Mu lwīmbo lwakwa P.K. Chishala “Impūmba Mukowa” mwāliba amashiwi na yámbi ati: “Ichâlo bápata `bantu bamwêna ku nkoko.” Apá épo nalasosa lelo.


Customarily speaking, when you arrive in a strange place, they will kill a chicken for you as a sign of “Welcome.” From the moment you see children start chasing a chicken, then you know, you have found favour with the people you are visiting. Nomba nga wafika, wamona tapali nangu chimo ichilechitika ishĭko [village stove, or imbabula] lili tōndolo, there is no movement of excitement from either abĕne bān g`ānda wafikilapo nāngu ábāiche úkubutusha áka koko, at that point you start having a lot of traffic jams in your head. A million things flash through your mind and if you are wise enough to read the situation, bébefye ati ; “Kwêna mailo nga bwācha úmutēnde, nkabwēlēlamo nachisafye ati mimoneko.” Nga wāchita ifi, wālāmona nabo bāishiba ati wabaketula and at that point, you will see them bālātuma ábaiche ukuya ikata áka koko ulye pantu bāishiba ati tawaikale to continue being Impūmba [a pester] to them.

Kanshi “Ichalo bāpata abantu bamwéna ku nkoko,” nifi: Nga wafika ku bwēni elyo tabákwipaĭle inkoko, ninshi you are not welcomed there. Fumako bwangu bwangu, pantu límbi kuti wālufishāmofye umwêo ōbe.

Pámulăndu wa kushupa kwa mikalile shino nshiku, chilekosela abantu ukusŭnga ba lupwa lwabo, ilyo mu lubali lūmbi namo kabili kuti wāmona icho bāmbi nabo tabalefwāila ukusūngila ba lupwa lwabo, pantu ni chila mwēshi bāfika ukwisa mu kulomba ulupiya, nomba weule bafwaila ulupiya nga baisa, balefwāya ubapēle na menshi yakaba basambe, balye, basendame na mu `nano yobe. [Inano ni bed], ilyo bena nga bwacha, kukede bo [kutambalalafye].

Ifyātumpa sána nifi uncle, nafi mayo-senge (uncle`s sister) éfyāba too demanding. Nomba naiwe úkutūmpa kobe walafwila mukati ati pantu ba uncle ébansambilishe.

Bushe nga wasāmbilisha umwana ninshi ni life policy nangu penshoni ukwakulafumya chila bushiku? Pantu na penshoni nayo ilapwa, elyo ichilimba nacho amabwe yalapwamo amaka. Nomba pantu naiwe uli `tunya no butunya bobe, so it becomes a free will offering from you to your uncle the rest of your life. [Itunya is a fool. Ubutunya is foolishness.]“Uli chipuba.”

Nga wamupéla once ati; “Uncle, here is the money, see what you can do with it,” elyo due to his own stupidity, he goes and squanders the money and he returns to you again, do yourself a big favour, chase him away from your house. He can threaten you with this and that, tafibōmba filya kale fyapwa.

We run the risk of failing to look after our own children all because of certain family members whom we fear if we don’t give them, pakema vundu. Well, let that vundu come, but what can they do if you tell them you wont give them? Tapali.

So bane stop being isese. [Isese is an effeminate, useless, helpless fellow]. Lekeni ubusesengene [foolishness], just say “NO” TO THEM ALL. Nga bafika, “wibêpaila inkoko iyoo and make them sleep on the floor, tomorrow they will be gone.”

Natasha bane. I will see you next week.

Ami ne Ngandwe.

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6 responses to “IMPUMBA MUKOWA – 2”

  1. Navigator says:

    Ba Ngandwe ine mwansenda. Ala naumfwa bwino ukubelenga ili lyashi. You are so awesome. I feel so in touch with my roots!


      Yewe Navigator

      Awe naine nakunkula pa mashiwi ya nkosho. Ee fi yama nafi mayosenge efyatumpa sana ukufwayafye ukupelwa indalama lyonse. Nga wabelenga ifyo nayaswike Adrian pali balancing between the cultural norm na reality in realation to the song: Impumba Mukowa.

      For a avery long time now Zambia has lingered in the mud of helping families and never getting so far in so doing. Ifwe fwebaikala kuno bulaya tusendama panse pamulandu na “Amalwa ng`anse (working so hard)” and never seeing the fruits of our hard work pantu ku mushi they dont do much to help us apart from ukulolelafye ati shalaisa this monthend.

