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

Monday, 28 November 2016

NGansta vs NG-ma

I have two main moods. Of course I have found a punny and profoundly nonsensical way to express them: 

Taken at KC Vaghela Brand Store Launch this year
by Vince Banda
This is clearly Ngansta lol
NG-ma (n) - play on Ngosa and grandmother (g-ma)
1. introverted, stay at home in the comfort of sweats, hoodie, and fluffy slippers mode; 
2. motherl , loyal and caring side of me;
3. inner voice that stops me from being too crazy, makes sure I take care of myself.

NGangsta (n) - play on Ngosa and gangster (gansta/ G)
1. vivavious, up for anything, spontaneous, open, crazy, outgoing side of me;
2. boldy express myself through my appearance. Don't for anyone else though, but if you enjoy my look hey...
3. leads me into trouble sometimes, forgets to check in and make sure I'm not overworking coz this is the side that fuels the hustler, the boss: the Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller and gets me out and about .

My professional life brought out the curmudgeonly side of NG-ma  for most of the year.  
Connect with me on SnapChat @whoops.c 
At the last minute have bailed on things, or just have flat out hidden away for months at a time in order to recharge and reemerge better, stronger and Ngangsta lol.  These past few months I have been able to actually been the kind of present and supportive friend, Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller, and member of my community that I have been wanting to evolve into for the past couple of years.

Also, just about finding the sweet spot to the balance between NG-ma and Ngansta: the ying and yang, the right ratio of  indivudual and simultaneous expressions of these extremes in my personality as that is what fuels my creativity.  My writing, in particular, suffers acutely when things are out of wack. My family also suffers as my cooking tends to taste like poison and not love when I'm not regulated.  Repatriating has been really hard on me these last 5 years. The opportunity cost of not living in the West has had a huge effect on my support systems, my engagement with the world, how I process life, and how I express myself.  I am finally able to be comfortable in my own skin and with the things I still need to work at. I am finding the joy in imperfection again, as life is best lived in the pursuit of happiness, success and growth despite our flaws, the challenges we face and the pitfalls ahead.

Wishing you a happy Monday and hope that you find the motivation in your own life to keep calm and carry on, and that you are at peace with yourself, even if things aren't quite where you would like them to be right now!

To keep up-to-date daily with the epic battle between NG-ma and Ngangsta follow me on Instagram, and Twitter.

Monday, 24 October 2016

A Reflection on Identity, Growth, Evolution and Freedom on Independence Day

I have been exploring freedom in my life through another Instagram mini-project which ends today with this blog post.

Decided to start a new #ngosa34 #purplereign mini project over the next 24 days leading up to my country's Independence day. Freedom is a hot topic right now as youth in Zambia feel disenfranchised, disempowered and hopeless. Can we liberate ourselves in order to actualise the people we are champing at the bit to be? I choose to look around me for the inspiration, the hope and the tools to make a better future. I believe we have the will to achieve our goals. When I look up in my backyard this is what I see. How can my heart not be warmed, my spirit invigorated and the passionate fire that fuels my soul's purpose not be stoked? Wishing you all a restful and rejuvenating weekend filled with simple joys like this. #lusaka #zambia #suburbs #backyard #palmtrees #blue #sky #sunshine #happiness #love #life #selfcare
A photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on

I wanted my second project to have a Zambian
production team.  These amazing people inspire
me, challenge me to be and do better and are ballers!
Thank you for being you the Ladies of Mafashio,
Chosa Mweemba and Leelee Ngwenya xo
This post's eye candy is of ZeDream Team, the amazing young Zambians who have accepted the challenge of collaborating with me on my next project:  the African Cultural Exchange project, better known as the A.C.E. project.  A.C.E. is borne from the scary rise in the proliferation of ignorance as fact at home and abroad by the powers that be for their own profit, and not for the advancement for the people they are supposed to serve and protect, whom believe that they are fighting in their corner.  It is a positively direct response to the feeling of youth disenfranchisement that people have shared with me here in Zambia.  These intimate exchanges that I have been privileged to be a part of, due to the status e18hteam has brought in my life as a bi product of its success at home and abroad, deserve a respectful reply with action.  That response comes in the form of a multimedia project that aims to give voice to these issues in creative ways and hopes to be an organic and fluid conduit for people to use as a catalyst in their own lives for conversation, empowerment, growth and evolution.

While creating new culture and eventually traditions, it is important to acknowledge what has been: to understand the existing millieu and values to find a way to bridge the gap.  There is a vacuum in the future to be filled with the new, but in the present we have to contest and grapple with the old, which is not all necessarily bad.  There must be reconciliation to progress - I hope with this project I am able to find a way for generations to see eye to eye so that our elders pass on the best of what was, and help and make way for us to build a better tomorrow on the foundations they have laid.  

