On 20th September 2017, over 50 youths in Lusaka joined the rest of the world in
commemorating the 56th memorial of the death of former United Nations Secretary General (UN) Dag Hammarskjöld who died in a plane crash near Ndola while on a peace mission involving the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1961.
The event which was held at the United Nations House in Lusaka attracted guests that included Swedish Ambassador to Zambia Henrik Cederine and Resident Representative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Zambia Alexio Musindo (who represented the UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan).
In a speech read on her behalf by Mr. Musindo, Ms. Rogan expressed sadness at the use of youths in Zambia as perpetrators of violence.
“It is sad to note that the youth have been used as tools to injure others simply because they belong to a political party different from their own,” Ms. Rogan said. She urged the youths to refrain from violent activities and embrace peace as they are vibrant and can act as agents for change.
His Excellency the Ambassador said that the life of Hammarskjöld shows that one man can make a difference. “Dag Hammarskjöld showed as that one man can make a difference. He followed his own convictions, and he had the ability to shape events as well as tirelessly defending the ideals of the UN charter,” The Ambassador said.
Other institutions such as the Dag Hammarskjöld foundation in Sweden represented by Ms. Karin Abbor-Svennsson, the Pillars of Peace, Global Platform, Zambia Scouts Association as well as Agents of Change were present at the event.
As part of the event, dialogue was held on the role of youths in building peace. Several proposals were later made by participants on how youths can ensure that they are advocates of peace. One of the proposals made was the need for the youths to be actively involved in events that are aimed at promoting peace.
On 22nd September 2017 In Ndola, a solemn event was held at the Dag Hammarskjold crash site in honour of the work that Dag did. There were songs, poems and dance with messages of peace. in attendance was the Provincial Minister Hon. Bowman Lusambo, The Swedish Ambassador, Representative of the Dag Foundation in Sweden, the United Nations, various educational institutions and the Defense Forces. The Minister called on the nation to come together and work for peace.
Wreaths were laid at the cenotaph erected in honour of Mr. Hammarskjold and a tour of the crash site was conducted by the Site Manager Mr. Hanguwa who explained a few significant findings at the site such as how long it took the recovery team to reach the site, where Dag was found and how the site was designed in the shape of the plane based on the direction the plane was facing at the time of the crash.