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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, 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.