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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, 17 December 2013

Twit Tuesday: Asikana Network's First Connect Forum Zambia

The first Connect Forum was held at New Government
Complex on the 13th of December 2013.

This is a Storify of my tweets during Asikana Network's first Connect Forum to bring women in technology together to network and learn from each other in Zambia.  It was a great event, especially as a few of my new girl crushes were present and imparted their knowledge :).

You can connect with Asikana Network on Facebook and Twitter as well as Connect Forum Zambia on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with upcoming events for women in technology.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Nelson Mandela: A Selection of Quotes

The Baobab tree best symbolises Nelson Mandela: strength, nourishment,
staying power,  a vessel of wisdom with age.
Thought it would be timely to create a list of Mandela quotes that speak to me right now.  I love quotes.  They are little but impactful bursts of inspiration, priceless nuggets of knowledge.  People who know how to craft words can say the most profound things, with infinite power to uplift, encourage and/ or lead in such short turns of phrase.  Love it. Madiba was a pro.  And I love that unlike many in the world who tried to make him into a saint who could do no wrong so that they could vicariously be good through him, he never saw himself as anything but a man: a fallible human who did the best with what he had.

I will say though, I am a little shocked that I haven't quoted him more often, not even in the Amashiwi section! And I seem to only mention him in relation to others in blog posts.  Which actually shows exactly what he would keep communicating: that your life is only worth its weight in salt if it has impact on others, if it is measured in relation  to others.  I am still ashamed that I haven't dedicated more posts to him in the past...Well there is a whole future to reflect on him in so not to worry.

Quotes that resonate with me at this point in time in my life:

What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived.  It is what difference we have made in the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

There is no passion to be found playing small in settling for a life that is less than the one  you are capable of living.

Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will come up even in the end. 

I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.

It is never my custom to use words lightly.  If twenty-seven years in prison  have done anything to us,  it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand  how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.

You sharpen your ideas by reducing yourself to the level of the people  you are with and a sense of humour  and a complete relaxation, even when you're discussing serious things, does help mobilise friends around you.  And I love that. 

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

I have learnt that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

Lead from the back - let other's believe they are in front.

Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

It always seems impossible, until it is done.

MbA posts with Rolihlahla inspiration:

Nelson Mandela: Paradigm of Legacy to Follow

My Recent Bout of that Icky Nervous Condition...

Music with a Message

Desmond Tutu Announces his Imminent Retirement

Happy Birthday Madiba

Monday, 9 December 2013

Y Zed Series: Barefeet Theatre - A ROARing Good Time Part II

Part 1 of Roar Festival post includes recounting of Launch and insight into Barefeet Theatre.

Apart from witnessing a great funeral, the Lioness Concert finale at UNZA Goma Lakes was the perfect way to cap off a great festival experience.  I cannot do the night justice retrospectively with words methinks. Good thing I tweeted and took video with my digicam and so that is what I will use to chronicle the night :).

Y Zed Series: Barefeet Theatre - A ROARing Good Time Part I

From more information, visit
their website and connect with
them on Facebook and Twitter

This post was originally meant to be posted a week after event, then life got away with me.  This is how I felt at the time even though you are reading this months on. 

The first time I saw a Barefeet performance was last year at Manda Hill during their Christmas performance of the Snow Queen.  I had heard a lot about them, and they did not disappoint.  So when I was give the opportunity to have access to them before and during their ROAR Festival, I jumped at the chance to find out more about what they do.

I was immediately enchanted. I met Bernard, Victor and Amos during my first visit to their Thorne Park premises, all of whom benefited from Barefeet as children, and as young men have chosen to pay it forward by training to mentor kids who are growing up as they did.

I then got previews of the acrobatic tricks they were to perform.  You can see all of them on my YouTube Channel.

