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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








Wednesday, 24 December 2014

An e18hteam Christmas...

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

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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


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

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

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

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

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

3.  Zambian education system is broken.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Friday, 24 October 2014

Soul Food Friday: Happy Golden Jubilee Zambia!

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

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

Here are the highlights of the past week of celebrations:


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

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

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



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


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



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



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

Official photos for e18hteam taken by George Mutale.

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

Friday, 3 October 2014

Soul Food Friday: e18hteam - the Fruit of Passion

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

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

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

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


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


Here is the official trailer for the film :)


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

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Things on Thursday: e18hteam Tings

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

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

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

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


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


Click to embiggen for easier reading :)



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

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


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


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

In theatres 17th October 2014 

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

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




Tuesday, 9 September 2014

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

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

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


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

You can find other storify stories I have published here.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

e18hteam: #PTHerd rewards and #DidYouKnoWednesday

I started writing a coupla weeks ago about the documentary film I am co-producing with Spanish partner-in-crime Juan Rodriguez-Briso.  There I began my impassioned recording of why I started my production company Purple Tembo Media and how the Chipolopolo's AFCON 2012 win was the catalyst to me pursuing that thread of my storytelling dreams. I always knew I would be some kind of filmmaker.  Funnily enough, I became a writer before that, something I never thought I would never have the discipline for.  Blogging started me on a journey when its path had been illuminated in my mind after I decided I wanted to create proudly Zambian and positively African content with mpamvu (literally power, here I mean umph or as MIghTy African would say vim he he he) in 2010 after completing my masters.

So what is the film about?

It is the universal story of the underdog, forever underestimated, but never discourage to achieve the very best when challenged.  Akin to folklore of old, it is a recounting of the age-old message urging us to continue to fight in order to reach the heights of success.  This is an epic sanctioned by divine decree, that ensured nothing would stand in the way of pure intentions, hard work, determination, and ultimately, destiny.  This is the emotional and now legendary football journey of an African nation, spanning five decades.  It is the path taken by a country bound together by a tragedy that shook the nation, which then spurred them to honour their fallen heroes by playing the beautiful game at the highest level.  This is the recounting of Zambia's rich football history, derailed by the tragic plane crash off the coast of Gabon in 1993, only to be triumphant in the same country at the momentus AFCON 2012 tournament.  This is the opportunity to record, preserve and share  this amazing story with the world.  This is the documentary film telling the story of the unrelenting and victorious Chipolopolo: the Copper Bullets aka the Zambian National Football Team.

So you are hooked by my verbose, superfluous and dramatically African introduction eh? Want to know more?

Created by current @PurpleTembo #PTHerd Prince Sam

If you follow these instructions you are not a twit, in fact you are rather smart.  Now you can keep up to date with the film, find out why it is called e18hteam (pronouced eighteam), when it will be released and where it will be showing.  Every hump day you'll enjoy #DidYouKnoWednesday with facts about Zambia, the Chipolopolo, football and of course the documentary.


Go one step further and join the Purple Tembo Herd race and you will be rewarded.  Help spread the word about the film and who knows what royal titles and gifts will be bestowed upon you.


Recap: Like and follow e18hteam, like and follow Purple Tembo.  Good things come to kind people.  Here is a cheat sheet to help you out.


I thank you for liking, commenting, sharing, following, tweeting and retweeting in advance xo

Monday, 25 August 2014

A Rebel's Guide to the Barefeet Revolution #BarefeetRev

Follow me @whoops_c for
live tweeting during the
Revolution
The Revolution is upon us so it's time to get revvvvvvvved up and excited for the week of mischievious entertainment ahead. So gentlemen (and women), start your engines...but unlike RuPaul's Drag Race, everyone wins, not just the best woman ha ha ha ha ha! Yes I have gotten hooked on that reality show but I digress. Back to the important things...

As a self appointed Rebel of the Revolution (I came up with the name for all press and social media gurus helping to promote and document the Festival he he he), I thought it important to follow up my manifesto, aka my previous post, with a guide to help you visionaries out there (the public who will be in Lusaka this week and have cash to spend) navigate through the programme of activities.


