Another song from the Kalela Dance of the Zambian Copperbelt (see also the Kalela Dance). The original language of this song is a form of Bemba spoken on the Copperbelt and easily understood by other people working in the mines. Most of the songs comment satirically on life on the Copperbelt, and they include a great deal of inter-ethnic joking.
The Lamba people, who are the target here, live to the west of the Bemba, but come in great numbers to work in the copper mines.
Mothers, I have been to many courts
To listen to the cases they settle:
They settle divorce cases,
They talk about witchcraft cases,
They talk about thefts,
They talk about tax-defaulting
And refusing to do tribute-labour.
But the things I saw at Mushili’s court,
These things I wondered at!
From nine o’clock in the morning
To four o’clock in the afternoon,
The cases were only adultery!
Then I asked the court messenger,
‘Do you have any different matters to settle?’
The court messenger said, ‘No,
There are no other matters;
It is just like this in Lambaland -
There are no assault cases,
There are no theft cases:
These are the cases in the courts of Lambaland.’
Professor C. Mitchell,
from The Kalela Dance
Manchester University Press (1956)