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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Top 10 of 2014: 3-4-10 e18hteam style (Woolgather Wednesday)

Photo taken by George Mutale
Chitenge Jumpsuit designed by Kamanga Wear
So another calendar year has bitten the dust...and once again it is time to take the customary look back at what I have blogged about in 2014. In keeping with tradition, I am curating my favourite posts in order of favouriteness, but unlike last year I actually have enough to choose from to make my quota yay!

To keep things fresh, I am going to use the my 3-4-10 format, which for a limited period has been usurped: it will now have an extra bonus inspired by the number 18 that has come to dominate my life due to the documentary I released last year about the Zambian National Football Team: e18hteam. Right now the film is the driving force in my life journey and the momentum from last year looks like I am to be propelled in directions I cannot even fathom. There is a whole world I am about to perceive and experience for the very first time and I am ready for it ;}.

So in honour of the exciting times ahead of me, I thought it fitting to reflect on last year.  Not just through the usual list of 10 posts that most resonated with my annum To better encapsulate the last 12 months, I am also sharing personal and professional lessons that have hopefully informed how I am setting up to grab 2015 by the ahems he he and continue to reach for my dreams as well as growing as a human being that has a positive effect on their community. So without further ado....

3 major lessons learned

1. Keep at it: tenacity + passion = success and with that the freedom to grow and be satisfied personally and professionally will follow.
2. It is more likely that the people you meet now may never truly know you as well as the people you have history with.  That means you need to be patient with them, they may not get you or what you do immediately and you will have to put in the effort to get them to see you and/ or to understand what you/ your work are about.
3. Don't let the bad eggs take you down with them. Find a way to maintain your principles, integrity, optimism and drive for life, change and the future.

4 mantras for 2015

1. Be healthier!
2. Stay positive - don't let the negative thrown at you sap your energy, dampen your spirit and put your soul in umbra.
3. Holiday! Celebrate! Take the time to go to la isla bonita: it can be a simple as a treat like a massage, 10 minute meditation every day, or as indulgent as a flight to the beach or an expensive bottle of wine.  It is important to take time out, take stock and find one's centre. And if you didn't get all the Madonna 80s references, I can't help you.
4. Be you. It's enough. You have a place in the world and that is why you are here.

Top 10 posts of 2014

And as promised the bonus:

This was THE song for me last year as I finished and premiered e18hteam. I found the strength within to push through the set backs and I will keep going, don't care if I am wrong coz I know I am right to see what others don't. That's where progress loves to hang out and you know I love evolution. Here's to another year of the spectacular, the gift of being alive, free to explore the expanse of our imaginations and finding ways to manifest our ideas and dreams to share with the world we live in xo.

FYI this video was filmed in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia :)))))))))))!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

An e18hteam Christmas...

Merry Merry! It's been a cracker of a year. Taking time to absorb, digest and regroup to be ready for the New Year and the possibilities it will bring.
If you are in Lusaka this festive holiday season, from today: Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, my documentary about the Zambian National Football Team, e18hteam, is showing at Fresh View Manda Hill daily at 15:20.
Till 2015, cheerio!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Woolgather Wednesday: Innovation, Passion and Zambia (MUNTU Zed Series)

A couple of months ago, I went to another BongoHive Insaka, this time featuring Ceasar Siwale of Pangea Securities as well as Fresh View Cinemas and Mugg and Bean franchisee.  I went in large part in support due to the fact that a coupla months later, e18hteam would have a theatrical release due to his commitment to showcasing Zambian filmmakers by easily providing a platform for their films through his theatres.  You can watch the full video above but here are my takeaways from his talk and my thoughts:

1.  The Diaspora are key to Zambia's development.

We in Africa are constantly complaining about brain drain but there are ways to overcome that.  The Diaspora do not have to be terrestrial to have an impact.  The skills they acquire abroad can affect home remotely or on the ground.  A lot of the time frustration causes many who repatriate to return to their expatriate ways.  Things in Zambia can be at worst bureaucratic, convoluted and sometimes so illogical, slow and unnecessarily complicated and time consuming you just want to shoot yourself to end your misery.  But the rewards for taking risks are unparalleled.  And if you don't have the stomach and patience for such, there are options: Zambians abroad can invest and provide financing for business ventures from overseas. Expertise can still have an impact through mentoring and being role models by making a difference from afar with the effects being felt at home.  Be creative.  Figure it out.  And returning home can be done as Ceasar pointed out when I asked him how the transition for the diaspora can be made, and he looked at me and said well you are here, you have managed. Touché... 

