|First Lady Esther Lungu buying green paper at John Chinena|
What is in a name?Perhaps, that is a good question to pose around an area along the Great North Road in Chibombo District.
Of course, the famed William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, tells us that a name is nothing because it does not change anything.But this is one area with a somewhat offensive sounding name.
It has a name which NOT everyone is comfortable to say publicly.“We know this area as John, John Chinena…… We feel shy to pronounce it but there’s nothing we can do,” said Juliet, a marketeer at John Chinena market.
And the name of this area in many languages is connected to private parts.Even senior government officials would rather use an English word to describe it.
“We need to diversify the economy in Central Province…… At JOHN SOMETHING we can build an agro processing plant to help farmers preserve their goods, put value addition and boost their businesses,” said Edwidge Mutale, Central Province Permanent Secretary.John Chinena is a market on either side of the Great North Road in both Chibombo and Chisamba districts.
This area is famous for its vegetables supplied throughout the year.Motorists on this high way usually stop over to buy maize, water melons, tomatoes and other farm products.
But where did the name John Chinena come from?The story starts from a local bar where an old man in the 1980s used to play a local game called nsolo and would shout “Ndakulya Chinena” every time he beats his opponents.
Victor Chinena is a grandson to the man who was nicknamed John Chinena and now explains the history behind the name.“My grandfather was born in 1924 and he died in 1994. He was good in nsolo. Every time he wins a game he would shout ‘Ndakulya Chinena.’ People ended up giving him the nickname John Chinena,” said Victor, whose details on his National Registration Card are Victor John Chinena.
On allegations that the name sterms from the old man’s insatiable appetite for sex, Victor confirms it.“My grandfather had 10 girlfriends who gave him 10 children. He really loved women despite his advanced age.”
The popularity of the name John Chinena in the past 30 years has grown to an extent where the name has even been adopted by a village.North of the market is a village called John Chinena were a relative of Victor is the headman.
John Chinena is also the area where a Post Bus coach was involved in a road accident in which over 70 people died in February 2013.The area is famous for road accident and government is in the process of constructing a trauma center at the nearby Liteta District Hospital to treat hundreds of passengers who are caught up in accidents annually.