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‘National Lozi Picture Day’ to promote Lozi culture and identity initiated

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lozi_picture_day_initiativeAn innovation to revive and grow the Lozi national and cultural identity, home and abroad, has been initiated by some concerned Lozi nationals of Mongu, reports the Barotseland Post.

This new initiative will see Lozi and non-Lozi people across the world participate in what has been dubbed as the ‘National Lozi Picture Day’ to be commemorated every last Friday of each month. In this initiative, participants across the nation of Barotseland and beyond will be encouraged to practically undertake an activity that has some aspect of the Lozi culture. They could, for instance, sample Lozi traditional cuisine or adorn the Lozi traditional dress and, if they like, submit a picture or video/audio recording of their memorable Lozi picture day activity to be shared with the rest of the world through Barotseland Post and affiliated media platforms, including social media on the last Friday of the month.

Activities to be showcased on this day will not be limited to dress and cuisine only, but participants are encouraged to be a little more creative. They could also share, for example, their favorite ‘Lozi Picture’ of when they went fishing, hunting, gardening or doing any activity depicting the Lozi way of life in the traditional or modern sense. The setting or time of their Lozi picture will not matter, as the motive is to merely show and follow the life of the different Lozi people in town or the village, home and abroad. Even images of past social, religious or traditional events such as weddings and national or tribal ceremonies will also be admitted as well as pictures of architectural and natural infrastructure.

The initiative, which has no time span will transcend politics, meaning one need not be associated to the current politics surrounding Barotseland’s quest for self-determination. It is a non-violent, non-political and non-criminal free expression of the Barotse people’s diverse cultural and natural activities in Barotseland, Zambia and the world over. The National Lozi Picture Day will cover activities done at individual, family or community level, expressed in various genres such as business, tradition, entertainment or professional life, and may evolve into other initiatives that may enhance the promotion and growth of the Lozi national culture.

The initiators of the Lozi Picture Day sincerely hope that the various participants will share generously with the world their perfect and memorable Lozi Picture day activities through photos and / or video. Therefore, all Barotse and non- Barotse alike; young and old, male and female, home and away, are cordially invited to freely participate in this open-ended celebration of the diverse Lozi culture and national identity. The first submitted memorable National Lozi Pictures will be published on the 30th of September 2016, although one need not wait until then to submit their perfect Lozi picture.

As culture and nationality are a sum total of the ways in which a society or nation preserves, identifies, organizes, sustains, expresses and builds itself, it is, further, hoped that this noble effort aimed at preserving Barotseland’s rich endowment of diverse cultural and national heritage, will advertently build strong societies and communities.

Barotseland Kingdom, a home to thirty-five or more indigenous communities with unique characteristics, was for many centuries a closely knit nation where social, political and economic organization revolved around the family and clan, through the institution of a traditional leadership that governed under a moderate monarchy of successive Litungas (kings). The daily activities of the Barotse society, whether at individual or group level, were intrinsically linked to, and determined by the various cultures that formed the Lozi nation. Its national culture evolved and grew, in spite of its exposure to various influences of other cultures such as that of the foreign Europeans that began at the latter end of the 19th century. Some of these external cultures were incorporated and domesticated in Barotseland’s own national culture. It is no wonder that the Lozi today adorn the Scottish quilt as their own traditional national dress while their monarchs continue to adorn the British styled admiral-like uniforms at formal ceremonial duties.

Unfortunately, it was its ill-fated national union with Zambia in 1964 that saw Barotseland’s culture and nationality severely impacted, to the loss of almost all that was Lozi, as the kingdom was then re-organized into an essentially subjugated territory under the new nation state of Zambia. Every unique feature of the nation of Barotseland was forcefully made to conform to the social, political and economic organization of the new republic of Zambia. Its monarchical and national cultural configurations were dismantled through the deliberate efforts of the new Zambian government to make Barotseland more like the other parts and regions of Zambia.

This National Lozi Picture day is, therefore, an innovation aimed at augmenting efforts intended to reviving and preserving the whole Lozi national social fabric which has severely been undermined in the past few decades. It is also a rallying call for the Barotse nationals across the entire world to continue attaching great value to their cultural and national identity and endeavor to conserve, inculcate and sustain it for future generations.

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