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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

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Polychronic Global Music Mix

As promised, here is the 3-4-10 post of music that defies the laws of time, polychronic in nature: timeless due to  the artists' refusal to be limited by the Zeitgeist to produce music that is ever present in the past, the now and the tomorrows to come.  List is in no particular order, all these songs are dope yo! (For more music explore the Music and African Music tags ) Enjoy! :) 

Top 3 songs right now:

1. Bruno Mars - Locked up

2. PSY - Gangnam Style

3. Contolola - Zone Fam

Top 4 African songs:

1. EME ft. WizKid - Dance For Me

2. Pompi - Packaging

3. Emeli Sande - My Kind of Love

4. Fuse - Azonto

10 songs from the past? present? future?

1. TIV ft Vector & Proverb - Komole

2. E-Sir ft Nameless - Boomba Train

3. Olly Murs - Dance With Me Tonight

4. African Connection - Ami Oh

5. Cactus Agony - Bush territory

6. Ed Sheeran - You Need Me, I Don't Need You (True Tiger Remix ft Dot Rotten & Scrufizer)

7. La Roux - Tigerlilly

8. Daley ft Jesse J

9.  Holstar - Past, Present and Future

10.  Kryptic Kids - H.O.H. (Head Over Heels)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Zed Culture Part IV: Polychronic vs Monochronic

 © Mwana ba Afrika 
In October, I attended my first TopFloor Public Discussion Forum.  The theme was "Zambian Cultural Identity" and featured insightful discussion lead by presentations from Ms Mulenga Kapwepwe, my Zambian girl crush, and  University of Zambia, UNZA, Professor Mubanga Kashoki.  The debate was framed around: "What is Zambia's cultural identity? What influence does Zambia's cultural identity have on business practices? What defines culture: Language? Dress? Protocol? What influence do these cultural indicators have on individual careers and business conduct? What are the hindrances?  What cultural elements need to be emphasised? Managed? Changed?"  What came out of the discussion was the importance of our concept of time, and how much that affects the legacy colonisation left us with: the disjuncture with our polychronic, historically fluid perception of time that is in constant battle with the monochronic, fixed, unidirectional notion that British brought with them .  

Over the next month, I have realised, even though I may have spent two thirds of my life in the West, in countries that operate monochronically, you can't take the African, the polychronic, out of me he he he.  Used it when I was over there with time difference to buy time or complain that I had lost it.  And now I really take advantage, particularly when operating with the USA, as I am half a day ahead, so can always stretch time out - when I don't get something done in my time, I go back in time and make sure it is done by the time it's that time half way across the world.  Also have to be aware that some people are ahead of time, like when working with my current collaboration partner from C1rca 1964, who is based in Australia.

I recently commented on Facebook that you can't operate on the continent if you cannot operate polychronically.  Now that I am working with the National Arts Council of Zambia, with a bunch of creatives to boot, I have been stretching time and having people stretch mine back.  As Ms Kapwepwe pointed out, in Indonesia they go so far as to call it rubber time.  The important thing is to get whatever it is done, worrying about the time wastes just wastes more time.  And sometimes deadlines can just be stressful.  Life is not linear, it never goes in a straight line: sometimes it goes off on a tangent, it gets a little wiggly, or just goes round and round and comes back to the place you started.  So time should accommodate that.  I am a much happier person since I ditched the 9-5 model and now work anytime between 9am and 2am everyday, take naps when I need to and am flexible enough to meet anyone, any place, and work for whomever, anywhere, thanks to the beauty of the Internet.  I am physically static but virtually limitless!  

However, what I don't like about the polychronic nature, and of Zambians in particular, is that they don't distiguish between stretching time and not respecting other people's time.  I always believe that you should do what you do with your time to yourself, but respect that others may be different.  As I say Don't waste my time, it is not your time to waste.  There is a difference between just being late coz you can't be bothered versus being overextended, stuck in traffic or stretching the hours to fit everything into the day.  Sometimes Zambians take advantage of APT (African People's Time) aka CPT (Coloured Peoples Time) and turn up hours late for things for no apparent and then expect to be accommodated, huffing and puffing, causing more harm than good.  

Stretch the time, don't waste it!

My Kamanga Wear Dropped-Crotch
Jumpsuit, the first of many I'm sure,
just had my second altered to fit :)
 © Mwana ba Afrika 
This new understanding of time has also helped a lot with understanding my concept of African style.  Creativity is not linear either.  You need to be able to dip into the past, be rooted in the present and be flying in the skies of the future to truly tap into that energy and be creative.  Something can be new and old the same time e.g. same cut, different chitenge print.  Or how my earrings are in-style without following trends and can follow traditions while adding new creativity.  Everything is always in if you rock it :).   It's the same with music we make - it can never be placed to a particular year or decade, it can be attached to a place but not to a time.  Recently I have been particularly dispassionate about American music. It is so cookie cutter and people keep churning out songs just be be relevant and not to produce something new.  The videos are all the same, and there are forever naked women,  all trying to pass versions of nudity off as stylish and original. I'm really quite bored and disaffected. Even talented people like Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera seemed to have plateaued and/or worse plummetted into mediocrity with regards to song quality.

