Is it stereotyping or Chimbuya?

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |
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The comment by Lungu that six out of ten thieves are Bembas is unfortunate. Even if it was a joke, it was a very bad joke, with the wrong audience and timing. The PF propagandists were quick to spin this into “chimbuya”, a playful teasing exchange between the Bembas and easterners. However, the president should communicate in a manner he is not misunderstood and should have made it clear that it was a joke. Secondly, the presumption that every person will take this as “chimbuya” is also naïve and reckless. Even jokes can subconsciously consolidate an idea. Thirdly and frankly, Bemba’s are always stereotyped as thieves so it is difficult to hide behind “chimbuya” in this case.

To be honest labeling each other’s tribes as thieves, tribalists, witches or selfish in most situations is not “chimbuya” but stereotyping and in certain cases hate speech. This should be discouraged. We can laugh at how we dress, how we behave, our names or cultures but they must be limits.

The stereotyping of Bemba’s as thieves is what the bembas should denounce and fight back. I find it funny that some Bemba’s are saying they are not offended when that comment has strengthened the unfortunate stereotype. Some are even taking the criticism as political, when it is about protect them from prejudices. It is such a comment which can shape an idea some people will have about Bembas. A Bemba’s should not face a challenge of doing business in Western Province because of such stereotypes. It is not fair for someone to be distrusted because of some mental preconception. To tolerate demeaning generalisations in the name of “chimbuya” is just retrogressive.

Every tribe must fight back any stereotypes it faces because that is important to national unity and building trust among each other.

Richard W

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