2.  The Zed Zim complex is fed by our own insecurities.

In part due to the legacy of colonialism, with Southern Rhodesia aka Zimbabwe being the jewel of the British Empire's Southern Africa and Zambia being an afterthought: a consequence of land grabbing to show the rest of the European powers their might and was therefore less developed until copper was discovered and industrial mining started in the 1920s, we Zed folk have always felt a little, okay, very inferior to our cousins further South.   Despite being a rock for Zim after we got independent in 1964 and being a refuge for Zimbabweans in the 1970s as Ian Smith waged war with Britain and Mugabe fought for the indigenous to gain independence and self rule, we still feel like they have more to offer.  It is true that for decades Zim had better infrastructure, was able to market their 200m of Victoria Falls better than we do the 1 Km (yes you read right, we have 5 times more Falls than Zimbabwe) but in the 21st Century, we have taken strides to catch up.  There is nothing to separate us now really than attitude.  We need to believe in ourselves.  Forget what they have, lets work with what we have got proudly.

3.  Zambian education system is broken.

I lament the loss of the days of my parents.  They were youngsters when Zambia became independent and the Founding Fathers really focused on education.  They used the infrastructure set up by the British to create great schools that were some of the best in the region, and many were sponsored by government scholarships to go abroad, mainly in Europe, Russia and Cuba to get educated and were encouraged to come back and help build the nation.  That time is gone.  Now children are taught rote, and are chastised for questioning, lambasted for not towing the line.  When a child is stifled and learns that the only way to get ahead is to give the required scripted answer, how are they foster innovation in the future?  If their imagination is quelled before it is ignited, how can they dream?  How can they envisage a better tomorrow?  How can they have agency in developing the nation? Exactly....

4.  We should be the hub of Southern Africa...

Most obviously because we are bang smack in the middle of the region! We should be the go-to SADC destination with flights to every single country.  We should be THE connection.  We keep going on about being a landlinked, not landlocked country but are we doing enough to ensure that?  We also keep looking outward for FDI, calling for people from the outside to come in and help.  There is a lot of money in Zambia already.  We should also look inward and LDI should be a focus in conjunction with money from abroad.  How can we expect people to believe in us and what we have to offer if we don't invest in ourselves?  To truly be a hub, we need to be attractive for people to flock.  It is time to woo people, we need to find our little black dress and flaunt our best assets to attract suitors by showing how well we are doing on our own but are perfectly happy to partner up if lucrative for all parties.  We need to have faith in ourselves but not whore ourselves out.  We need to develop with dignity.

5.  Be passionate about your work and fight for what you believe in.

Ceasar talked about how noone thought another cinema chain would work in Zambia but he was passionate about bringing the blockbuster experience full throttle to Lusaka and succeeded.  Unfortunately we are known to be naysayers, to shut an idea down before the seed of possibility is even planted.  We need to give space for ventures to germinate and need to be okay with failure as it is just a bump in the road to success. If you truly believe in your business plan you should back it with your own money (how can you expect others to invest without being able to lead by example if needed) and be willing to do what it takes (without compromising your principles and selling your soul) to make things happen.  There are no shortcuts to making it, you have to put in the hard time and be ready to sacrifice in the short term, to move forward and have staying power in the long term.

Ceasar with Anja Savic aka the Letterist
at e18hteam Premiere, 16th October 2014
Lastly I would like to thank Ceasar for being supportive of my documentary film.  I first approached him last year to let him know I was working on the film and he kept to his word and I was able to Premiere the film in October.  Fresh View Cinema staff were so obliging and made the theatre release a breeze.  We also got an extension from a week to a months screening of the film.  I am glad to be able to provide proof that Zambians ARE supporting Zambians through our collaboration.  

For more information about the Zambia Investment Conference that Ceasar mentions in the video, visit their website and register for the event happening the first week in December.  You can find out about the latest local and international films showing at Fresh View Cinema here.

In the mood to start something?  Register for BongoHive's Startup Weekend starting this Friday in Lusaka.  You can also find out more about future talks by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Want to know more about the film?  Follow e18hteam on Facebook and Twitter to find out about our global film festival run in 2015.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Soul Food Friday: Happy Golden Jubilee Zambia!