I like the electronic and dance sound coming from Europe, and Afro-pop continues to hit the spot, with the Nigerians leading the way.  I have also been leaning towards doo-wop 60s type songs like Olly Murs's last two singles, but the song that really brought this out is Bruno Mars' "Locked Up".  It has touched my soul in such a way because it sounds so old, yet so fresh, and will continue to do that because of how genius it is.  Same with PSY's Gangnam Style: reminiscent of the one hit wonders of the 90s like Macarena and Saturday Night but really original, futuristic and ultimately timeless.  I have also been discovering a lot of African music and thinking it's new, only to find out it was released years ago, and rediscovering old stuff too.  So I leave you with a promise that I will make a 3-4-10 post of music that defies the laws of time, polychronic in nature, and therefore timeless due to their refusal to be limited by the Zeitgeist and ever present in the past, the now and the tomorrows to come.

As promised, here  is the polychronic global music mix :)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Profound Nonsense At Its Best

My favourite Canadian just let me know about this and even though I am so busy right now, (check out a media company called Purple Tembo for more details he he he and follow links to like on Facebook and follow on Twitter he he he ;}),  I had to quickly post this.  This video is a collaboration between Norwegians and muntus.

I am always joking to my Northern Hemisphere friends whenever they complain of cold, as we in the South get roasted to a crisp, that I should bottle the excess sunshine and send it over to balance things out, and that they should do the same with the cold. I could use that freeze in my non-airconditioned car when needed (thankfully today I have remembered to open all the windows when I woke up, so when I start my journeying in a coupla hours I won't roast and turn into a tasty turkey bound for some Lusaka-resident American's Thanksgiving Table, as they celebrate the holiday here today he he he ;}).

This also reminds me of how real videos like this can be and at their worst like the KONY 2012 debacle earlier this year, and how one-sided aid is, when actually we could help each other out in both directions.  Earlier in the year I had a bout of my nervous condition and then through recovery I blogged about another vid that made fun of the way the West reports on continental affairs.  I will leave you with that coz that is another instance of profound nonsense. I hope to see more of this content in the future, satire is a great way to introduce a serious topic in an accessible way and get people talking about the inequalities negatively skewed to the way we Africans are reported in the media and are treated by the world :).

Monday, 29 October 2012

Rebasing the Kwacha

This is a transcript of the pamphlet distributed by the Bank of Zambia, BOZ.  For further information contact: Public Relations Division, Bank of Zambia, P.O. Box 30080, LUSAKA 10101.  Tel: +260 211 228888 Email, Website: Of course I have edited, I canna help myself, commas and grammar are important.  I have not changed words or meaning.

You can get more information from BOZ and their webssite.  They are advertising in the paper daily, as well as frequently on tv and radio: the public can exchange their notes from 1st January 2013 and old Kwacha will be legal tender until 30th June.  During this period business must display prices in old and rebased currency and change must be given in new Kwachas whenever possible. After June 2013, prices will only be shown in rebased currency. Thereafter,exchange of old currency will only be possible at the central bank or a designated agent until June 2014, after which this facility will be available at the central bank itself.  


On 23rd January 2012, the Government of the Republic of Zambia approved the recommendation of the Bank of Zambia, BOZ, to rebase the Zambian Kwacha.  During the period prior to the launch, BOZ will provide information to ensure that the public understands what this process will entail.  In this publication, we provide answers to some pertinent questions that members of the public have been asking. and welcome any contributions that the public may have.

What is Currency Rebasing?

Click to view larger image
Currency rebasing involves dividing a currency unit by some denominator.  In this case the Zambian currency will be rebased by dividing the existing banknotes by 1000 hence lopping off 3 zeros from the exisitng K50,000, K20,000, K10,000, K5,000 and K1,000.  
Click to view larger image

The lower denominations that include the K500, K100 and K50 will be divided by 1000 and converted into coins, while the existing K20 banknote will not be converted into a coin, due to its eroded purchasing power.  Thus, it will be eventually removed from circulation.

Why rebase the currency?

The decision to rebase the national currency has arisen from the need to address cost associated with an accummulated loss in the value of the Kwacha, arising from years of high inflation that characterised the Zambian economy in the late 1900s and the early parts of the 2000s.  Such high levels of inflation at that time resulted in inconvenience and risks involved in carrying large quantities of money for relatively low value transactions.  This then prompted BOZ to introduce high value denominations in 2003, which included the K20,000 and the K50,000 notes, to facilitate transactions.  In recent times, the economy has stabilised, and it has been decided that this is the right time to rebase the currency.

Will rebasing cause inflation?

No inflationary effect arising directly from rebasing is expected as the operation is basically a zero removal process, with the quantity of currency in circulation, in terms of pieces, remaining the same.  In other words, one K50,000 banknote for instance, will be replaced by one K50 rebased banknote.  The value, in terms of purchasing powerm of the K50,000 and the new K50 will be the same, hence will buy the same goods and services without increasing the prices.

What are the benefits of rebasing the Kwacha?

The benefits of rebasing the Kwacha can be divided into economic and social benefits as shown below:

Economic benefits:
i. It will reduce costs incurred in customising standard accounting packages, since most of these are developed in countries where values are mostly in millions and rarely go into billions and trillions.
ii. It will reduce time taken to input accounting information, thus improving accuracy and reporting times.
iii. It will allow the Central Bank to introduce coins in the high circulating denominations, increasing durability and consequently resulting into savings on costs usually associated with printing.
iv. Rebasing the Zambian Kwacha will increase credibility in the currency and will result in more confidence from both local and foreign investors.
v. Smaller digits will be easier to deal with and understand by the public.

