Friday, 2 September 2011

Zambian Time My Foot

                 There is a common saying that, “Late comers always eat bones”, in the literal sense Zambians have been eating bones for a very long time. I know this is a farfetched assumption but realistically speaking if there is anything that Zambians are good at it is being late. We have created a culture around it which sadly we are passing on to generations to come. The fact of the matter is that most Zambians just fail to keep time. The million dollar question then is why on earth don’t most Zambians keep time?
                When visitors from Europe or Asia visit Zambia the first thing that they come to realize is that when a Zambian says that they will meet you at 14 hours, 14 hours could mean anything from 14:15hrs - 15:00hrs and that is if you are lucky. There is no manner of respect for other people’s time whatsoever.  We have even foolishly yes I have said it foolishly developed a phrase for it which we use so casually to explain why we are late that, “It is Zambian time.” How pathetic.
                You may have a lot of time on your hands to waste but not everyone has that luxury of time. I mean really is keeping time that very hard to do? The excuse that you did not have a watch does not apply. In this modern day and age you get the time from almost anywhere. The watch on your hand that clearly people do not seem to utilize, the mobile phones, even flipping channels on DSTV will give you the time. So it is time to think of much more valid reasons. The only one that I can think of at the moment is that we just do not care.
                For example how possible is it that you are supposed to meet someone in town at 12hrs and you stay in Kabulonga. You want to leave for town on a bus at 11:45 hrs and expect to make it in time for the meeting. When the person asks you why you were held up you blame it on the bus. Honestly this even fails logical thought. We are all aware of the inconveniences of getting on public transport with all the traffic and bus stops in Lusaka. Why is it so hard to start off at 11:15 hrs instead? Some people do not even have the decency to inform the people waiting that they will be late. Instead they expect them to be telepathic, psyche or something to guess that they will be late. A text message or a call will not kill you.
                I have come to realize that the failure to keep time is more of a deliberate attitude than anything. People are rarely late when they need to collect money, attend a job interview or have to catch a flight abroad. People are always conscious of the time when it comes to these issues. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too difficult to translate this same awareness to other time issues. I must admit that I am also to blame in pushing the late culture. I have tolerated friends and family that have wasted my time one too many times. I say, “No more! I will not allow myself to be abused in this manner anymore”. So this is my resolution for the year, four months is still long enough to make a difference.
                Therefore, allow me to take this opportunity to send out a warning to would be late-comers. I will only be giving an allowance of 5 minutes. After which I will not be waiting for you. And should you have the audacity to call me to find out why I left, I am arranging some good French for you as a response. I challenge the rest of you to follow suit. Abash Time Wasting!!!


  1. Nice one,
    Abash Time Wasters Indeed!!...

  2. i'm so fed up as well, especially with all these monthly functions; weddings, kparties, matebetos...etc...i'll soon become anti-social mweh