Must-see presidential Mausoleums – President Levy Mwanawasa
There is a big statue of a man breaking chains with his bare hands in the middle of Lusaka town, the capital of the Republic of Zambia. I have never seen freedom better embodied.
The statue, known as the Freedom Statue depicts Zambian freedom fighter Zanco Mpundu Mutembo, who is said to have broken his chains in front of 18 armed white soldiers who had promised to shoot him if he did not.
The statue, which is located at the Government Complex along Independence Avenue celebrates Zambian freedom from colonial rule, attained in 1964. The Freedom Statue is to Lusaka what the Charging Bull is to New York. It is a national symbol that can be found on Zambian currency, the kwacha.
Zanco Mpundu is a revered freedom fighter who was on the frontline. He worked hand in hand with the former Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, to liberate Zambia from the colonial chains.
Zanco was once sent to Kenya, to learn how Dedan Kimathi was leading the Mau Mau rebellion. There is Dedan Kimathi Road in Lusaka to honor Kimathi’s inspirational role in the Zambian struggle for independence.
Also, the presidential mausoleums at Embassy Park are a must-visit. The park houses three mausoleums, which are the burial sites for three late presidents.
There is President Levy Mwanawasa’s mausoleum that is shaped like an African stool, which shows that he died as a sitting president. He died while serving his second term in office.
The stone pillars of the stool have the shape of a boot, as his legacy was his fight to stamp out corruption in Zambia. Mwanawasa was the third president of the republic, who served from 2002 till his death in 2008.
The second president of Zambia, President Fredrick Chiluba’s mausoleum was recently constructed after President Sata, the fifth president of Zambia, okayed the move to build it above the latter’s tomb. Chiluba’s mausoleum is in the shape of a chapel and has a cross at the top as a sign of his commitment to Christianity.
He declared Zambia a Christian nation in 1991, immediately after his reelection. The mausoleum has ten black pillars for each year that he served for the two terms he was in office; from 1991 till 2002. He died in 2011.
President Michael Sata also died in office in 2014 after being elected in 2011. His mausoleum is constructed to evoke the image of Solomon’s temple.
After he was elected to office, Sata vowed to govern the people with the help of the 10 commandments. The commandments are, therefore, symbolically inscribed inside his mausoleum in both English and Hebrew.
While some people view the mausoleums as a waste of public resources, others welcome it as a national heritage site, a tribute to the service the three late presidents offered the country. One can get a tour round Embassy Park at a fee. For residents, adults pay 8kwacha and kids 4kwacha, while non-residents pay 15 USD (adults).
Lusaka town has no scarcity of malls. You can find a number of them with tens of stores, from which you can shop to exhaustion, after a long day of sightseeing. You can buy food or the local brew Mosi at any of the eateries and wind down the day as you let the rich history of Zambia sink in.