Social benefits:

i. Re-introduction of the culture of using coins in Zambia will encourage technology transfer from developed nations in areas such as the use of vending machines, parking meters, etc.
ii. It will give the Central Bank future room to introduce higher value notes in line with economic growth without having to increase the number of zeros to extremely large numbers.
iii. It will hep the Central Bank to review security features on the banknotes, hence curbing cases of counterfeit notes.

When is the Central Bank going to launch the new banknotes?

BOZ will launch the new currency immediately the rebased currency is delivered to the Bank.  The two currencies,  both new and old, will circulate side by side for a period yet to be determined, while centres will be set up throughout the country to facilitate the ease of exchange of the currencies.

What will be the deadline for financial reporting?

BOZ will communicate the end date for Financial and other institutions to start reporting their financial statements using the new rebased banknotes as a unit.

Will BOZ educate the public on the use of new banknotes?

BOZ will embark on an extensive public education and awareness campaign to assist all Zambians in understanding issues surrounding rebasing of the currency.

How will the old currencies be phased out  and when will the new currency be introduced?

When the new currency is introduced, it will be allowed to run side by side with the old currency for a period to be determined.  This means that when members of the public deposit or use old currency in banks and other entities in the economy, the old currency will be withdrawn through commercial banks by BOZ.  At this stage BOZ will only issue the new currency to commercial banks.  Should members of the public have old currency in their posession following the expiry of the exchange period, they will be able to exchange the old currency with the new at BOZ or any of its designated agencies.  It is only after the adequate and stipulated period has elapsed that the old currency will be demonetised, i.e. will become illegal tender.

Will currency rebasing affect the value of savings?

The process of rebasing of the currency will simply change the amount quoted in individual accounts, but it will not change the value of money or indeed savings.  For example, an individual with a K200,000 balance in a savings account currently, after rebasing, the balance will reflect as K200.  The value, however, will remain the same.

In addition, if a household was spending K350,000 to buy a basket of goods and services per month, the household will spend K350 in the rebased currency to buy exactly the same amount of goods and services.

Will the exchange rate be affected by rebasing the currency?

Rebasing the currency will not affect the Kwacha exchange rates.  The exchange rates will simply be divided by 1000, as illustrated in the example below:

                         *ZMK Exchange Rate       ZMK Rebased Exchange Rate
US Dollar                   5000                               5.000
British Pound              7000                               7.000
Euro                           6000                               6.000
RSA Rand                    600                               0.600
*Please note that this is an example and does not necessarily reflect the current exchange rates.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Zed Culture Part III: A Call to Arms

This post originally featured on Unchain Africa Press in June 2012.  I have been looking to post it at the right time on MbA. It has been modified slightly from the original.  This is also dedicated to OXFORD SHIRT,  and appropriately is posted during her birthday month.

“You Lazy (Intellectual) African Scum”  recounts the frank, chance meeting between an American venture capitalist and a Zambian. This man of the Caucasian persuasion, depending on the way one reads the retelling, either comes off as arrogant, insensitive and even racist, or, he is a man that understands that capitalism has no morals, that money begets money, that many in the financial sector have no qualms about exploiting whomever to get it, but through his travels has made some astute and insightful observations about Africa and its educated elite.  This recounting of a coincidental plane meeting went viral at the beginning of the year and has touched a very sensitive place in the African psyche.

Whatever your view of this exchange between two men from two different continents are, it is a welcome addition to the debate about the state of Africa and what we on the continent are doing about it.  Jacqueline Musiitwa, a proud Zambia, decided to defensively attack the American. Her tone is caustic, vitriolic and dismissive. Even though she acknowledges that there are Africans who leave and turn their back on Africa once they are educated, it is clear that she has decided that this man is racist, ill-informed and evil.  She acknowledges that some of us still have an inferiority complex and that Zambia, and the continent, still have a way to go to being in an economically sound place, but has missed the crux of this account.  She has committed the opposite of the sin that is the colonised mind: she appears to be bitter, and herself prejudiced, letting these shortcomings cloud her judgement. She has focused on the (evil) white man, rather than what the men’s discussion has brought to the fore.  That makes her no better than the type of people she seems to despise.

The point is that the American is well aware that there is no difference between races and that we are all capable of achieving great things.  If he had been sitting next to a Kenyan and had done business there and had the same experiences, he would have probably said the same thing.   Zambia was merely the example to serve a much greater purpose: talking about the state of many parts of the continent.  We Africans are some of the most educated people in the world and yet we are not a force in it.  The Economist reported that even though many of the continent’s countries sported high growth figures, despite the global economic downturn, last year we only contributed to 2.5% of the world's output.  We may be blessed with raw materials that are pivotal to the world today, but we are not using this wealth to develop and progress wisely.  In DRC, instead of its coltan reserves being harnessed to uplift its people or to make technological equipment such as mobile phones, it is being used by rebel militia to fuel the conflict that is disempowering women and terrorising villages.  Nigeria supplies a fifth of the USA’s oil and yet in January its own people were lining up for fuel.   Many of us complain about our governments, corruption, discrimination and the fact that we do not have this or that but do not follow-up proactively enough, if at all.  We as individuals need to do more, and the intellectuals, both home grown and those with exposure to other cultures, countries and continents through education and work, need to be at the forefront, leading the rest into a better future.

