|Taken last year at our first the A.C.E. Project shoot by Fortress Media.|
Styled by Mafashio
Thursday, 12 January 2017
No you have not taken the blue pill. I would highly advise sticking to red with this little one - you don't want to really know how deranged and confused I truly am. However, I am expanding my matrix online by shutting down my public profile on Facebook. It was originally created as an extension of this blog and a way to be able to connect with the Zambian and African media industry in a more accessible and organic way, that a page wouldn't have been able to do at the time, in my opinion. However, it is clear I have outgrown it, and the best platform is now a page to interact in a way that I am comfortable with, and makes sense with where I am now, and where I want to go. So I am in the process of shutting Mwana Ba Afrika down and I have launched the Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller page, aiming to take things to the next level. I believe that this is the best way for me to appear publicly on this platform going forward. It is definitely the best way to better serve those of you interested in knowing about who I am and what I do in an easily accessible way. Thank you for your continued support, I really appreciate it xo. So, please like my new page, and I am looking forward to this new path to go on a journey together!
(To understand my decision better, you can read my Top 10 Posts of 2016, as they illustrate and expound on my growth and metamorphosis: thinking about leadership and finding a way to cope with public life better.)
You can find more information about who I am, what I do and the things I am interested in, from a different angle, by liking my new Facebook Page Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller ;}.
Monday, 9 January 2017
.....This is why I hate blogging using my phone! So I've had to start this bleeping post again due to the fact that some part of my uncoordinated extremities touched the screen and I lost all that I had written!
I had started off by saying technology and I have a rocky relationship. When things are good, they are awesome. When they are bad, they are catastrophic. We are in the latter phase once again, as my computer has decided to die at the most inopportune moment.
I hate blogging on my phone. I feel extremely detached from the process. Email, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all feel natural through this device. Writing posts does not. This is incredible irksome. I cannot tell you how bereft I am right now as I am having such a great time on my West African workation (work + vacation). This spanner in the works could have thrown me for a loop for quite some time had I not read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. (For more about how this book and its impact on my life, follow me on Instagram.) However, in order to start 2017 on the best possible writing foot, I am at least going to try bang out my usual round up of posts from the previous year. This annual tradition shall not be disrupted by the crazy in life. Whether I will post again before I rectify my computing situation is another matter though...
|This was taken during Barefeet Theatre's 10 year |
anniversary celebrations. I was conducting a
Social Media Workshop for the Barefeet
Children's Council. I am way to comfortable
with that stick ;}
So I didn't even write 10 posts on MbA last year! Oh dear. Luckily I can cheat with posts from the 52 Bloggers project run by the Lusaka WordPress Meetup Group and from my new project's blog. This is once again a sign that I haven't quite sorted my life out yet. A blatant sign for the last coupla years it's beyond ridiculous now! Clearly still have some growing to do. Certain fundamentals need to be worked out. The writing poureth from the depths of my soul, in beautiful cascades, when I am truly at peace and content. Right now the best I can do is quite pitiful really. Till things improve, here is a hodgepodge of what I could muster across various blogs in 2016, or as I like to call it, the Devil's year worldwide or the Year of Legless: the snake:
These first 5 posts best encapsulate the rollercoaster of emotions, confusion, growth and clarity that I went through:
Funnily enough at this point a spare computer has appeared before me, but I have decided to struggle through with this post, because I'm already in the groove, and for no sane reason, I gotta prove I can do this. At least I know I can write more organically the rest of my time in Ghana. When I move on to Nigeria will have to come up with another solution...
I digress, as per usual he he. Here are the rest of my picks, which pretty much reflect the themes, ruminations, angst, discoveries and ultimate triumphs that dominated this year past:
6. A Reflection on Identity, Growth, Evolution and Freedom on Independence Day
10. Madness and Tea
Veni. Vidi. Vici! Never again if I can help it though. The struggle was too real. Unnecessary and too real!
Monday, 28 November 2016
I have two main moods. Of course I have found a punny and profoundly nonsensical way to express them:
|Taken at KC Vaghela Brand Store Launch this year|
by Vince Banda
This is clearly Ngansta lol
NG-ma (n) - play on Ngosa and grandmother (g-ma)
1. introverted, stay at home in the comfort of sweats, hoodie, and fluffy slippers mode;
2. motherl , loyal and caring side of me;
3. inner voice that stops me from being too crazy, makes sure I take care of myself.
