Letter: Yes! Zambians Are Jealousy People…And Serial Gossipers

Yes, Zambians are jealousy……..nay serial gossipers!

The other day, you carried an article in which an American woman spews out a litany of allegations at the Zambian community in USA – describing them as nothing but a bunch of gossipers, drunkards, jealousy and lazy individuals! I must admit I am enthralled by her flair of writing………this might have definitely impressed my late English literature teacher.

In this offering, I seek to buttress some of her assertions………particularly aspects of jealousy and gossip.

I have no doubt our colleagues in the US were chocking with envy to imagine Sylvester Mumba, a simple villager from Luapula who eked a living fashioning objects out of wood, had stolen the heart of a sophisticated lady from the land of plenty. Much schooled and more privileged as they were compared to Mumba, most of them probably don’t even have the balls to propose a “manifesto” to a person of Caucasian extraction on the streets.

Why on earth would the so called Mumba’s companions be making frantic calls asking the lady to divorce him and marry them instead? As if this wasn’t enough, others went a mile further asking the lady to go to bed with them so that they could show her what they were made of as if they don’t encounter white chicks daily, including prostitutes?

Zambian ladies are equally disappointing; why should they back bite their own brother like that? That Sylvester did not marry the lady because he loved her but because of poverty and the opportunity to grab a green card? What profit is there to gain from such malicious gossip and slander?

This author has every reason to believe that most Zambians living abroad shy away from efforts to build closely knit communities and aren’t generally supportive of one another. Allow me to share a classic example.

A few years ago, I was invited to visit the UK by a British pastor friend. A few days of my sojourn, the pastor alerted me there was a Zambian lady in his church married to a Nigerian. Like me, she hailed from the Copperbelt mining town of Kitwe. The couple was requesting the pleasure of my company to join them for dinner at their residence.

After suffering through foreign cuisines, some of it partially cooked or completely raw vegetables, I was super excited and my taste buds quickly responded by secreting excessive saliva at the prospect of a home grown meal……..well, finally!

When I was dropped off at the couple’s residence that evening, the husband was still at work. It was only the lady and their two adorable kids at home. Of course the lads wasted no time hauling stuff out of their bedrooms to show off to me amidst feeble protests from their mom.

As I sipped on a giant mug of coffee in between, the lady couldn’t stop throwing a flurry of questions at me. How is the political climate at the moment; the ruling party seems to be receiving a lot of heat from the opposition? What about the economy, are people managing to make ends meet? What of infrastructure development; are the roads still as bad as we left them in the 1980s?

If the lady was conversing with you from another room, you would’ve mistaken her for a Muzungu from the upper echelons of society. Her English was quite impeccable!
Enough of her questioning! I firmly put the mug on the table and looked at her. It was now my turn to interrogate her!

“So……have you acquired your British citizenship; how are you finding life in this cold country?”

Suddenly, this polished demeanor had crumbled like a cookie! For once, I thought I was talking to an ordinary person from the townships.

“You tell them…..” she suddenly shrieked like one possessed. “Tell everyone back home that life in the UK is tough! You’ve to do more than one job in order to survive in this country. People are better off staying home than attempting to cross oceans and come to Europe…….”

Saved by the bell! The front door finally swept open and there he was. He was a towering fellow with broad shoulders.

“Hello my brother!” his velvet voice reverberated across the room as I stood to greet him. “Welcome to London.”

Nshima with boiled bubble fish and okra was something I was craving for the past couple of days as I contended with the cruel British weather.

As I dexterously rolled up a lump of nshima into a small ball and dipped it into a bowl of okra that one Canadian friend had the cheek to describe as it resembled snort, I turned left and directed my arsenal at the Nigerian.

“So my brother……how do you find life in the UK? Don’t you miss your extended family back in Nigeria?” I had to make sure I fired two quick ones before he could duck.

He let out a thunderous laughter as he shifted his gaze. This seemed to have a ripple effect on his kids and they joined in the laughter. The wife wasn’t impressed; it was engraved all over her cute face.

“Miss my family………?” he mimicked. “My brother…… how can I miss my family when they are all here with me? I had to make sure they all joined me – my mother, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunties…”

“Interesting…….” I observed as I trained my eyes on his wife, “Interesting indeed.”
She quickly avoided eye contact and darted off to the Kitchen to fetch sweet course. She couldn’t hide the egg on her face.

As I was driven back to my hosts later that evening, my mind was embroiled in turmoil as I tried to make sense of the conflicting answers from the couple on the question of immigration.

What was the motive of the lady discouraging Zambians from traveling to the UK? Was it because she was envious of fellow citizens coming to Europe to have a feel of the good life she was enjoying? How come her husband had repatriated his entire family to the UK? Why didn’t he just let them stay in Nigeria if life was indeed rough in the UK?

Perhaps readers can help with answers.