At the moment I am going through a process of rediscovering Zambia's past and working my way through books to give me an idea of the present and the promise of tomorrow:

I cannot stress enough how eerily these books echo the famous adage history repeats itself.  Just as Colonel Stewart Gore-Brown thought that he was a good White Man who was a great ally to black people/ Africans, today we see well meaning Westerners come and make a mess of things and exercise their White privilege without thought and acknowledgement.  Worse they continue ignore the blatant racism that exists in the world today which leads to development bias and other perspective shortcomings that ultimately cripple and hinder efforts towards black empowerment and/ or African progress. The man used to beat the crap out of  his indigenous workers and there was a haughty tone of superiority and need for his approval to deem Blacks/ Africans worthy of being the masters of their own fate that muddied his good intentions, which still exists today.  Even though Kaunda was all for non violence during our Independence struggle and was all for universal enfranchisement, it is clear with that situation in Zambia today is a sad legacy of the unfulfilled dream that began to be realised officially 52 years ago.  Our quest for democracy was in direct response to the failure of our freedom fighters to implement the dream and in the two and a half decades since, we have been running around like headless chickens because we have not fully processed our past, so the present is always tenuous and uncertain. Our future is fraught with problems to solve, unforeseen and clear pitfalls we inevitably get lost in and no clear path to salvation. And those in power and who aspire to power may start out with pure intentions, but seem to end up corrupted: taking advantage of our situation with broken promises, misinformation and constant looking out for themselves and not the people.

I have struggled this year to reclaim my identity and to find ways to grow and evolve from my experiences.  Thankfully I have redisovered my liberty to express myself, which was encroached upon surreptitiously.  I have found a way to break free and rise like a true Nkwazi (eagle and symbol of freedom on the Zambian flag). I am inspired by the increasing crack down on freedom of speech and self-expression to speak up. I understand that when you live in such an environment, knowingly or unknowingly, people act in nefarious ways to survive in order to not be crippled by fear or conquered by the crazy themselves. So you just have to forgive but not forget, so you don't make the same mistakes and are on the look out to protect yourself in the future. I choose to be optimistic. I choose to be proactive.  I choose to be the protagonist in my life. I choose to be a harbinger of good in the world.  So I am now in the process of building on the foundations that seemed lost but still are where they have always lain, to move forward whole and unabashedly me both personally and professionally. Hopefully in a way that is of service and is useful in my own small way ;}. I choose to claim the past, warts and all to be able to figure out where I as an individual am now, and where we are as a people to move forward.  I want to learn from our mistakes and crowd source information, experiences and ideas from other Zambians, Africans and global citizens to figure out how to create the future that I want.  To be able to collaborate to manifest the tomorrow that we all believe in that is better, friendlier and equitable.  This endeavour is unclear, and its fuzziness could be a deterrent but the life is a journey.  You never really know when you have arrived till you are no more.  So just go with it.  And that is what I am doing.   

Below you can find my documentary about the Zambian National Football Team: the Chipolopolo's epic and inspirational story of tragedy and ultimate triumph on Video on Demand.  For $3 you get 2 day access to the film.  I now use e18hteam (eighteam) to give motivational, cultural exchange and customised conceptual talks.  If you are interested in how I can help you put forward your idea using the film or if you want to know more about A.C.E. and/ or want to see how we can collaborate, please contact me.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Dios Mio! - How my Deo Became my Salvation

This tweet reminded me of an profoundly nonsensical incident that sent me into a tail spin a couple of months ago:

So in August I started using the male version of my antiperspirant.  Not by choice, but because my body is very finicky and this particular brand is the only one it doesn't react to. Problem is I'm also extremely sensitive to smell.  When I put it on I had the most visceral and adverse reaction to it.  The smell clobbered my senses and sent me into a man-hating stupor.  Seriously!  My sister found it hilarious, but at the time it was traumatic. I can only laugh at myself in retrospect.  The smell is that typical alpha male scent that deodorants tend to have.  That  puerile odor that is supposed to capture the quintessentially male essence.  The one teenagers spray all over their bodies like in that famous brand, that rhymes with fax and was formally known by the name of a type of cat, ads. I felt physically, emotionally and mentally assaulted.  It was nuts! Yes my deodorant had me in conniptions and discombobulated smh...