I am proud to be Zambian at this very moment, and to have preserved an important part of our history by documenting the story of the Zambian National Football team through e18hteam.  By preserving this history, I have not let another African library burn down, as is usual when the elder who had all the knowledge takes his wisdom, experience and part of the country's conscious with him upon his passing.  I was able to document Zambia's history through football by managing to interview the late great Dennis Liwewe and I have let those who created this thread which is interwoven in Zambia's 50 year tapestry, spin their tale. The fact that people can look back and remember and be inspired by the future is so humbling.  I have really felt the love and the privilege of being part of Zambia's Golden Jubilee celebrations.  It is truly and honour and a thrill walking taking the sojourn into responsibility while doing what I love and finally reaping the fruits of my passion for Zambia, communication, preservation (history). and inspiration.

Enjoy the day, and remember our accomplishments and feel the hope for the future.  We afriCAN and WILL continue to discover, reconnect with, and reach our potential!  Only positivity today...and tomorrow...and the next day...That is how to apply constructive criticism: reassess, acknowledge past mistakes by moving forward with mphamvu! I have openly acknowledged my country's and my own flaws on the blog.  Today is all about being in the moment, happy and hopeful and appreciative of the blessings that Zambia has given me since I relocated in 2011 and made the decision to make my country my base and work from the inside out, not the outside in :).

Here are the highlights of the past week of celebrations:

Meeting with Zambia's current Second Lady, Charlotte Scott the day before the Premiere on Wednesday16th October:

Writer, Director and Producer of e18hteam Juan Rodriguez-Briso,
Zambia's Second Lady Charlotte Scott
and co-Producer of e18hteam Ngosa Chungu aka Mwana Ba Afrika

Kept to dress code - rocked #ProudlyZambian #PositivelyAfrican custom Kamanga Wear High Waisted Tuxedo African Jacquard Trousers with Copper jewelry bought at Kutowa Designs made by women's empowerment initiative

Personal screening for my favourite Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda, founding father and first Head of State of independent Zambia, organised by Samba Yonga through his daughter Cheswa Kaunda:

L -R: e18hteam Publicty Manager Samba Yonga of Ku-Atenga Media,
Cheswa Kaunda, KK's daughter, e18hteam co-Producer Ngosa Chungu,
First President of the Republic of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda aka KK,
e18hteam Premiere Special Guest Former Chipolopolo Coach Roald Poulsen,
e18hteam Writer, Director and Producer Juan Rodriguez-Briso.
This is what I wore to Muvi TV interview on Wednesday 22nd October for the Morning show as dresscode was Zambian colours:

Schedule for today till the 29th to catch e18hteam at Fresh View Cinemas Levy Park daily:

Reflective post to come later.  Right now still recovering from the madness over the past month bring e18hteam to Zambia in time for our 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations. Awesome Possum! Much love xo

Official photos for e18hteam taken by George Mutale.

To keep up-to-date with my surreal journey follow me on Facebook.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Soul Food Friday: e18hteam - the Fruit of Passion

I have started a new tag called Passion Fruit.  It's all about how passion bears fruit. For me, e18hteam has been the hardest thing I have ever attempted to achieve in my life.  My sweat has literally watered the earth from whence the fruit that e18hteam blossomed.  My passion for the story of the Chipolopolo triumphing at AFCON 2012 in Gabon after suffering tragedy there in 1993 never wavered.  My belief in the project never waned due to the fact that I could not have partnered with a better hombre than Juan.  At one point I said to Juan that I would completely understand if he felt I had not adequately contributed to the project as, as is still the case, I have not been able to convince a single Zambian business to support any part of the project, even the fun part - the glitzy Premiere.  He believed in my passion and had no doubt I was doing my best and has stuck by me.  I am honoured to still be a part of this project and continue endeavour to earn my credit as co-producer.  If I fill up the seats with my social and traditional media plan then I will feel vindicated.

This film, despite me knowing the story and having a part in creating it, has touched the very core of my being.  I am proud to say, it moved me to tears when I watched the first rough cut months ago.  We are now locking the film and to present it to Zambians on the 17th of October, a week before Zambia's Golden Jubliee Independence celebrations on the 24th.  I am also proud that Juan has successfully gotten the film to show at SEMINCI in his home town Valladolid in Spain on the eve before Independence day.  If you are in the area, catch the film at SEMINCI.  It will be showing at LAVA, 19:00 on the 23rd of October.