      This is very serious stuff pantu ilingiline tubomfya Lesa ilyo some of our actions have nothing to do with God. I can cite a lot of examples from the Bible but the one example which sticks more than super glue is the story in Acts 3 when Peter and John stepped at the door of the temple to find a paralytic man who point blankly asked them “ukumuponeshako isako.” They did not give him isako but they made him walk. Reading the undertones of the passage, the disciples did not give him isako aipwishe, pantu that would have made him totally depend on amasako ya bantu bambi and not only that, he was going to call the whole village of fellow paralytics ati iseni mumone abaleponya isako and the whole veranda of the temple would be swamped by people asking for isako. That in itself would have defeated the whole purpose of preaching the gospel, so they gave him legs to walk and that is the crux of the matter. They gave him PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT and it was up to him to go and fend for himself. It was up to him ukuyaifwaila isako lyakwe ukuchila ukulomba amasako ya bantu bambi. Every person must eat from his or her own sweat pantu efyo Adam bamwebele kuli Lesa ati: “From your own sweat you will eat bread, not from other people`s sweat, BUT YOUR OWN.

      Ilyo twabelenga iyi passage, tatwiminina no kubelengapo na kabili na kabili pantu we have a preconcieved conclusion in our minds ati kwafwa abapina. Nomba takwaba nangu umo uwafikapo ukulondolola what poverty is. Bonse basosafye ati poverty is lack of money. Nomba ukuli ubupina people dont throw food. Ku Zambia abantu balaposa ubwali nga balya bwashalako. Ababusu tabaposa bwali iyo. Poverty is when people dont use their God given knowledge to develop themselves that they depend on others to carry them through life, that is the poverty which stinks up God`s nose, pantu every human being has been given the potential to develop into the person they want to be, without depending on other people for everything.

      Kuli Lesa we will be answerable for doing this pantu Lesa afwaya every fig tree to bear fruits and when one fig tree does not bear fruits, God curses that fig tree. It`s God who sustains every living creature here below and it`s the same God who says “Mbokoya elya.” Mbokoya is a lazy geek who does nothing to better himself and so God says, such a person must not eat. Must not eat so he can starve and if he dies of hunger, God will fix him up in the day of judgement. God hates people who beg even when and where they can get up and work. That was the reason Jesus answered the disciples when they retorted that “What a waste, this perfume could have been sold and the money be given to the poor.” Jesus`s answer to that statement was: “Abapina you will always be with them.” Jesus was not in a hurry to erradicate poverty, otherwise He would have done it. Reading the Beatitudes in Matthew, the Bible does not say; “Blessed are the poor in material things for they shall see God,” No, No, No. It says: “Blessed are the poor in the spirit.” The spiritual poverty is hungering for the Righteousness of God and not the material things. Nomba ifwe pantu twalikwatisha sana uluse ukuchila na pa luse lwakwa Lesa, emulandu we are locked up in the mud of carrying our families all the way until they die or we die and in the end we are born in poverty, struggle in poverty trying to carry the family buggage, still in poverty and die poor elyo in the end we resign and say: “Iyo mukwai tachapelwe.” Lesa afwaya each and every individual to develop. Ama Chinese they have a saying ati: “Give a person fish and you feed him for a day, show him how to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life.” This concept is absent in the Zambian people, tufwaya ukupapa abantu mu numa ilyo bakalamba. Nga wamupela indalama to start his or her own business elyo aya onaula, why should you continue entertaining such a person?

      Filekeni bane.

  2. Navigator says:

    Ati ‘ifyatumpa sana nifi yama nafi mayo senge’, lol!

  3. Navigator says:

    Ha ha ha, this is so much fun!! Mwabombeni bakalemba! 🙂

  4. Adrian says:

    I am officially a fun!

    I like they way you relate issues in songs, that I already love, to current matters. The issue you discus in the second part is very difficult in the currents times. The question of how to find a balance between cultural norms and economic reality. As much as we want economic reality to win, we should always find a tactful way of striking that balance. As a young man I have always found it difficult to deal with older relatives. But I found that being open about your economic situation to your family is very helpful. Then some family members are just awesome, my grandmother would never trouble you, she is very understanding and when she comes to visit she brings her own transport money etc!

    Nomba njipusheko, bushe ulwimbo lulya ati NA MUSONDA, mwa li landapo kale? Pantu nda fwaya ukwishiba palya balanda ati “UKU NASHA AMAFUTA YA NKUMBA” what does that mean?