Eventually the horrendous ordeal made me think about why I had had such a strong and unpleasant reaction to it.  At this point the Zambian election was imminent.  I was on a social media detox because I just couldn't take all the crazy - mostly discourse informed and led by initiatives, speeches and comments of male origin, conjured up to maintain power and oppress in every way, shape and form.  I realised I am done with entertaining that in the slightest. I do not need that in my life, let alone emanating from my armpit! The scent was a trigger to direct me to something much larger. Paradoxically the oppression led to my salvation and enfranchisement.
I choose me! For more visual empowerment
follow me on Instagram. I have been creating
a serious of mini projects using images to grow,
inspire and work through things.

After realising that it was the deodorant but wasn't really about deodorant, I got to thinking about how I could change how I viewed the situation.  Instead of man-bashing, I should continue to empower myself and find a new way of dealing with such assaults for my health.  My new project A.C.E. is all about that so instead of just working it, I needed to keep living it too.  I cannot be baited into a less productive way of dealing with the current gender situation in my country and the world.  For my project to be honest I need to continually and actively do things in my own life to empower myself, and to not let patriarchy and the asinine acts of men affect me so. I cannot allow myself to be sucked into hate because of my environment.  Love must prevail! I must keep the peace and maintain well-being in my life too.

I had already started with things like this:

And plan to continue, as I did after I recovered from this trippy incident, with things like this:

😤😤😤 #mondaymotivation #zambia people it's hot. Stepped out today in shorts and relatives afraid of me being lynched. I only went to @BongoHive, not like I was prancing about town where I know regardless of what is rational I'd be stoned. One thing I do know is I am not asking for it and in no way carry myself so. I'm just regulating my temperature as our weather climbs the 30Cs. I refuse for small minds to cage me into overheating. Why should I have to be correcting for your backwardness and patriarchal oppression? I have said this would be a mission for years. It definitely is now. Started inadvertently last week and what are considered short and disrespectful wardrobe choices (any dress, skirt or shorts above the knee and/or tight) are going to be a mainstay this hot season.  For more start following @aceprojectzed as we are about to launch our first mini project and start conversations about nuance, freedom of expression and respect. #proudlyzambian #africa #mafashio #fashionista #style #activism #thestruggleisreal #aceproject #purplereign #ngosa34 #melanin #thighsforjeaux
A photo posted by Ngosa Whoopi Chungu (@whoops.c) on

I. JUST. CAN'T. ANYMORE! Life is too short to let other people's issues throw you off so. So I choose me. I choose my sanity.  I choose self care.  I choose to fight. I choose to have my frustration ignite a new passion for change.  And together we will win. There is space enough for us to all to be, and do, with respect to one another.  That tweet reminded me that even though the bloviated rhetoric of lesser men tends to be amplified, there are lots of beautiful men out there, and in my life, who prove that there is a way to equality, equity and equanimity without oppression.

To all the real men out there I salute you, and to all the women out there fighting for our right to be, I'm with you sisters xo! I forgive my deodorant, it's not its fault it smells like an idiot. If you want to talk more about this or anything else, tweet me! 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Tikambe Natulande Part 2

I expressed in Part 1 what a mind*bleep* filming this episode of the vanguard television series produced by Samba Yonga for BBC Media Action was. Even though this post is part of my Things on Thursday series, this is no small thing let me tell you. Are they ever with me ;)?

Youth Counsellor Nancy Mweene and I on set filming our
episode. Photo Credit: PR Girl
I think the most shocking part of the experience for me was the fact that a father felt that it was okay to stick his penis inside his daughter's vagina to teach her about how sex is not to be taken lightly and that she was too young to have intercourse.  That he was able to get aroused in order to penetrate her.  That despite her cries he still went on to rape her.  The despicable act was in no way consensual on her part. That he then ejaculated into his hands so he could mix his sperm with traditional herbs in order to make some juju concoction to rub on her stomach, so if she did have sex, she would get stuck to the dastardly boy who was in cahoots with her, so they could catch them both in the act and reprimand them accordingly! You can't make this kind of crackpot crazy up! I. JUST. CAN'T. As far as I know, the girl did not contract an STD or worse ended up pregnant only to be come the mother/ sister to her brother-incest child! It is pure luck that her once innocent soul was not forced to suffer any more than it already has been burdened with.

I could not express myself quite that bluntly on camera, as Zambia is still in the dark ages. We couldn't even use scientific, technical terms in order to really depict just how heinous a situation this poor young girl was in and what trauma she faced. I am known to not have any brakes, but I was not going to jeopardise the initiative by not finding a way to get this important message out. Her story was more important than any agenda of mine. I was quite annoyed I couldn't quite articulate myself as clearly and as freely  as censorship is a huge part of the problem.  We need to talk openly about sex because clearly we are having it and it was revealed as the Tikambe Natulande season unfolded that children much younger than 10 are experimenting, because we aren't creating safe spaces to chat about this natural and important part of our lives.  This is almost a year since I filmed the episode and I am still shaken, angry and disturbed that this is not a singular case, but there are thousands around the country being disciplined along this spectrum of sexual perversion in the name of tradition and good parenting.  This is not who we are.  We are so lost in Zambia that those with any sort of power abuse it in the most devious and evil ways. We have to do better.  What future do we have if our youth are continuously blighted by the most unnecessary of traumas. Unadulterated, blunt, uncensored truth serum is required to not only be  prescribed, but actually dispensed in bucketloads like Cod Liver Oil. Not teaspoons or tablespoons but bucketloads.  It won't go down well, but it will be good for us.  We just need to suck it up and get on with curing ourselves of this hush hush syndrome that is crippling us.