NGangsta (n) - play on Ngosa and gangster (gansta/ G)
1. vivavious, up for anything, spontaneous, open, crazy, outgoing side of me;
2. boldy express myself through my appearance. Don't for anyone else though, but if you enjoy my look hey...
3. leads me into trouble sometimes, forgets to check in and make sure I'm not overworking coz this is the side that fuels the hustler, the boss: the Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller and gets me out and about .
My professional life brought out the curmudgeonly side of NG-ma for most of the year.
|Connect with me on SnapChat @whoops.c|
At the last minute have bailed on things, or just have flat out hidden away for months at a time in order to recharge and reemerge better, stronger and Ngangsta lol. These past few months I have been able to actually been the kind of present and supportive friend, Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller, and member of my community that I have been wanting to evolve into for the past couple of years.
#mondaymotivation seek inspiration and to inspire others! As I work to get @aceprojectzed going, stoking my artistic fire by enjoying the Zed creative scene and beyond. Together we can build each other up. Do the same in your life. Reach out beyond your comfort zone. Explore new things. Expose yourself to alternatives. Continue to learn and grow! This was taken by D_TRONN on Twitter @chembomusic Love vs Reality listening party @modziarts. I really enjoyed my hat, scarf, Zebra print combo so posting it from a different angle 😂 #aceprojectzed #zambia #proudlyzambian #lusaka #creative #inspiration #ootn #wiw #lvrep #saturday #night #latergramA photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on
Also, just about finding the sweet spot to the balance between NG-ma and Ngansta: the ying and yang, the right ratio of indivudual and simultaneous expressions of these extremes in my personality as that is what fuels my creativity. My writing, in particular, suffers acutely when things are out of wack. My family also suffers as my cooking tends to taste like poison and not love when I'm not regulated. Repatriating has been really hard on me these last 5 years. The opportunity cost of not living in the West has had a huge effect on my support systems, my engagement with the world, how I process life, and how I express myself. I am finally able to be comfortable in my own skin and with the things I still need to work at. I am finding the joy in imperfection again, as life is best lived in the pursuit of happiness, success and growth despite our flaws, the challenges we face and the pitfalls ahead.
#mondaymotivation seek inspiration to get through the rest of the year. We decided to answer @bongohive challenge and ROARRR! Our creator @whoops.c also just needed an excuse to write on their board... What do you do to psych yourself up? Need inspiration? Have no fear we have a new post up (link in bio) to help you unleash your inner 🦁 and ace it 😉. #aceprojectzed #zedreamteam #bongohive #motivationmonday #lion #roar #blackboard #creative #inspirationA photo posted by the A.C.E. project (@aceprojectzed) on
Wishing you a happy Monday and hope that you find the motivation in your own life to keep calm and carry on, and that you are at peace with yourself, even if things aren't quite where you would like them to be right now!
To keep up-to-date daily with the epic battle between NG-ma and Ngangsta follow me on Instagram, and Twitter.
Monday, 24 October 2016
I have been exploring freedom in my life through another Instagram mini-project which ends today with this blog post.
Decided to start a new #ngosa34 #purplereign mini project over the next 24 days leading up to my country's Independence day. Freedom is a hot topic right now as youth in Zambia feel disenfranchised, disempowered and hopeless. Can we liberate ourselves in order to actualise the people we are champing at the bit to be? I choose to look around me for the inspiration, the hope and the tools to make a better future. I believe we have the will to achieve our goals. When I look up in my backyard this is what I see. How can my heart not be warmed, my spirit invigorated and the passionate fire that fuels my soul's purpose not be stoked? Wishing you all a restful and rejuvenating weekend filled with simple joys like this. #lusaka #zambia #suburbs #backyard #palmtrees #blue #sky #sunshine #happiness #love #life #selfcareA photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on
|I wanted my second project to have a Zambian|
production team. These amazing people inspire
me, challenge me to be and do better and are ballers!
