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AMASHIWI

"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








Monday, 8 August 2011

An Open Letter To Zambian Taxi Drivers

To all Taxi Drivers in Zed, particular those in Lusaka, and a specific calling out of those who operate from Arcades Shopping Mall,

Re: PERSISTENTLY BECKONING ME TO GET INTO YOUR TAXI 


Can you please refrain from harassing me when you see me walking towards the car park at any establishment, assuming that because I am a woman, I do not have a car, and are in need of your services.  I say this because, through my unscientific method of observation whenever I am out, it has been impossible not to notice that you specifically target those of the female persuasion. When I shake my head, verbally decline your services, or simply continue walking in the direction of my car, do not become even more vociferous in your pursuit of my Kwacha, of which I have very little in the first place!  When I need a taxi, I will acknowledge your offer and begin the process of divulging destination information and price inquiry.  The fact that I have to fish for my keys in my bag and shake them at you to finally get you to cease your hollering is unacceptable.  I should not have to decline several times.  It is irritating and quite simply harassment.  If you would like me to use your services in the future when required, I suggest you stop your annoying behavior with immediate effect.

Thank you,

MBA ;}

Saturday, 23 July 2011

East African Drought Crisis





The United Nations and World Food Programme have declared that over 11 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in dire need of food assistance and that this should be the globe's top humanitarian priority.  This is the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years. The most pressing area is Somalia due to the unrest in the region and the reluctance of al-Shabab Islamists to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and allow aid through to those in need.  This however should not deter us and we should do whatever we can to help.

You can read more about the crisis here and below are links to organisations that have information on the crisis and how you can help:

World Food Programme 10 ways you can help
UNICEF
Build Africa
Oxfam

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Inaugural MUNTU: Kabungo Precious Mumbi-Habeenzu - 10 Questions

This is the last part of the first MUNTU and Zed series from Kabungo Precious Mumbi-Habeenzu.  In keeping with my 3-4-10 series, here is the interview with her where I asked her 10 Questions about Zambia, Africa, the media and how she feels we are seen and should be seen, as well as her thoughts on being and African woman and on the African man.


Nationality/ies: Zambian
Age: 28
Countries you have lived and studied in: Zambia, Namibia
African countries you have visited: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, Chad, Botswana
Education: BA Media Studies and Sociology, University of Namibia (UNAM)
Profession(s):  Communications Specialist
Personal Interests: Writing, Gardening, Family, Singing, Video production, Inspirational books, Cuisine, Fashion, Cuisine, Basketball,
Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blog, Website):  LinkedIn, I’m too lazy and too afraid of getting addicted to join anything else











10 questions

Muntu means person in the tongue of Mwana Ba Afrika’s mothers before her.  As an acronym it stands for: 
Mind-blowing
That is what Africa and Zambia in particular are. Also black women have this nice natural look and what I believe to be the best colour in the world, which makes them stand out and this is mind-blowing to experience.

Umbrella
African trees provide shade from the sometimes intense and scorching sun and the continent itself has this warm welcoming feel that overpowers everything.  Umbrellas can also be multicoloured and I feel this symbolises the different personalities that you find in Zed where we have a down-to-earth, cultured nature and an unparallelled friendliness that is unique to Africa.

Nature/ Natural
Keeping it natural symbolises African natural beauty both in the landscape and as a people.  We have such natural beauty in abundance. I love anything to do with nature.

Tolerance
Every human being should have that space in themselves to be tolerant.  Our different personalities should blend as it is hard, but necessary to grow and live with others. 

Untapped
I am referring here to untapped beauty in all its form: what stands out on the inside can’t be judged from the outside the first time.  It’s about getting to know people and not judge them automatically from appearances. Leave space for the untapped beauty beyond.  This applies to the way Zambia and Africa are viewed from the outside too.

Describe yourself in 3 words, list 4 things you that make you happy and describe Africa in 10 words.
3: Kind. Ambitious. Intelligent.

4: My daughter and husband.  Family. Waking up every day as it is a blessing to see another morning and be alive. Good Health.

10: Cultured. Tasty Food. Colourful. Natural. Beauty. Industrious. Warmth. Wisdom. Wild.

Recommend 3 websites, blogs and/ or books, 4 movies and/ or series and 10 songs and/ or music videos.
Of course! Sending the love right back to my niece.

It’s Your Time by Joel Austin
This inspirational book opened my eyes to a lot of thing and helped my through difficult circumstances.  It changed my way of thinking. I no longer complain about about things not going my way - it’s about thinking about and making the change. This book gets you to take leadership of your life.