Here is the episode and you can watch the rest of the season on the Tikambe Natulande Channel:

If you would like to talk more about this, tweet me and for professional advice on sexual reproductive health issues and for resources near you in Zambia, contact the Tikambe team on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Lenshina and the Inauguration

So this post really isn't about the Inauguration.  Zambia decided and some of us may not have gotten what we wanted, but today incumbent President, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is being sworn in. What has come out of this election cycle is that Zambia is a flock of lost sheep who are so desperate for direction. For me the political arena really isn't the place to duke this out, as personally I do not see my principles and my ideals for Zambia even remotely represented by anyone who seeks to serve in that capacity.  I have no idea what is going on in that ring, so this bull is using her horns to bust out and explore the great wide world out there for answers and to create my own solutions that hopefully have an impact in some way on a larger scale.

This past weekend I went on an amazing artistic journey quite by accident.  I have been in hibernation pretty much all year, trying to put myself back together after inadvertently finding myself the protagonist in what I realised was a Humpty Dumpty phase.  Thankfully all the King's horses and all the King's men were not required, but this Queen needed a whole lot of soul searching to reemerge.  I may have ended up broken after last year's success, but I am on the mend and patched up enough to move forward.  Part of that has been reconnecting with life in Lusaka and thankfully new hope has revealed itself. I have been inspired by our tenacity, and that artists in particular are finding ways to express themselves, even though this is a fearful time in Zambia - a time in which many of us youth are fearful of things regressing so far - that there will be no path for our future, only a way for the archaic, the disconnected, the greedy and the power-grabbers.

On Friday I decided to go to a Modzi Arts event about whether we do indeed have Zambian Literature. One of my girl crushes Mulenga Kapwepwe was on the panel and she talked about how it is clear from the way we write today that we have no idea who we are. We defined only in the past tense, in writers long gone. We take on other people's voices, experiences, their landscapes without having visited and try to co-opt their lives unsuccessfully.  We would rather write in broken English, live the life we watch on TV and adopt their truths and their pain, than actually tackle the specifics of our situation.  There is nothing wrong with being inspired by others.  There is everything wrong with living in someone else's skin with no real understanding of who they are and worse who you are.  In order for Zambia to move forward, to create great works, we need to live in our dysfunction, channel that through what we do and manifest, in order to work through and come out the other side wiser, strong and defined.  There is nothing wrong with declaring your truth, however untidy it may be.  If you are discombobulated, say you are and be done with it.  If you need to look back to figure out where you are to move forward, then do so. Take it from someone who has spent their life deranged and confused.  I have blogged over and over about how I live in uncertainty - you can still find identity in the me ;)!

Looking back to move forward is exactly what happened the next day.  I decided to watch Lenshina, a play about the Lumpa Church Uprising after Independence, as when I got home after the literary discussion, the Internet was lit with rave reviews. And I was not disappointed.  Both the UNZA Drum Theatre Troupe skits that preceded the main event and Lenshina were amazingly Zambian and fresh.  I laughed, sighed, cringed, "cried", was challenged, affirmed and above all was moved deeply.  What I loved most was that none of the actors put on weird foreign accents which Zambians seem to think make them sound cooler, more intelligent, more attractive and unfortunately, not Zambian and therefore better when speaking English. This erroneous view, symptomatic of a deep self hatred and low esteem, a glaring manifestation of the colonised mind that we tend to ignore, brush over and worst of all reward, is disturbingly sad to witness and usually detracts from what is being communicated.  I no longer listen to radio because I just can't with most DJs, the most blatant form of rewarding this behaviour.  You are enough mwebantu!  Just speak with whatever accent you have: it's your truth, it is the audio map of your life, be proud of your journey please! I equally was tickled by the fact that vernacular was used: mostly Bemba and in Lenshina, Nyanja and Tonga were also featured. Also, so chuffed I understood pretty much everything, so could get all the jokes as the scripts deftly interwove English with our mother tongues which is the way we quintessentially communicate. I am so glad that the art respected that. Every Zambian I believe is at least bilingual. One Zambia One Nation would not be able to exist in some shape or form without at least understanding your people and the diversity in the vicinity. At this point may I apologise if you were in at the Playhouse with me on Saturday: in true African style, I cackled, hooted and hollered, gasped and talked back so loud I couldn't help myself. I blame the raucous company I keep. And no it wasn't the wine I drank, it was only one glass he he he. It's how we do on the continent, and it's one of my favourite things about the way we immerse ourselves when suspension of reality is required at the theatre or the cinema.  We engage so viscerally and profoundly with art, something that is largely lost in the West. There is theatre etiquette and a separate, more stringent set of rules for the cinema. Ehk! I have been on the receiving end of many a side-eye and tut when I forget where I am when far from home enjoying myself.  Okay maybe I'm not that sorry because clearly I have no control...

