PRETORIA – Monday, 27th October, 2014 – GOLDEN Jubilee celebrations in South Africa were on Sunday brought to a satisfactory conclusion with a church service organised by Zambians resident in Johannesburg and other nearby locations.
The service, held at the Cathedral of the Christ King in central Johannesburg, was graced by Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde; his wife, Mrs. Musonda Chikonde; Zambia’s Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa, Mr. Joe Kaunda and several diplomatic staff from the High Commission.
In rare fashion, the mass was presided over by four priests; Father Vincent Chileya and Father Benedict Ng’andwe both from Zambia; Reverend Father Christopher Unigwe from Nigeria, and Father Thabo Motshegwa, who is also the Parish Priest, from South Africa.
The mass was also attended by nationals from Malawi, Nigeria and South Africa.
Father Motshegwa congratulated Zambians for upholding unity and political stability from the times of first Republican President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda through to the current President. His Excellency Mr. Michael Sata.
“This is indeed a milestone. May God continue blessing you with stability and progress in the economic and social development sphere,” Father Motshegwa said.
Drawing from Mathew 22:34-40 for his sermon, Father Motshegwa urged congregants to reach out and love one another. He said in today’s world, people have drifted apart and have lost love for one another and have instead become self centred.
“A lot has been written and sung about love, but these are songs that have instead separated us from real love. Today’s love uses people as a means to an end instead of allowing the other to reach their potential.”
The priest said love was not an option but a commandment and that when “we fail to love, we fail to live and when we fail to live, we move away from God. God is love.”
And His Excellency Mr. Chikonde concurred with Father Motshegwa’s teaching and assured the congregants that Zambians will continue to love universally.
Mr. Chikonde conveyed greetings from Mr. Sata saying the President was eager to reach out to all Zambians where ever they lived. He disclosed that the Zambian Government has drafted a Diaspora Policy which was a mode of engagement with those living outside the country.
He said as evidenced from the Golden Jubilee theme, “Commemorating God’s favour of Zambia’s 50 years of independence for continued peace, unity, democracy and prosperity,” the Zambian Government recognised the fact that God had a central role in everything that Zambia has achieved.
“It is important to understand that the Government crafted the theme in that manner because we realise that without the grace of God, we wouldn’t have achieved what we have.”
On Saturday, Zambians across South Africa held various festivities to commemorate the country’s 50 years of independence with the High Commission in Pretoria taking part in the annual diplomatic fair held at the Union Buildings. The Diplomatic Fair serves as a platform for foreign diplomatic missions accredited to South Africa from which to showcase and promote cultural diplomacy through arts, music and other means.
Several hundreds of Zambians across Johannesburg and surrounding areas also converged on Edenvale Sports Complex for the ‘Jubilee Celebrations and Family Day’ organised by the High Commission in collaboration with the Zambia Association in South Africa (ZASA).
The occasion which was officiated by Mr. Kaunda, saw various social teams from Zambia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and South Africa participate in games such as soccer, ladies’ volley ball and tag of war.
The Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) Dancing Group, who travelled from Kasama, provided some of the entertainment.
The crowd sung ‘Happy Birthday’ for Zambia before the Deputy High commissioner led in cutting the Golden Jubilee cake which was later passed round for people to sample.
Mr Kaunda called for continued unity among Zambians as the country celebrated its 50th anniversary. He challenged everyone to strive to be part of the development currently taking place in Zambia particularly now when the country’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate was on the rise.
“Today, Zambia is among the 10 fastest growing economies in the world. I wish to encourage everyone to contribute to this growth.”
Mr. Kaunda urged the Zambians to take interest in current affairs back home pointing out the draft constitution which was released last week as one such important issue.
He noted that the High Commission in South Africa was there to serve Zambians and that everyone should not feel restricted to seek service.
“The High Commission is reaching out to all Zambians in South Africa. We have an open door policy and I wish to invite you to feel free to approach us at any time,” Mr. Kaunda said.
HIGH COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA IN SOUTH AFRICA