s first born child. (Nov 26)

A typical Zambian wedding has a big, co-ordinated dance entry for the bridal party and the married couple. Not unlike those North American youtube sensations – except that it’s every wedding and their dance moves tend to be way better. (Nov 25)

Mangoes are coming into season in Zambia and they are everywhere! Small yellow ones are often eaten like an apple or apricot – skin on and eating around the pit. The sweetness inside reduces the bitterness of the skin. (Nov 22)

There are plans to move the government facilities and major embassy sectors outside of Lusaka to pave way for a great focus on business in the city. These include government projects in nearby towns such as Kafue, which is about one hour from Lusaka. (Nov 21)

Kenneth Kaunda, the first president of Zambia, has a fashion line. The most unique items are the short sleeved suit jackets. Zambia gets hot, man. (Nov 20)

Leopards pull their prey into trees to keep it away from scavengers and other predators that might take over the kill. Hauling an impala up a tree is no easy feat! (Nov 19)

In the 1960s, Zambia had an (unofficial) space program led by Edward Nkoloso that planned for a manned mission to Mars. (Nov 18)

Research conducted in South Africa has concluded the Zebras are white with black stripes. (Nov 17)

Elephants invade the villages near South Luangwa to feed in the mango orchards that make up a big part of the local agriculture. In many cases this leads to property damage as the elephants get a little too friendly with homes and storage buildings. A difficult tension between conservation and trying to control the havoc brought on local families! (The elephants get a 3-4 strike policy) (Nov 15)

Copperbelt University is celebrating 25 years of delivering excellence in education this week. (Nov 14)

Hippos are only territorial in water and live in families with a dominant male. Being nocturnal, when they arrive back from a night of grazing they are very vocal, sort of a burping laugh, to help guide the family back together. The male uses his poo to mark “hippo highways” which all the rest of the family will follow. (Nov 13)

While Zambia is often recognized first for it’s copper production, it is ranked 7th in the world. By contrast, however, it is the 2nd largest producer of cobalt at 19.7% of the world supply. (Nov 6)

The median age in Zambia is 17.2 years old. In Canada it is 40.7 and the World median is 28.4. (Nov 5)

Lusaka was named after Chief Lusaka, who led the Soli tribe and who’s village resided upon the same land as today’s city. The city was named after the chief in honour of him welcoming the colonists to establish the capital on his land. (Nov 4)

The call of the African Fish Eagle can be heard in the ZNBC News intro theme. The African Fish Eagle is the national bird of Zambia and is shown on the flag. (Nov 3)

When Zambia has their national elections, each person casts a ballot for the President, their federal MP and city counselor for their constituency. (Nov 2)

October:

The unemployment rate in Zambia is about 14% in 2012. Of this percentage, a large component are youth. In Canada, the unemployment rate is 7.4%. (Oct 30)

The tropical force winds of Hurricane Sandy extend over an area over 2 times the size of Zambia. In other news, it was sunny and hot (again) in Lusaka today. (Oct 29)

The word “compound” is used to describe low wealth townships / shanty towns in Zambia (and other regions in Africa). (Oct 28)

Zambians often use “Zed” as the nickname for their country. Zimbabwe gets the name “Zim”. Bonus points to Zambia for picking the Canadian pronunciation of “Z”. (Oct 27)

The main thoroughfare through downtown Lusaka is named Cairo Road. The name was chosen in honour of Cecil Rhodes’ vision to build a road spanning the continent from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt, of which Cairo Road was a part. (Oct 25)

Many tribes of Zambia’s past made special identifying features for themselves. For instance, those of Lozi descent wear ivory bracelets (although today they tend to be only ivory by colour!). (Oct 24)

South African companies make up a significant majority of the commercial sector in Lusaka. In the large shopping malls of Lusaka, South African companies dominate the space. (Oct 23)

Zambia’s national motto is “One Zambia, One Nation”. (Oct 22)

Lusaka is home to approximately 1.5 million people. The next largest city is Kitwe, with about 550,000 citizens. (Oct 20)

Zambia and India are soon to sign a new memorandum of understanding for the energy sector. This will provide Indian financial and technical assistance for new renewable energy projects. (Oct 18)

Kasanka National Park experiences an annual migration of millions fruit bats every November. This is speculated to be one of the greatest concentrations of animal life and the largest migration on the planet. (Oct 15)

A couple hours of heavy rain and a few cracks of lightning blew through Lusaka today. The weather patterns in Zambia, however historically predictable, see to be mixing themselves up… (Oct 14)

