Cities and shanty towns

More than one-third of Zambians live in urban areas, many crowded into shanty towns which have sprung up around the cities.

Here, large markets provide a wide range of goods, services and food, though they also act as a general meeting place. Some sellers walk the streets with their wares (ranging from frying pans to fruit). Others work from wooden market stalls, where tradesmen such as cobblers and tailors can also be found.

Some sellers walk the streets with their wares (ranging from frying pans to fruit). Others work from wooden market stalls, where tradesmen such as cobblers and tailors can also be found.

Rural life

Daily life in rural communities revolves around agriculture, livestock and fishing (along lakes and rivers).

Some village men head for the towns and cities to find work. Women often stay behind to care for children and elders. Looking after the household involves many tasks, such as fetching water from wells and collecting wood for cooking stoves.

Many women carry out subsistence farming, growing food for their own families. They rely on local crafts, such as basket-weaving and pottery, for earning a little money or having items to exchange.

Ground maize

For many Zambians, the staple food is maize/corn (known as ‘sweet corn’ in the UK). The local cuisine is based on nshima, a stiff porridge made from ground maize.  Other local dishes include ifisashi (green vegetables in peanut sauce) and samp (a crushed maize and bean dish).

Locally-brewed beers

Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage. Clear beers include locally-brewed South African brands (such as Mosi), as well as more expensive imported lagers.

Cloudy beers are popular among the less well-off. Zambia’s small home-brew industry offers cloudy brands such as Dr Livingstone’s Lager, Safari Stout, Zikomo Copper Ale and Baobab White, made from the fruits of baobab trees.

Chibuku (also known as ‘Shake-Shake’) is also popular. This beer is made from maize/sorghum and tastes a little like a sour alcoholic milkshake.

Delicacies

Insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, cicadas and flying ants are delicacies. During the rainy season, Zambians look forward to the once-a-year feast of fried termites.

 

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