Lwisha: a word inspired by the Great Kalusha Bwalya!

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By Jeff Mbewe-Mwale
Zambians do not know how to celebrate heroes, that is why, despite that we have a bunch of heroic individuals both alive and dead, there is no history of any individual celebrated anywhere for their existence in our country and in this universe.

I’m not so sure whether the behavior of forsaking heroes, worth celebrating, is a genetic makeup or not for African race but what is clear is that even our educational system has stubbornly paid a blind eye to our own history which for all intents and purposes needs to be celebrated.

We are made to learn about Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and many other irrelevant historical narratives of foreign nations when we have a cluster of our own past happenings, worth learning about such as the insurgency of Lenshina, the Captain Solo, Mwamba Luchembe, the Mushala narratives and just even the development and evolution of various kingdoms and tribal grouping of Zambia etc.

Clearly, as a nation, we have neglected the figures in the narratives of our past, and it goes that, if we have a conflict with our past, chances are that we will have no significant stance on the present, and consequently lose grip on the future.

Maybe that is why we seem to have no culture of our own – everything now seems borrowed from other cultures elsewhere!

Look at how we have savagely celebrated misfortunes, albeit instigated by petty characters against our Great Kalusha Bwalya, despite that this football legend has given so much we cannot possibly compensate him!

There are bunch of gadfly do-gooders, perhaps , we must call them trouble makers who have sponsored myriad virulent misinformation and half-truths against Great Kalu, not because anything of such is true, but because they envied his societal posture and intended to be who he is.

They said the football fraternity of Zambia was losing so much because of Kalusha Bwalya’s bad governance full of corruption at the helm of Football Association of Zambia –FAZ, yet, it is during this same period they persistently described laden with perpetual corruption that we won Africa Cup, and qualified to the same tournament often than not.

During the reign of Andrew Kamanga and group, who claimed monopoly of righteousness and transparent, we have witnessed a drastic failure and dwindling fortunes of the Zambia National Soccer team alias Chipolopolo so much that we have not qualified for anything worth discussing about.

I am not in any way preaching that Great Kalu is of no faults and perfect but we must judge things from their rightful perspective here.

The same regime of Kalu at FAZ which trouble makers termed corrupt and that is was killing football in Zambia produced results far much better than what the current so-called transparent regime of Andrew Kamanga and his group offers.

Anyway, it would be insulting to begin to compare Great Kalu to Kamanga with regards to soccer and sporting as two are at variance.

Kalusha is an embodiment of persistent and hard work and resilient in sporting in our country.

We can subtract all we can from him and his character but what we will not take away from him is his God given gift and spirit towards achieving results.

Maybe that is why he remains the most successful football administrator in Zambia and maybe this explains why the likes of those who invested in heavy mudslinging against him, both in local and foreign press have difficulties to match to his success in sports.

One permanent stench of Kalu’s uncompromising, resilient and persistent character is embedded in a word “Lwisha” or “Ukulwisha” as the Bembas would say.

Lwisha is a local street word that developed following the spirit that Kalusha Bwalya put up when the Gabon victims crushed; as captain of the team, Kalu refused to give in to grief following the devastating loss of his colleagues.

He opted to lead the team to honoring his lost comrades with an outstanding sending off by playing hard on the pitch in that tournament and never to give up.

On the pitch, if the Chipolopolo was down by a goal or more or time was running out, Kalu would fight for the score or points thereby earning himself a word Lwisha which society has thus incorporated into its lingo, to connote fighting for a cause, but without much credit to the initial hero attached to the word.

Let us celebrate these people while they live…