I found this website while working for the World Food Programme, WFP, without realising it was linked to WFP. I was looking for a platform to do a fashion show  to benefit starving children and it help shape the event and opened my eyes to what is going on in Zambia, rather than looking further out.  It is a great site to find information to make comparisons between Africa and the rest of the world and learn from other situations. Young people should have that interest and know what they can do differently because it could be any one of us who needs help  and/ or who can provide solutions in the future.

4: Blue Lagoon
This was the first interesting movie I watched and also the first with nudity. I had a huge crush on the guy.  It taught me a lot about coming of age. I watched it when I was 11 and afterwards I started noticing the changes in my body. 

McGyver 
I had a crush on him too. It was always on TV as a child in the 80s.

Shades of Sin (Brazil)
I love a bit of intrigue!

Kabanana
We have to support local talent and productions.

10: As you will see by this list I L-O-V-E Dancehall!

1.      Queen Of The Pack by Patra
Always had her hairstyle as a teenager
2.       Make My Day by Buju Banton
3.       All On Me by Sean Paul
5.       It’s About Time by Boom Shaka
6.       Shibobo by TKZee
7.       House, Money, Car by Nalu
8.       Ngafikilisha by JK
9.       Here and Now by Luther Vandross
10.   Street Thing by Aaliyah

What have you or do you contribute to Zambia’s development economically, politically and or socially?
When you win Miss Zambia there is no set program that you have to follow, as in many other countries around the world - you have to find your own feet. I started on a number of projects and made sure that they were different from what is usually is expected such as the usual suspects HIV/ AIDS and poverty. I really wanted to challenge myself to think outside the box and use my position to highlight aspects of Zambia that needed looking at that were being sidelined.  This led me to the Road Safety.  This issue was particularly important to me as a dear friend was one of seven fatalities in a bus accident that caused 40 casualties.   I was sponsored by the FIA Foundation based in London to attend first UN Assembly on Road Safety in Geneva and was also endorsed by the Ministry of Health to represent Zambia. I was privileged to work with other ambassadors for a month about what can work in our respective countries in terms of Road Safety advocacy.  I then returned to work with RTSA to design and implement youth educational programs.  Teaching should start in childhood, at nursery, so kids grow up with an awareness of how dangerous the road is. What I achieved in 2006-7 is still ongoing and has been passed on to subsequent Miss Zambias.

I also initially did a lot of orphanage work but lost interest as the situation in Zambia is quite exaggerated. At first glance it looked like they needed sponsorship and I worked tirelessly to get them the financial support that was seemingly needed.  I developed a close relationship with the children and the people running the institutions and it became evident that many of the organisations use the children to get financial support for selfish purposes which shouldn’t happen and I wasn’t going to enable that.  An instance of this was when I checked up on foodstuffs I had donated the day before and found that the staff had shared it amongst themselves and the kids were starving at breakfast because none of the food was there for them!  However there were orphanages that were truly run from the heart, such as Cheshire Home in Chawama, which really stood out. It is run by Nuns and they have a board who are committed and involved.

Now apart from my salary being heavily taxed, I continue to work in development. My last job was at UNICEF. In August I start with Chemonics , USAID, based at the Ministry of Education as the Communications Manager. It is a new project aimed at establishing community schools and helping government schools in curriculum improvement, especially in the rural areas, and advocating for girl-child education.  We need to stop prioritising male education only so as to have females work around the house till they are married.  We have made progress but there is still a huge gap.  Schools are also empty at certain times of the year especially during the planting and harvest seasons. Telling children they have rights and not be afraid to speak up and say that school is important among other things is what I want other children to enjoy, just as I will ensure for my daughter.  I am still active in Road Safety as I think that the government can save a lot of money to spend on other issues if things are improved.

What do you think is special about being an African woman?
African women are blessed to be able multi-task!! We are able to do more than 10 things at the same time and we do all of that well and with no complaints. Secondly, there are no restrictions in terms of how your body is - we are not criticized for having curves and we can be all sizes which from what I have seen, other women around the world are not afforded. We have well toned bodies so it always surprises me when the media says otherwise. Come to Zambia or somewhere in Africa and see how beautiful we are.  Also our culture is still there despite modernity. We still retain our practices and respect them and this sets us apart.

What do we, as African women, need to improve and how?
We need to come out our shells a little more - think outside the box and not always conform to what is expected and what we see others doing.  African women are becoming more and more ambitious and want to further their education, and in most cases are highly educated yet the HIV and AIDS  is still very high in women as compared to men. What is it that we are doing wrong? Mindset on Ccondom use still has to change too -  WOMEN NEED TO LEARN TO NEGOTIATE FOR SAFER SEX REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE MARRIED OR SINGLE! In short we need to live for us as women.  Recently I’ve seen  women becoming more economically self-reliant and I’d like to see that continue. Building a future for ourselves and our children by jointly making decisions with our husbands is so important. Let’s continue changing, we may be homemakers but we can also take charge and venture outside, earn our own money, work for ourselves. We still lack that confidence. We can do what men can do.

