Edem Djokotoe visits Rupiah Banda and writes….


CHANTING down cancer with the Fourth Republican President at his crib on Independence Day 2020. The Big Man and I touched base, shared experiences and a few laughs, seeing we are both afflicted by the same kind of cancer, have endured the brutality of chemotherapy and are still standing, still shining, still smiling.

The former President is as affable and as avuncular as I have always known him to be and his mind is as sharp as ever. He doesn’t forget faces or people and can immediately locate you in a time and a place.

He and I agree on one thing–that we can use our experience of cancer, debilitating as this may be, to bring hope to others and share what we know that may not be common knowledge with others. And therein lies the ministry of hope I talked about just a few short days ago. Indeed where there is life, there is hope.

I was happy to discover that we both have the same inclination towards ital food. As we chatted and swapped war stories about our skirmishes with chemotherapy, we found out that actually we eat the same things and drink the same things to help the body recover from the ravages of toxic treatment.

For instance, if you are on chemo, you might want to make lumanda, pumpkin leaves and okra a big part of your diet because all three are very effective in the regenerative contribution they make to the body’s capacity to endure.

And then we got talking about the things we both drink. Turmeric tea flavoured with ginger. Good thing is all the things we were talking about he grows in his garden. Great example of ital living.

From his favourite perch on the verandah at the back of his house, we watched zebras and some species of antelope grazing peacefully, without a care in the world, without having to worry about predators lurking in the undergrowth.

“Watching the animals relaxes me and gives me a positive outlook on life in spite of everything,” he said. And I couldn’t agree more. You don’t have to be in our situation to realise that eliminating stress and negativity from your being improves your quality of life.

Soon, it was time to leave to give The Big Man time to catch up on his beauty sleep, but for me, this will remain one of the most memorable and most meaningful Independence Days I have spent in this country. God bless Zambia.

Kalemba October 25, 2020


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