For Your Daily Dose of MbA

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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

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Happiness :)

This is how I feel on the inside but it doesn't always reflect on the outside.
This image will help me to remember myself, which is much needed right now!
African Print Hoodie designed by my favourite ready-to-wear proudly Zambian
label Kamanga Wear.  Photo ©  Pencil Case Studios
I needed to take headshots for an article and ended up spending the afternoon shooting in various locations in Lusaka, just so I could have some professional stock photos.  I am crap at taking pictures coz my face is so expressive I end up looking manic, deranged, psycho, confused, angry, disgusted...< insert unseemly derp face type here >.  As a child I came to accept images of me would not really capture my essence, as being passionate comes at a price.  It could be worse... Not really bothered by it, but it doesn't help when trying to express yourself through photos in my line of work and they don't really reflect you.  Perception and representation are everything in the media.  I come off as inaccessible and aloof when really I am so carefree and silly.  My seriousness is perfectly counterbalanced by a childlike lust for life.  And my happiness is directly proportionally to feeling like I am doing something meaningful with my life.  It doesn't have to be large, even something as small and ephemeral making my niece smile gives me a profound sense of worth and accomplishment.  BIMBO recently sent me this article, that reinforced this and also gave me reason to keep searching for meaning as there are added health benefits that come with it!

Silumesii, the awesomest photographer on the planet, was able to capture my spirit and soul honestly and authentically.  He did not tamper with the image.  This is me unadulterated: no photoshop, no airbrushing, just mother Africa warming my spirit and the sun shining to illuminate my soul from within.  I am an inherently happy person.  I don't actually deal well when I have negative emotions swirling around in my head upon my heart aching to let me know they exist.  My professional life has been causing such angst I'm schizophrenic.  I can feel the ugliness oozing out my of pores and to my detriment.  My see-sawing is affecting others, to my chagrin.  I want to feel like me everyday and not have to hide in the shadows until the darkness allows the light in.  My honesty, though a strength, is also a weakness.  My physical being cannot hide what is festering inside and finds a way to purge, through illness if necessary.  My face betrays me when I do not have the requisite energy to shield those around me from the side-effects of tribulation. This quote sort of encapsulates what I am facing in Zambia right now: People keep trying to thwart my efforts to be my best self through my company because it means them stepping up their game and doing their best too:

"What is apparent, however, is that many Zambians have continued to fold their arms in the false hope that a 'magical' transformation in their lives will magically occur without them necessarily putting in any effort" - Sam Phiri, from article in The Times of Zambia, 4 October 2011

In honour of this photo, I have leafed through my little scribble book and gone through my quotes collection.  I have also done this as it's about time I change the Amashiwi up top in order to reflect my current state of excitement and anticipation as I reemerge after a serious battering, which I address in the aforementioned article that inspired the photoshoot. I will post it when it is published.  As I keep telling myself: don't just sleep, start walking: don't just dream, LIVE!  

Happiness and inspirational Quotes:

"Happiness is not something ready made.  It comes from your own actions" - Dalai Lama

"To thine own self be true" - William Shakespeare from Hamlet

"I think that feeling that if one believed in any cause, then one must have the confidence, the self-certainty, to go through with that particular course of action" - Wole Soyinka, Nigerian Nobel Laureate: Literature 

"Hate is a too great a burden to bear, it injures the hater more than the hated" - Correta Scott King, Human Rights Activist

"The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve" Albert Schweitzer, Theologian and Physician 

"Sometimes, people call my way of speaking ranting.  Why are you always ranting and screaming, they ask.  But here's the thing...the reason why I rant is because I am a voice for many women that cannot speak out to...those that influence systems of oppression.  And so I rant. And I will not stop ranting until my mission of equality for all girls is achieved" - Leymah Gbowee

"I am not on this earth by chance.  I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink into a grain of sand" - Og Mandino

"I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself" - Rita Mae Brown

"Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself" - George Bernard Shaw

"We are boxed in by the boundary condition of our thinking" - Albert Einstein

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything" - George Bernard Shaw

"What I know for sure: There is no greater gift you can give or recieve than to honour your true calling.  It's why you were born.  And how you become most truly alive" - Oprah Winfrey

"Life is going to give you just what you put in it.  Put your whole heart into everything you do and pray then you can wait...God helps those who help themselves" - Maya Angelou from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door" - Milton Berle

"If you are going to do creative work that will change the world, then there is one ingredient to your success: REST.  You must take time to take care of your soul, to check in with your emotional self and make sure all is well with your inner life.  This is ESSENTIAL more than with any other type of work in my opinion.  Because your vocation requires you to pull from within, to consult the genius inside of you, to reach into the depths of your soul and share it with the world - to inspire to encourage, challenge and change.  I will say it again: If you endeavour to create, you must rest" - Jeff Goins

"The fact that you're struggling doesn't make you a burden.  It doesn't make you unlovable or undesirable or undeserving of care.  It doesn't make you too much or too sensitive or too needy.  It makes you human.  Everyone struggles.  Everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, we all fall apart.  During these times, we aren't always easy to be around - and that's okay.  No one is easy to be around 100 percent of the time.  Yes you may sometimes do or say things that make people around you feel helpless or sad.  But these things aren't all of who you are and they certainly don't discount your worth as a human being.  The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved.  You can be difficult and still be cared for.  You can be less than perfect and still be deserving of compassion and kindess" - Daniell Koepke

Friday, 16 August 2013

A Zarty Farty Interlude: Henry Tayali Visual Arts Centre

Yesterday I went to visit the Henry Tayali Visual Arts Centre to find out more about the International Arts Workshop that will overlap with the UNWTO GA conference in Livingstone, starting on the 18th of August. Organised by the Insaka Artists Trust, Zambian artists, both terrestrial and from the diaspora, as well as artists from around the world, including China and Finland, will help each other further their understanding and mastery of their own disciplines, while being introduced and exposed to new ones.  They will also debate the meaning of art and have a good time. I love cultural exchange!

