Meet the Hichilema ‘sisters’

Miyanda and Chi Chi Hichilema
Miyanda and Chi Chi Hichilema

Murray State University’s Institute for International Studies hosts students from 57 countries for their undergraduate and graduate programs. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte meets the Hichilema sisters, Chi Chi and Miyanda from Lusaka, Zambia, the capital of this south central African country. We’ll learn about how they came to Murray State, what they think of Murray, their dreams after graduation and how to greet someone in the native language, Tonga.

Chi Chi and Miyanda are sisters studying at Murray State. Chi Chi has been here for two years, studying Business Science. Miyanda has been here for three and a half years and will be graduating this summer. Her major is Business Administration. They both plan on continuing their education with MBAs before returning home to Zambia.

The Hichilema sisters came to Murray State with the guidance of Dr. Gerry Muuka, Professor of Management and Associate Dean of the Business Department. He went to school with their father and when the girls finished high school with good grades, they were referred to come to Murray State. Miyanda says, “One thing I like about the United States and Murray State University is that I’ve learned so much from here. I’ve been exposed to so much and I plan to take so much back home.”

They describe Zambia as a beautiful country, quite different than the United States. Though they come from the capital, Lusaka – which has a population of over 1.4 million – they grew up on their family farm, so in some ways Murray reminds them of home – like horseback riding, which they had a chance to do recently. Despite the culture shock, Murray was easier to adjust to than friends who live in Atlanta and California.

People in Murray are quite friendly and helpful, but Chi Chi says people are more distant here than in Zambia. For instance, if you ask for directions in Zambia, someone will escort you to where you need to go, but in Murray, you’ll likely get some direction and while that’s nice, she says, it’s hard to understand what people are saying sometimes and she wishes there would be a little more showing of directions.

Another shock is that they grew up learning British English, which can lead so some difficulties in others understanding what they are saying and in regards to grammar on papers. They also miss the food of their home country like game meats: buffalo, antelope, wildebeest and zebra. Also, the Zambian staple ‘nshima,’ cooked from white cornmeal and dipped into soups with chicken and vegetables.

After getting their degrees, they plan on taking their knowledge back to Zambia. Their country needs help, they say, especially in regards to the four pillars of development: education, prudent economic management system, agriculture and food security and health housing and water sanitation. By addressing these needs, the country will be able to become more independent in development without needing western countries to step in. “I think better leadership and education is the perfect platform, I believe. Our dad always tells us that education is the best equalizer and gives opportunity for anyone of any background to make it in life,” Miyanda says.

Their dream is to take a clothing store franchise in Murray back to Zambia. Western clothing has a large influence in their home country. They want to use many of the proceeds to help orphanages and school children, too.

Miyanda and Chi Chi Hichilema are enrolled at Murray State University through its Institute for International Studies, which currently brings students from 57 countries to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees on campus. The Hichilema sisters came from Lusaka, Zambia to study at Murray State.

Murray State University


  1. As long as he doesn’t use taxpayers money it’s okay. When I came to Australia it was difficult to understand how some ministers and some senior govt workers afforded to sponsor their children without stealing from the govt coffers. Someone even bought an apartment for his children while they were studying here.

  2. Talk about being two faced,his always taking shots at people in gvt who take their kids out to study……