Analytical Essay on Zambian Humanism

Topics:
Words:
2439
Pages:
5
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

Introduction.

Zambian humanism, a socialist ideology, was developed by Kenneth Kaunda, an independent Zambia`s first president. It was made the national philosophy and ideology of Zambia in April 1967. The ideology was composed of a combination of many elements which did not always fit together into an organic whole. Among them include African traditions, socialism, radical Christianity, existential humanism, and Kaunda`s personal convictions (Kaunda,1966). Kaunda`s motivation for proposing this ideology appears to have been the desire to break free from the colonial past and to create a national identity centered on values that he considered true to the African heritage and to his Christian background. Zambian humanism, as an ideology applied to all spheres of public life during Kaunda`s reign as president. Kaunda intended it to provide the moral basis for all human activity in the country, political, economic, and social. In a sense, the ideology was meant to be the social cement that held together and inspired the nation. The ideology failed in economic terms. As a country, Zambia experienced several economic difficulties beginning from the mid-1970s which humanism failed to adequately address. By the mid-1980s the country was worse off economically than it had been at the time of independence. The causes of this economic downturn are complex and debatable. This dissertation critically examines Kaunda`s ideology. This paper will examine on the successes and failures of Kenneth Kaunda's ideology of humanism in Zambia.

Definition of key terms

Humanism is the national philosophy of Zambia. It is the basis of all the policies and programs of the Party and Government. All the development effort in Zambia is based on Humanism It is a way that emphasizes the importance of man as the center of all activity.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place an order
document

Ideology- is a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy (Webster dictionary).

The success of humanism in Zambia.

This ideology was eventually declared Zambian national ideology and philosophy in 1967. The choice of this ideology was based on the fact that Africa had always contained much indigenous socialism which the colonialists had tried to destroy, and so Zambian humanism was an attempt to rescue pre-colonial values and traditions and to use these as the basis on which to build the modern state. Like every other humanism, it set out to create a society that places the human person at the center of all activity, social, economic, and political. Describing Zambian Humanism, Kaunda (2007) wrote, Zambian Humanism came from our own appreciation and understanding of our society. Zambian Humanism believes in God the Supreme Being. It believes that loving God with all our souls, all our hearts, and all our minds and strength, will make us appreciate the human being created in God`s image. If we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we will not exploit them but work together with them for the common good.

Zambian Humanism provided the moral basis for all human activity in the country whether it be political, economic or social. The philosophy is the social cement that holds together and inspires the young and varied nation that is Zambia (Mwanlimu,2009). Zambian Humanism was not like that shirt or that dress or that dress that we wear for special occasions. To understand what Humanism is about, we must first understand the political background against which it was declared as Zambia's national philosophy. The forces which brought the people of Zambia together to fight for independence were a direct result of years of colonial oppression--a system of government that denied Zambians all rights and privileges of man.

Humanism established the development of the humanist society, Kaunda (1972) condemned laziness and called on conscientious workers to consider the interests of other fellow workers and members of society in general and the harm done to them through irresponsible behavior such as laziness, drunkenness at work, or illegal strikes which can bring development to a grinding halt. This day, therefore, provides the workers with an important opportunity to ponder over the real significance of work in our lives, the very high place which work occupies in the life of our Nation. No man, no nation can exist without work. All growth depends on the activity on work. Even animals have to work to obtain food. In our environment, there can be no development, no progress, physical or intellectual, without effort. Effort means work. So work is not a curse; indeed, among human beings, it is the most cardinal of the means to manhood and a key factor in the development of our civilization. The defense of our liberty, freedom, and independence means work. The furtherance of the aims of freedom and independence, the realization of our economic, social, and cultural goals, demands hard work. The greatest asset of any nation is the spirit of its people, its working force; and the greatest danger than can menace any nation is the breakdown of that spirit the will to work, the will to succeed and the courage and determination to work relentlessly towards greater victories.