What do you think is special about the African man?
Well, like my husband, they are extra romantic, highly intelligent sensitive beings with a lot of respect for their women (whether mothers or spouses). They can me understanding, extra-supportive of decisions women make, well-natured and always thinking of the future and the welfare of the family.  The African man loves good food and is very conservative. I used to be a huge spender - I would spend my last ngwee and be stuck the next day. He thinks about why he was spending first and helped me plan for things, he helped me grow.

What does the African man need to improve and how?
African men need to begin to accept the new African woman - her confidence, decision making capabilities, her multi-tasking and her equality in work. They need to get out of the mindset that they have the upper-hand and have mutual understanding. They need to participate in making joint decisions and not hold back because they are worried about what other people will say - it is not a sign of weakness. Gone are the days where the woman is running around like a headless chicken. My husband helped with the diapers. Gender education and equality is essential for this country and the continent’s future. Finally, African men should also learn to stick to one sexual partner.

What role do the African Diaspora and the global community have to play in the continent’s development and identity?
Our culture is our identity as a continent, but as the world has evolved, so should our cultural beliefs and practices - we need to adjust to fit into the current environment culturally. We can learn from the world and other countries.  The disasters that have been happening are not so common here and we should be thankful that we do not have severe floods and earthquakes and have always been a peaceful nation. The well developed countries can help us to figure out how to reach that stage, especially the most recent nations that have bypassed us.  We need to ask how we can be less dependent from the lessons learnt by others.

Are you satisfied with the way Zambia and Africa are portrayed in the media to the world?  
Zambia: No, not at all. When you are out there and you watch something it’s ALWAYS something negative. Poverty-stricken, HIV/ AIDS, typical Africa.  Yes these are huge problems, but there is more to us than that. Why don’t we make the news with our successful development programs, our economic improvement, our beauty, what we have to offer?!  You have to personally recommend places and for people to know and visit. We also have a huge role to play and need to brand ourselves better and find better communication tools to advertise and promote ourselves.  Everyone has something to hide, why do we always have to show everything? There is good to oppose the bad. I also don’t like how certain Zambians talk ill of our country. We should be patriotic despite the bad. How can we develop if we dwell on our bad experiences? If it’s not correct, voice it and then change it.  Yes there are limitations in our media but we are free enough to speak out, we won’t be shot at, we do enjoy that privilege as I am right now.

Africa: Totally not happy. People overseas only ever know about South Africa when we have 54 countries on the continent with the recent edition of South Sudan!  We are seen as this disease haven - come here to die is how we are portrayed. I have worked with a lot of international donors and there is so much talk of precautions to the point that people bring along things like toilet paper! It’s like we have nothing but a huge uncivilised jungle to live in! Again it comes down to how we market ourselves. We are all Africans and should help each other.  People are always surprised how warm and generous we are and how they can find what they need. Corruption, HIV and AIDs and poverty are also problems faced by other countries.  We have our own problems and solutions and we need to reassess how we portray and tackle them on the global stage.  We can also be a learning hub, we need to highlight this. We are like the stereotypical female being dominated by the male continents. We are more than what we are conceived to be. We have some of the greatest philosophers  - we can be great teachers too.

For videos on the 4 things Kabungo has learnt from your experiences as a student in Namibia, Miss Zambia,  mother and wife, and a professional in Zambia, as well as the 3 places and or things that make Zambia special you can find them on the blog here and on the MwanaBaAfrika YouTube Channel.


Monday, 11 July 2011

New video! Kabungo Precious Mumbi-Habeenzu's MUNTU Zed Series 3-4

The MUNTU and Zed Series has officially popped its cherry! I thought I would start off MUNTU nestled in Africa’s womb, Zambia aka Zed. This birthing has required me to indulge in nepotism, a truly African move, by cajoling my Aunt to be my first interviewee.  Luckily she has forgiven me for almost drowning us both in a pool as kids as I coaxed her to venture to the deep end with me.  I haven’t lost my touch he he he he ;}.  She hasn’t forgotten though and reminds me of this whenever she has the chance. A fellow biophiliac and partner-in-crime, I am honoured and proud to present to you the beautiful, passionate and talented Miss Zambia 2005, mother, wife, advocate and proudly Zambian, Black and African, Mrs Kabungo Mumbi-Habeenzu.