First, turn up to a recruitment centre  - any Computicket situated at all Shoprite Stores in Zambia and buy either a Big Foot all-access pass for K250 (you can also call comrades Kazembe: 0973923651 or Charmaine 0978948372), or tickets to the events of your choice.  Please consult the Revolution schedule below to figure out whether it would be more cost-effective to buy the all-access pass.  You can also purchase the Big Foot or buy a ticket for events at the door. 



Once you have enlisted to be a soldier of the Revolution, plan out your schedule to enjoy the various performances our comrades from Barefeet and their friends from Italy, the UK, Zimbabwe and South Africa have in store. Be all 21st Century about it and download the ZHappening app on your phone so you can set reminders so you don't forget when and where to revolt :)



If you can't make to some of the events have no fear, there are a whole band of rebels out there who will be spreading the word and documenting activities all through the week.  I can vouch for quality tweeting from:

Mwanabibi Sikamo @mwanabibi 
Mr. Blow @Benny_blow
Samba Yonga @Kuwaha
George Mutale @LupMqr

and of course our comrades at Barefeet - @BarefeetTheatre and @BarefeetAdam

Here is a video to get your body to find its revolutionary spirit:


Highlights of the Revolution include:











For more information about the Festival: tickets, performances, venues, directions and anything else pertaining to the Revolution, visit Barefeet's website or Facebook Page. VIVA!






Monday, 11 August 2014

e18hteam: Using the Power of Film to Speak

Zambian Theatre release: October 2014
True to my word, I have enjoyed the World Cup, and just as football gave me voice to start blogging four years ago, it continues to inspire me. So I am officiallly back, ready to communicate and to indulge my love of words with ease.  I am proud that the essence of who I am as a writer and what created this blog for still rings true as I professed and promised in my inaugural post.  Let me just say how I am even prouder of never letting the standard of posts go down just to keep the blog current, and that I continue to take the time I need to regenerate when necessary, and that whenever I come back, I come back with a vengeance he he he.  This sleeping lioness has once again awakened, and she is out for blood.  No mucking about, straight for the jugular.  We do things royal here, no mediocre, only the regal will do for me, and for you :)...

 © Football Association of Zambia
So what causes me to break my silence?  I already have alluded to what I am about to reveal before.  On February 12, 2012, the Zambian National Team: the Chipolopolo achieved the dreams of a nation.  They not only won AFCON 2012 for the first time, but also honoured the dead: the Chipolopolo who died in a tragic plane crash off the coast of the Gabon, the very country in which we then triumphed.  When they won in 2012, the first thing I thought of was documenting their momentous win, after screaming like a banshee and shedding emotional and proud tears.  It was more than just Zambia's first raising of the Africa Cup of Nations:

Their efforts embodied 50 years of the Zambian National Team carrying the hopes and dreams of a nation.  50 years of potential almost realised, but never quite producing at the highest level, until AFCON 2012.  Most of all, this was facing our loss and allowing it to heal by soldiering on in the very place where we had suffered an inconsolable pain, despite the odds stacked against us:  we had to defeat more well-known and higher ranked African teams that had played at the World Cup, and the weight of sorrow could have burdened us and hindered us.  Instead the Chipolopolo found a way to soar like the nkwazis (eagles) we Zambians all have the power to be, and raised our flag proudly in honor of those we lost, preserving their place in history by winning on their behalf.  