Rather than be offended by this account, let us take it as an opportunity to take stock, to re-evaluate our position, and to figure out a way to affect change for the better.   This is a call to arms for intellectuals to use the knowledge they have amassed and transform it into innovation, solutions, development and change. The newly certified generation of educated Africans should help the continent on the ground, or from abroad in any way they can, no matter how small. We as Africans need to stem the tide of vulture funds, and reduce the reliance on Western economic and humanitarian aid.  Instead we should be inspiring each other to innovate, create and collaborate on the continent and with the world.  It is up to us to show that Africans are achieving great things, from the grassroots level to the lofty echelons of government and business.  Many of our local media do not cover the work people are doing in their communities and what great things already happening on the continent.  We need to encourage ourselves to use the tools we have acquired locally and abroad to better our future and stop the systematic exploitation of our lands and people.
We need to be inspired by people such as Fred Swaniker who started a leadership academy in South Africa to encourage secondary school children hailing from all corners of Africa to think about how they can contribute to the continent. We need to believe that we have African products to offer like Magatte Wade, and fight against African stereotypes like Olivier Nizeyimana. We need to continue to create and support sites like the Zambian Entrepreneur that “match entrepreneurs and investors” and Celebrating Progress Africa that highlights success stories and provides a forum for debate.  And we need to support women like Bethlehem Tilahun who created the worlds first and only WFTO fair trade certified footwear company, soleRebels, as this recent New York Times article outlining female entrepreneurship driving African economic development highlighted.  We also need to take control of and produce the messages and the definitions of who we are that are transmitted through global media.

We need to ramp up our mission to fully reclaim ownership of our continent and its destiny that continues to be bright despite being obscured by our inability to more actively fight for it, even though we have the means to do so.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Zed Culture Part II: Happy 48th Zed!

Me flying like the youthful Zed Nkwazi (eagle) I am over the Mosi-Oa-Tunya aka
Vic Falls, Livingstone.  That flimsy contraption aka microlight was the one of
best and worst experiences of my life!
Today marks Zambia's 48th year of Independence from the British Empire, and the day it changed it's name from Northern Rhodesia to Zambia.  It was the 9th African state to free itself from it's colonial power.  Did you know that it was almost called Zambezia, (after the Zambezi river, 4th longest river in Africa and the water that creates the Mosi-Oa-Tunya: The Smoke that Thunders aka Victoria Falls), which is now the name of a Hollywood CGI animated film starring the voice talents of Samuel L. Jackson set at the Falls and is of course about animals!  There's a random nugget of useless knowledge for you.  Another less useless and more interesting nugget, (I hope), is that we have 19 national parks, the largest is Kafue: it is the size of Wales and is the second largest in Africa.  And today is Pele's birthday too, no wonder we are football crazy!

Our country is still young, and though we started off well, being one of the richest countries in Africa in the 1970s thanks to our copper and our first President, Kenneth Kaunda, investing in education and providing youth with educational opportunities around the world, and coupled with them repatriating to bring the skills they had learnt abroad back home, we have now done a 360.  Many of our educated have flown the coup, and there are no longer the ready opportunities our parents enjoyed.  However, instead of being pessimistic, nihilistic and Oscar the Grouch about our situation like this dude who glibly and speciously wrote a piece titled Zambia's 48 years of dependency, how about looking at why we have regressed/ stagnated and how to move forward?  I really can't stand people who whine and complain and offer nothing to rectify the situation.  They just want to stew in the smell emanating from the poop they are talking about and watch as the stench chokes the hope and optimism out of people.  That is not patriotic.  Patriotism is love for one's country, and sometimes it has to be tough through constructive criticism that aims to foster and catalyse positive change through progress.  Listing all our problems is not criticism, it's compiling a list.  Not looking at what is working means that that list is incomplete, unbalanced and negatively skewed.  Not seeing the potential that exists in so many areas of society, culture, business and development here in Zambia is short-sighted and unpatriotic.  You should want to improve what is wrong with your country, not just point and cackle and watch as it goes down in flames because if we are a Christian country, that is what Jesus would do - he'd step up man!  More on that in Part I, where you can also find links to Zambian blogs written by people who actually love their country and are proud to hail from it.  Clearly this dude falls in the former category I was talking about :(.  If he wants to talk about how our issues and what we can do to fix them, he should have a chat with this dude: This is how you write an Independence post that challenges the status quo while hoping for a better future and wishing the country well!

What I wish for my country over the next two years leading up to our 50th anniversary is the potential of our youth to be realised.  We are going through a renaissance that is evident in other African countries too.  We can see youth leading through mobile technology in East Africa, particularly Kenya with Ushaidi that is now the go-to global platform for emergency and disaster reportage and has gone beyond that with out very own girls here in Zambia using it to map out all the female tech orgs on the continent.  Or how about those Ugandan med students that figured out a way to do ultrasounds with a basic mobile phone and our West African friends who are leading the way by culturally embracing their Africaness creatively with fashion, music, tv and film? Or our North African brothers and sisters who used social media and protests to enact political and social change?  Or how about here in the South - former war-torn countries like Angola and Mozambique are moving on up the development scale quicker than you can say what I just wrote peacefully?  And how about the youth that comprise our national team stepping up in Gabon and winning AFCON, realising the weight on their shoulders and stepping up to ensure this momentous event in our history occurred.  Today we will forget how they have haphazardly performed since he he he he. We shall remember again tomorrow though...

