Look after the river & the river will look after you

For our latest blog we collaborated with our Lodge Security Guard, musician and the talent behind our recent music video, Zambezi, Eric Choonga, aka EC Bling.

We asked Eric to write something about what he feels when he looks at or thinks about the Zambezi, the river that he has grown up alongside and still lives next to in the Malambo village.

Below are Eric’s words, accompanying our photographs taken on a recent fishing and filming trip with three local fishermen who provide Royal Chundu with fresh fish for our lodge guests – Arnold Kamwi, Kennedy Kamwi and Vincent Malambo.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Arnold Kamwi, Kennedy Kamwi and Vincent Malambo.

These men featured in Eric’s music video, while showing us a morning in their lives. Normally beads would not be usual additions on a fishing trip, but we took some artistic license… The Chitenge, however, is a common Zambian feature.

Arnold, Kennedy and Vincent are not only essential providers of fresh fish for our lodge but also for their own families, as fishing is a vital means of income and subsistence for many living on the Zambezi River. These men are also the fathers, husbands, sons and friends of our Royal Chundu family, and live in the Maluka fishing village next to us.

Enjoy Eric’s river musings below!

When I reach the river like this, I feel relieved. My heart feels loosened as I stare at the waters… Look this side, the animals are coming down to drink from this river. There are all types of birds, there are colours and colours of birds. That’s a marabou stork, that’s an African fish eagle, aa aaaa. Most of these things you see on the Zambezi are nature-grown and have their own way of helping us. How they help us ah… pepperios (old man’s beard) and wild common reed, we use to sew mats. This is a tradition, for which there is great respect and fondness, well-known like family.

There’s more to this river… Look at the dances when we celebrate. There are dances to celebrate on the day when a young woman is washed. She is brought out of the house where she was being taught how to handle a marriage. There are dances just to pass time after an evening meal as we cheer up.

If you don’t know, watch and see… here at the Zambezi you should know how to handle a net. Watch how men are pulling the net (lituwa). Look how they paddle the canoe (mokoro). Here women also paddle the mokoro.

When I reach the river like this, I feel relieved. Just look…

Arnold with a handmade fishing net, catching fresh Zambezi bream.
A brotherhood of fishermen.

Watch our Music Video with Eric and the Zambezi Fishermen here!