3 places and/ or things that make Zambia special:


4 experiences that Kabungo has learnt from:






For the rest of this interview, please read Kabungo's 10 Questions here.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Lots Of New Things To Look Forward To!


I have been unusually busy the last two weeks and I absolutely love it!  Working when I want 7 days a week is now an addiction.  It is important in life, as well as a blessing, to be able to pursue your passions on a professional basis.  Still working on the monetary side of things, but that is coming :).

I have started contributing to other blogs: My first post on The African Muse I have already shared and in the coming weeks I will be featured on Unchain Africa Press.  Also trying to get my hustle on here in Zambia promoting Zed creativity and have lots of things on the stove that need to come to a boil.

After making 3 Video Musings of an Afropolitan Woman, I must confess I am quite sick of myself.  MIghTy African recently ruminated over how indulgent one can be on one's blog about success and sharing your life with others and I said that it is important to share your joy and your triumphs just as you highlight other peoples.  But it is paramount to be mindful and to reign oneself in before narcissism takes over.  I named this blog Mwana Ba Afrika so that I could showcase other Mwana's (which can also colloquially and affectionately mean friend) across the continent. So that is what I intend to do for a while.

I have since deleted videos from YouTube and edited all the posts featuring Video Musings of an Afropolitan Woman after much rumination and though my friends protested as they enjoyed them greatly.  I realised that it took way too much energy to talk and be me in front of the camera, it is much easier for me to write to convey my nonsense and splashes of profound insight and brilliance (we can agree to disagree on that he he he).  I don't have the desire to be in front of the camera really.  I think that my posts in and of themselves more than adequately reflect my personality.  If you haven't realised by now that I am an intelligent, slightly unhinged and wacky afropolitan woman I can't help you ;}.

I am launching 3 new series that will fit in to my umbrella-ella-ella-e-e-e 3-4-10 series:
                                                                                                                 
LEMBA: meaning write, which will focus on writers, authors and bloggers.                                        
                                                                                                                 
MUNTU: which means person/ human/ there is no word for black person where I am from so it is also used to indicate a person of this land which by default refers to the majority who are black. This series will focus on inspiring individuals who are invested in their country's and Africa's growth and have country and African pride.  The first group will of course be from Zambia as part of the Zed Series.

These are the only videos that now feature on my YouTube Channel.  You can check out all the interviews I have done so far.

MA BIZ: an ode to Ba Nyirenda, RIP, who worked for my family for 23 years and would always say when you asked him to do something ni ma biz, ma biz meaning I am busy and also is a play on words and can be translated to be a mix of vernacular and English slang to mean the business. This series will focus on businesses doing great things on the continent.

I will be kicking off the MUNTU Zed series in the coming days with the lovely Miss Zambia 2005, Kabungo Precious Mumbi-Habeenzu, photographed above.  Very excited as she has a lot of insightful things to say and was delightful to video.

Please connect with my on Facebook (for regular MBA updates) and YouTube (information for both platforms on top right-hand side of the page) and also read the blog on your mobile at http://mwanabaafrika.blogspot.com/?m=1

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Zed Fusion: An Afropolitan's Foray Into Cooking

This post was originally posted on The African Muse.


tute. kalembula. kandolo. umumbu. intungulu. mbalala. amataba. chinkombwe.
some of these fruits of the earth have english names; some do not. they are the foods that nourished my ancestors. the foods that provide essential and irreplaceable sustenance for my body. and they feed my afropolitan spirit, too--allowing me to blend zambian cuisine with flavours from my favorite global haunts into something new.
i come from the land of the great zambezi river that flows into the victoria falls, shaping the zambian diet into one predominated by fish, or insabi, combined with nshima--a staple food made from maize and cassava flour--and an abundance of vegetables. these foods are healthy, tasty, varied. yet when most people think about african creativity, they rarely mention the most basic of arts: cooking.

my mother's recent trip to the village brought riches from the earth--fresh produce, that inspired me to experiment in the kitchen, marrying traditional ingredients with global flavours.  it also reawakened the amateur photographer in me.

