Photography and photostory production by Mwilo Mumbi
Zingalume compound is one of the biggest ‘compounds’ (shanty town) located in the western part of Zambia’s capital Lusaka. Zingalume is home to a cross-section of Lusaka society including, civil servants, industry-labourers, marketeers, public bus drivers, retirees among others.
1 of 12: Zingalume compound is one of the biggest ‘compounds’ (shanty town) located in the western part of Zambia’s capital Lusaka. Zingalume is home to a cross-section of Lusaka society including, civil servants, industry-labourers, marketeers, public bus drivers, retirees among others. An ordinary household in Zingalume compound can consist of between 4 and 10 family members.
2 of 12: Formerly known as ‘Soweto’ compound, it was later renamed by its residents after a bottle store in the area called Zingalume Bottle store. The term Zingalume comes from a Chewe tribe proverb that reads ‘Zingalume, pula nithenga’ meaning ‘bees can bite me but I will still get the honey ’.
3 of 12: Like many other compounds in Zambia, Zingalume has gravel streets (feeder roads) decorated with numerous pubs, private schools and churches – some back-to-back! The residents of the compound are concerned about the poor conditions of the streets primarily because of the dust they produce, which the residents are forced to inhale. The residents live in hope that the local government will one day tar the compound’s main street from Zingalume turn-off up to neighbouring Twikatane compound, which will improve the transport system in the area.
4 of 12: Meet Christine, a 36-year old professional tailor. She has been a resident of Zingalume compound since the late 1980s. She is married with 4 children. Christine also cares for 5 other dependants. She says that life in Zingalume compound is “affordable” but there are issues with security – especially at night.
5 of 12: “I am happy living in a compound because life here is affordable. For instance, K10, 000 (about €1.84) can buy food for my family for a day. And also, people in the compound are very friendly and helpful too. However, living in a compound can be risky during the night. Recently, 3 residents were attacked at night on different occasions and had their ears mutilated by unknown people,” says Christine
6 of 12: Aunty Mary, a 49-year-old widow, owns a ‘Kantemba’ (make-shift store) in Zingalume compound. She feels that life in a compound is a “very good” example of a “unified society” with people of different races, tribes and nationalities living together. She also says that unlike other compounds in Lusaka West, Zingalume compound has a very good water supply system, resulting in fewer cases of diseases such as cholera.
7 of 12: Aunty Mary’s Kantemba
8 of 12: Angel is 25 years old. He completed his high school education in 2002 but was unable to go to college due to “lack of funds” and so became a builder, like his father. Angel has built more than 25 houses since becoming a builder. Although Angel says that he enjoys living in the compound, he hopes to experience life in a different environment.
9 of 12: Youth playing soccer at Muchinga ground
10 of 12: Agnes is a 36-year-old marriage counsellor. She notes that in Zingalume compound, many young girls marry at an early age because of unplanned teenage pregnancies. She says that, “whenever a girl gets pregnant most parents would prefer to marry her off to the man responsible for the pregnancy. This is because they fear that, no other man would marry their daughter”.
11 of 12: Itala is 18 years old. She is in Grade 11 at a local girls’ school. She says that some of her friends in the compound had to ‘drop out’ of school because they were pregnant. She feels that a lack of adequate support from parents and guardians often makes the girl-child vulnerable to abuse. She says that this vulnerability is a major contributing factor to early “sexual orientation” among young girls in the compound, which she observes as resulting in teenage pregnancy and transmission of HIV.
12 of 12: Itala also expressed concern at the increasing number of pubs opening up in the compound. She says the pubs are located near peoples’ homes and open as early as 6 am and don’t close until 11pm. She says that she finds it very difficult to study at home since the pubs play very loud music. She says that it is easy for young people under 18 to access alcohol in these pubs. She feels that the local council needs to formulate an “effective monitoring system” for pubs operating in the compounds.