Thank you for being you the Ladies of Mafashio,
Chosa Mweemba and Leelee Ngwenya xo
This post's eye candy is of ZeDream Team, the amazing young Zambians who have accepted the challenge of collaborating with me on my next project: the African Cultural Exchange project, better known as the A.C.E. project. A.C.E. is borne from the scary rise in the proliferation of ignorance as fact at home and abroad by the powers that be for their own profit, and not for the advancement for the people they are supposed to serve and protect, whom believe that they are fighting in their corner. It is a positively direct response to the feeling of youth disenfranchisement that people have shared with me here in Zambia. These intimate exchanges that I have been privileged to be a part of, due to the status e18hteam has brought in my life as a bi product of its success at home and abroad, deserve a respectful reply with action. That response comes in the form of a multimedia project that aims to give voice to these issues in creative ways and hopes to be an organic and fluid conduit for people to use as a catalyst in their own lives for conversation, empowerment, growth and evolution.
While creating new culture and eventually traditions, it is important to acknowledge what has been: to understand the existing millieu and values to find a way to bridge the gap. There is a vacuum in the future to be filled with the new, but in the present we have to contest and grapple with the old, which is not all necessarily bad. There must be reconciliation to progress - I hope with this project I am able to find a way for generations to see eye to eye so that our elders pass on the best of what was, and help and make way for us to build a better tomorrow on the foundations they have laid.
At the moment I am going through a process of rediscovering Zambia's past and working my way through books to give me an idea of the present and the promise of tomorrow:
#Zambia #book Currently reading The Africa House by Christina Lamb about Colonel Stewart Gore-Brown, the English aristocrat who decided to build a Manor House and estate in the middle of nowhere at Shiwa Ngandu: Lake of the Royal Crocodiles in Bembaland. Visited during my TV presenter days in 2013. Beautiful madness... #tbt #proudlyzambian#africa #shiwahouse #shiwangandu #shiwanganduestate #english #redbrick #manorhouse #bookloveA photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on
Started reading again! Brushing up on my #Zambia knowledge gearing up to rep next month. More on that soon...cc @peternawa @Zedrocka pic.twitter.com/8La92dlw8v— Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops_c) October 18, 2016
I cannot stress enough how eerily these books echo the famous adage history repeats itself. Just as Colonel Stewart Gore-Brown thought that he was a good White Man who was a great ally to black people/ Africans, today we see well meaning Westerners come and make a mess of things and exercise their White privilege without thought and acknowledgement. Worse they continue ignore the blatant racism that exists in the world today which leads to development bias and other perspective shortcomings that ultimately cripple and hinder efforts towards black empowerment and/ or African progress. The man used to beat the crap out of his indigenous workers and there was a haughty tone of superiority and need for his approval to deem Blacks/ Africans worthy of being the masters of their own fate that muddied his good intentions, which still exists today. Even though Kaunda was all for non violence during our Independence struggle and was all for universal enfranchisement, it is clear with that situation in Zambia today is a sad legacy of the unfulfilled dream that began to be realised officially 52 years ago. Our quest for democracy was in direct response to the failure of our freedom fighters to implement the dream and in the two and a half decades since, we have been running around like headless chickens because we have not fully processed our past, so the present is always tenuous and uncertain. Our future is fraught with problems to solve, unforeseen and clear pitfalls we inevitably get lost in and no clear path to salvation. And those in power and who aspire to power may start out with pure intentions, but seem to end up corrupted: taking advantage of our situation with broken promises, misinformation and constant looking out for themselves and not the people.
I have struggled this year to reclaim my identity and to find ways to grow and evolve from my experiences. Thankfully I have redisovered my liberty to express myself, which was encroached upon surreptitiously. I have found a way to break free and rise like a true Nkwazi (eagle and symbol of freedom on the Zambian flag). I am inspired by the increasing crack down on freedom of speech and self-expression to speak up. I understand that when you live in such an environment, knowingly or unknowingly, people act in nefarious ways to survive in order to not be crippled by fear or conquered by the crazy themselves. So you just have to forgive but not forget, so you don't make the same mistakes and are on the look out to protect yourself in the future. I choose to be optimistic. I choose to be proactive. I choose to be the protagonist in my life. I choose to be a harbinger of good in the world. So I am now in the process of building on the foundations that seemed lost but still are where they have always lain, to move forward whole and unabashedly me both personally and professionally. Hopefully in a way that is of service and is useful in my own small way ;}. I choose to claim the past, warts and all to be able to figure out where I as an individual am now, and where we are as a people to move forward. I want to learn from our mistakes and crowd source information, experiences and ideas from other Zambians, Africans and global citizens to figure out how to create the future that I want. To be able to collaborate to manifest the tomorrow that we all believe in that is better, friendlier and equitable. This endeavour is unclear, and its fuzziness could be a deterrent but the life is a journey. You never really know when you have arrived till you are no more. So just go with it. And that is what I am doing.