_____________________________________


avocado, intungulu, umumbu and coriander salad

half a large avocado
2 intungulu roughly quartered (can substitute texture and flavour with lemon flesh and ground black pepper)
chopped coriander (or cilantro)
                                                       4 chopped umumbu (or jicama)
                                                       ripped iceberg lettuce
                                                       vinaigrette/ lemon dressing                                                                                                        

traditionally cooked beans, local variant of chinese cabbage, sweetcorn and carrot soup
a half pot of cooked kidney beans
6 diced carrots
two handfuls of sweetcorn
1 zambian chinese cabbage (or half a traditional chinese cabbage; 2-3 bok choy; or a small green or red cabbage)
chopped spring onion
chopped tomato
salt, ground black pepper, dried herbs (sage, thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram)

soak small kidney beans overnight and cook for about an hour. fry onion and tomato in a pan and season. add chicken or vegetable stock, onion and tomato to pot and simmer till sauce thickens. fry off carrots till caramelised, add onion, tomato, sweet corn and pre-cooked beans. season and simmer to desired thickness.

thai kariba bream (tilapia) and chinkombwe

1 whole tilapia, scored
2 tsp sesame oil
tabasco
lemon juice
fish sauce
salt, ground pepper, coriander (cilantro), dried sweet basil, crushed garlic and ginger

chopped handful of chinkombwe (okra)
onion
tomato
salt, ground black pepper

dress fish with ingredients on each side (1tsp of oil per side) and its belly and wrap in foil. bake in pre-heated 180°C (350°F) oven for 45 minutes.

fry okra until crispy. add onion and tomato and season.

intungulu juice

a basketful of intungulu
lime juice
dark brown sugar
water

peel intungulu and place seeded flesh in a blender or food processor. add lime juice to desired tartness, and brown sugar until a little sweeter than you would like. add water to thin juice and balance the sugar. sieve and add seeds and pulp or leave clear. (if you don't have the fruit, use lemon juice to add a similar flavour and add ground black pepper as a substitute for the seeds.)

this juice may remind you of your youth playing with brown water trapped in a pothole, making a home for tadpoles during the rainy season, but i promise you it's tasty.

Check out The African Muse for more great posts by other bloggers.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Inaugural 3-4-10: Winter/ Summer Music

For us in the Southern hemisphere it is the cold season, while y'all in the North are enjoying some semblance of summer (some places pretend to be hot and are clearly just as cold as we are here ;}).  I think I deserve to be in a summer state of mind as I have endured 8 months of consecutive wintry temperatures.  I am feeling a lot of music right now and thought I'd share what I'm listening to right now, most of which is helping me through my 30 minutes of cardio that consists of very silly dancing 3 times a week :). And any other time the rhythm gets me. It also allows me to kick off my 3-4-10 series that will consist of linked items that come in, you guessed it, 3s, 4s and 10s...

My current Top 3

1. Nwa Baby remix - Flavour
So smooth, so easy to dance to but I'm not sure about the vid...



2.  Why Can't We - Asa
So stylish, love the video, love the song :)



3. Give Me Everthing - Pitbull ft Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer
Builds me up into a frenzy and gets the heart pumping every time



4 songs that are still hitting the spot

1.  Mr. Endowed remix - D'Banj ft Snoop Dogg
I am still Mrs. Endowed. The original is good too :)

2. Under The Sheets Jakwob remix - Ellie Goulding
Man this song still makes me nuts, my body cannot sit still when it plays on my Blackberry. Her voice is so beautiful and calming too like on the original. Love her album.

3. Pass Out - Tinie Tempah
His whole album, Disc-overy, is just the shiznit man! Awesome possum!

4. Lento - Professor ft Speedy
The South Africans are the best on the continent at making good dance music with base to rumble in your soul and make your spirit spritely.

10 more to "spice up your life, every boy and every girl" ;)

1.    Wonderman - Tinie Tempah ft Ellie Goulding
       Two of my fav Brit artists together on the same track = a winner
2.    Shaka Zulu on Em - Zone Fam
       A friend manages this group. Gotta spread the Zed love.
       Check out Slam Dunk Records on YouTube.
3.    Run The World (Girls) - Beyonce
       Yes we do!
4.    Born For This - HHP, Teargas and Liquideep
5.    Beautiful People - Chris Brown
       This man is talented. Please can people help him get his
       personality straight!
6.    TGIF - Katy Perry
       She indulges my 80s nostalgia
7.    Possibility - P-Square ft 2Face Idibia
8.    Head, Shoulders, Kneez and Toes - KIG
9.    Sweat remix - Snoop Dogg vs David Guetta
10.  Price Tag - Jessie J ft B.o.B
       I have heard her sing this live on multiple chat shows and
       wowee she can sing!


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Zed I'm Here To Stay!

Being on the continent and in the country of my birth is where I am meant to be.  I have talked about how Zambia has a penchant towards rejection of my Afropolitan self, but I am not going to let it get the better of me this time. Struggling with my identity is most acutely evident when I am home, but I think I have finally conquered my demons and am happy to shine - I am and not let anyone cast a shadow on the light I emit.  I am very excited to be here as there is a lot going on, and I want to be a part of it too :).