Zambian youth have a lot to offer, they want to improve themselves and they believe they can do it on their own soil.  Unlike the troll who wrote that article, they are optimistic despite what seem like insurmountable problems.  They may have been disappointed that what they voted for last year has not come into fruition, but every day I hear of some enterprising youngun looking for a scholarship, starting a small business to get them through school and trying to find a way to make their mark by improving themselves.  We need to encourage these kids, not give them reasons to give up hope and eschew optimism.  We need to keep our future bright and hungry, like these guys who made a video of their rendition of our national anthem, proudly donning Zed football paraphernalia:

There have been times I have wanted to give up, to stay out in the West or defect to Kenya or South or Nigeria but I haven't because in the end ndi mwina Zed! I am a Mwana ba Afrika who is proudly Zambian.  This is the time to be here, there is so much to be done and so many ways to make a life, to travel new paths and explore new possibilities.  There are endless things to discover due to the diversity in ethnic groups and we can look at ourselves from other angles too: what  does our national identity mean today, what is our role in SADC and and what do we offer to the African identity?  We need to get rid of people like the dude who wrote the Watchdog piece, looking to outside with rose-coloured glasses, ignoring the fact that Europe and the USA are going through a serious financial crisis that has made many of their people instantly poor and that many are struggling too. Like I have said, no one has THE answer, the magic pill, the silver bullet. There is nothing I hate more than a colonised mind.  I wonder if he has ever left the country.  Having spent the best part of 2/3 of my life in the West, from what I can see, things are not necessarily always better, just different.  Different climate, different cultures, different peoples, different priorities that bear different problems and solutions.  But we have many similarities too - we are all trying to make our worlds better, and sometimes we make them worse.  We are all flawed and WE ALL HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR GREATNESS IN OUR OWN WAYS.  What we need to do here in Zambia is stop looking outside for answers, but look within, because they are there for the taking! We need to take contolol! I leave you with two songs: one by Cactus Agony that I just love because it is such a patriotic song with soul and profound insight into who we are and how confused we are as a nation and what we can do to rise up and take control of our Zambian identity and the other is my favourite song right now, and the best song that Zone Fam has done in my eyes that is Proudly Zambian in every shape and form. It's a party-starter and today is a day of celebration :)

Actually before I do that...

One Zambia, One Nation! Nafuti Nafuti! Donchi Kubeba! Whether we are governed by UNIP, MMD , PF or who knows in the future, what is important is that we as a people band together and rise up as a nation, become great again and soar proudly like the eagles we will always be, coz don't tell anyone, Zambians are on the move baby!

Ummm yes I made sure that all the colours of our flag are in this post and talked about eagles to make sure that element of the flag is included as well he he he...Okay I'm done ;}

No I'm not he he he. Added a new tag and theme to the blog: Y Zed ie. Young Zambia.  To kick off I have added a new section on the right-hand side with links to Zambian websites and blogs belonging to Zed youth.  And check out my views on Zambia over the years he he he he.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Zed Culture Part I: Passionate Youth

I have been on a journey the past few weeks that has been counter to the sojourn over the past coupla months with Zed culture.  Right now I am trying to set up a media company and am looking for funding for my first project and have encountered the worst of Zambia.  We declare ourselves to be a Christian nation, yet the people I have encountered have been very close-minded, uncharitable, dismissive and at times shockingly devilish with their terrible manners including dastardly phone and email etiquette, disrespect of my time, and unnecessary condescension that stems from making sure I know my place, (which I know already is at the bottom of the barrel which is why I am looking for help to lift myself up), so they can feel better about themselves!  This is not what Jesus would do! So with my mphamvu (strength/ energy) in the doldrums and my confidence shot, I have been carrying on as a being that is merely extant, floating along the sea of life with direction but no conviction. I wrote about my experiences in this recent post, and this is yet another recounting of an instance where I have once again been sucked in by Twitter by tweets from people who are far from twits.

While looking for inspirational quotes, (which I use to keep me trudging on professionally), I came across a conversation between Zambians in the country and Diaspora talking about how it is important for us to start creating our own content that isn't informed by what people from the outside, mainly the West, expect from us.  That we should tell our stories in as unadulterated and raw a form as possible and not bend too much to package things to fit into formats that was not created with us in mind. More importantly how we have to validate our very being, the diversity that exists in our physical, spiritual, and cultural identities and not hold ourselves to one ideal, or worse, an external ideal upheld by global media that is defined by Western biases. I was able to see the voice of Zed Youth through this convo.  Sometimes one feels alone and even though I have heard of youthful disgruntledness and calls for change, I have not really felt it beyond my own circle, and the few times I have has been in the tech world with my visits to BongoHive and Asikana Network (but I don't count that as techies are naturally collaborative: they are intrinsically inclined to be open and inclusive).  It is lovely to see this community spirit on-line, and to see passionate, informed voices talking about what is wrong with Zambia and what needs to be done to fix it.  More importantly, it is comforting to know that there are unadulterated, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, impassioned dreamers like me and my friends in all sorts of places and that circles like mine exist in Zambia in more ways that I thought, on- and off-line.  I also discovered some new blogs that these clever twits own and/ or contribute to.  You can check out the people I found on Twitter and their corresponding blogs here:

Most importantly, I was led to this lovely spoken word piece about remembering our past before colonisation, recognising what change was brought from the West and it's consequences, realising how all of this has shaped our present and current state in order to forge into the future without malice, without lusting  for vindication, but with peace, wisdom, charity, grace, pride, confidence and most importantly, in our own varied ways.  Our history is not to be obliterated, it has happened and it has shaped who we are, but we are also the masters of our own destiny.  We can decide how we create the future and keep the thread of what it is to be diverse on the continent with our numerous ethnicities, as well as within the country boundaries that were imposed on us to define our national identities, and  even on a more macro scale as Africans.  I think Zambia is going through a tough phase right now, wrangling with who we are and how to define that and on what scale.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Bullet Wounds

