"Kum’mawa" is a Nyanja word, meaning, "to the east"
Some 550km North east of Lusaka, 15km from the boarder with Malawi and about one and a half hours drive from Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, lies this small but important town, Chipata, surrounded on almost all it’s sides by hills, hence the name Chipata, meaning "gateway".
Not only should it be true to be a gateway because of the hills, but also due to the fact that this town acts as a gateway to South Luangwa National Park one of Zambia’s tourist attraction centres and also it’s boarder location with Malawi.
This bustling town used to be an important trading post called Fortjameson in the early part of the 19th century when Zambia used to be called Northern Rhodesia.
When you are approaching this town from Lusaka, a Welcome arch signaling the beginning of this bustling town will not miss your sight.
If you have studied abit of history, you will tell by the sight of the warrior’s weapons (spear and shield) on top of the welcome arch that the dominants of this town are the Ngoni. It is indeed in Ngoniland under their parliament Chief Mpezeni.
If need be that a vehicle coming from Lusaka refuels before reaching the interior of this town, they need not worry because turning to the right after this welcome arch is a fuel station. At this point refueling, tyre mending, vehicle spare parts are all available. If you are thirsty there is a small Supermaket attached to this filling station.
If you have come to this town with criminal intentions, then you had better be careful because just about 1 and a half kilometres to the left from this filling station is the main police station.
Turning left from the police station will take you to the main township Kapata Market. At this market people sell different types of commodities including second hand clothes locally known as "salaula."
Back to town at the main police station and moving towards Malawi to the right is Barclays Bank and to the left is the main Post office. Two more filling stations will probably catch your sight as you move forward. You need not worry about purchases in Chipata because of the availability of supermarkets like Shoprite. You can purchase almost anything in these Supermarkets, local or foreign products.
Most locally produced commodities especially vegetables colourful fruits and some spices are commonly sold at some local markets.
A local market called "Saturday Market" situated in town just along Umozi highway as you are proceeding towards Malawi. Although this market is called Saturday Market, it is in operation every day of the week. The bicycles you may see on this picture above are a major source of transport to the local suppliers of commodities to this market.
If you have heard a gossip about the availability of a large Indian community in Chipata, then I would say turn that gossip into proven truth because you will tell by the availability of many a Mosque in this town.
This mosque above is located in a business area down to the west of the main police station. This place is commonly known as "Down shops" where most Indians do their businesses. A lot of merchandise can be found here.
Accommodation should not worry anybody in Chipata. There are a few Guest houses and motels with sustainable infrastructure where you can stay at. Infact behind Shoprite is a camping site for camping lovers.
Activities are normal in this town. During the residents’ leisure time a lot of recreational activities are done. People go out drinking or having a nice time. Pool and darts have become major games played mainly in drinking places. Even young boys and girls are involved in educative activities such as AIDS and other health awareness programmes.
Generally the people of this town just like many other Zambians are friendly and welcoming. "muli bwanji" is a nyanja word most commonly spoken here meaning, "how are you?" and "bwino" means, "fine."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mr. Benson Ackford Isaac Lungu was born on the 6th of June 1981 at Mtowe Primary school in Chipata. He started Primary school at Kasenga Basic School in Chipata in 1988 and qualified for senior secondary school at Chizongwe where he acquired his school Certificate in 1999.
He is single and currently working for Clark Cotton Zambia Ltd as a Computer Clerk at the head office.
Short story writing and self research have been his major free time activities apart from Playing some music. His major wish has always been to do something of his own hands for others to see!
A million thanks to the following people who have helped me produce the first part of Eastern Province feature: Mr Abel Lungu (CCZ) Mr Lemmy Amatende and Mr. Hantanda Oliver. The list can be endless but thanks to all blessings will come from the Lord. Continue assisting me. Zambia is Ours.