This post originally had a video that was part of my series Video Musing of an Afropolitan Woman.  It was the third and last one I made.  I realised that it took way too much energy to talk and be me in front of the camera, it is much easier for me to write to convey my nonsense and splashes of profound insight and brilliance (we can agree to disagree on that he he he).  I don't have the desire to be in front of the camera really.  I think that my posts in and of themselves more than adequately reflect my personality.  If you haven't realised by now that I am an intelligent, slightly unhinged and wacky afropolitan woman I can't help you ;}. 



Saturday, 25 June 2011

Women's Tennis Shows That Women Are Beautiful And Relevant Beyond 30 :)

Witnessing Venus play Kimiko Date-Krumm in a 3 set thriller on Wednesday was soooo inspiring. Best women's match of the year :).  The 31 and 40 year old proved that it is all about being young at heart: having the drive, the belief and the gumption to reach and fufill your potential is not about being young. Both women don't look over 30 and are as fit, if not fitter, than the 20 years olds out there! Both women looked seriously scrumptious. (I am ignoring the little boo boo that stops Venus' outfit from being a hit due to the funky zip at the front causing problems in the boob area.  Thankfully, Serena has redeemed the sisters with a classic, simple fit and lovely purple nails with a silver flourish.) Not only that, they are playing better too. Look at the last few number ones. Only Ivanovic was able to get a Grand Slam while at the top before fading away fast and Safina and Wozniacki have not been able to keep it together under the pressure of playing on centre court. It is the "old" who are still winning as the William sisters and the return of Clijsters has shown, as well as those believing that it is never too late to reach the heights as shown by Schiavone last year and by Li Na this year at the French Open (both were 29 when they won and both popped their Grand Slam cherries too, with Li being inspired after being beaten by Schiavone in the 3rd round only to see her win in 2010).

This display of hotness and vitality  at the cusp and beyond 30 is especially pertinent in the world we live in today where the international media keep telling us that by the time you are 30 you are well past your sell-by-date or at the very least hanging on by a very thin thread. If these two are anything to go by, a correction is in order and the umpire has to overrule and state that actually 30 is when life truly begins :)!  I plan to help prove this point when I enter the imminent flirty and dirty 30s meself he he he ;}

Keep growing and never grow up!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Afropolitan Musings

This post originally had a video that was part of my series Video Musing of an Afropolitan Woman.  It was the second of three I made.  I realised that it took way too much energy to talk and be me in front of the camera, it is much easier for me to write to convey my nonsense and splashes of profound insight and brilliance (we can agree to disagree on that he he he).  I don't have the desire to be in front of the camera really.  I think that my posts in and of themselves more than adequately reflect my personality.  If you haven't realised by now that I am an intelligent, slightly unhinged and wacky afropolitan woman I can't help you ;}.

I am currently feeling my technology deficit and how I have been meaning to rectify it.  So of course the only person to come to aid this damsel in distress is Santa, whether it be the fat dude in the North Pole or some very handsome, rich man whom comes baring lots of gifts ha ha ha ha ;}. Being independent doesn't mean not asking for help when you need it, I do not think this infringes on my quest for female empowerment at all :).

I have added a new quote to the Amashiwi section up top and on the page too:


Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning   - Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

I am currently working through Maya Angelou's 6 part autobiography and I am engrossed in the first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Her memory of her childhood is immaculate and her simple retelling of her youth is so honest, so childish, so poignant, so uplifting and so engaging! When I finish them all I will muse of course :).

For now, I have discovered what I imagine it would be like to be Mr. Tumnus. My lower body is really hurting, my sister definitely listened when I asked her to make an exercise plan that concentrated my thighs and butt. All I can feel right now is the forgotten muscles located in the lower extremities. So I imagine this is what it would feel like if I was a centaur. However, after only a day of exercise (my plan is Monday, Wednesday, Friday, weight and ball work followed by 30 minutes of dancing) I feel so fresh and so clean clean! I slept so well last night, bar waking up at 6am when my body stretched and was reminded of the muscles it had forgotten.  I stretched this morning and now will stretch everyday and not just before and after exercise. I just feel sooooooo alive!  There is a difference between being extant and actually participating in life. Using your body is part of participating. I am ashamed that I cowered in the corner when things got a little rough and neglected this facet of my life.  Hopefully never again!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

NEW!: Video Musings of an Afropolitan Woman

This post originally had a video that was part of my series Video Musing of an Afropolitan Woman.  It was the first of three I made.  I realised that it took way too much energy to talk and be me in front of the camera, it is much easier for me to write to convey my nonsense and splashes of profound insight and brilliance (we can agree to disagree on that he he he).  I don't have the desire to be in front of the camera really.  I think that my posts in and of themselves more than adequately reflect my personality.  If you haven't realised by now that I am an intelligent, slightly unhinged and wacky afropolitan woman I can't help you ;}.

