Zambia's Freedom Statue

Zambia Freedom Statue - Mpundu Mutembo - Independence Avenue Lusaka

Standing in the heart of Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, is this statue, known as Freedom Statue. The man who this statue is sculpted after goes by the name Mpundu (Zanco) Mutembo, born in 1936 in Mbala, Zambia.

It is said that on December 31st, 1963, Mutembo was arrested and handcuffed with chains by the colonial military powers of the time. He was ordered to break free from the chains or suffer the consequence of being gunned down. Shockingly, as he stood in front of 18 soldiers armed with guns, he broke the chains in full view of the soldiers. Photographers were there to capture the moment.

Once independence was won, Kenneth Kaunda, the first president of independent Zambia, declared Mutembo to be a national symbol – and the statue was sculpted and erected on Independence Avenue in front of government buildings where all the major state occasions are held.

The statue represents the breaking of colonial chains of oppression that had shackled Zambia’s people – but it is also an important reminder to everyone that even in the hardest of times, we all possess the ability to break off chains that hold us down.

Photo credit: David Brown

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