In front of the government offices in downtown Lusaka stands the Zambian Freedom Statue. The artwork depicts a man breaking free from chains, representing the struggles Zambians faced while overthrowing the chains of colonialism. It’s now such a potent symbol of Zambia that it’s depicted on all denominations of the country’s currency, the Kwatcha.
The statue was erected in 1974 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Zambia’s independence. Although the country had a relatively peaceful transition, winning independence without a civil war or armed revolution, the struggle toward freedom was still long. It also, unfortunately, involved occasional violent suppression from the colonial government.
This symbolic monument honoring the freedom fighters who died during the conflicts was inspired by a real event. The man immortalized in the artwork is Zanco Mpundu Mutembo, a native to the Zambian town of Mbala. After a trial following his arrest for protesting, Mutembo was sent to Livingstone Prison, where he was held in chains. With 18 armed soldiers facing him, he was ordered to break free from his constraints or be shot instantly. Summoning great strength, he managed to break the chains.
Today, the Freedom Statue is a popular gathering place on Africa Day (May 25). On Zambian Independence Day (October 24), a wreath is laid to honor the freedom fighters that lost their lives.
Know Before You Go
The statue is outside the New Government Complex (near the National Museum) along Independence Avenue. It is accessible for free 24/7.