Zambians live in a patriarchal culture where males are treated with more respect than women and older men are treated with more respect than younger men. A white individual, regardless of gender or age, may, nevertheless, be accorded the greatest respect of all. This is a remnant from colonial days that may make a visitor feel uneasy, but it is mainly a Zambian way of being polite. Accept their kindness.
Zambians are inquisitive individuals. To a Western mentality, this might be perceived as gazing at you or talking about you in front of you needlessly. Expect to be welcomed by children shouting “mzungu, mzungu!” (literally, “white guy”) and to be asked many questions about yourself.
Zambians like shaking hands, and you should reciprocate. Zambians, on the other hand, often clasp hands during a discussion. This is not intended to be sexual; they are just attempting to “connect” with you. Simply take your hand away if you are uncomfortable. Holding your right wrist or elbow with your left hand while shaking is appropriate if you want to be polite or show respect. Expect a strong handshake, but don’t give it to them if you don’t want to be forceful, and don’t give it to them if you don’t want to be aggressive.
Eye contact is also regarded confrontational and rude; you may establish eye contact but not maintain it; you can move your eyes aside but not away from the person.
Shorts and miniskirts should not be worn by women, particularly while traveling outside of Lusaka. (Thighs are a big turn-on for Zambian guys.) Low-cut shirts, on the other hand, are not nearly as suggestive as they are discouraged.
It is inappropriate to point with the index finger; it is deemed rude.
Finally, whenever you meet a Zambian, even if it’s only to ask a question, you should always greet them and inquire about their well-being. It is critical to welcome a Zambian properly. They don’t like the idea of just “going to the point” as it is practiced in the West. Inquiries regarding children are usually welcomed and serve as a nice icebreaker.