I then was kindly invited to the Barefeet Theatre ROAR launch at the Intercontinental.  The highlight of the evening was the Children's Council performance: The Funeral that they would perform again at the Festival during the week.  I happened to be dressed for the occassion in mostly black and was happy to be in attendance.  Here in Zambia, we have allowed ourselves to fall into a terrible malaise.  We mosey along, complacent about the daily inefficiencies, the lack of standards, and abuse thrown at us due to people no longer caring about the way they comport themselves personally or professionally.  I am constantly taking umbrage with something or someone and feel like a crazy old lady as everyone around me seems to be completely unaffected.  We have become so numb and unfeeling, accepting mediocrity as the norm.  Which is why I was refreshed and invigorated by these young guns, daring to speak up and out about what is wrong with their country and tell us exactly what should be done about it.  Here is what I tweeted as I was watching:

Also got my first glimpse of Randy McClaren, the Dub and Reggae Poet from Jamaica, who was part of the cultural exchange element that Barefeet always include in their yearly Youth Arts Festivals. He really got me hooked on the idea of Creative Activism, a term I had not heard of, but really should have, as it encapsulates a professional goal in life. That is part of what Project Cascade is all about (over half the team was in attendance at Launch to show support). Video of him in Part 2.

The night then got picture (and) crazy.  This is what I mean: 

Lwanga claims she had the virgin punch and I believe her because I think this is what caused the wonky picture - a whole other kind of inebriation: punch drunk love he he he he (I couldn't help myself ;}):

Part 2 on the ROAR Festival is the Lioness Concert experience in video.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Nelson Mandela: Paradigm of Legacy to Follow

I have been a little out of it recently, and have been struggling to keep up with current events.  Today I was at a bank, in line to deposit cash, when I saw "REMEMBERING MANDELA" on the TV screen  on the wall and my heart stopped.  I was momentarily paralysed as I processed the information in front of me.  A couple of months ago, I posted on Facebook that I was not ready for Mandela to die.  For selfish reasons.  One of my life goals was to meet the man.  Unfortunately I am a late bloomer and so did not make my small mark in the world in time to be able to warrant an audience with him, let alone have such a blessing granted.

I remember when he was freed in 1990, as it was a few days after my birthday.  I remember thinking that this man must be really special, as all the world is watching, people have sung songs for his freedom, and he has survived prison for what seemed like a ten lifetimes to the child I was.  Years later, when I was applying to Stanford, I not only wrote about the Matrix being closer to reality than we think as in Japan, robots were being created to be nurse maids for their ageing population and prototypes already existed, bu also about Madiba.

After those moments of shock, I was at peace when I thought about what I had written in my application.  Despite the odds the man lived a full life.  He lived in the lowest depths, in prisons both literal and proverbial that could have shackled his spirit, extinguished the fire in his soul, and yet he came out 27 years later even more determined to defend freedom, even prouder to be a Black man, a South African, an African and most impressively, even more committed to forgiveness.  Even though he had been wronged repeatedly by white South Africans, he was still willing to extend the olive branch.  Even though he didn't believe in all the actions that Black South Africans took, at times invoking his name to justify their deeds, he did not hold that against them.

The universe works in mysterious ways.  Last night I read these two articles on Forbes: the traits of mentally strong people and about how whether we like it or not, we are all creating a legacy, so we should think about what we are putting out in the world.  Mandela is probably the most mentally strong man of his generation, and of the last Century, and looking at his legacy, it is a paradigm to follow.

Though Mandela's time may have set physically in this world, his legacy will endure through the ages.  His impact will forever resonate through the world, and I am glad that I can call on it at any time to comfort, inspire and energise me to do better, to be better, to continually evolve and learn.


Can't wait to watch Idris Elba as Madiba.  Though he may not look like him, I don't think that is necessary.  The acting is more important, and from what I have seen from the trailer and Behind the Scenes shows, he has captured his essence, his charismatic and powerful presence and has done the man justice.  God is good, the omnipotent one may have taken away the man, but being omniscient, has allowed us to experience him through such a beautiful living body he he he ;}

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

#ZedVideoProject: Kwachas and Ngwees Add Up to Thousands of Pounds

Over the past two months a epic has been unfolding at warp speed!  And that is why I have not honoured my promise to myself to blog more.  However, I have decided December is the month of atonement, and I shall endeavour to at least end the year with redemption.

So what has been happening?  That requires recounting my company, Purple Tembo Media's, journey over the past coupla months, which has been all I have been experiencing pretty much too!

In September I blogged about Purple Tembo's proud sponsorship of my friend and business partner, Matthew Grollnek's Startup Junction's first Startup Hour.  We made this video to publicise it:

I have no idea how an institution of Stanford's calibre let us both in, clearly we are not smart, but need to be institutionalised he he he.  Luckily we made this video after we secured that paper ha!