Bill M. Kaping’a
Freelance writer


  1. O66

    I Cant get it

  2. Nason

    If life in UK is as tough as she said it is then i don’t see a reason why her husband would bring his family to suffer unless she lied so that other Zambians would not go to taste the sweetness of Europe.

  3. Jose

    mostly zambians, they like see & enjoy to their fellow zambians their are suffering & died, becz of jealously, heartless, tribalism. very idoits zambians their behavers like HIV+, which sucks blood.

  4. 11kv

    mmmmmmm, I can’t say anything

  5. kalamba mukuka

    Well ! I think it would be NAD to paint a bad picture on all Zambians;because some Zambians a very hard working.Either way,This article is very interesting

  6. kalamba mukuka

    Well ! I think it would be NAD to paint a bad picture on all Zambians;because some Zambians a very hard working.Either way,This article is very interesting.

  7. Paul M

    That behaviour is very bad.

  8. Chris

    You’ve nailed it sir. No wonder we don’t develop

  9. Shikantwa

    Bill Kaping”a, your article sounds exactly like GOSSIP. You have given an illustration of how you Zambians gossip. Some things are better left alone.

  10. ABC

    Comment Bad tention

  11. foothold

    Why generalizing?Respect God’s creation, and if u are jealousy, don’t generalise.

  12. pascal

    Our fellow zambians living abroad dont want to share the delight of foreign continents; i have a uncle in canada with a phd in sciology if he can manage to get his wife’s Father,sisters,cousins,uncle,nieces,nepews,brothers and grand children can he fail to take one of his also? probably he can but why is he favoring the wife’s side only, maybe its jelousy but forgeting that the food they are devouring are killing them

  13. jåy kïmmëls

    Mmmmmh…….she’s somehow ryt

  14. papa

    Comment:thats nonsence alasee

  15. Mk

    Nice one Bill. Nice, you hit the nail on the head. Typical Zambian lady she is. Alifilwa ukwa suka after the husband answered that almost all “His” relatives had migrated to the UK. What more madam, she has failed to help bring a single relative into the UK. Shame…

  16. Derby

    There’s need for respect to all Zambians in Diaspora as they execute the duties out there don’t be jealousy yourself…..we are a christian happy family.

  17. nshilimbemba

    I dont think all zambians abroad are the same which would be a mistake to make , however there also some very helpful people from zambia whom when you meet them you feel at home.
    The same is true when you are in Zambia you have various types of people from whom you carefully choose friends.
    The problem can be when you lump every zambian in one group.
    People who are in diaspora have their own reasons of being there; it would be wrong to judge them from the rule.
    Zambians should accept each other as fellow zambians and try to empathetic to one another.

  18. Mr. Mane

    Indeed you would have impressed your late literature teacher, any time I come across a piece of writing such as this one answers why I joined teaching and importantly an English/ civic ed teacher.


    In the course of reading this wonderful story, I had already lost interest of getting out if my mother land ZAMBIA. But as I got close to the end, I realised the point that was being driven. It makes a lot of sense.
    I can give a short story that relates this scenario. It is a common one. A man and his wife where so lucky to find pumpkins in their dry garden, after spending days without food. The couple took the pumpkins home and prepared a quick meal for they were hungry.
    The meal was ready and it was time to eat. The husband pretending to be caring told his family he had to taste the food first incase it was poisonous. He took a bite out of a piece and hurriedly spat the food. It’s poisonous! He exclaimed. The children while disappointed were sent to dump the meal in the bin. Late at night the husband woke up and followed the earlier claimed poisonous meal and began his secret fist on It. But he could he was not the only one awake that night, the wife noticed his absence on the bed and decided to look for him, only to find her husband selfishly enjoying the meal that was meant to be for the whole family. This story is quite close to what happened to you and my late brother MHSRIP. Had the wife not discover the husband’s short abscence, everyone I the family would have not known what the truth about their meal was, so is the truth about being part of the world community, especially foreign communities.
    She was obviously not happy to see you there.
    Thank you and good day.

  20. mauto nkhowani

    It depends on what job u have.

  21. TJ


  22. abilima

    Bill – Here is the thing: Us Zambians, despite the hardships here, are still very proud of our country and we know that opportunities still do exist in this country. Try to do a research and find out how many foreigners come to settle in Zambia per population every year and compare that to Nigeria. Zambians in the diaspora still dream of coming back home, so the issue of uprooting their families does not arise. You can’t say the same thing about Nigerians for example. Issue of gossiping, you are most likely correct.

  23. William chimbukuma

    Too bad.

  24. Solomon Pleito

    Ba zeds don’t want others to tick they want others to remain poor so that they mock them . to some even advice on how you can tick is like the road to heaven. The lady in UK is that type she is among the fortune deniers

  25. ziko

    A Zambian abroad is not as helpful as he is at home. Our cultural bonds maybe are weaker here and weakest abroad.

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