After having a very lovely email conversation with the next big Nigerian film director who recently launched his site 37th State, I have been inspired to get off my very comfortable arse and finally start making videos.  I am the Queen of procrastination, yes that's with a capital Q.  I am very adept at stalling and convincing those around me to join the bandwagon and this skill is happily facilitated by my propensity to inertia.

So I now have my own YouTube Channel and you can find me on Facebook.  Please subscribe on any of those platforms or become a follower of the blog and/ or leave comments.  The interaction I have received thus far has been very helpful and encouraging and I value it greatly.

This first video is about African themed books from the continent and the diaspora.  I forced myself to watch it before my rather rudimentary stab at video making, involving little editing using the standard tool that comes with Windows.  What is clear that the clip itself is fine, I have used technology to the best of my ability, but it is me that could do with a bit of work:

1. I need to be less nervous. Popping your video cherry is not easy and as they say it is always awkward the first time is it not ;}?! Having to give myself the note to be louder is I'm sure releasing chuckles from the throats of all those who know me well.  My voice also sounds rather funny but I believe that is due to being at home and involuntarily suppressing my accent when talking to people so they are not hostile for whatever reason they come up with or just so I'm  not ripped off at the market when buying jewellery  I like to blend into my surroundings most of the time. This also happens in the US when no one can understand me when I ask for a glass of water at a restaurant. I have never been told to be louder, I'm always being told to be more discreet, quiet, or to just shut up!

2. I need a tan! Unfortunately I have spent the last 8 months in the cold by somehow managing to go to Europe during the autumn and winter only to return to winter in Zambia so have not had consistent sunshine for 3/4 of the year!!! I'm really smart like that. I am hoping that my pallid complexion is due to my recent bout of malaria but I know it is not - my family have been telling me I need some colour for a while. I will follow my dear British boarding school friends' lead by purposefully planning to sit outside when the sun is out and shellacking myself with oil to speed up the browning process ;}.

3. Better set design.  My minion, who claims to be my younger sister, said I was being too anal.  She filmed off centre so I am sure we are not related by blood.  Yes this is enough evidence for me to deny kinship.

African and Diasporan books that featured in the video were:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Harmattan Rain by Ayesha  Harruna Attah
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembg
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Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Rich Girl, Poor Girl by Lesley Lokko

So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd


All great books I highly recommend :)


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Music With A Message

I have been noticing that there are quite a lot of songs emanating from the very soul of the African continent and the diaspora with an empowering or moral tone to them.  When I think about songs with a mission I think of the sixties and seventies when John Lennon asked the world to "give peace a chance" and Marvin Gaye asked "what's going on?" Those questions can still be asked today, but I don't really hear them being asked with the passion that was done in those days in the musical realm.

Here are a few songs I have come across in the last couple of months that are asking questions of us and/ or hope to inspire us:

Shedding light on Diabetes:



Abuse and empowerment:





Politics:



Race:



Prejudice:



Do these songs have as much of an impact today as they did then?  The last song I can really think of that had any kind of impact was Hugh Masekela's "Bring Back Nelson Mandela" in the 80s. Are we so jaded now that songs can no longer stir us into action, providing the soundtrack to change?  Does music no longer have political and/ or social clout? Or have we not found a way to expose these songs in the 21st Century digital world we live in, where everything is accessible but access is thwarted by the way our lives are constantly being fragmented into tiny pieces that it is hard to see the links sometimes? A lot to ponder, hmmmmmmm..........

Saturday, 28 May 2011

One Year of Mwana Ba Afrika :)

Can't believe that I wrote my first post just over a year ago! How time flies... This blog has brought me more satisfaction and a sense of purpose than I could have imagined :))))))))))!  Being able to put down my thoughts, work through my nervous condition (an inherent feature of my Afropolitaness) and explore my African identity concurrently with the continent's has been the most fulfilling experience of my twenties.  I pray that it continues to feed my soul and energise my spirit :).

