Youth Day in Zambia
Every March 12th, Zambia observes Youth Day. This public holiday honors the country’s youth and highlights their importance to the nation’s continued health. The holiday is set on the anniversary of the 1962 events that led to the deaths of young Zambians as the country began its journey toward independence.
On this holiday, government buildings, businesses, and private homes are decorated with the flag of Zambia and flowers. It is also a day when many sporting events are held in stadiums across the country.
The History of Youth Day in Zambia
In 1962, Zambia, then known as Northern Rhodesia, had just begun its struggle for independence from the colonial powers that controlled it. The British decided to concoct a plot to kill the leaders of the two main political parties and then to pin the blame for these murders on the opposing political parties.
After a failed assassination attempt by the British on March 12, 1962, a rally was called in Chimwemwe to expose the entire plot to the public. This led to the country’s youth rioting in the streets and throwing stones at the police. The police responded by firing on the crowd, killing several protesters.
The rally continued, and politicians promised that after the country gained independence, the events of that day would be immortalized as Youth Day. Zambia went on to win its independence in 1964, and by 1966, Youth Day was established.
Observing Youth Day in Zambia
This holiday is observed with events that honor and celebrate the country’s youth. There are seminars, public speeches given by politicians, and a wide variety of other events. On social media, the hashtag #YouthDayZambia can be used to spread the word about this holiday internationally.