Zambian Population

The most interesting thing about the Zambian population is that the indigenous have another identity apart from the main Zambian identity.

You may be Tonga, Lozi, Bemba, Kaonde or any other tribal affiliation. The country enjoys a vibrancy of languages with a number of dialects all united under the ‘One Party One Nation’ crusade of former president Kenneth Kaunda. And the Zambian people has agreed to adopt English as its official language.


Officially, it is recorded that there are 72 tribes making up the Zambian population. To an outsider, the number may look frightening and a recipe for anarchy. But as the situation stands, there’s no anarchy or any sort of animosity between the members that make up the Zambia population.

Traditional Cousins

There’s an element of cousinship between different tribes. Members of one tribe can hurl what may sound as insults or bad language (to an outsider), at the other tribe in the name of traditional cousinship. Don’t be misled that this abusive language will deteriorate into something else apart from friendship. In fact, it’s an opportunity for a show down of this strange tribal cousinship.

This is traditional Zambian behavior on display. This behavior is usually found at social gatherings like funerals or weddings. The Ngonis from the eastern province are in traditional cousinship with the Bemba from the north. When tribal members of these two meet, you would think there’s an old wrangle between the two. The Zambian population is full of this traditional cousinship.

How Rural-urban Migration Has Affected The Zambian Population

The Zambia population of today has been shuffled so much that tribal areas or boundaries don’t exist. The job hunter migrated or left the village in search of work. This practically meant leaving tribal inclinations behind and forming up a new culture suitable for everybody. This is what is prevailing in urban areas today. 

The Zambia population has been mixed up in such a way that what used to be part of a particular tribe like dresses, food or markings (tribal tattoos), now belong to everyone. These things were forms of identities different from each tribe. 

The demography of the country has been significantly altered by the rural-urban migrants who were forced to move in search of work.


Migration to urban areas has brought with it choking problems to the towns and cities of Zambia. A classic example is Lusaka city, the capital city and home to more migrants than any other town or city in the country. The population of Lusaka was 2,198,996 people according to the Zambia 2010 census. But a closer look at the situation on the ground indicates otherwise. The actual population is beyond the official figure. 

The rural-urban migrant has no place to call his own once he is in an area like Lusaka. But where does the new comer fit in? In a desperate attempt to settle, he will move into any structure and call it home.

Zambia Shanty Compounds

The above picture brings into reality shanty compounds or slams. These places are usually unplanned, and hence under serviced and overcrowded. Many migrants in search of a better living end up in places like this. As a result, urban areas suffer from problems of rural-urban migration which has been going on for some time. 

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