Below you can find my documentary about the Zambian National Football Team: the Chipolopolo's epic and inspirational story of tragedy and ultimate triumph on Video on Demand. For $3 you get 2 day access to the film. I now use e18hteam (eighteam) to give motivational, cultural exchange and customised conceptual talks. If you are interested in how I can help you put forward your idea using the film or if you want to know more about A.C.E. and/ or want to see how we can collaborate, please contact me.
Tuesday, 4 October 2016
This tweet reminded me of an profoundly nonsensical incident that sent me into a tail spin a couple of months ago:
This is why I only know real men. Those that seek out the truth and aren't afraid to learn, grow and face tough issues. Yaaaaaaaasssss! https://t.co/bvPlYUR3eI— Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops_c) October 1, 2016
So in August I started using the male version of my antiperspirant. Not by choice, but because my body is very finicky and this particular brand is the only one it doesn't react to. Problem is I'm also extremely sensitive to smell. When I put it on I had the most visceral and adverse reaction to it. The smell clobbered my senses and sent me into a man-hating stupor. Seriously! My sister found it hilarious, but at the time it was traumatic. I can only laugh at myself in retrospect. The smell is that typical alpha male scent that deodorants tend to have. That puerile odor that is supposed to capture the quintessentially male essence. The one teenagers spray all over their bodies like in that famous brand, that rhymes with fax and was formally known by the name of a type of cat, ads. I felt physically, emotionally and mentally assaulted. It was nuts! Yes my deodorant had me in conniptions and discombobulated smh...
Eventually the horrendous ordeal made me think about why I had had such a strong and unpleasant reaction to it. At this point the Zambian election was imminent. I was on a social media detox because I just couldn't take all the crazy - mostly discourse informed and led by initiatives, speeches and comments of male origin, conjured up to maintain power and oppress in every way, shape and form. I realised I am done with entertaining that in the slightest. I do not need that in my life, let alone emanating from my armpit! The scent was a trigger to direct me to something much larger. Paradoxically the oppression led to my salvation and enfranchisement.
|I choose me! For more visual empowerment|
follow me on Instagram. I have been creating
a serious of mini projects using images to grow,
inspire and work through things.
After realising that it was the deodorant but wasn't really about deodorant, I got to thinking about how I could change how I viewed the situation. Instead of man-bashing, I should continue to empower myself and find a new way of dealing with such assaults for my health. My new project A.C.E. is all about that so instead of just working it, I needed to keep living it too. I cannot be baited into a less productive way of dealing with the current gender situation in my country and the world. For my project to be honest I need to continually and actively do things in my own life to empower myself, and to not let patriarchy and the asinine acts of men affect me so. I cannot allow myself to be sucked into hate because of my environment. Love must prevail! I must keep the peace and maintain well-being in my life too.