Had they not qualified, this bag would have been used to
you know what - it has their name on it so clearly..;}  
So the Chipolopolo have qualified to AFCON 2013.  I should be happy about this but I am not.  Why? Because the fashion in which they achieved this was ridiculous.  African champions do not give a lacklustre performance at home only giving them a 1-0 cushion to carry to Uganda, where they then play like they have no mphamvu, let the Cranes score to even the tally and then have to take it to a penalty shoot-out that ends up being longer than the one that secured their victory earlier in the year! UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!! Why, Zambia, why do we act like this?! I say this because anyone who represents our country acts as ambassadors for the people.  Their behaviour indicates to the world what kind of people we are.  Clearly we are back to being the jokers that we have been.  Instead of using the opportunity afforded by our AFCON win to continue to fulfil our potential, we are reverting back to our underachiever ways. Instead of catalysing our success into becoming a recognised African football powerhouse like our Ghanaian and Ivorian friends, we are complacent and relying on luck.  We are a Christian nation but let me tell you, God only helps those who help themselves.  I don't know who helped us on Saturday but it was certainly not God because we did nothing to deserve the win we got.

I don't know what I would have done if we had not qualified and had the opportunity to play at the World Cup 2010 venues and defend our title.  That should have been incentive enough but it clearly wasn't   Pundits said before the match that we shouldn't worry about the Chipolopolo performance at home because the boys have evolved from being motivated by money as they were rewarded handsomely for their efforts and now it is self-esteem and pride for their nation that will carry them through, the bonus they will get for qualifying was inconsequential.  From the way they played they couldn't care less about ego, money, the nation or anything. The only way to really describe how I feel about their performance is to give you another convo with SPORTS GUZA like I did the last time I was exasperated and wounded by friendly fire:

SG: Have you seen the picture quality? S***ty

MbA: As always. I've even stopped commenting on that.  Renard is wearing black jeans, not blue ones.  If we lose that's why.  I'm very superstitious.  Next he'll chop off his hair!

SG: Ahhhh no we need the hair and skinny jeans.

MbA: The jeans are still skinny but they are black.  Then the shirt colour will change...

SG: Jinx!

MbA: This is not the time for experimentation

SG: Ok, signing off till afterwards....

At half time:

SG: We are clearly out of our depth

MbA: Drugs, just drugs! Was waiting for you to reopen comms. WTF?!!!!!!

SG: No pushing...hesitant

MbA: Ah it's like they don't know how to play football:  Complete panic when in possesion, making long loopy passes and being dispossessed as soon as the ball comes to our feet.  This is it, jeez!  It will be over in 45 if we aren't careful.  We didn't cushion ourselves well at home

SG: No we didn't, lousy game.  

After penalty shoot out that needed 11 rounds for us to win 10-9.

SG: Dude do you feel what I'm feeling? Gutted?

MbA: And the penalty by [Christopher] Katongo to start - says it all.  Since Ug scored I have not felt well.  This is not how you qualify man! We didn't need this amount of stress! I can't even be happy it's too hot and I couldn't eat.  I'm hungry!

SG: I started crying (This is a woman who doesn't cry)

MbA:  I almost cried but I was so hungry so I almost threw up instead (Was going to get lunch at half time but I was so wired I couldn't eat so by the time this was all over I was nauseated) Too much for me too much! I almost died watching the Gabon penalties

SG: I am still in shock

MbA: And you do this just to qualify and these penalties went longer and we started badly.  Bl**dy disrespectful to us fans.  I'm f**king pissed, can't even enjoy qualification

SG: This goes on your blog

MbA: Of course it does!

We both had to go out later to calm down and remember that life is good.

To make it worse,  while watching ZNBC news later to hear what the country had to say, one stupid kambwanga of a man from Kabwe was talking about that loser Clifford Mulenga and how he was needed.  Dude broke curfew during the QF and was suspended and did not participate in the SF or the Final or take a penalty to get the AFCON win.  During the time he played he did not score or do anything singular that could attribute to our advancement through the tournament in 2012.  He is not our talisman.  He is a joker and a fool who missed out on a great opportunity because he could not compute the seriousness and the meaning of us playing in the very country that our men perished almost 20 years before.  GET A GRIP PEOPLE AND STOP FOCUSING ON NONSENSE!!!

Herve and the boys need to regroup. The spirits of our fallen heroes carried them to victory but now it is now up to the Chipolopoloto continue on their own steam to greater heights.  The eagle on our flag is there for a reason: it is to remind us that we are regal, that we can soar and conquer and that we can control our own destiny. NAPAPATA get it together before AFCON 2013!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Woman Talk

Asikana Network Meet-up, October 2012
This year I haven't posted as much but when I have, it has mostly been about women things.  And that is what is inspiring me to start blogging again.  It all started with a Twitter conversation (no I am still not a twit, I just have a handle for my newly launched media company that I will talk about once I have something to say he he he).  I happened to come across a comment contributing to the BBC Africa debate on women  from Chisenga, one of the lovely ladies who founded the Asikana Network, and my reaction to it snowballed into a late night conversation about being a professional woman with sentiments rooted in the Zed environment:

Yes these two little women may look rather young
but are filled with wisdom beyond their years.
OK I am not looking or acting my age but do not be
deceived he he he he....
Chisenga: The fact that a woman's survival in a position depends on her ability to 'act like a man' is in itself an indicator

MbA: It is sad that we still have to deal with these issues today.  I feel like that everyday...