What made me proud to be Zambian after the performance was the fact that the youth who put together Lenshina, took on a very controversial subject in a time when people are retreating to their corners and are afraid to speak.  They were able to comment on today using the past. And they did it in a refreshingly modern way, not limited by the comfort Zambians feel in the familiar.  We tend to produce content that is stale, repetitive and tired.  Our complacency, which has led to the disquiet and dissatisfaction that has manifested itself in cadre violence, political clamp downs and the loss of our peace and friendliness, has in turn revealed itself in art that proves that imitation is not always the best form of flattery.  We may have found comfort in knowing what is coming but it keeps us stagnant.  It has stopped us from growing.  And knowing that forces wanting to "help" will come and bail us out has put us in a position of begging.  And this was reflected in some reactions to the play, asking for more of the story as they felt they enjoyed it so much it should have included everything about the Uprising to make it longer, which completely misses the point.

The play took a particular stand.  Unbiased yet strongly pointed.  Was Lenshina in the wrong or was Kaunda?  The rapier delivery of dialogue built on short sentences and each scene ending with the protagonists accusing each other of having "blood on their hands", perfectly articulated the struggle of defining self and moving forward after colonisation - that One Zambia One Nation was something that needed to be worked at even then.  Lives were lost in the struggle and it is up to each of us to come to our own conclusions and most importantly I feel, be inspired by our history not to fall into the same pitfalls our Founding Fathers did. Not to be afraid of different points of view.  To allow for nuance. To respect our differences and work harder to find common ground to ensure peace beyond tolerance.  I will discuss this much going forward as I launch my new endeavour the ACE Project. The play was timely, evident in the fact that religion played a huge part in the confusion and lies were disseminated on both sides to advance each others causes.  Both sides I feel were honourable and authentic in their point of view, but their truths were subjective to their experience and goals which blinded them. That ultimately led to clashes rather than compromise for a better future. To miss those parallels because you weren't given the full story is short-sighted.  To not understand that true art fills your soul yet sparks your spirit to want more is an oversight we cannot avoid. If you feel a different presentation was required, create your own chance, write your own play, give us another view.  Art is never complete, it is supposed to add to the conversation and facilitate the creation of more.  Art is meant to "comfort the uncomfortable and discomfort the comfortable".  It is not meant to necessarily answer your questions, but it can give you peace knowing that the questions are out there and that the answers are being searched for, the solutions and being worked on.  

This play used that past to give us the language today to communicate what we are feeling, to know that this is not anything new, but also to warn us that just because it has happened before, doesn't mean it should happen again.  Repeating history is not an excuse, evidence to be justified in defeat. Instead of praying from a place of hopelessness and not hope, let's help ourselves as deliverance comes to those who demand it through their actions.  Ultimately the play  was able to contribute to the conversations we are having and inspire us to respond in turn. Despite the rickety theatre, the lack of resources, the cast and crew persevered.  Their situation is a metaphor for and the reality of Zambia right now.  They were able to find and communicate a painful beauty despite the shadows trying to overcast and obscure.  They illuminated their desire to succeed in the most thoughtful and entertaining way.  They achieved what great art does, they were able to inspire.  Hence this blog post ;}!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Madness and Tea

One of the beauties of the internet, is I continue to get tangled in webs woven by beautiful Black (and African) women around the world.  Twitter is the best place for that.  I have met ladies whom I feel I know like the lines on my palms, and yet we have never occupied the same space physically.

As I have no picture with Malaka,
I have substituted her with some
sistren eye candy and my latest pic
repping the hooded clan.
 Photo taken by Vince Banda 
One such dame is one of my favourite girl crushes Malaka.  I first came across her when trying to find a transcript of the famous Intellectual Scum conversation by Field Ruwe, but did not really get to know her till we both featured in a Google hangout about African women, sex and love.  This lead to the epic Twitter love affair of the hooded sistren.  The profound nonsense that we spout out in abundance is so much fun.  I get to Big Pun and she shines in her irreverently unabashed, insightful, crazy and intelligent way. She is the sage and I am the jester. And vice versa - I Yoda to her Jar Jar Binks. I look forward to finding nuggets on my TL to jump-off from and flex my witty muscles.  I can't wait for us to go on our train excursion.  She thinks I'll forget. I have proof-o. Don't make me juju...