I had already started with things like this:
#JusticeForChiChi! @nukwasetembo posted her painting to illustrate her call for #Zambia to wake up and step up our feminist movement. We will not be brutalised! Sexual assault should not be watched and enjoyed by bystanders like sport. Nor should it be filmed and circulated for entertainment! Gender Based Violence is a serious infringement of human rights. I refuse to watch the video and hope that the Police use it as evidence in Nagaad's case. Stay woke people. Don't be distracted by Trump and Brexit while crazy is happening on your own doorstep. 🔫🔪❌❤❤❤✔🎨😍 #proudlyzambian #africa #woman #acrylic #painting #art #therapy #activism #staywoke #aceproject #JusticeForNagaadA photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on
And plan to continue, as I did after I recovered from this trippy incident, with things like this:
😤😤😤 #mondaymotivation #zambia people it's hot. Stepped out today in shorts and relatives afraid of me being lynched. I only went to @BongoHive, not like I was prancing about town where I know regardless of what is rational I'd be stoned. One thing I do know is I am not asking for it and in no way carry myself so. I'm just regulating my temperature as our weather climbs the 30Cs. I refuse for small minds to cage me into overheating. Why should I have to be correcting for your backwardness and patriarchal oppression? I have said this would be a mission for years. It definitely is now. Started inadvertently last week and what are considered short and disrespectful wardrobe choices (any dress, skirt or shorts above the knee and/or tight) are going to be a mainstay this hot season. For more start following @aceprojectzed as we are about to launch our first mini project and start conversations about nuance, freedom of expression and respect. #proudlyzambian #africa #mafashio #fashionista #style #activism #thestruggleisreal #aceproject #purplereign #ngosa34 #melanin #thighsforjeauxA photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on
I. JUST. CAN'T. ANYMORE! Life is too short to let other people's issues throw you off so. So I choose me. I choose my sanity. I choose self care. I choose to fight. I choose to have my frustration ignite a new passion for change. And together we will win. There is space enough for us to all to be, and do, with respect to one another. That tweet reminded me that even though the bloviated rhetoric of lesser men tends to be amplified, there are lots of beautiful men out there, and in my life, who prove that there is a way to equality, equity and equanimity without oppression.
To all the real men out there I salute you, and to all the women out there fighting for our right to be, I'm with you sisters xo! I forgive my deodorant, it's not its fault it smells like an idiot. If you want to talk more about this or anything else, tweet me!
Thursday, 22 September 2016
I expressed in Part 1 what a mind*bleep* filming this episode of the vanguard television series produced by Samba Yonga for BBC Media Action was. Even though this post is part of my Things on Thursday series, this is no small thing let me tell you. Are they ever with me ;)?
|Youth Counsellor Nancy Mweene and I on set filming our|
episode. Photo Credit: PR Girl
I think the most shocking part of the experience for me was the fact that a father felt that it was okay to stick his penis inside his daughter's vagina to teach her about how sex is not to be taken lightly and that she was too young to have intercourse. That he was able to get aroused in order to penetrate her. That despite her cries he still went on to rape her. The despicable act was in no way consensual on her part. That he then ejaculated into his hands so he could mix his sperm with traditional herbs in order to make some juju concoction to rub on her stomach, so if she did have sex, she would get stuck to the dastardly boy who was in cahoots with her, so they could catch them both in the act and reprimand them accordingly! You can't make this kind of crackpot crazy up! I. JUST. CAN'T. As far as I know, the girl did not contract an STD or worse ended up pregnant only to be come the mother/ sister to her brother-incest child! It is pure luck that her once innocent soul was not forced to suffer any more than it already has been burdened with.
I could not express myself quite that bluntly on camera, as Zambia is still in the dark ages. We couldn't even use scientific, technical terms in order to really depict just how heinous a situation this poor young girl was in and what trauma she faced. I am known to not have any brakes, but I was not going to jeopardise the initiative by not finding a way to get this important message out. Her story was more important than any agenda of mine. I was quite annoyed I couldn't quite articulate myself as clearly and as freely as censorship is a huge part of the problem. We need to talk openly about sex because clearly we are having it and it was revealed as the Tikambe Natulande season unfolded that children much younger than 10 are experimenting, because we aren't creating safe spaces to chat about this natural and important part of our lives. This is almost a year since I filmed the episode and I am still shaken, angry and disturbed that this is not a singular case, but there are thousands around the country being disciplined along this spectrum of sexual perversion in the name of tradition and good parenting. This is not who we are. We are so lost in Zambia that those with any sort of power abuse it in the most devious and evil ways. We have to do better. What future do we have if our youth are continuously blighted by the most unnecessary of traumas. Unadulterated, blunt, uncensored truth serum is required to not only be prescribed, but actually dispensed in bucketloads like Cod Liver Oil. Not teaspoons or tablespoons but bucketloads. It won't go down well, but it will be good for us. We just need to suck it up and get on with curing ourselves of this hush hush syndrome that is crippling us.
