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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, 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.

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