So really, she is already aware of my powers so she best not try me. Once she returns to the motherland, we are planning! Yes, it's by force as we say here in Zed.

Anyhoo, back to the point of this post. So Malaka, posted this "old man rant" about how Africans in the West end up pandering to the stereotype of waxing lyrically about the Africa of Heart of Darkness and National Geographic photographs, not the perfectly imperfect blend of tradition and modernity, light and darkness, poverty and wealth, aet cetera, ad infinitum, and everything in between that actually currently exists on the continent. Right now I'm obsessed with nuance: adding more viewpoints to the debates that are going on locally and globally. The article made me think about how we in Zambia are completely suckered into this form of presentation to get the approval of some NGO, to get some accolade, to lure foreign direct investment or a new aid program, to get our names out there. We crave foreign validation to feel worthy. It's sad. We are enough! Just put yourself out there honestly and D'Arcy will like you just as you are Bridget Jones ;}.

This led me to have the exchange with her, storified below.  I hope it makes you think about the way we represent ourselves, and about how if we don't allow for nuance, we who are the made the "Other" will remain stagnant. If you are part of the "Us" group, who dictate what rhythms the Other has to dance to, think about your part in perpetuating this nonsense.  There should only be one we, a diverse group called the human race, trying to make it the best way they can and accepting of the way others are. 

Like this post? You can find more in Twit Tuesday..

For more information about my journey this year and to keep up-to-date with the world of MbA, follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Tikambe Natulande Part I

If you follow me on social media, you will know that I am one of the 10 celebrity (ehk, that word, but that is what they have referred to all of us as, and everyone else rightly deserves it, soooo) guest presenters on the newly created, groundbreaking show Tikambe, part of a youth-led initiative Tikambe Natulande (Let's Talk in Nyanja and Bemba) that started off as a radio show with social media platforms.

Selfie with crew after the show.  I was styled by Mafashio
in Kamanga Wear from their Zambia Fashion Week 2015

This Restless Development and BBC Media Action programme, which is also funded by the Swedish Government, is produced by Samba Yonga, whom if you have kept up with the blog, is a dear friend and a media force to be reckoned with here in Zambia.  My episode has already aired, and the series is currently showing on Fridays at 21:30 on ZNBC TV1. If you missed out, then here is some insight into my episode and the trailers to get you joining the conversation online, and tuning in from now on:

Tonight's guest on my ‪#‎TikambeTV‬ show is filmmaker Ngosa Chungu and we had a nice little chat about how we got to this episode:
Me: Can you talk about landing the role on this show and a bit about the interview process?

Ngosa: Samba Yonga (Tikambe TV show producer) is a close friend and we were having our usual monthly lunch and catch up when she told me about this new project she was working on: turning ‪#‎Tikambe‬ the radio show into a TV show. She asked me if I had listened to it before and I had randomly stumbled upon it on the radio while driving a couple of times.

She then told me some of the guests and the format and I thought it was great and wished her all the best. She then asked if I would be one of the presenters and I was like are you sure, I don't think I am a celebrity! Who knows me and why would they listen to what I have to say?!
Me: Why do you think you were perfect for the show?
Ngosa: When Samba told me that the reason she would like me to contribute was because I am not afraid to speak my mind, and that is needed desperately right now when it comes to youth and sexual reproductive health issues, I couldn't say no.
If there are people who are able to talk about sensitive issues because they see me do so without any qualms, that is a good thing. I also like a challenge and I'm committed to continuing to grow personally and within the communities I can affect, so I asked for a really tough subject to really make the most of this opportunity and be of assistance.
Me: Can you share one secret about behind-the-scenes when filming the episode?
Ngosa: I was so emotional that I was in tears pretty much the whole episode. I really did not want anyone to see me cry, or to ruin everything by being unintelligible. All I wanted to do was stomp around and throw things in anger because I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I felt so much for the brave youth telling her story. I was a mess, an absolute wreck! I held the chair a lot I think to steady myself.
Me: What are your thoughts on the topic on tonight's episode?
Ngosa: Children do not ask to be born. They end up in this world because men and women carelessly, or thoughtfully, come together and create life. Regardless, it is up to all of us to ensure that once they get here, they are protected until they can fend for themselves. Anyone who takes advantage of a child is the most despicable of the human race. There is no excuse for it and it is a glaring consequence of our collective failure as society. It means something is broken and if we do not take care to check such individuals and prevent further trauma, we are all accountable. It is NEVER the child's fault. It is those in power who are allowed to act in such ways because we do nothing to deter them.
Me: Did this spark any personal ambitions yet unattained?
Ngosa: It reminded me that I have a fire inside that can be used to do more. I am very passionate about my work and the people I love. I have now been opened up to doing things of impact in a more public fashion that mean something. I plan to be more and more engaged and this has actually influenced my next project which will be revealed soon. I am less afraid of being out there I guess, but only for the right reasons naturally.