    • Charles Ngandwe says:


      The issue of cultural norms must be given a back seat and let reality take the wheel. Reality has always been sacrificed all in the name of keeping the fires of cultural norm aflame. Reality says: “Musa yebo what you are trying to do is unthinkable!” Cultural norm says: “But you cant neglect me!” and so the fight continues between the two forces. Reality is the smart grandmother who knows that economics dont always produce the positive numbers, therefore she comes to visit you with her own transport money, just in case you are hard up and she wouldnt want to be a `mpumba to you. That old lady is a gem and you want to look after such a pearl.

      God is real and His reality is manifest in all that we see and are. Before man arrived on this planet, God, understanding His own realism FIRST CREATED the necessities that man would need to survive on throughout his life and trully when man landed here, he found everthing put in place. Now I dont know if you went to church yesterday Sabbath or today Sunday. If you went to church today, probably your ears were fed up hearing the word miracle mentioned, God knows how long. Jesus never performed miracles every time He went to Synagogue, by the way He only went to synagogue on Sabbath and not on Sunday. So if someone is telling you pokkies about the miracles, simply get up and go because miracles have happened in your life already, all you need to do is manage those miracles. God will never and I mean NEVER drop you a bag of money because you claim that blessing in Jesus`s name! Give me a break.

      When God called Moses to send him to Egypt to go and face Ramases the Great Pharaoh, Moses understood the powerfulness of the Pharaohs because he grew up with them, but he had just met God by the burning bush, so Moses was hesitant to simply obey what this strange voice told him to do. Then God asked Moses this question: “What have you got in your hand?” Moses answered: “It`s the shepherd`s stick.”

      Adrian, it`s about using what you have in your hand for you and you and you, not for you and them! In Bemba we say: “Akamuti ukwete eko bominako imbwa,” meaning, you have to live within your means and save for the rainy day. They say “Make hay while sunshine.” Do you know what it means? It means listen to reality and follow what reality is telling you to do. Reality will stay with you long after the Cultural norms have left you stranded.

      Looking after family does not mean you breaking your back for them because “if I dont, then they will go mumpanga ukuya saba utusongole tonse ku fimuti.” Let them go and saba utusongole, tonse, ripe and unripe ones and see how far they will go.

      Come back with me to the same song “Impumba mukowa.” In the song, the father of the children is the cultural norm because he is still cacooned and entangled in his family stuff that instead of feeding his own children real meat of how to stand on their two feet and be counted, yet he is telling them about his sister who lives in Matanda. Failing to deal with his own failures of securing a proper future for his children, he is pushing his responsibility away to someone else, in this case, his sister uwikala kwa Matanda. He hadnt even consulted with his sister about the children`s fate and weather they can go and stay with her, but rather, because of this same cultural norm mentality and influence in his life, he takes everything for granted and by virtue that it is his sister, therefore, automatically, she has the moral duty and obligation to look after his children after he has passed on, irrespectively. Here, the only thing he is talking about is his sister and the children are busy building their sand castles in their minds, sand castles which will soon be washed away by the reality of the merciless tide leaving the poor children stranded. “Ni tata watwebele fwe bene ati nokosenge ekala kwa Matanda. Nga nafwa mukaye kwa Matanda.” [Father kept telling us that once he died, we must head, nowhere else but kwa Matanda to stay with his sister.]

      The mother is the reality because she is telling the children that uko kwine ba wiso balesosapo kwa Matanda mwe bana bandi, ala eko banoko-senge basunga abana babo pa chambaso. Here the sensible mother is trying to persuade her children to see sense and wisdom in her words to them. She wishes them to look at things realistically and make a sound decision, a decision which will not leave them disappointed for the rest of their lives. But because of their father`s strong influence over them and his constant banging on about his sister kwa Matanda, the children think to themselves: “In the balance of everything else,” Matanda is the best option. Why Matanda is the best option, because at least there, we will have bread and tea every morning for “Akamina `mate” [breakfast]. Nshima with chicken and beef for lunch. There we will be riding in buses and bathing in hot water. Here the children think that kwa Matanda, mana still drops from heaven. So they choose Matanda over their mother`s anguish that they could work harder for themselves and secure their own future seeing that their own father has failed them misserably. And here, this is where you can see the power of suggestion at its best as you see the children going for the easier option their father suggested – ukuya ikala kwa Matanda. Now follow the story in the song: The father has died and the children have finally fulfilled their father`s wish, baima, baya kwa Matanda. Bafika kwa Matanda kuli nyinabo-senge (father`s sister). They are greeted by the strange environment they never anticipated. Here there is a word ati “Te kokuno [Finally here we are] twaisa kuba balubwa, kwati te kuli mayo-senge.”[as if it`s not aunty`s place father always talked about] What it means is: “Hey! here we are, finally at aunty`s place, but strangely already what we are seeing here does not tally with father`s love songs about his sister and that is the word “Abalubwa” meaning the pretenders who pretend not to know who we are. Here the rosey picture they painted of Matanda proves otherwise. They try to figure it out, the best way to sit out and make use of the sticky situation they have found themselves into to work in their favour, but the conundrum proves too hard for them to solve. It is at this point in the song the children cry ati “Mayo walilandile, [mother, you told us, mother you warned us] mayo walilandile ati uko basunga abana babo nga basungu, mwaya kuchula mwe mpumba mukowa.” Finally the children come back to their senses when they stare at reality in the face, the same reality they scoffed off in their mother`s face, the same reality who never left them, even though they thought, they had abandoned him back in their village, only to find him here mwa Matanda waiting unavoidably for them. Now they give ear to reality whom they ignored. In desperation, they now call on Lufuyo a bird which sings a dirge, to translate to them what all this cacophony is all about. They wish they could run on the water lillies as fast as Ndilindiyo [a water lilly bird] to go to their father`s grave so they could tell him all about his sister`s cruelty, but it`s too little too late. Ndilindiyo, [you water-lilly] please call the ferrer to make haste to come and get me quickly and take me to father`s grave. Awalo ndilindiyo wazimina.