At that event, I met Julia and Joe Brown, founders of The Best of Zambia website, whom had seen this video (and still came, braving the cray cray!).  One thing led to another, and while facilitating a networking Happy Hour, I ended up doing exactly what we had hoped others would do: I connected with like minded people actualise an idea.  Our paths had crossed for a reason - our philosophies aligned: we both wanted to showcase Zambia online and wanted to tell quality stories through video.  For more info about this deliciously serendipidous occurence, read this post on their website.

In October, the second Startup Hour marked me shooting the promo for our Kickstarter campaign.  We had discussed ways to finance making a pilot in order to look for more secure funding through sponsorship in 2014 to create a web docuseries focused to telling Zambia's untold stories.  After seeing The Fest Gurus successfully raising funds using a similar platform a few months earlier, we decided to do the same. Chosa the Director of Photography from Fiahlink,  Jacque the videography and software development intern at BongoHive and fellow Asikana, and Barefeet Theatre collaborated with me and my company to create this kick*ss video:

First money was coming in from afar, but not enough was coming from Zambians at home or abroad.  In response, The Best of Zambia came up with the #100ProudZambians campaign for what was now dubbed the #ZedVideoProject, as with the money already pledged, what was required was another 100 K125 pledges to hit the target.  So we created a blooper reel from the promo to spread this information, which unfortunately I cannot embed, but you can find it here.  You know the nonsense tag: yaaaaaahhhhhhh, the embodiment of that for your viewing pleasure...

On the Friday before our Sunday 1st December deadline, we raised just under half the funds.  We knew we needed to get larger pledges than the multiple K890 we had been getting from individual ballers.  We had been discussing targeting businesses and The Best of Zambia stepped up and offered 2 businesses sponsorship perks if they donated K4500 each.

Two businesses along Kafue Road: Day Break Butchery and Sandy's Creations stepped up and just before closing of business in Zambia we had raised the money we needed plus an extra K8.90! By the time the campaign ended we had raised over our target.  I had also collected over K1,000 in cash from people as well.  I now can no longer badmouth that road, or going out to Makeni after I have been blessed so.  Though really Makeni is far to drive and that road is madness and a deathtrap, a terrible combination.  Forget you read that.  Go down Kafue Road and give your patronage to the two lovely businesses that have facilitated us moving forward to create a video about Lusaka's Market scene, a great untold story to bring to you all...they are worth it :)

The best part of this experience was the highs and the lows: my mettle was tested and I discovered a new reservoir of strength in despair.  On Wednesday, days before, after multiple media appearances on radio and TV, I was afraid we would not make it as though people were giving steadily, the only way for all the small pledges to make a difference was for them to be combined with few big ones.  The K890 pledges were not big enough all of a sudden.  In the end, in 20 days we managed to raise over K17,000 and most of that came from terrestrial individuals, people right here in Zambia, and the biggest donations (over half the funds) came from two proudly Zambian businesses.

I am constantly told my faith in Zambians and my country is misplaced, that I should go back to the West where I can be appreciated and understood, and that my country has no use for my crazy ideas or me for that matter.  I have seen through my interactions with the young and the old that we are hungry.  We are tired of being swindled by jokers looking to make a fast Kwacha but are happy to support and engage with serious individuals who want to create quality and are truly patriotic.  

In the end all those Kwachas and Ngwees added up to the Pounds we needed to raise on Kickstarter.  Belief in oneself is important, but belief in others is the only way to make it in this world.  We are not islands, we live together, we work together, we share this world and what is has to offer in its myriad of ways , together.  But I will say this, I really am a Giant Killer, I don't just talk the talk like I did in this post, which I wrote just before all of this started, I walk the walk and take action with the right people too :) And I love that this project is driven by a team of seven, comprising five women, with another to come on board by next year he he he.

A big thank you to all who pledged to and/ or shared the campaign.  We had support from friends of Zambia from the USA, the UK, Sweden, Ghana and Nigeria.  Truly humbled by this experience.  Still reeling about this achievement.  

A special thank you to The Best of Zambia, I am looking forward to working with you to passionately bring the Best of Zambia online through video by telling her untold stories ;}