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In awe of Katima’s cultural identity and generosity

2024-03-28  Correspondent

In awe of Katima’s cultural identity and generosity

Maxmus N. Halwoodi


As I close off my stay in the beautiful town of Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi region, I want to exceptionally appreciate and acknowledge the display of unity, resilience and an exclusive community spirit displayed by the people of the region during the country’s 34th Independence celebrations, leaving all visitors in reverence of its unique cultural identity, warmth and generosity.

I want to believe that from the inception, it was evident that the residents of Katima Mulilo and the region at large were fully invested in making the independence celebrations a resounding success. 

As D-day drew close, there was an intense sense of pride and gratitude in the air. One could see multiple cars with the national flag that symbolised patriotism and different traditional attires all around the mighty town of Katima, or Ngweze as known by some, as a sign of a proud nation with pride. 

On the 21st of March, the event venue was decorated with specially-designed cultural and traditional attires, and traditional dances as well as performances were the order of the day. In the same vein, I witnessed a large group of people, if not the masses, queueing up in a good manner to enter the stadium to embrace the moment for the first time in the region, and standing in the long queue after the event to receive their food parcels. 

Apart from other memories created, the success of the independence celebration in the region could be measured by the high turnout of the inhabitants who filled the Katima Mulilo stadium to its capacity, and applauded and offered their unwavering support and dedication to every speaker who took to the podium. 

The event has indeed boosted the local economy, as the local food outlets delighted the visitors with special meals which consisted of Casava, five years’ spinach and the famous Zambezi bream, just to mention a few.

Generosity of locals

Upon arrival in Katima Mulilo, the community members welcome you with an enthusiastic, infectious smile as they take it upon themselves to guide visitors to their accommodation and offer recommendations for local attractions, and this sets the tone for better days ahead of your stay.

Every interaction you have leaves you feeling at home, and reminds you that Katima Mulilo is a community that is deep-rooted with pride in its identity, fostering a sense of belonging for visitors.

Just like their governor, Zambezi houses a humble nation full of harmony and true to their culture. Now and then, every person you meet claps hands as a sign of respect and reception. 

Imagine a teller clapping hands as she/he gives your change after paying for your goods at the counter. At some point, I was left astonished by a taxi driver who offered to open the door for me as an appreciation for choosing him over other operators. I mean, where I came from, all you get is “Broer ons is hier, klim uit” (Brother, we are here, get out).

Beyond the event itself, it was the genuine warmth of the residents which left the most enduring impression. I have visited countless drinking spots, but not a single day have I noticed an altercation, but rather mini groups of people engaging in heartfelt conversations full of laughter. So, I will live another day to tell whether this was to impress the visitors, or it is the order of the day for the residents of Katima Mulilo. 

Their kind and generous gestures characterised the true essence of the people of Zambezi, leaving an indelible mark on all those who were fortunate enough to attend the event from all walks of life.

In the aftermath of the 34th celebrations, the legacy of this historic occasion will continue to echo throughout the minds of all those who attended the event. This will serve as a reminder of an incredible score that can be achieved when a community comes together with a shared purpose and determination. 

Their unity and hospitality will continue to echo as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come. So, what else can I say? In Katima Mulilo, I have found my new home.


* Maxmus N. Halwoodi is a writer and a public relations officer at the Office of the Prime Minister.

2024-03-28  Correspondent

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