I was having a conversation with my father one day. We were speaking about colonialism and how it was in his day. He was a toddler when Zambia began its fight for independence from the British Empire. Now, I have to mention that fighting for independence was kind of a popular thing to do in the 1960s in Africa. Whilst the majority of the world was creating new music genres, flying to the moon and establishing economies, the African continent was just gaining its ability to make its own decisions about its resources and people. It was around this time, like many other countries around them, that Zambia fought to be independent. The keyword here is "fought". Zambians, who experienced the dominating iron hand of British imperial rule characterised by segregation and blatant racism, had enough. It was time for a change and change was going to come by any means necessary.
"That's why there is red in your flag", said my father as he reminded me that Zambia's existence is built on the blood of many who fought to see themselves free. This yearning was not only limited to Zambians but the entire continent participated in fighting for freedom for themselves too. Freedom parties, militia and movements sprung up on the continent and it was evident, the freedom train was in full motion and would not be easily halted. Blood, sweat, tears and life were all placed at the altar of independence for it was this that the African saw as the most important work at that time.
Therefore, the freedom that was so hard-fought for is not to be taken lightly nor is it to be squandered in pursuit of wealth, fame or favour. It is to be cherished, protected and respected. The men and women who laid down their lives fought to have the freedom to create governments that would treat the citizens fairly and objectively. They fought to have appropriate management of resources, create business opportunities and hold fair, corruption-free elections. And so, whilst there might not be red in your African flag, the same premise still remains, these freedoms were not given, they were fought for, respect them!