Heritage & Monuments

Freedom Statue

Zambia / Africa

The Freedom Statue depicts a man breaking free from chains, representing the struggles Zambians faced while overthrowing the chains of colonialism.  This is a potent symbol of Zambia; it is now shown on the Kwatcha (Zambia’s currency).  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 towards freedom was still long.  However, there were occasional violent suppressions from the colonial government, and this symbolic monument honouring the freedom fighters was inspired by a real event.  The man immortalised in the artwork is Zanco Mpundu Mutembo (born 1936), a native of 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.  With 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 (24 October) a wreath is laid to honour the freedom fighters who lost their lives.

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