Chisenga: True, if you do something well then being told "you do it like a man" is seen as a compliment but we are DIFFERENT!!

MbA: You have no idea how many times I've been told I operate like a man and it irritates me.  I do it like me man, like a woman hehe

Chisenga: But you do it like a competent woman! Once had a guy tell me I'm an 'evolved' woman just because I wasn't wearing make-up and heels!

MbA: It's sad that women are thought of as incompetent by default and that an indicator of that is make-up and heels.  We are diverse!

Chisenga: To them pretty and dolled-up = incompetent, masculine = competent! How does this play out [with you]?

MbA: Right now trying to strike a balance.  In Zed if I dress too 'manly' I intimidate generally and it makes women weirdly hostile

Chisenga: Ah and therein lies yet another challenge women hating and pulling each other  down instead of inspiring, mentoring and uplifting!

MbA:  These women stop me at the door when trying to see's so sad.  I'm not out for your job! NO TO WOMAN HATE!

Chisenga: LOL!!! My friend once said never leave your CV with a woman if you're job hunting! This needs to stop!!

MbA: [Unfortunately] she would be right.  I have resorted to taking a man with me sometimes to bypass the hateration and he has noticed the hostility!

Chisenga: And when the other women see you talking to a man instead, they accuse you of trying to 'womanipulate'! Change begins with us!

MbA: It really does! Without knowing qualifications we like to judge.  And men don't help by favouring 'pretty' women

Chisenga: LOL sooo true!!!

This convo left me pretty bummed out as it reminded me of my struggle the last few months to present myself proudly as the woman I unapologetically am, while having to navigate the inherent negativities that have been infused into this identity by society, by both men and women, which are unfortunately magnfied in Zed :(.  Luckily a few days later I was able to meet with the Asikana girls and feel a lot better.  

The women who spoke at the meeting were both equally inspiring.  Shupe Mwanza, ICT Project Manager at World Vision Zambia was really encouraging about exploring and fighting for growth and development in your professional and personal life.  She also made me feel less alone when it comes to being perpetually exacerbated with Zed service as I have ranted about before on the blog.  She also said something that needs to continue to be said and that is that Zambians are lazy.  What I liked even more is that she was inspired by fellow Africans as an example to follow.  Her experiences working at EcoBank, a West African bank, showed her that Africans can be dedicated, hardworking and have high standards.  Their pursuit for excellence shamed her people on their own soil and instead of being intimidated, she embraced the challenge of being better and in turn is determined to encourage her fellow countrymen to follow suit.  As she said, how do we expect Zambia to change if we do not change ourselves?  To improve we need to constantly be evolving, to keep ahead through knowledge and reading and to stop with the excuses, the complaining. We need to take the initiative and just do it.

Cassandra Mtine, founder of also spoke about starting and sustaining an online business. The site orginally started by catering to the Zambian diaspora looking to be able to help those at home, while making sure the money that is allocated actually goes to what it is intended for.  It has now expanded to include a myriad of solutions for Zambians at home and abroad.  She started the business in the US and has now returned to Zambia and with her female business partner, they are looking to expand their business including providing a platform for Zed business to be able to showcase their products and services to the world.  It is lovely to see women in a male dominated tech world not being intimidated and just getting on with it.  These young girls are providing an invaluable service and are constantly looking for ways to expand, to further satisfy and protect their customers and to contribute to Zambia's development.  So young, yet so entrepreneurial, focused and driven.  Great role models I love it :).

Asikana's new logo by Ruth Zozi
Just talking with the rest of the group afterwards made me happy too.  It is lovely to see women communing and supporting one another.  Asikana is an awesome possum space for women in tech because of the lovely ladies that have created it who are leading by example  by being open, friendly and eager to encourage and inspire.  The group is filled with smart, driven women who are beautiful on the inside and the outside which is just lovely to be around.  These girls made me feel a lot better and I am glad I took the time to crawl out of the cave I have been hiding in.  Sometimes you do need to look to the outside to regenerate.  Thanks ladies xo!

Asikana Network are currently spearheading a project to map out all the female African tech groups across the continent.  Check it out and contribute to their efforts here

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

MUNTU: Zed Series - Duncan Sodala: Slam Dunk Records CEO and Manager of Zone Fam aka Holstar, Zambian Hip Hop Artist And Poet

This interview was conducted in July 2011.  I have not posted it because 1. I am useless and 2. I also I needed a  segment of video edited and did not have the tools on my computer to do so he he he, which further enabled my procrastination.  This is the first male MUNTU, and I must say I could not have picked a better specimen to kick-off representation of Zed dudes.  

Nationality/ies: Zambian
Age: 30
Countries you have lived and studied in: Zambia, South Africa
African countries you have visited:  Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe
Education:  Diploma in Information Management, Institute for Management For Information Systems, (IMIS)
Profession(s):  Record Label CEO and Manager of Zone Fam, Compliance Officer for a Pension Fund
Personal Interests:  Music, Art, Poetry, Community Work, Youth Empowerment
Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blog, Website): HolstarSlam Dunk Records Ceo,  Slam Dunk Records Zambia@SDRCEO, SlamDunkRecordsTV website and YouTube channel,  Holstar on ReverbNation

10 Questions

Muntu means person in the tongue of Mwana ba Afrika’s mothers before her.  As an acronym it stands for: 

Man (because I am male)






This is how I see myself and Zambia at the moment.  I trying to bring something new and hip to the table while serving my people at the same time.