I  leave you with video that has me excited and I hope it gets you revved up to see the film too:

Leelee who wrote the awesome possum Nkwazi article about e18hteam had me on radio and commented:

Juan sent the screen test in Spain which made me all warm inside:

Here is the official trailer for the film :)

To keep up-to-date with my passion fruit follow e18hteam on Twitter and like on Facebook.  You can also find other articles on my film production journey in the e18hteam tag.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Things on Thursday: e18hteam Tings

It's been a pretty big week for the film. I am focusing on the positive at the moment: publicity is going well.  The press are starting to report on the documentary and engagement continues to steadily increase on social media.  So the fact that, to date, no Zambian business has contributed to the film which is fine coz we managed without them, but now I have no idea how I am going to host the Premiere, which is expected due to the story being told and it being released a week before our 50th Independence Anniversary.  

It's my job as co-producer to find the money to do things.  Honestly, my passion for the story and the film has not translated to funds beyond what I have been able to scrap together over the years from my own pocket through presenting and social media jobs here in Zambia. This has frustrated me greatly as I have tried several different strategies to no avail.  You'd think that football, Zambia and the glitz of film would be a no brainer here.  I have been proven wrong for the last 2 years.  But as Steve Jobs said "stay hungry, stay foolish".  With a production partner like Juan, who has gone above and beyond to make this film, and has taken on the lion's share of the financial burden, it's not that hard to do that :).  

That is also why I changed the Amashiwi quotes on the blog to include Winston Churchill's "success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm".  Even if organisations seem to be swayed by the Chipolopolo's performance and every time I need some help they decided to perform abysmally.  I continue support our national team through thick and thin, despite their secret conspiracy to thwart my efforts.  It would have been great if they started their AFCON 2015 qualifying campaign with a bang, rather than fizzling out after being paralysed to a nil draw against Os Mambas (The Black Mamba's aka Mocambique) and the venom taking hold by the time they got to Cape Verde last week, losing 2-1. You see my theory is not wholly unfounded and without merit.

Things are going well in large part due to Samba Yonga of Ku Atenga Media aka Grand Mukhazi in the Ndhlovukazi's matriach's circle aka Purple Tembo Media's publicity team:

She is behind getting this great article written by Leelee Ngwenya about e18hteam features in the September/ October Issue of Proflight's Nkwazi Inflight Magazine. The magazine is FREE, MAHALA, GRATIS so get your copy to see it in all its glory.  Don't worry, if you aren't in Zambia or flying anytime soon I have scanned the article ;}.

Click to embiggen for easier reading :)

Slam Dunk Records TV and Inspire Abantu have posted the press release for the film to help get the word out.

This teaser seems to be the one that everyone who has seen them seems to be the most touched by.  I also think it's the most powerful.  Dennis Liwewe was our most prolific football pundit and a great ambassador for the game and Zambia.  It was an honour to interview him.

If you want to know more about writer, director and producer Juan Rodriguez-Briso, watch this Behind the Scenes video about his passion for football, how inspirational the story of the Chipolopolo is and about how we connected to co-produce e18hteam.

We revealed our official poster for the film yesterday during #DidYouKnoWednesday.  The exact release date is 17th October 2014 so mark your calendars and start saving your ngwees to make up the Kwacha you need for a ticket.

In theatres 17th October 2014 

Chipolopolo ana chimfya: The Chipololopolo triumphed in both Nyanja and Bemba.

To keep up with all things e18hteam, follow the film on Twitter so as not to miss out on weekly #DidYouKnoWednesday event, and like on Facebook for exclusive content only posted there.  You can find all my posts chronically my journey making e18hteam here.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Twit Tuesday: e18hteam Behind the Scenes Video and #PTHerd Prince chat

As you know I have my reservations about Twitter, but what I love about the social media platform is the ease at which conversation can be fostered.  Hence I am happily a twit now with no regrets, especially as being one has helped me with content for the blog.

This post is dedicated to Sam Ndhlovu.
Right now, Twitter is the primary communication tool with which e18hteam is able to be brought to the masses at no cost, and the ability and ways to provide information to those who want it is unlimited.  Here is a Storify of last week's events on my production company and e18hteam's Twitter pages that revolved around my favourite little ones, Sam Ndhlovu aka the Purple Tembo Herd Prince.

To know more about how to become a part of the Purple Tembo Herd royal family, follow Sam on Twitter and see how it's done. Jedi master must you be.  Only way to Sam defeat.  From this Yoda take it ha ha ha ha.

You can find other storify stories I have published here.