As my beloved country turns 50, I am honoured to be able to give this gift to the people.  I may have a turbulent relationship with the place of my birth, but the best relationships ebb and flow - there will always be that tug-of-war to remind you to be present and to make sure to give as much as you take.  I thrive in the conflict that my Afropolitan identity creates as it clashes with some of the more static and stagnant elements in the Zambian environment.  It allows my creativity to thrive by causing me to turn inward to figure out new ways to express myself in ways authentic to my soul and freeing to my spirit in order contribute to the communities I engage and/ or identify with.  The moment it happened I knew I  too could achieve some of my dreams through their success. I could finally become a filmmaker by documenting this seminal moment in history, and could go one step further by preserving this story for future generations.  One of the recurring themes on this blog is legacy, the other is capturing an African experience in the 21st century and populating the internet with more content produced by the continent, so we can tell our own stories now and in perpetuity.  As a media professional, and a passionate Afropolitan, I am taking advantage of the multiple ways afforded to me. Film is another way to do that.  I formed my production company Purple Tembo Media because of how inspired I was watching the Chipolopolo continue to triumph despite being written off as the underdog.  Triumphing when underestimated is one of my favourite things to achieve and to see unfold in others.

I can now also freely share this journey with you on the blog and on social media.  There will be a series of blogposts about this that will be curated in the e18hteam tag.  In the meantime please like the following on Facebook and follow on Twitter to follow my journey through this film:

MbA on Facebook and Twitter

The documentary film about the Chipolopolo: e18hteam on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, 8 August 2014

Y Zed: It's a Revolution...

@Barefeet Theatre #Revolution
Before you panic, remember though TIA (This is Africa), we are talking about Zambia. We pride ourselves on being a peaceful nation, so the likelihood of you needing a gas mask, as the forces of liberty battle those of enslavement, are slim to none.  No you shouldn't have built that bunker and shopped for supplies to go underground for months for the apocalypse either.  Seeing a makishi dancer in a mask however is no cause for alarm though.  If you are already in conniptions, sorry for the angina, we were going for the dramatic, not histrionics, with this beautiful poster.  Plus it does actually indicate what it is for so really...


It's that time of year again, and this time I am blogging in realtime about the Barefeet Festival, not months after the fact he he he.  This year the theme is #Revolution!



I am so excited to be helping out this group of mischievious performance artists again.  I continue to be inspired by the fact that these young men and women turn their lives around by turning their backs on the street and put their youthful energy to good work in their communities and around the world, utilising the inherent power of art to transcend boundaries and limitations, so their spirits and souls are free to connect with others.


I will blog more about the Festival over the coming weeks and of course, follow me on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with live tweeting and photo posting.  In the meantime here is a sneak peek at what Barefeet have in store for you:


Yes that's South Africa's Freshly Ground :)!


Excited coz they are making an elephant puppet too!

To find out about tickets and the full schedule of festivities, like Barefeet Theatre on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

For more on the blog about Barefeet, read about last year's Festival: ROAR in these posts: Part I and Part II.

Are you a young person looking to do something during the holidays, a student looking for social media and web experience, or are you a professional with time to spare to help Barefeet with their online activities?  Contact Communications Manager Andrew at andrew@barefeettheatre.com or drop by their premises in Thorne Park to lend a hand.

Directions to Barefeet Theatre: 
At the Great East-Makishi Road traffic lights turn onto the Wimpy side of Makishi Road.  
After the Petroda Station on your left and the hump take the next left onto a dirt road.  
Take the first left indicated by an Airtel credit hut.  
As the road bends to the right you will see a tree in front of you: take the turn into the small lane behind the tree to your left and follow the lane over the bridge.  
You will see a yellow wall fence with Barefeet in huge letters in front of you to your right.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Finding Peace in the Profound: The Power of Silence

Sometimes to find the light, you have
to be brave enough to wander into
the darkness.  Embrace the unknown!
© Chosa Mweemba of Fiahlink Photography
I have been thinking a lot recently about much of what I have posted this year and realised that I am in another transitional phase in my life.  I am continuing to evolve into the human I am on this earth to be, and with that comes times of change.  The happier I become with being the Zed Afropolitan woman my life experience has created,  the more I have had to adjust my idea of how to allow that to manifest freely in a way that not only honours me, but has me being a useful member of the communities I chose to identify with.  Part of the way I like to do that is through social media in various ways.