      The other thing which must not be overlooked is the sister`s pampering of her children. She knew that by providing for her own children, she was securing their own future so they dont end up to be impumba mukowa to other people like their two cousins who have just appeared from the blues. They get a cold shoulder from their aunt. Here, the woman has every right to show the two strangers who, including their father had seemed oblivious to reality that she has no intentions of keeping them for ever, because she, herself has the best interest to protect and that is her own children. Hence putting her children on the Ichambaso [a pedestal] because she knows too well that life is far too short, so “Let me give my own children the best of the best I have.”

      There you are, all summed up in a song. The reason why the meteors [flying stars or shooting stars as we call them] end up on the wrong side of the planet is because they cross the paths of other stars. Every star in the galaxy has its own orbit it follows, even the meteors, but sometimes they pumbila and stray on strange paths, only to collide. Stay with reality and you will not be sorry you did so.You can look after your family but DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. Every person that lands on this planet must find what it is that they want out of life. I always stand by my philosophy that the greatest poverty in the world today, is not money or material poverty but brain dysfuntionality. A lot of people think if they are given money, then they can improve their lives, but money comes from a thinking brain and everyone has been given a brain to make money and improve things in their lives without playing poor all the time. But how many people will ask you for your advice, walk away grateful and return in a year`s time to say: “Thank you very much for your advice, here is what I made of it?” The answer is NONE, why? because we all look for easier options in life and that`s why we can talk about finding a tactical way of striking that balance. Why must you look for, or be tactical about telling the truth? They say “Truth hates” so hurt someone by telling them the Truth and if they dont like it, at least you know and they know where you stand with them. Never ever make a mistake of bargaining with Truth. Never ever try to be economical with Truth, either. Truth is Truth, just say it. Ati “Patukuma pomfwa umwine.” [Who feels it knows it]. Once you start bargaining with Truth, then you make yourself more vulnarable to more scrutiny and then you start compromising and in the end you end up in bed with the devil. Families will bring you down and they wont even think twice about it. You can be lying on your backside in hospital, while they continue drinking your milk at home and run up your Zesco bill. Come out of the hospital na frige balishitisha.

      Just in case you think I am speaking double-dutch, no, my friend, I have been to hell and back with my family even today I am still nursing the financial scars left by trying to help my family. Never again will I do it, no mater what? I landed on this planet alone and when I die, no member of my family will even offer to be burried alive holding my torso in the grave, so why should I waste my time trying to be tactical?

      You know what I like about a lot of Nigerians I know is that, they dont accept free drinks and free sausages from anybody, not even from their friends. They are just too proud for that. They buy their own drinks, they are proud to dig into their pockets and take out their own money and buy their own drink and eat their own sausage. In Zambia it is different, everybody buys everybody everything and that`s why we are still behind pantu twebati: “If I refuse, to buy them a drink, then they will be taliking about me everyday.Life is not about getting free lunches as a way of staying together as a family, you are wasting your time and money. Look after your money and secure your own future and God wont even hold you responsible by doing what is right. Is that a fair comment?

      Musa yebo, the choice is all yours. Reality or cultural norm.

      The song NA MUSONDA, awe I have never heard of it. Who sang it?

      Ndalumba musa.

      Ami ne Ngandwe

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