Zamtime, n.


Charging my phone as I wait for a fish farmer

Zamtime, zam-tym. n. A national clock that is set to run no faster than one hour behind for any and all functions that involve a muzungu highly conditioned for punctuality impatiently tapping his foot and checking the time on his phone. If a meeting is scheduled for 2pm, it will start at 3pm. Or 4pm. Or not until the following day. If you arrange to meet someone at 8am, you do not begin to wonder where the person is unless he has still not arrived by 9:30am.

Time doesn’t run here, it saunters and stops to chat with everybody it meets along the way to the meeting 7 kilometers away for which it is already an hour and fifteen minutes late.

Zambian Colloquial Dictionary (ZCD), 2014


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