lkeda,(2005) stated that humanism promoted gender equality among women. The gendered nature of sexual citizenship becomes immediately clear in the section on love and sex. The section first addressed the topic of the position of women, recognizing the rights of women and stating that one of the tasks of the moral revolution is to eliminate cruelty to women. The suggestion here is that women are full citizens. The apparent concern about gender inequality is, however, directly undermined in the next paragraph. Here it is argued that when it comes to soliciting for love, a woman shall at all times wait until she is loved or approached by a man to engage her in a decent love affair ( Bureau 2000). This argument is made with reference to the Zambian traditional customs and indeed the African customs in general (ibid) which would not allow women to take initiative in love-making. The patriarchal view of love-making that is reflected here and supported with a reference to so-called Zambian and African traditions fits in one of the strategies distinguished by Ndjio of the decentralization and racialization of African sexuality through which sexuality in postcolonial African contexts has been made a site where the myth about African cultural unity is enacted (Ndjio 2013).

These criticisms notwithstanding, Kaunda represents a figure among the people of Zambia that cannot be forgotten too soon; although not totally because of his contribution as a philosopher but as one courageous leader who actively participated in the independence struggle and first president of their great nation.

David (1996) suggests the success of humanism in Zambia provided the workers with an important opportunity to ponder over the real significance of work in our lives, the very high place which work occupies in the life of our Nation. No man, no nation can exist without work. All growth depends on the activity on work. Even animals have to work to obtain food. In our environment, there can be no development, no progress, physical or intellectual, without effort. Effort means work. So work is not a curse; indeed, among human beings, it is the most cardinal of the means to manhood and a key factor in the development of our civilization. The defense of our liberty, freedom, and independence means work. The furtherance of the aims of freedom and independence, the realization of our economic, social, and cultural goals, demands hard work. The greatest asset of any nation is the spirit of its people, its working force; and the greatest danger than can menace any nation is the breakdown of that spirit the will to work, the will to succeed and the courage and determination to work relentlessly towards greater victories.

The ideology of humanism was successful in the educational system in Zambia. Because of this, the Zambian government had to invest heavily in education at all levels. Kaunda instituted a policy where all children, irrespective of their parent's ability to pay, were given free exercise books, pens, and pencils. The parents' main responsibility was to buy uniforms, pay a token 'school fee' and ensure that the children attended school. This approach meant that the best pupils were promoted to achieve their best results, all the way from primary school to university level. Not every child could go to secondary school, for example, but those who did were well educated (lkeda, 2005).

The failure of humanism in Zambia

Humanism failed at the level of implementation, especially in economic terms, the ideology as such played a significant role in the history of post-independence Zambia which should not be overlooked. To appreciate fully why Zambian humanism was introduced and adopted as the national ideology it is necessary to recall the social, economic, and political background against which this was done. The experience of colonialism suffered by Kaunda and his contemporaries and the challenge of building a modern nation-state that had experienced the negative effects of colonialism are two key factors that should not be overlooked in understanding Zambian humanism (Kaunda,1972). Zambian humanism, this thesis argues, is a postcolonial discourse whose aim was to break with the colonial past and to create an African identity. It was not a unique experiment as can be seen in fields such as philosophy and theology of the era. Nyerere`s Ujamaa socialism is closely related, yet not identical to Zambian humanism. What Kaunda and his contemporaries set out to do in proposing a different worldview from the dominant Western worldview must be interpreted theologically to see how and if it accords with Classical Theology`s understanding of the Christian God`s interaction with human beings. Their intention was not only the deconstruction and rejection of the colonial and therefore dominant Western discourse, but also an attempt to construct an African discourse capable of giving meaning to African existence and society. Such an ambitious undertaking certainly calls for theological consideration.

Kaunda`s national ideology and subsequent national culture were hindered by binary terms that failed to represent Zambia`s complex identity. By polarizing his citizens and political ideals into categories such as Zambian and British, black and white, and western and non-western, Kaunda over-simplified Zambia`s complex culture. He emphasized the traditional, communal, and arguably pre-colonial demographics of society while ignoring the modern, post-colonial complexities that accounted for Zambia`s very existence (Hall, 1969). Ironically, it was those who identified with the traditional ideals (primarily rural peasants) whose livelihood often suffered at the whim of those who embraced more modern identities. Kaunda`s inability to achieve an egalitarian society in Zambia exacerbated the political, economic, and social stakes conflated with these binary constructs, and the ambiguous, ill-fitted homogenous culture he attempted to construct fell apart at the seams.

