Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The country has a rugged terrain with diverse wildlife. Zambia has a variety of parks and safari areas. On its border with Zimbabwe, you have the Victoria Falls which is locally called Mosi oa Tunya meaning Smoke That Thunders.
Those are a few of the generally known fact about the country. But there are a number of other facts that many people do not know. For example, how is mixed-gender activity viewed in Zambia? When you finish eating, when is it ideal to wash hands? How is eating with both hands viewed? If a Gambian asks a guest, “Are you hungry,” what is he/she indirectly telling the guest?
Get the answers to all these and more in the following 12 weird facts about Zambia. Happy reading!
President: Edgar Lungu
Official Language: English
Government: Unitary Presidential Republic
Population: 16,212,000 (2015 Estimate)
Currency: Zambian Kwacha (ZMW)
Weird Facts About Zambia
1. Zero Mixed-Gender Activity
In Zambia, men and women do practically nothing together; no mixed-gender activity. It is usually men doing their own and women doing their own. Here is a weird example: If a woman jumped into a swimming pool filled with men, for example, it is most likely that all the men would scramble out of the pool
2. General Greeting
Greeting usually encompasses a handshake and the questions “How are you?” and “How did you leave your family?” or “How was your journey?” Do not try to hug or kiss a Zambian, especially since you are a total “stranger.” You would just embarrass him.
3. Special Visitor Greeting
When you visit a Zambian home, you will be hastily greeted at the door or just as you enter. But they will then look for a seat for you which you must wait for them to make ready and present it to you before you sit. After you have sat, then the real greeting starts. Is that weird or what!
4. Wait for All to Finish
If you get an invitation to a meal in the home of a Zambian, the meal you will most likely get is the staple food nshima which is the main dish. Other smaller dishes are ndiwo, ndiyo, or umunani. If you happen to be the youngest, try not to finish eating and wash your hands first. It is usually customary to wait at the meal for all to finish before all wash hands.
5. Never Eat with Both Hands
At the meal, do your utmost to eat only with the right hand. Eating with both hands is something you are never to try if you want your host to be pleased that he invited you. This is because eating with both hands is considered highly insolent and utter disrespect to your host.
6. The Offensive Question
In Zambia, they consider it rude, stingy, cruel, and terribly bad behaviour to ask a guest, “Are you hungry? Should I cook something for you?” For this reason, if a guest is asked such a question by a host, the usual but weird answer would be NO…even if the guest is hungry!
7. The “Please Go” Question
Also, in case your host asks you such a question as, “Are you hungry? Should I cook something for you to eat?” Then know that he/she has had his/her fill of you and wants you to leave. It is most self respecting for you to say your goodbyes.
8. Never Refuse Nshima
In the same vein, the good host who does not ask any such questions and takes it upon himself or herself to prepare nshima for you or offer you anything the family has to eat deserve your gratitude. And the best way to show such is to eat it. Refusing to eat it is considered rude.
9. Never Ask of Recipe/Ingredients
When offered any food, try your utmost not to ask what the recipe is. The question would come to them as if you doubt their ability to cook well. Here is the really weird and worse part: the question would come to them as if you are suspecting that they are serving you poison!
10. Don’t Thank Too Much
When you finish eating in a Zambian home, do not thank the host too much. If you do this, you are simply putting him/her through superlative embarrassment. Just wait till you are finally leaving and then say a simple zikomo or thank you.
11. Do Not Finish Your Food
When you finish eating nshima, it is bad manners to literally clean off your plate. It is advised to leave a small amount on the plate. This small amount is for the kids who will clear the plates to eat while hidden away in the kitchen. If this is not weird, then what is?!
12. The Silent Moment
When you make a social call on a Zambian, usually the greeting is a long process. After this, it is normal to just sit with your host and remain silent for a while. Do not feel awkward at all. If you feel awkward, you might begin an unwanted conversation.