It is widely known that Zambians are friendly people. They will stop what they are doing and gladly give you directions if you ask. They will randomly start a conversation about politics with a total stranger on the bus. It really is a good quality and I appreciate it but I have a complaint; some Zambians have no limits. They dish out their opinion whether you like it or not, whether you look accommodating or not. They will just blurt it out with no regard of who is listening. A supermarket employee will start giving you marriage advice right there at the till just because you said you don’t know how much sugar you should buy.
When an overweight person is getting on a bus, the conductor will easily tell the person to sit next to a thin person in order to fit on the seat. When a seat is filled up by overweight people a fellow passenger will easily exclaim, “Eh! Mwankala woina bekabeka!” (All the fat people have all sat together!) One day I got on a taxi and as we drove off, the driver started talking about how fat I was and how it surely meant that I was probably well off. His theory was that only comfortable people can gain the weight that I had. I wanted to punch him in the mouth.
Every time my mother introduces me to her acquaintances, they all say the same thing “Ndiwe woina kuchila bamai bako” (You are fatter than your mother). Oh I’m sorry, did I bump my head and forget that I had asked for your opinion? We don’t know how to keep our opinions to ourselves and I think we didn’t get the memo that calling someone fat is offensive. An old schoolmate or friend will see you and exclaim just how much weight you’ve gained without even blinking. What’s with you people?! The next time someone tells me anything about my weight, I will eat your head just to show you how I gained the weight.
There’s this guy I know. Every time he says hi, he always adds “You look beautiful today”. (Nothing sinister, I promise). Why can’t we all be like that? When you see an old classmate next time, don’t exclaim how much weight they’ve lost or gained. If they look nice in what they are wearing tell them they look nice. If they don’t, comment on their hair or better yet just don’t say anything. Zambians need to realise that calling someone fat is not allowed. Don’t just go dishing out your opinions like other people don’t have feelings. Besides, chances are that the person already knows s/he is overweight. You guys don’t know how easily a small careless comment can ruin someone’s day. So here is a challenge for all of you, try not to comment on anyone’s weight this week, unless they ask you to. On my end I’m definitely punching the next person who gives me any unsolicited weight comment.