According to Mwangala (2009), the humanism of Zambia failed in economic terms. As a country, Zambia experienced several economic difficulties beginning from the mid-1970s which humanism failed to adequately address. By the mid-1980s the country was worse off economically than it had been at the time of independence. The reasons are very obvious: Kaunda`s humanism, which was a form of socialism, was strongly opposed to capitalism as an economic system. It assessed negatively the profit motivation of capitalism. According to Kaunda`s humanism, capitalism encourages the exploitation of human beings. In line with the new socialism, a number of private industries were nationalized, and the government became the main distributor of the wealth generated by the manufacturing industries. Secondly, Kaunda argued that he could not bear to see his people suffering, and so he was willing to forego sound economic policies simply because they caused suffering. For example, in the mid-1980s Kaunda refused to follow the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme which advocated the removal of food subsidies because of the hardships this would have created for the poor.

Guest (2004) noted humanism ideology failed in the educational system and became poor because the government lost a lot of money in the education system. Because of this, Zambia had to invest heavily in education at all levels. Kaunda instituted a policy where all children, irrespective of their parent's ability to pay, were given free exercise books, pens, and pencils. The parents' main responsibility was to buy uniforms, pay a token 'school fee' and ensure that the children attended school. This approach meant that the best pupils were promoted to achieve their best results, all the way from primary school to university level. Not every child could go to secondary school, for example, but those who did were well educated. This made the education system in Zambia to become poor during humanism.

humanism ideology failed because economic bankruptcy, political bias, religious discrimination, abject poverty and moral decadence, and even illiteracy were and are still very much visible in Zambia. What about the massacre of the members of the Lumpa Church? It was a complete negation of his nonviolence theory. The violence of the time as a result of his increasing intolerance of opposition, the eventual banning of all parties except his own UNIP, and his clinging to power until he was forced out of office in 1991 seem to confirm Frantz`s observation that many of those who were colonized envied the power enjoyed by the colonial masters and thus wanted to be like them (Mwanlimu,2009).

Conclusion

To what extent did Zambian humanism work? It looked so beautiful and promising, but its implementation proved very difficult. This could be attributed to the fact that Zambia is the first known country that has officially adopted humanism as the national philosophy and has actively attempted to implement it. Thus during translation from theory to praxis, there was no place to look on to. As an ideology, it was never strongly rooted among the Zambians. The government officials paid mere lip service without deep and genuine conviction that Zambian Humanism was useful in the nation-building effort.

Reference

  1. Burawoy (2007). Consciousness and Contradiction: a study of student protest in Zambia. The British Journal of Sociology 27, no. 1:
  2. Guest, R. (2004). The shackled continent: Africa`s past, present, and future. London: Macmillan.
  3. Hall, R. (1969). The high price of principles: Kaunda and the White south. Middlesex: Penguin Books.
  4. Ikeda, D. (2005). Dr. Kenneth, D. Kaunda- A Humanistic struggle. SGI Quarterly. January. 1-2.
  5. Kaunda, K. (1972). The dignity of labor. Lusaka: The Cabinet OfficeThe Government Printer.
  6. Kaunda, K. D. (1960). A speech was issued at the meeting of the working committee of the United National Independent Party on August 1960.
  7. Kaunda, K. D. (1966). A humanist in Africa: Letters to Colin Morris. London: Longmans. |
  8. Mwangala (2009). Humanism ideology in Zambia. London: Collins.
  9. Mwanlimu, M. R. (2009). Found a modern nation-state on Christian values?: A theological assessment of Zambian Humanism. Pietermaritzburg: University of Zambia.
Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Analytical Essay on Zambian Humanism. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/analytical-essay-on-zambian-humanism/
“Analytical Essay on Zambian Humanism.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/analytical-essay-on-zambian-humanism/
Analytical Essay on Zambian Humanism. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/analytical-essay-on-zambian-humanism/> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Analytical Essay on Zambian Humanism [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/analytical-essay-on-zambian-humanism/
copy

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via support@edubirdie.com.

Check it out!
close
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.