TIKAMBE SHOW TV OFFICIAL TRAILERThe #TikambeTV show has officially been launched. See the trailer below... Watch the first episode tomorrow on ZNBC TV1 at 20:30hrs and#LetsTalk #Tikambe
Posted by Tikambe Natulande on Thursday, 10 March 2016

To keep up-to-date with Tikambe, as well my other projects in Zambia and globally, follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Women's Month Recap

Yes I am appreciating designer Ms KC's posterior.  It was an
eventful women's month what can I say ;}

During Women's Month I was interviewed by Leelee, a twit whom I have come to love dearly.  In saying that I'm probably going to be subject to more crazy and pretence that she is not all cookie dough inside, with some sort of hard exterior comment or a deluge of pseudo-vitriol once she sees this.  We know your secret, you love me too lol. The proof is in the pudding (don't get me started on what a weird saying that is...):

The conversation started before these tweets was silly, and ended cray cray. Yaaaah...he he he he...

Back to some semblance of normalcy and to the actual point of this post. I enjoyed a recent article of hers and here is an excerpt featuring my answers to her insightful questions:

Q: If you could put on a parade for International Women’s Day, which woman would you put on the main float?
A: I’d put my mother. When I grow up I want to be as graceful, worldly, loving and effective as she is. Despite the constraints of Zambia’s conservatism, she has managed to beat the odds and pursue her dreams.
She raised 3 girls to be strong women and to value education and self-fulfillment, not to just believe that the only role in society females have is to be wives, mothers and children. She showed you can be that and more by being an entrepreneur and recently successfully campaigning to represent Lufwanyama constituency at Parliament. So many people told her she couldn’t do both those things but that didn’t stop her. She’s amazing!
Q: How can young women empower themselves?
A: People may dare to keep you in a box but once you realise the only person who truly puts limits on what you do is you, you have won the battle. If you listen to naysayers you will do nothing. If you look inside yourself to find your potential and the strength to fulfill your dreams, you are empowered and nothing can stop you.
Q: What advice would you give your teenage self?
A: Forget the plan. Life is not about that, it’s about adapting and evolving. If you are rigid, you cannot take the hard knocks and the crazy that will come your way. If you can only succeed when things go your way, you will ultimately fail. If you can’t see beyond what you think you want, you will miss out on great opportunities and will not be exposed to new things and find out that maybe you should go in a different direction. There are many ways to get to what you believe will make life worth living.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Inner peace: No regrets, love from family and friends, passion for life and work that feels like play, contributing positively to the communities you are privileged to be a part of.
Q: What is the best advice a female family member has given you?
A: You are enough. My younger sister tells me that all the time. She is the love of my life and is my number one cheerleader.  She takes me just as I am, as silly, deranged and confused as I may be due to having a creative soul and being a little too cerebral at times.
You can find the whole article with different questions posed to fabulous proudly Zambian women on Leelee's blog.

To keep up-to-date with everything going on with moi and my projects in Zambia and globally, follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Top posts 2010-2015

I'm a mess. Deranged and confused incarnate. So what's new this Woolgather Wednesday, as I pop my cherry for another year of awesome possum profound nonsense, hopefully with oodles and poodles of posts? Nothing clearly lol ;}.

Over the past 5 years I have written less and less, particularly after I started working on my first film project.  The blog is meant to be an open diary of sorts. A place for me to parse information, to sort through issues that have come to my attention that I believe are worth sharing with a larger audience.  Always the medicine to assuage my nervous condition which has flared up in the most spectacularly and newly nefarious manner in the last year, because I didn't realise I needed to adapt and evolve how to take care of me.  This Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller saw her craft take her all around the world, but her soul was left behind and it took a whole load of crazy in my life, and inadvertent and direly consequential deterioration of my most prized possessions, the many gifts of friendship being affected, for me to wake up from my stupor and right my ship.  I continue to apologise to my peeps. You are my everything. I need you in my life. So I will be more careful with myself, as sometimes there is such a thing are being too open. I had to learn that.  I used to be too closed off, which led to me learning to be more out there over the last couple of years, which has now I think balanced out :). 