I  have to the conclusion, four years after starting this blog, that I have said all I have to say for the moment.  One thing I hate is to repeat myself.  In order to say something new, I need to take a step back, process my experiences and my words to then move forward from there. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results really is madness.  Why keep banging your head on a door that refuses to open, when you could discover a new door for which you find you have the key to open?

I love to communicate, I believe it is what we as humans were designed to do.  It is our greatest gift.  It is the key to our greatest advancements. I have absorbed a lot of other people's communication: their points of view and their speech though their modi operandi in the last few years, most notably the diverse range of people I have been fortunate to meet after repatriating to Zambia.  I could have done without some of what has come my way, but ultimately letting in the good and the bad has been positive.  It has inspired a new approach to fulfilling my dreams personally and professionally.  It has allowed me to understand my country and its people, and to appreciate what the continent means to me a lot better.  It has led me to the profound in silence as this is the best way to articulate what I have experienced for the time being.  I have said all I need to say with words through this blog until I have something new and pertinent to say.  I am not driven by the fear to post to keep my blog current or to stay relevant in any way.  I write for the love of expressing myself and the way that it has allowed me to experience life.  I feel the best way for me to communicate is through the power of saying nothing at all, and letting the words that I have already released into the universe marinate.  Who I am and what I stand for lives on forever thanks to the power of the internet.  Anyone can discover something new through what I have proudly created here.  And when I am overwhelmed by the need to use this channel to say something then I will, whenever that may be, sporadically or regularly in the future.

I created this blog four years ago just before the World Cup in South Africa, wrapped up in the fever and pride of the continent hosting the world's favourite game.  It helped me to find a way to shape the four years I have lived mainly in Zambia.  This year's World Cup once again has inspired me.  With all the trouble Brazil has had reconciling hosting with the money spent and how it could have better benefitted its people, seeing teams so desperate to win like Honduras who played their opener against France like hooligans and my favourite infraction so far, Portugal's Pepe head butting Germany's Mueller after pulling him down, I realised that doing anything to make something happen is not always wise.  Sometimes you have to take a step back, or tear down and rebuild.  And sometimes it's just not your time, like Ghana showed with their unexpected loss to the USA.  Yes they may still be able to make it through the group stage but sometimes you need to be realistic.  The best kind of optimism is not forcing something to happen now, but knowing when to step back in order to make it happen later.  I have no idea what the World Cup has in store over the next three weeks.  With surprises continuously the teams participating continue to produce and with the beauty and riches in goals such as Van Persie's magnificent header that contributed to the Dutch beating Spain 5-1, I am happy to experience the uncertainty that will ultimately produce a winner.

So just as the stadiums in Brazil provide an arena for the globe's dreams to be realised through the beautiful game, I am creating the space for new possibilities to do the things I want to do on the continent and in the world through silence.  And I am enjoying the uncertainty that comes with starting over.

Till my words have purpose and meaning again, I am finding peace in the profound power of silence...;} xo

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Twit Tuesday: #BringBackOurGirls


Thought this picture of Muslim women that I took in Zanzibar in 2011 was
appropriate as many of the mothers asking for the world's assistance are
just as colourfully dressed and  I hope the girls are found and are
able to grow to become happy, educated women too.

Last week one of my Stanford little ones sent me an email imploring me to support the #BringBackOurGirls campaign through a Change.org petition.  This cause is particularly close to her heart as like the girls abducted from Chibok Secondary School, she too is not only Nigerian, but also from the Northern region and Muslim.  She has benefitted from the power of education with it taking her to boarding school in England and to one of the best universities in the world.  She is able to be whoever she wants to be and has never been restricted by her faith or her gender.  She has blossomed uninhibited to be an accomplished independent young woman, in large part due to the support of her family in her endeavours. To witness what has happened at the hands of Boko Haram must be a pain that  is particularly acute for her to bear.  I immediately obliged and then thought what more can I do.