I already created a 2010 Top 10 Posts list.  Here are 5 more posts from 2011 that I think are worth reading if you have not already:

Afropolitan African Delicacy
The Global Fund - A Victim of it's Own Transparency?
Innocent Mugabe
(Re)Branding Africa
Only Human (and That is Enough)

I think the most profound and also unexpectedly comforting thing I have learned in 2011, of which I spent the first 3 months in Europe, is that you can find the motherland in the most unexpected places.  Africa and it's peoples are everywhere and we have an impact that we have yet to exploit to its fullest potential.  To illustrate this point I end with a picture of me in Liechtenstein (don't ask me how I ended up there ;}) posing with a sculpture inspired by the motherland entitled African King:


 Here's to another year of exploration and silliness ;}

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Africa Day: What I Wanted To Say Yesterday

Yesterday was a day to celebrate the continent and our freedom to forge our own destinies.  I was unaware until I had a chat with MINI MI that for some African countries, this day is just another day even though it marks the commemoration of the African Union as well.  Nigeria does not seem to acknowledge the day.  It has been an official holiday in Zambia as far as I can remember. I think it is an important day for the continent to reflect, to take pride in who we are and resolve to be trailblazers who defy the world's expectations and become the great peoples we have the potential to be.  I say peoples as although we share a commonality in the African experience, we have unparalleled diversity that should be preserved and celebrated as well. 

It is an interesting time for Africa.  Sudan will be split into two soon.  Egypt is witnessing the cost of freedom.  Revolution is a long process and the media have not helped in perpetuating the illusion that demanding change culminates to democracy overnight and when they aren't oversimplifying they are spreading gloom and doom.  Unfortunately the Libya situation is worse than ever, and my fears have been realised.

However, progress has been made in Cote D'Ivoire with President Ouattara rightfully being sworn in as President as the people had chosen at the end of last year.  Let us hope that this is a huge step towards sustained peace in the region.  I hope that they finally deal with their human rights issues.  Here is a video of the inauguration:


As for me Africa Day was particularly invigorating.  The day before I saw David and Goliath battle in the 21st Century, when Rafa beat John Isner after being pushed to 5 sets for the first time at Roland Garros.  I have gushed about Nadal before, but I have gained a new level of respect for him after watching that match.  Watching him fail to find a way to penetrate Isner's game after he lost the break in the second set and seeing him transform in the fourth by taking a chance and going for Isner's mammoth serve and finally making inroads to break and take the last two sets to win was awesome possum :)))))).  Seeing him adapt and change, persevere and call on his inner-strength to will victory was just wow! My favourite match of his on clay for sure. Definitely a classic. You can watch his interview after the match here, (look for Day 3).

How does this relate to my Africa Day? Nadal's win despite what seemed to an insurmountable obstacle in his way gave me the strength to declutter my life literally and figuratively so that I can be receptive to God through faith in myself and my abilities.  The only person who can help you is yourself.  You have to find the strength within when you are faced with external trials and tribulations.  So I spent the day cleaning my personal space and clearing my head and I am now prepared to move forward with energy and optimism and most importantly faith in myself, my abilities and my contributions to life.

I will end with my fav African song of the moment.  Africa let's "hustle and stay focused" :)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Caught with his Strauss-ers down

It has been an interesting week in the news.  The recent sexual assault case in America involving a Guinean chambermaid and the now former Managing Director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, came from completely left field. The important difference between this and the concurrent revelation about Arnie's love child  with a member of his household staff is that even though both these men abused their powerful positions, Mr. Schwarzenegger's affair was consensual in this instance, though he has admitted to non-consensual sexual activity in the past.

I have voiced before my view on what people do in their private lives and particularly in their bedrooms, especially with stars, sportsmen and those in public office.  If it doesn't affect their jobs, which for the most part I think is usually the case, that is a private matter between the parties involved frankly.  However,  Strauss-Kahn's situation is completely different. If he is indeed guilty, no one is above the law, and such conduct should not be swept under the carpet.  France's stance on the sexual antics of its public figures, that has been considered lax by many in the world, is now under such scrutiny. Is this changing as as the French press uncharacteristically focus on this story by revealing an unprecedented amount of detail about his sex life? If you would like the salacious details I leave that for you to find. Should the media hold public figures accountable for what they do both in the office and in their bedrooms? Does France's strict privacy laws have a part to play in how Strauss-Kahn felt he could behave when he was not on official duty?

I am rather disturbed as a global citizen and as an African woman about women's sexual rights and how they are regarded.  I do not think that anywhere in the world has gotten it right.  This week a debate in the UK had me quite perturbed when the Justice Secretary seemed to trivialise certain instances of rape and failed to understand that whether it is stranger or someone you know, whether it is a first encounter gone wrong or after several consensual encounters it is still rape.  I have commented on rape in Africa before and believe African men need to step it up and treat women better but it is important to acknowledge education  for BOTH genders is still desperately needed all over the world about such issues.

On a lighter note, yes I am very proud of the very cheesy title to this post :}