For Your Daily Dose of MbA

Microblog on Facebook so follow today :)


"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, 26 October 2015

Coming to America, Dream of Africa: To Zed with Love...

Thought I would finally redeem myself and start blogging again this Mama Monday. What has sparked my creative juices in a literary fashion once more? America!

Indeed it is the place where I started this blog 5 years ago.  The scene is almost the same; though in California, I am at Stanford, not USC in LA. I haven't been to America since I left in August 2010. This blog then helped me to work through my nervous condition of reconciling my Afropolitan nature. I think I have finally cracked how to be global living local but constantly need to check in when things get wobbly. Now, to sustain it this healthy cycle... 

This year has been a crazy year. A truly blessed year. But turbulent due to the fact that certain parts of my life, essential to my soul and spiritual health, were sidelined. I am finally able to afford to travel, thanks to e18hteam getting into film festivals and being brand ambassador for Zambeef, but I have barely been able to read, let alone write since I posted the traditional Top 10 of the preceding year.

Descent in to SFO in September
So how does America get me to write? Zambia, though I love her, requires so much of my energy spent on surviving the crazy to thrive, that I get lost in the thick of things.  If you have been following me on social media, you will have seen I have made a couple of trips to Europe.  There I am at home, so my soul gets a breather to just be, which is a prerequisite for regeneration, but not great at fostering growth.  What the US does is smack me in the face. I know it's going to occur many a time, yet it happens spontaneously, erratically, unpredictably, and I'm blindsided every time.  It challenges who I am, where I come from and what my place is in the world in such a singular way.  

I have not been back in 5 years and have not found a reason to be excited to return until a close friend's wedding, my documentary included in the Official Selection of SVAFF, and my Stanford 10 year reunion all coincidentally scheduled themselves within a month of each other in Northern California.  The trip was worth it on so many levels.  The film had just completed a national tour and I was in need of a break. So the wedding and reunion book ended my trip, so could travel for work while getting some much needed downtime in between.

Within two hours of arriving, switching from International to Domestic, as I made my way through security to embark on my 3rd flight, after 24 hours already spent on 2 planes plus a 4 hour layover, Amurrrica did not disappoint with why I left (so I am now at peace with that decision and will never look back), but also revealed why I need to come back to get some shock treatment regularly. When I handed over my passport to the lady at Security:

TSA Agent: Oh my God, I knew that couldn't be right! I was like whaaaaat, you can't be from Zamunda, coz that's a fictitious place!

She waits for a response from me, but all I can do is smile, gobsmacked, and with the foresight to just smile but not wave because I am not a penguin from Madagascar, but I could be King Koffi's illegitimate daughter at this point he he he...

TSA Agent: You know what I mean, right...

Me: Yes, yes I do. Coming to America.

TSA Agent: Yeah! So you are from ZAAAMBEEEEEYAAAAAH?

Me: Yes, It is in Southern Africa.

TSA Agent: Never seen that before!

In my head I'm thinking, why am I the one to pop people's Zambia cherry?!

In retrospect this is hilarious. Take this quiz to make you feel better. Coming to America is all sorts of wrong.  It was in the 80s, even more so now, but you have to see the hilarity in it or you'll just die inside thinking of all the damage through misrepresentation and ignorance it has caused. I proudly got 10/10.

I took another 6 domestic flights and visited California, Massachusetts and Illinios. These trips all created encounters with TSA Agents and people who tried to put me in a box they understood before their brain exploded, as I don't read to the stereotypical conditioning that is required for people to assign norms in order to interact:

Reading directly from my passport as they say this:

Multiple TSA Agents: Ah you're from Zimbabwe... 

Me: !!!!!!!!!!

Random conversations with strangers:

Thought you were from Africa! When I heard your accent, I detected French there...

In my head: I'm from an English speaking African country and went to school in England and speak terrible French so....

Oh so your name is Engasa? Is that from the click language, you know the one I am talking about right?

Me: Languages with clicks are further South in Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, but I think you are referring to Xhosa.

Yeah, that's the one. I'm actually trying to learn that. Do you know how to pronouce...

Internal dialogue: I love my name Ngosa, so small yet causes such great difficulty in pronunciation he he he.  Why do Americans only know about the click language?! Do they know that it's rude to refer to it that way and ignorance to not know there is more than one? And please if you are going to learn any language, KNOW ITS NAME out of respect for the people who speak it and the culture it represents. Inexcusable! And no I will not be an authority on how you butcher someone else's tongue...

Back in the day this would irk me to the point where I would need all my might to hold back the vitriol that would try to force its way out in volcanic proportions and decimation.  Before I needed to avoid Pompeii, now that volcano is not even dormant, it's extinct. I talk about these incidents with empty passion, devoid of emotion. I ask myself what lead to the crazy and attempt to work out a rational explanation for their words and actions, but don't stress about it, whether I can figure things out or not. Why? Because these moments are hilarious.  I find the humour in this derogatory ignorance towards my continent and my people.  All I can do is lead by example, but I am in no way obligated to educate. These are grown people, armed with the best access to the Internet and its treasures.  Google is at their disposal with a plethora of information to expand horizons, to increase exposure exponentially ad infinitum. But what I get from these jolts of crazy are a wake up call for my soul. Woolgathering ensues and I have been able recalibrate, refocus - reacquaint myself with who I am as well as who I want to be, and how to get there to be a positive force in the world and a part of communities.  

Wearing Poleka by @MutoniChola
and copper jewelry from Free Zambia
So thank you America, for now you have bulldozed through my writers block and exposed a whole new creative space that includes blogging. Once again, I have been forced to Nike and just do it, but what has also been revealed is my evolution.  Last time I started writing out of anger and despair, this time I write not from a place of irked and determined indignation, but from a peaceful, sage place of transcendent freedom and comfort in oneself that outside forces ultimately cannot put asunder.  No longer noxious, my relationship with America has turned from detrimental to a positive, catalytic, cathartic one.

So all because of some profound nonsense, (and you know I love me some of that), in coming to America, I did not dream of staying and being a model immigrant, but of going back to the continent to the country I love, flying the Zambian flag proudly ;}. So cheers to that, to writing again and to heading back to the continent tomorrow!

For more about my journey this year and to keep up-to-date with everything going on with the film, as well my other projects in Zambia and globally, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


  1. So... without judging you, I wonder how you would write if you didn't go to Amuuurrica at all? Anyway. I laughed at the comments about Coming to America. I love that movie because it's made to be that way. It's fictitious and it's a simple romantic comedy but it's meant to represent Africa in that unreal way. I love it. I always go into long conversations defending why it works. And no, as an African it doesn't bother me at all!
    Good luck with the writing in the coming year. And congratulations on a successful year!

    1. Kashimi I love the movie too and am always trying to defend it, hence the tongue and cheek reference. However, though people using it to inform reality is inexcusable, I no longer allow such ignorance to dictate my sense of being.

      Thank you very much for the well wishes and same to you!