I had already been thirsting to know more, and was wondering why the world had not already covered it the way they had instantly reported on the recent MH370 plane crash, the South Korean Ferry disaster or the on-going political and ethnic unrest in Ukraine.  I think that this issue of human rights and terrorism affects the world as it brings to the fore the issue of human trafficking which has been plaguing world for centuries (albeit in different forms over time) and deserves the same coverage, if not more.   These heinous actions have now gone completely underground, yet millions of adults and children are plucked from their homes all over the world every year and sold and/or forced into some sort of servitude unbeknownst to the average world citizen.  Boko Haram knew this and completely exploited this opportunity to pluck girls so brazenly from the safety of their boarding school, and are proudly talking about this diabolical act and how they seem to have gotten away with it.

Pop culture has taken a stab at bringing this issue to light.  In Taken, a cult mainstream film, Liam Neeson's daughter is abducted in Paris and is drugged and sold for a rich man's entertainment aboard his yacht. He turns over every stone to find her in a manaical rampage.  I recently watched an indie, I am Slave, about a Sudanese girl who is stolen as a child and taken all the way to England with the family who own her.  They give the impression she is employed as a maid, but really has been taken against her will, and has grown up unpaid and worked like a horse.  Both movies rocked me to my core.  The thought of things like this happening as we go about life is extremely troubling and scary.  There are so many layers to our world, many unseen, sinister, and dangerous. 

None of the girls are so lucky as to have a CIA trained father to use his contacts and experience to free them, and luckily some of the girls were able to escape like the girl in I am Slave was eventually able to do. Fortunately, they have parents who love them, who are outraged that the Nigerian government and military did nothing to protect them even though there are reports that they were forewarned.  They started a social media campaign on Twitter through the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.  It has taken weeks for the world at large to respond.  Now the news is filled with colourful images of mothers in mourning.  I wonder whether they may have found comfort sooner, if Nigerian and global support had come earlier.

I have just heard about an event here in Lusaka to be held this Saturday, 17th May, from 09:30 to 12:00 at the Civic Centre.  The hope is to get Zambians more involved in helping and being more informed about the current situation and the larger issues the Chibok girls have brought to light.  There will be children marching in support and various knowledgeable people speaking about the issues at hand.

I will write more about this after the event and once I know more about what we are doing here in Zambia.  In the meantime, you can keep abreast with all information, social media and petitions to do with the Chibok girls at BringBackOurGirls.com and about the Zambia Cares campaign here.

#ZambiaCares #BringBackOurGirls event will be held on SATURDAY 17TH MAY, 09:00 - 12:00, CIVIC CENTRE, CHURCH ROAD, LUSAKA. All are welcome to attend and lend their support :)

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Woolgather Wednesday: Kindness Ate The Quail

Kafue Bridge,  Kafue, Zambia
©
 George Mutale

I hear you say what ate the what? And what has that got to do with this very eeriely arresting and beautiful image of a bridge?! What drugs am I smoking right?  Have no fear, this is Woolgather Wednesday: hallucination, rumination and seriously profound excogitation from interesting angles, not LSD trips and caterpillar hookah smoking Alice in Wonderland style high-ness, is the order of the day.  All will be revealed - trust me and skip (yes skip like a little girl in afropuffs) with me down head trippy lane.  I promise I will take you out of Kansas and all the way to Oz safely and responsibly without the need for sparkly red pumps or hallucinogens he he he.

So let me start at the beginning.  I was having a conversation with my Mummy about what it takes to do the right thing, to be a good person,  to live life with purpose, to affect the world positively and to interact with people personally and professionally without getting burned.  One thing led to another and she uttered a Bemba proverb to comfort me: 

Uluse lwalile inkwale: Kindness ate the quail.