You can find out more about the Insaka Artists Trust here and here. Here is a post about him on C1rca 1964.

I was invited to the Centre, whose premises are located in the Lusaka Showgrounds, and was given a tour of the artists' workspace in the back.

The Henry Tayali Visual Arts Centre is located near the police station opposite the Main Area.  If you use the entrance off Nangwenya Road (where Portico is) keep going straight through another set of gates.  When you get to the triangle roundabout still keep straight and you will then see the Police station on your left. Take your first  right and the Centre should be on your left almost immediately.  Huge wooden doors and statues flanking the entrance.  Plus there is a Proflight wire sculpture using recycled materials that you should see further ahead. 

Here are pictures of the amazing visual arts in various mediums, using multiple materials:

Mulenga Mulenga, one of the Insaka Artists from
Zambia proudly stands by her work and talks
about her favourite: the blue abstract on the left

An UK artist preparing for the Insaka International
Arts Workshop in Livingstone 

Artists polishing their stone and wood sculptures:

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

MUNTU Y Zed Series: To Zed With Love Part I

I get really excited about things to do with positive promotion of my country and/ or the continent.  So I was really thrilled when we found out last year that Zambia would be co-hosting the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) General Assembly.  In two weeks the whole world will be descending upon us! This is such a great opportunity for Zambia to show what a hidden gem of a destination it is.  I have lived in Kenya, one of the premier tourism destinations in Africa and the world: they are such good salesmen that they can aggrandise coupla national parks and the beach like no one’s business.  Zambia is far more blessed with sunken lakes, caves with rock art, over 3000 heritage sites and a plethora of waterfalls.  It is located smack bang in the middle of Southern Africa and yet we are completely overlooked for South Africa, another country whose publicity is so good, yet still pales in comparison to actual stuff to see.  People globally still don’t know that the majority of the Vic Falls actually cascades on the Zambian side, yet Zim have co-opted all the kudos!

Instead of standing by and letting this continue, I have decided to use my established proclivity to veer in the direction of deranged and confused behaviour for the good of my nation.  I will not have Zimbabwe benefit more from this conference and have decided to take publicity into my own hands.  This undertaking was inspired by conversations with strangers, many of whom recognize me from my work on TV and know that I am interested in our natural beauteous resources.  They have come up to me and told me to keep up my good work and have let me know they would like to know more about what earthly gifts we have around the country and more about what the UNWTO means for Zambia.

After realizing that I was inadvertently objectifying minority races (yes when black people are the majority, they can forget that they too can be the dominant race and can offend, discriminate and make people feel uncomfortable when you single them out) by trying to single out muzungus, mwenyes and coloureds so that I could have representation across the board, I went out and interviewed people on the street who were very eager to share the knowledge they did have and what they would like to know.  Unfortunately I had a digital videocamera that used tape so I have to figure out how to convert that to a digital format to share.

So I then regrouped and decided to create a Flash mob at Levy Junction Mall, as they have such a lovely area in the middle of the ground floor, and the building is really pretty and has a skylight ceiling: lots of natural light to easily illuminate we black folk.  So on Sunday I co-opted my company, PurpleTembo Media’s social media and Mukuka lent C1rca 1964’s and on Monday I executed my plan.  

People actually came up and said is this what we heard about on Twitter and I was like YES!!!! this can work in Zed and got youth to do a call and response to show we are #ProudlyZambian and ready to welcome the world.

Rebel 101: Don't go to prison and be
forced to wear a horrible orange
jumpsuit.  If you happen to mess
with authority rock an orange chitenge
print dress instead ;}
Management saw a crowd gathering and asked what I was doing with my little digicam and I explained and said it would only be a minute.  Then when it ended they said I would have to pay K1000 for such and that they didn’t think we’d make so much noise and after calmly explaining I didn’t mean to cause anybody and was not trying to hoodwink anyone, I was asked to vacate the premises with immediate effect.  As I was trying to give the participants the K10 each for their services security approached us, probably fearing we’d start hollering again, disbanded us and walked me out, and not in the direction of my car mind you.  So I went and bought talk time for participants who preferred that to cash and walked back in 5 minutes later and proceeded to get me a smoothie at Food Lover’s Market.  Pawpaw, pineapple, and strawberry yogurt mmmm mmm mmmm.

Was it worth it, hell yeah! Would I do it again, in a heart beat! ANYTHING FOR MOTHER ZAMBIA!!! VIC FALLS!!! UNWTO!!! he he he he ;}

Duncan, a MUNTU I interviewed last year is representive of youth doing things within the rules on a larger scale.  Check out his event for release of a UNWTO Mixtape in collaboration with Zim.