Walsh School of Foreign Service
Faculty Publication

Culture and Customs of Zambia by Scott Taylor

Zambia stands out in Africa as one of the continent’s most peaceful countries. In its early years as an independent state, Zambia became a regional bulwark against imperialism and colonial domination and South African apartheid. Today, it stands out as an important example of Africa’s recent democratization, experiencing both incredible success as well as some notable setbacks. The country is also one of the most urbanized in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of this urban influx, Zambia’s diverse ethno-linguistic groups interact regularly. Moreover, many contemporary Zambian households, especially those in cities, are also exposed to the media, technology, and influences of western urbanized cultures, from Internet cafes to hip hop music. The interesting ways that “tradition” and “modernity” conflict and combine in contemporary Zambia are prime considerations in this book. This book explores Zambia’s culture, with an eye toward its historical experiences and its particular endowments. It focuses on how “traditional” and “modern” interact, and sometimes collide, in the country through topics such as religion, gender roles and family, cuisine, the arts, literature, and more. The major groups are examined to give the reader an idea about how many Zambians live.