Zambia defeated Uganda after 10 penalty kicks to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations today. Zambia is the defending champion of the tournament. (Oct 13)

In 1991, the first multiparty election and change in leadership since Zambia’s independence in 1964 occurred under intense popular pressure from Zambia citizens. (Oct 12)

The mighty Victoria Falls is considered the largest waterfall in the world. While not the tallest, widest, or highest in flow, it is the largest sheet of falling water in the world. (Oct 11)

The current president of Zambia is Michael Chilufya Sata of the Patriotic Front party. He defeated Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy party in the 2011 elections. (Oct 10)

The current president of Zambia is Michael Chilufya Sata of the Patriotic Front party. He defeated Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy party in the 2011 elections. (Oct 9)

Zambia shares its borders with 8 different countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. (Oct 8)

Zambia does not observe Daylight Savings Time and is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. This means that currently, home base in Waterloo is 6 hours behind Zambia and will become 7 hours behind after the DST switch in November. (Oct 7)

Zambia is rebasing its currency by removing three zeroes, such that K5,000 becomes K5. The new bills will be K5, 10, 20, 100 and coins will re-enter circulation, with fractions of a Kwatcha call Ngwee. A complex challenge for many different people in Zambia! (Oct 5)

There is estimated to be at least 50 hippos per kilometre of the Luangwa River. It is the centre of the abundant animal life in the South Luangwa National Park in Eastern Zambia. (Oct 3)

Lake Tanganyika, one of the African Great Lakes, is the second largest fresh water lake in the world by volume and second deepest. It is the longest in the world and shared by four countries. (Oct 2)

September:

The first lady of Zambia’s first president, Mama Betty Kaunda, passed away earlier this week. Zambians have paid their respects in a day of mourning for the leader and strong will that Mama Betty was in their youthful days as an independent nation. (Sept 30)

The internet country code for Zambia is .zm and the international dialling code is +260. (Sept 28)

On the Zambian flag the green represents natural resources and vegetation; red the struggle for freedom; black the Zambian people; and orange their mineral wealth (in large part copper). The eagle represents the people’s resolute ability to rise above their challenges. (Sept 27)

Of the 70+ dialects recognized, they can be broken down into seven official vernacular languages – Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga, Lozi, Kaonde, Luvale, and Lunda. Knowing two or more vernacular languages plus English is not uncommon. (Sept 25)

Speed bumps are a common form of traffic control on main city streets and small neighbourhood roads alike. They may be used for slowing traffic entering towns or just before an one way stop intersection to give traffic joining more time. Nothing like some physical speed enforcement! (Sept 23)

English, Nyanja and Bemba are the three most spoken languages of Zambia. However, Zambia is often referenced to have over 70 different dialects! Is bilingualism so hard after all, Canada? (Sept 22)

Lake Kariba, which is located along the Zambia/Zimbabwe border, is the largest artificial lake and reservoir in the world by volume. The mass of water is so large it is believed to have induced seismic activity in the region. (Sept 21)

There is a very large business in hair extensions in Zambia. Women change their hair styles very regularly and due to their naturally thick and curly hair, they opt for hair extensions that are easier to maintain and offer a wide variety of styles. For men, buzz cuts are the standard. (Sept 20)

The dominant building structure material in Zambia is concrete. Walls and interior features are all poured concrete with metal roofs and exteriors painted in a variety of colours. Much better suited to the fire hazards and weathering of the dry season than our Canadian wooden homes! (Sept 18)

Zambia has three distinctive seasons – the rainy season (November-April), the cool dry season (May-August), and the hot dry season (September-October). The weather is quite predictable and static – meteorologists better look for work elsewhere! (Sept 17)

Zambians have a strong affection for the Zam- prefix in their marketing and branding. So strong that even the Canadian guys decide to use it on their daily fact features. (Sept 16)

Many payment systems are based on prepaid credit in Zambia. A familiar comparison is prepaid phone plans, which are an overwhelming majority here. Less familiar is the concept of prepaid electricity. When the juice runs out – add some credit to keep the lights on! (Sept 15)

The Zambian national soccer team, the Chipolopolo Boys, won their first Africa Cup of Nations title last year. Chipolopolo makes an indirect translation to “copper bullets”, which Zambian’s call goals scored by their team. Copper is the primary mineral resource of Zambia and a key part of their national image! (Sept 14)

Zambians drive on the left hand side of the road. This is due to their history as a British colony. I keep getting caught looking the wrong way before start to cross the road! (Sept 12)

Zambian currency is printed in Canada. They have the new polymer bills entering their circulation too! (Sept 11)

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