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Zambia: Neighbors Help Celebrate AFCON 2012 Victory

Zambia’s victory over Ivory Coast in the finals of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2012), co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, has been celebrated by Zambians and neighboring Southern African nations alike. Zambia beat the star-studded Ivory Coast team by eight goals to seven in a match that went into penalties after a barren draw in extra time.

Most poignant was a satirical article on the Malawi's Nyasa Times website titled “Death Announcement An Elephant of I. Coast Killed By Copper Bullets.” The Zambia National Soccer Team is fondly known as Chipolopolo or bullet while the Ivory Coast team is known by the elephant moniker.

Matamando Manda wrote:

Image created to celebrate Zambia's victory. Image source: Zambian People's Parliament Facebook page.

Image created to celebrate Zambia's victory. Image source: Zambian People's Parliament Facebook page.

A giant African Elephant was found dead in the village of Equatorial Guinea in the early hours of Monday, 13 Februray, 2012. Pathologist Pele who arrived at the scene of death immediately, suggest the elephant died of excessive bleeding from bruises and eight bullet wounds it sustained. In response, the Elephant shows to have managed seven kicks as per markings that were visible around the death spot.”

Commenting on the article, Blessings wrote:

This is great creative writing, well done! Point of correction though, the Elephant was found dead in Gabon and not Equatorial Guinea where Zambia played their group matches. The final was played in Libreville, Gabon. AMalawi, Zambia deserve our respect, they taught us football those years when AKinnah sikuluza kodabwitsa kuli Zambia (when Kinnah’s team used to lose terribly to Zambia) 6-1, 14-0, 5-0, 4-0, 7-0 until CAF (Confederation of African Football) had mercey on us, saved us from being in the same qualifying group all the time.

In another story coming from Namibia reproduced by Zambian Watchdog:

It was all-night jubilation, ululation and the unleashing of celebratory gunfire as ecstatic Katima Mulilo residents formed a convoy at the town and joined their neighbours across the Zambezi River to celebrate Zambia’s thrashing of Ivory Coast to lift the AFCON Cup.

Katima Mulilo residents and Zambian residents at Katima Mulilo jointly celebrated Zambia’s historic victory over its much-fancied rivals to clinch the Africa Cup of Nations 2012 edition.

One Namibian football administrator, according to the story, attributed the win to the Southern African Development Community (SADC):

Local soccer fan and soccer official, Ben Lumponjani, said, “I’m feeling very happy right now, like it’s Namibia which won, because these guys have made SADC proud. Other SADC countries in the competition like Botswana and Angola, exited the tournament, but Zambia stood firm.”

But Zambians themselves have continued celebrating the victory which also brought three of Zambia’s present and past presidents, the incumbent Michael Sata and two surviving past presidents Rupiah Banda who was defeated as sitting president in the 2011 elections and Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda.

Rupiah Banda is reported to have danced to the now ruling PF’s campaign anthem, “Donchi Kubeba” during the celebrations at State House when the team arrived from their conquering mission.

Former Republican president, Rupiah Banda, could not resist the ‘magic charm’ of the ‘Donchi Kubeba’ fever when he joined in to dance to Dandy Crazy’s hit song at First Lady, Christine Kaseba’s luncheon held in honour of the triumphant Zambia national soccer team.

Mr Banda, who also raised his index finger to his lips in the ‘Donchi Kubeba’ style while on the dance floor, stood up to join President Michael Sata and First president, Kenneth Kaunda, among other guests who had already taken to the floor.

While the mood in the country was celebratory, others could not help but point out the shortcomings particularly with how the Chipolopolo team was received. Observed Chilufya Tayali on the 703 member Zambian Voice group on Facebook:

Wish to express my disappointment in the way the National Team was welcomed at the airport.
First of the crowd was well anticipated to the point that security wings would have done their best to control the people. People were just all over especially when the players landed. The players themselves could have been coached on how to respond to the welcoming crowd by atleast waving to the crowd as the each came out. Their dressing was also not befitting for the ocassion. I think a sports antire would have been better than an English business suite. A sports antire would have blended well with the crowd.
Then talk about ZNBC, mayooo (mother with emphasis as an expression of disappointment)…. it was bad for like of a better word. The camera people would have known exactly where the plane was going to stop and they would have positioned themselves well to take good images of each player. Owing to that long time of wait, one would expect professionals to do a far better job than what we saw. The samething happened during the swearing in ceremony of HMCS
I think we need to do some homework before we just fall in the motion of things on national events so that we can excute them well and inform the people properly.

On Twitter, tweets like the one below were not uncommon:

@fytzm: it is all sinking in now, #chipolopolo have really made us proud. memories are made of this, forever and a day… #afcon2012 #zambia

One tweep, probably comparing the star-studded Ivory Coast team in which most of the players ply their trade in the English Premier League with the Zambian whose professionals are not very well known on the world stage, wrote:

@Bradleychingobe: The #AFCON2012 player of the tournament, Chris Katongo, plys his trade in China. How bizzarre #chipolopolo #zambia

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