I chose this image as it is one I have used on the blog before and I think
encapsulates my last five years of storytelling online.
Photo Credit: Chosa Mweemba
So this top 10 is the most pathetic ever, yet genius he he.  I am heartily ashamed of myself.  I really do need to be more disciplined.  I had 8 posts to choose from. Writing really helps the rest of my storytelling.  As I embark on my sophomore documentary project, I vow to implement the lessons from my first foray into filmmaking. Without compromising my writing, I pledge to learn and grow in a less destructive way with this new and exciting stab at proudly Zambian and positively African audiovisual storytelling. My journey continues to inform my creativity so I can't be mad at that really, I suppose...

On that note I give you a combination of my favourite posts from 2015 as well as to commemorate the blog turning 5 in May, which I didn't have the time and energy to acknowledge as I was gearing up to launch e18hteam's #ZambiaAtCannes campaign, with my favourite posts of all time with a little insight as to why. See I told you, genius he he:

1. Zed Love 2015

I just reread this and realised that this post encapsulates my creative process. I am always ahead of myself, I then find myself exploring other possibilities, ways of thinking and ideas and then circle back to something I have already noted down or recorded in some way for future reference.  To my surprise this post is my next project epitomised in blog form lol. More details on this in about a month or so...

My love for this proudly Zambian fashion brand is all over my social media and the blog.  Last year I officially became a Brand Ambassador after purchasing the most extensive collection of their clothing since 2012. 

I never join a new social media platform unless I can justify my presence there, as there are just too many to jump onto every bandwagon.  I gave up on Google+ as it just doesn't fit with the way I communicate online. Same with LinkedIn.  Instagram has taken my quest to be a master multimedia communicator as the Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller to a new level and looking at pictures from around the world has really helped with creative inspiration. I really enjoyed documenting Zambeef's e18hteam national tour. I finally can say I have visited all 10 provinces in Zambia now, adding Western and Luapula which eluded me when I went around with Today with Zamtel in 2013.  You can find all the photos I posted through #ZambeefInYourTown and/ or the name of the towns we visited: #Kabwe #Chingola #Kitwe #Kaoma #Mongu #Choma #Livingstone #Chipata #Mansa and #Lusaka on my Instagram. (You can find links to all these hashtags in the post above ;))

This post is a great example of my commitment to allowing myself to be comfortable in discomfort. This is also is extended to uncertainty, ambiguity, the unknown.  The esteem that comes with knowing that I can be rocked but will find my way back to who I am, what I believe, and the people and things that matter is priceless.  Continuing to test it, fortifies this truth I have come to realise. 

Though I had a conversation about this with my mother at the time in 2014, I got burned in 2015 and uluse lwalile inkwale: kindness ate this quail. Will I stop being kind to the best of my ability, be giving of myself and open to the world? No. Will I be more mindful about whom I let into my life in any capacity in the future and what opportunities I commit to?  Absolutely.  Learnt a lot. No regrets.  Just got to keep growing. My intuition has evolved and my radar is now stronger, so will guide me better going forward.  

This reminds me that though I tend to be pretty stubborn and fixed in my ways, that opening up myself to new experiences and challenging myself to rethink how I feel about things, can lead to awesome possumness. Still think Twitter is for twits, but enjoy the silly banter it affords with the people I talk to regularly online.

This post at the time was a light post that epitomised me and my profound nonsense. In retrospect it is one of the strongest symbols of my journey returning to Zambia and sacrificing everything to be a filmmaker.  I started on e18hteam in 2012.  I did not spend any money on new technology till I finally bought myself a Samsung S5 in March 2015, after suffering through multiple instances of my phone dying in the fashion described.  All my money went to the success of the film.  I would not spend if I could work around it. Ask my hair lol.  Craziness! That's me though. I thank my mother for continually taking pity on me. I am very loved thankfully.

8. Innocent Mugabe 2011

A perfect example of awesome possum profound nonsense. Nuff said!

This post has hit home as Zambia struggles to deal with local socio-economic setbacks coupled with the global fervour powering feminist, as well as gender equality and parity movements.  We are not adapting well AT ALL.  I have never felt fear manifesting in such a violent way on a regular basis before. I see women cowering and pandering and men huffing and puffing and trying to snuff out our lights.  More on this soon he he he ;}

10. There isn't one. Got here and decided not to force it and leave it at 9. This is a celebration of my writing over the last 5 years with a healthy cross-section of posts.  Hope you enjoyed it xo.

To sample more, check out the Top 10s from previous years curated on pages listed in the top right hand corner of the blog. For alternate storytelling from this mwana ba afrika, please check out my social media: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.