I, like I am assuming you, was like what does that mean??!!! Niceness or kindness ate what? I didn't even know inkwale meant to add to my already discombobulated mind. I really did not need to be confused, I do that quite well on my own. My mother then let me know what it meant and I was like Mummy what drugs have you been smoking?! She hushed me and proceed to tell me that the proverb stems from the story of insoka yalile inkwale: the snake that ate the quail.  I shall now enlighten you, and yes you will feel I should have prefaced the proverb with story, but it is the Zambian and African way to do things backwards and in circles to deliver sage words and concepts for growth and learning - the old confuse to enlighten jedi mind trick:

There was a snake that was in distress and a quail walked by and seeing another in need, decided to be a Good Samaritan and helped the snake out.  Once the snake was out of danger, instead of thanking the quail, it proceeded to have the bird for dinner. Yah, the snake ate the quail! 

The moral of the story is that you can be kind, but that doesn't mean you will be rewarded for your benevolence.  In fact, you can be taken advantage of and end up worse for wear. So in the end you can feel like you have been eaten like the quail after you direct your kindness to snake-like people and/ or situations.

I know, DEEEEEEEEP man!  And if I ever meet that snake I have some choice words for it and will not hold back with the expletives...

Okay, so what has this got to do with bridges? Well I thought about this and I realised that lately I have repeatedly allowed myself to be eaten like the quail that was eaten by the snake.  Good thing is that I have recognised the situations and people that have contributed to the feasting, taken responsibility for my part, learnt from my actions and thankfully also am determined to rise like the phoenix a better person and wiser for it and so have come to this conclusion:

The important thing is to be kind to yourself and that is not selfish, it is paramount to survival. And also be kind for kindness sake and don't expect anything in return which, is also being kind to you as being a good person is never bad.  Expecting things that are not guaranteed however is not being good to yourself, that's just setting yourself up to be unnecessarily hurt.   If you are kind to yourself and for kindness' sake, you are less likely to become the quail and be eaten by the snakes out there.  And sometimes that means letting bridges burn: letting people fall out of your life and cutting off avenues for negativity and problems from elsewhere to bleed into your life.  

Sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind because being nice allows the snakes to crawl in with malice, to writhe and wreak havoc in your life. And you don't want to be nice: nice people are too concerned with people liking them and not with whether they are doing good or are good.  Be a troll sometimes: if people do not measure up to pay the toll and/ or if the situation you are faced with will cost you more, under no circumstances should you allow passage for any of that to play a part in your life.  Being kind to yourself means you will be kind to others because you will be happier, and wont want to hiss and lash out with the venom that comes with being bitter from what you let into your life.  When kindness eats you, you become a snake too.  

So don't be a quail, or a snake - be a troll and guard your life's bridges with kindness.

I have vowed to only write about things if I can put a positive spin on them, especially if there is negativity or criticism involved.  And when I write motivational posts, many times it is to hold myself to being better as once out there, I can shame myself when I do not honour my convictions and take my own advice.  And if there is anything that anyone else can gather from it, that's an added bonus.

I hope that this post is as kind to you as the woolgathering sojourn from my mind, to transforming my thoughts into the 1s and 0s I have written and you have just read, has been kind to me ;}

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Woolgather Wednesday: Are You the Last One Standing? (MUNTU Zed Series)

Sipho Phiri is a proudly Zambian businessman.  He pursued a career in
banking and finance , with experience from the UK and Zambia.  After
two decades in the industry, he decided to take the plunge and explore
 his entrepreneurial side.  His current ventures include Leopards Hill
Memorial Park, Mukamunya Estate, and a hydroelectric
plant in Western Province.
© BongoHive 

Last Tuesday I attended BongoHive's Insaka featuring Sipho Phiri, a respected businessman renowned for his financial acumen and his shrewd understanding of how to navigate and profit in the Zambia's bureaucratic and at times frustratingly and unnecessarily hostile business environment. 

There were three main points that stood out to me in his talk:

1. Zambia is THE land of opportunity.

We are constantly hearing about how Zambia is one of the top 10 investment destinations on the continent.  We have a desireable political climate, great incentives for FDI and have an abundance of land and resources to be exploited.  For some reason we Zambians do not care to take advantage of this and gripe and complain when we see others come in and make their fortune.  Granted, the government does not have favourable policies and laws for local businesses to exploit, but the fact that there are so many gaps in the market to easily take advantage of and create opportunity far outweighs the hell you need to go through to make it happen.  This leads to the second point...