Here is the episode and you can watch the rest of the season on the Tikambe Natulande Channel:
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
So this post really isn't about the Inauguration. Zambia decided and some of us may not have gotten what we wanted, but today incumbent President, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is being sworn in. What has come out of this election cycle is that Zambia is a flock of lost sheep who are so desperate for direction. For me the political arena really isn't the place to duke this out, as personally I do not see my principles and my ideals for Zambia even remotely represented by anyone who seeks to serve in that capacity. I have no idea what is going on in that ring, so this bull is using her horns to bust out and explore the great wide world out there for answers and to create my own solutions that hopefully have an impact in some way on a larger scale.
Social media reflecting what people I met around #Lusaka today feel: upset that #ZambiaDecides legacy inflammatory, divisive, tribal. Smh 😢😤— Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops_c) August 22, 2016
This past weekend I went on an amazing artistic journey quite by accident. I have been in hibernation pretty much all year, trying to put myself back together after inadvertently finding myself the protagonist in what I realised was a Humpty Dumpty phase. Thankfully all the King's horses and all the King's men were not required, but this Queen needed a whole lot of soul searching to reemerge. I may have ended up broken after last year's success, but I am on the mend and patched up enough to move forward. Part of that has been reconnecting with life in Lusaka and thankfully new hope has revealed itself. I have been inspired by our tenacity, and that artists in particular are finding ways to express themselves, even though this is a fearful time in Zambia - a time in which many of us youth are fearful of things regressing so far - that there will be no path for our future, only a way for the archaic, the disconnected, the greedy and the power-grabbers.
We need to be that Mandela quote and be courageous: not let the fear cripple us but be inspired to overcome #Zambia https://t.co/3e9KC6wIpW— Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops_c) August 28, 2016
On Friday I decided to go to a Modzi Arts event about whether we do indeed have Zambian Literature. One of my girl crushes Mulenga Kapwepwe was on the panel and she talked about how it is clear from the way we write today that we have no idea who we are. We defined only in the past tense, in writers long gone. We take on other people's voices, experiences, their landscapes without having visited and try to co-opt their lives unsuccessfully. We would rather write in broken English, live the life we watch on TV and adopt their truths and their pain, than actually tackle the specifics of our situation. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by others. There is everything wrong with living in someone else's skin with no real understanding of who they are and worse who you are. In order for Zambia to move forward, to create great works, we need to live in our dysfunction, channel that through what we do and manifest, in order to work through and come out the other side wiser, strong and defined. There is nothing wrong with declaring your truth, however untidy it may be. If you are discombobulated, say you are and be done with it. If you need to look back to figure out where you are to move forward, then do so. Take it from someone who has spent their life deranged and confused. I have blogged over and over about how I live in uncertainty - you can still find identity in the unknown...trust me ;)!
Looking back to move forward is exactly what happened the next day. I decided to watch Lenshina, a play about the Lumpa Church Uprising after Independence, as when I got home after the literary discussion, the Internet was lit with rave reviews. And I was not disappointed. Both the UNZA Drum Theatre Troupe skits that preceded the main event and Lenshina were amazingly Zambian and fresh. I laughed, sighed, cringed, "cried", was challenged, affirmed and above all was moved deeply. What I loved most was that none of the actors put on weird foreign accents which Zambians seem to think make them sound cooler, more intelligent, more attractive and unfortunately, not Zambian and therefore better when speaking English. This erroneous view, symptomatic of a deep self hatred and low esteem, a glaring manifestation of the colonised mind that we tend to ignore, brush over and worst of all reward, is disturbingly sad to witness and usually detracts from what is being communicated. I no longer listen to radio because I just can't with most DJs, the most blatant form of rewarding this behaviour. You are enough mwebantu! Just speak with whatever accent you have: it's your truth, it is the audio map of your life, be proud of your journey please! I equally was tickled by the fact that vernacular was used: mostly Bemba and in Lenshina, Nyanja and Tonga were also featured. Also, so chuffed I understood pretty much everything, so could get all the jokes as the scripts deftly interwove English with our mother tongues which is the way we quintessentially communicate. I am so glad that the art respected that. Every Zambian I believe is at least bilingual. One Zambia One Nation would not be able to exist in some shape or form without at least understanding your people and the diversity in the vicinity. At this point may I apologise if you were in at the Playhouse with me on Saturday: in true African style, I cackled, hooted and hollered, gasped and talked back so loud I couldn't help myself. I blame the raucous company I keep. And no it wasn't the wine I drank, it was only one glass he he he. It's how we do on the continent, and it's one of my favourite things about the way we immerse ourselves when suspension of reality is required at the theatre or the cinema. We engage so viscerally and profoundly with art, something that is largely lost in the West. There is theatre etiquette and a separate, more stringent set of rules for the cinema. Ehk! I have been on the receiving end of many a side-eye and tut when I forget where I am when far from home enjoying myself. Okay maybe I'm not that sorry because clearly I have no control...