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

3: Ambitious, Understanding, Personable.

4: Interacting with and making people happy. Spending time with Family. Achieving something, particularly when people say I can’t gives me great satisfaction.  Reconnecting with old friends, like I am with you right now.

10: Potentially the new world. Challenged internally but destined for greatness.

Recommend 3 websites, blogs and/ or books, 4 movies and/ or series and 10 songs and/ or music videos.

3: Of course I have to promote my own site:  From there you can visit the other sites and blogs I’m affiliated with.  

MS TV ran by artist Mufasa Shulizee keeps me up-to-date with music from Zed and Africa to stuff coming out  of the US.

Letters to a Young Sister by Hill Harper  
Everything he talks about in this book is what people should look up to and be inspired by regardless of their gender.

4: Heroes: get the whole DVD set, it is an amazing series.  I am an Anime fan, if I had to pick one film it would be Narutu.  I enjoyed the Hollywood film 10000 BC, it was funny and epic.  The Lost Boys is a great vampire flick.


1. Unthinkable by Alicia Keys

2. Get Out by Zubz

He is a Zambian rapper who grew up in Zimbabwe and is based in South Africa.   This release was controversial as it talks about kicking out the oppressor.   The video showed  on Etv and SABC and within a month there were complaints.  It went to court and it was banned!

3. Thula by Young N9ne  

This Zambian singer/ rapper is based in the USA and really talented girl.  This is the first song I heard and it’s still my favourite from her.

4. Dear Future by Dope G ft Holstar and produced by Tekzilla.  

Beautiful song. 

5. Aston Martin Music by Rick Ross ft Drake

6. What She Said by Holstar ft CeeCeefied

7. Shaka Zulu on Em by Zone Fam  

This was my group’s breakout song: it has done wonders for us, people love it!

8. Asinamali by Tumi and the Volume

9. Power by Kanye West

10. Rolling by Chamillionaire

What have you or do you contribute to Zambia’s development economically, politically and/ or socially?

Duncan and his hip hop group Zone Fam
I have been especially dedicated to developing, cultivating and showcasing hip hop music in Zambia. We have come from a point where in 2004-5 there was no one listening to us, instead they were choosing to listen to international acts.  We only had one show on Zed radio playing locally produced stuff, now we have 5 or 6 shows across stations dedicated to this genre of music.  I have also made sure to be a part of many of the organisations that have helped to bring this about. I want to give a voice to those that wouldn’t otherwise be heard.  I promote whatever I can in the hopes they get the platform to showcase their talent that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.

I worked in youth media, in the sound engineering department for the radio show TrendSetters that has now evolved into the multimedia group Media 365.  I also worked for Bwafano Home-based Care for HIV/AIDS in Chazanga Compound in Lusaka.  They are the lifeline for 17,000 orphans.  It was a great experience as it brought home the effect this pandemic has had on our future, and fulfilling as I could see that we are taking steps to deal with the situation. 

What do you think is special about being an African man?

When you walk into a room you immediately either intimidate or are labelled.  You usually don’t turn out to be what people think you are.  I could be rich or poor, a criminal or a good guy.  We are always under- or overestimated so there is that element of surprise. 

I personally think the African man symbolises strength and not in the just in stereotypical physical sense of being able to keep a family safe from dangers and raising a proud family.

What do African men need to improve and how?

We need to learn how to work together more and network amongst ourselves.  We need to lessen the burden that African women have to bear in the family, the homestead.  This is more than just providing the money for food.  We will be making huge strides even if it is something simple such as taking just one thing off her list of things to do.

What do you think is special about the African woman?

I defer to a poem I wrote called African Woman credited under my alias Holstar:

What do African women need to improve and how?

Zambian woman have a harder time working together because of some of the constraints in society right now.   They need to find a way to rise up and stop being subservient. They should see themselves as equals they already are to African men and take charge as ultimately they are the heads of the household and in-charge of the daily activities of the family.  I will say there are women are getting educated and/ or coming back home from abroad and taking care of business here in Zambia, but there is still much room for improvement.

What role do the African diaspora and the global community have to play in the continent’s development and identity?

Both have a huge role to play. Sharing our diverse African culture with the international community and preserving it is what we on the continent need to do.  In a way our culture is seen to be dying out. We need to be at the forefront showing that it is very much alive, it is evolving and it deserves a more prominent and respected place on the global stage.

Sometimes it feels like the diaspora is not doing enough for example how BET did not air the best African act this year (2011)! Yes you gave the award but we want to see the win as that means something.

Are you satisfied with the way Zambia and Africa are portrayed in the media to the world?      
No, it’s a bit better these days but like I said no, I am not satisfied.  They don’t show the good things and the major advancements that are taking place here and in Africa.  Most us are still considered 3rd world and we need to show our achievements to move forward, especially in the tech field, as well as socially and in the medical field.  Even with HIV/ AIDS. There are huge advancements that aren’t shown, such as how in Zambia we have brought down the amount of new infections considerably.   

3 Places and/ or Things That Make Zambia Special

4 Things Duncan has Learnt From

Like this interview? Check out the other MUNTUs :).  For more of  Duncan's poetic and musical side, check out this post.