Successful Independence Celebrations at Katima

As I close off my stay at the beautiful Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi region, I appreciate and acknowledge the display of unity, resilience and community spirit by the people of the region during the country’s 34th Independence Day celebrations.

From the start it was evident that the residents of Katima Mulilo and the region were fully invested in making the celebrations a resounding success.

As D-day drew close, there was an intense sense of pride and gratitude in the air.

One could see multiple cars with the national flag that symbolised patriotism, and different traditional attire all around the mighty town of Katima, or ‘Ngweze’, as known by some with pride.

On 21 March, the event venue was decorated with specially designed cultural and traditional embellishments, and traditional dances as well as performances was the order of the day.

I witnessed a large group of people queuing up in an orderly manner to enter the stadium to embrace the moment for the first time in the region, and standing in the long queue after the event to receive their food parcels.

Apart from other memories created, the success of the independence celebrations in the region could be measured by the high turnout.

The Katima Mulilo Stadium was filled to capacity, and attendants applauded and offered their unwavering support and dedication to every speaker who took the podium.

The event has boosted the local economy, as local food outlets delighted visitors with special meals that consisted of casava, spinach, and the famous Zambezi bream, among others.

Upon arrival at Katima Mulilo, community members welcomed visitors with infectious smiles as they took it upon themselves to guide them to their accommodation.

They also offered recommendations of local attractions, setting the tone for better days ahead.

Every interaction reminded one that Katima Mulilo is a community which takes pride in its identity, fostering a sense of belonging for visitors.

The region houses humble residents who are true to their culture.

The people you meet often clap hands as a sign of respect and acceptance.

Imagine a teller clapping hands as she/he gives you your change after paying for your goods at a counter.

I was left astonished by a taxi driver who offered to open the car door for me as a token of appreciation for choosing him over other operators.

Where I come from, all you get is: “Broer, ons is hier, klim uit.”

That’s Afrikaans for: “Brother, we’re here, get out.”

Beyond the event itself, it was the genuine warmth of the residents that left the most enduring impression.

I visited countless drinking spots, and not a single day have I noticed an altercation, but rather small groups of people engaging in heartfelt conversation full of laughter.

Residents’ kind and generous gestures showed the true essence of the people of Zambezi, leaving an indelible mark on all those who were fortunate enough to attend the event.

The legacy of this historic occasion will continue to echo in the minds of all those who attended it.

This will serve as a reminder of an incredible score that can be achieved when a community comes together with a shared purpose and determination.

Their unity and hospitality will continue to echo as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come.

In Katima Mulilo I have found my new home.

Maxmus Halwoodi

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