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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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