What made me proud to be Zambian after the performance was the fact that the youth who put together Lenshina, took on a very controversial subject in a time when people are retreating to their corners and are afraid to speak. They were able to comment on today using the past. And they did it in a refreshingly modern way, not limited by the comfort Zambians feel in the familiar. We tend to produce content that is stale, repetitive and tired. Our complacency, which has led to the disquiet and dissatisfaction that has manifested itself in cadre violence, political clamp downs and the loss of our peace and friendliness, has in turn revealed itself in art that proves that imitation is not always the best form of flattery. We may have found comfort in knowing what is coming but it keeps us stagnant. It has stopped us from growing. And knowing that forces wanting to "help" will come and bail us out has put us in a position of begging. And this was reflected in some reactions to the play, asking for more of the story as they felt they enjoyed it so much it should have included everything about the Uprising to make it longer, which completely misses the point.
The play took a particular stand. Unbiased yet strongly pointed. Was Lenshina in the wrong or was Kaunda? The rapier delivery of dialogue built on short sentences and each scene ending with the protagonists accusing each other of having "blood on their hands", perfectly articulated the struggle of defining self and moving forward after colonisation - that One Zambia One Nation was something that needed to be worked at even then. Lives were lost in the struggle and it is up to each of us to come to our own conclusions and most importantly I feel, be inspired by our history not to fall into the same pitfalls our Founding Fathers did. Not to be afraid of different points of view. To allow for nuance. To respect our differences and work harder to find common ground to ensure peace beyond tolerance. I will discuss this much going forward as I launch my new endeavour the ACE Project. The play was timely, evident in the fact that religion played a huge part in the confusion and lies were disseminated on both sides to advance each others causes. Both sides I feel were honourable and authentic in their point of view, but their truths were subjective to their experience and goals which blinded them. That ultimately led to clashes rather than compromise for a better future. To miss those parallels because you weren't given the full story is short-sighted. To not understand that true art fills your soul yet sparks your spirit to want more is an oversight we cannot avoid. If you feel a different presentation was required, create your own chance, write your own play, give us another view. Art is never complete, it is supposed to add to the conversation and facilitate the creation of more. Art is meant to "comfort the uncomfortable and discomfort the comfortable". It is not meant to necessarily answer your questions, but it can give you peace knowing that the questions are out there and that the answers are being searched for, the solutions and being worked on.
This play used that past to give us the language today to communicate what we are feeling, to know that this is not anything new, but also to warn us that just because it has happened before, doesn't mean it should happen again. Repeating history is not an excuse, evidence to be justified in defeat. Instead of praying from a place of hopelessness and not hope, let's help ourselves as deliverance comes to those who demand it through their actions. Ultimately the play was able to contribute to the conversations we are having and inspire us to respond in turn. Despite the rickety theatre, the lack of resources, the cast and crew persevered. Their situation is a metaphor for and the reality of Zambia right now. They were able to find and communicate a painful beauty despite the shadows trying to overcast and obscure. They illuminated their desire to succeed in the most thoughtful and entertaining way. They achieved what great art does, they were able to inspire. Hence this blog post ;}!
Wine o'clock before #Lenshina #Zambia story across the road at the Playhouse with @andi.ngwenya @lonahshawa. #wine #love #pelliefun #ngosa34 #proudlyzambian #supportlocal #lenshina #mafashioA photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on
#Lenshina was amazing! Processing now but feel so invigorated by the #proudlyzambian art I witnessed today... pic.twitter.com/ivgmIXMtVv— Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops_c) September 10, 2016
@peternawa great art inspires more art. Glad to see that despite the crazy, we persevere. Expression so important, especially now...— Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops_c) September 10, 2016