2. Do you have what it takes to be the last one standing?

Many of us start businesses or have an idea of what to do, but when we actually set forth to create and achieve our goals we fall short and then give up all together.  Either we do not want to partner and collaborate because we are afraid that our fellow Zambians will do the stereotypical thing and steal our ideas and set up something else on their own and take demand with them, or we get so tired of all the hoops we have to jump through to make our businesses viable that we remain moribund and ineffective for years, or we just close up shop altogether without really assessing what could be done different to be profitable and useful in the market.  We aren't willing to put in the work to formulate ideas or make them a reality either :(.
People just aren't willing to put in the time and work required for the kudos, respect and riches they have decided they are entitled to.  Half the time they neither have the experience, education, work ethic, product or service quality, and/ or the right to think they should have what they want and are willing to do insidiously clandestine things to get ahead because of their deficiencies.  So self motivation is really important to not lose hope and to continue to find the right people to collaborate with and the right entities to partner with.  

© BongoHive 
Sipho pointed out that you need to be the last one standing.  So many people will come and go in the arena you decide to play in, but in all likelihood they will not have the stamina, the mettle, the drive, the passion, the determination, the skill, the experience, the innovation, the creativity, and most importantly the overwhelming need to succeed.  So stick it out.  It will be hard.  You will be broke often.  You will not always know what to do.  But if you really want it, help will come just when you need it.  That breakthrough will happen when you least expect it.  Believe. Work hard.  Stay focused.  Remain steadfast.  It will come to pass.  Although painful to hear that it will probably not get any easier, it was comforting to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

3.. There is nothing wrong with staying small.

A lot of the times, when people create businesses they believe that we all have to be moguls.  We want to be billionaires so bleeping bad. Not everyone is meant to be a ridiculously wealthy.  Not everyone has to be as you don't necessarily need to be that loaded to accomplish your professional goals and live the lifestyle you desire. Economies of scale do not necessarily follow with upscaling.  There is an opportunity cost to artificially stalling growth as well as to swiftly expanding operations.  There should be a reason for being an SME or to becoming a huge corporate entity.  You need to ask yourself what works best for you, what works with your style of management, with the vision you have for your company and your employees and how you want to serve your clients.  You size determines the quality of what you want to achieve.  Big does not always mean better: you can lose a lot by expanding: your profit margins may shrink, and your personal rapport with employees and clients can be lost.  At the same time, you may not be able to serve without bringing in more people and to produce greater profits to keep innovating and creating you may have to attract more business.

Here is Sipho's entire talk at BongoHive:

  

For more information about upcoming talks follow BongoHive on Facebook and Twitter.

I have also now changed MUNTU format to accommodate changes in the blog, so anytime I write about someone I will add them to the tag and this post is part of the Zed Series about inspiring Zambians.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Twit Tuesday: Inspire Abantu

© Chosa Mweemba of Fiahlink Photography
This photo was taken during #BeautifulLusaka Photowalk
around Lusaka's CBD in December 2013.  To find out more
check out Beautiful Lusaka campaign  Facebook and Twitter
and tfind out more about upcoming photowalks with
photographer Dan Hartwright

Inspire Abantu (abantu in Bemba means people) is a new Zed tumblr focused on putting out inspirational words, pictures, videos and art from Zambia to affect the world.  I was asked to write some uplifting words for the blog and happily obliged.  I am all for putting out positivity into the world.  Maya Angelou believes you should pick your words carefully as when you unleash them, they affect in ways we still do not fully understand, so be mindful of the damage they can do.  I write to soothe my soul and to quieten my spirit in the hopes that they may offer solace, healing and inspiration to others too.  Hopefully every now and again my amashiwi (words) have a positive effect :).

For my attempt to Inspire Abantu, click on the link below:




For more MbA inspiration check out the The MbA Way and  Inspirational/ Insightful Quotes tags on the blog.