It’s early October and most of us are still recovering from Oktoberfest Lusaka, but there’s no rest for the wicked – PR Girl are up to something already.
Hints of a ‘levels up’, premium, fresh & fun party with a grown and sexy dress code fill the timelines. Lusaka’s curiosity peaked. This is only the beninging (beginning* sorry, I had to 😂). Could you guess the venue? My guess is as good as yours, not very good at all.
With time, a venue is revealed – the 11th floor of the new Sun Share Tower along Katima Mulilo Road in Olympia. Boasting a glorious view of the city, it promises to be a TOP night!
The promotions run, we’re all sooo expectant – a black and gold theme, VIP lounge, happy hour, free drinks on arrival, free canapés, a roll out of DJs set to take us on a trip (from Jazz to Hip Hop) AND the addition of my absolute FAVE Caitlin Deville – you can’t help but think “this is the party of the year!”. What totally wins ME over is the promo video featuring the hosts of the 11th floor festivities – El Mukuka, Cleo Ice Queen, Iris Kaingu and Macky II, they bring the heat and because I suffer severe fomo I am SOLD!
Fast forward to December 16th, the night of (arguably) the most anticipated party of the year – because I’d like to forget all the planning and costs that went into getting ready for the night. It was time, another night out with the squad – all dressed up and ready to turn up at the top 😉
So here’s how the night rolled out for me. The theme was black and gold & we had a dope time but the night wasn’t perfect so let’s play a game – yellow hearts for a win (💛) and black hearts for an L (🖤).
Fashion – 💛💛💛💛💛
In the promo video, my favorite line was Iris’ “Believe it or not, I actually love to get dressed up.” – not only because she was being smart with it but because it really does apply to all of us. We like things and things demand A LOOK.
Lusaka stepped out in style that night. Sun Share was a river of black & gold, as people streamed in on the red carpet. Some played it safe and others took it way out of the park. Even the gents had fun with black and gold. But the night wouldn’t be complete without a hint of blue and red from the rebels 😅
Local designers took the win for the night as lots of us stepped out in their pieces, and the black and gold theme forced us to rip away from the ever-present chitenge in Zambian designs.
I wore a jacket by MK 72 (Miles Kasanda) from his Alchemy collection which I had seen earlier in the year at Zambia Fashion Week and fallen in love. I’m not very fashion forward, so I decided to style it classy hobo.
I’m no fashionista but here’s a few of my favorite looks.
Venue – 💛💛
We hang out in the lobby for a while as we waited on the hosts to pull in the limo!
The idea of a party on the 11th floor with the striking view of Lusaka city was a win in itself, but that particular venue was not ready for a party at the top.
The elevators were so slow, a bunch of us took elevator selfies. I’m claustrophobic, so I already hate the idea of an elevator, but I had to use these ones at least five times that night because the nearest bathrooms were all the way on the 1st floor. I can’t quite remember my reaction when I heard this but the number of angry socialites on the elevator grew with each trip to the bathroom – I’m childish so it was mildly hilarious. Other than that the place was styled to perfection and the views from the top were exhilarating.
Food & Beverages – 🖤🖤
Strongbrow was the welcome cider of choice, Miller the welcome beer – a cup of each, decent.
I was so excited for the canapés, they didn’t come…in their place came a platter of bites for each table/section in the VIP – it was cold, but it kept coming and I appreciate that it kept coming because when you’re inebriated and famished, the temperature doesn’t really matter.
I heard whispers of an elusive food menu – I never saw it but it was there.
The bar was well stocked, providing a decent variety of drinks (beer, cider, champagne and cocktails) – my only qualm here was the hunt for ice that followed a trip to the bar. Other than that we were good to be lit!
VIP was also greeted with a free bottle of boxed Chivas per table, so this lifts the score a little.
Service – 💛💛
In the promos leading to the event everyone was guaranteed bottle service. There was a semblance of it, but it came with a bit of hounding. When it did come though, it was good.
The service at the bar was quick – considering the crowd around it.
We had an elevator guy to push the buttons and control elevator traffic – that was a plus 🤷🏾♂️😅
VIP also had half nekkid Chippendale looking dudes (yes, complete with the bowties) holding up the ropes whenever you wanted to leave or cross over from chintu bwingi – so if that’s your thing, they were your eye candy for the night 😉
Entertainment – 💛💛💛💛💛
This was definitely where the night struck GOLD! No black, except the melanin in the room 😅
El Mukuka kicked it off with a deep house, electronic set that was apt to set the tone for the night. He played a few of HIS bops and some that I couldn’t personally recognize but still had me bopping my head.
And then Caitlin Deville hopped onto the center of the dance-floor to hypnotize the crowd with her violin and and dance moves. That same set from the Stanbic Music Festival but it still gave me all the new feels. She added a performance of her cover of DJ Maphorisa and Major Lazer’s Particula, which she easily slayed. Also, is it even a night out if this song doesn’t play in some shape or form?
Our hosts (Cleo and Iris) were present to yell “What’s up Lusaka?” and ask how the fxxxxx party is going in between sets. You know, for the culture.
DJ Gesh Groove (aka Uncle Gesh – it’s what I call him), with his goatee appropriately colored s shade of gold, came through for Old School hour. One long throwback, playing tunes from TLC to Nelly. It was nostalgic, but also left you searching for your morals…with your buttocks…on the floor because when Nelly says “drop down and get your eagle on!”, you do just that! Definitely my favorite part of the evening.
DJ V-Jeezy took to the decks next for what turned out to be rap-along Hip Hop hour. Every song he played, the crowd effortlessly rapped along. A couple grinding in the corner, a couple of girls twerking on the dance floor, the milly rock spreading like wild fire, and hands going UP and down in unison to DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win”. I don’t know what it is but V-Jeezy kept the crowd going, Hip Hop is his niche!
And then at 1 o’clock as if someone had pushed a button, the night ended. So abruptly we were bade goodnight and the music stopped. Everyone sat in shock for a few minutes before accepting the night was over and proceeding to what I assume was the next stop.
Overall, not a bad one for the first ever Penthouse Party, my squad made it lit for me! 😁
I ended the night HAPPY, with a bottle of champers and my shoes in my hand 🍾
Photo Credit: Balistiq Photography / PR Girl Media (check their Facebook page to see more photos).
Early this year the rumor mill was in overdrive – Boyz II Men were apparently going to be touching Zambian soil, courtesy of Stanbic Bank Zambia at their annual Music Festival. A leak in Stanbic’s marketing/communications team and the news spread like Chinese whisper: everyone was talking about it, everyone had their own little version of the story, but still the skepticism was rife; after all we were ready for Sean Paul, we were ready for Sean Kingston, we were even ready for Wiz Kid that one time (you all remember how that went down). However, we had no reason to doubt Stanbic, they gave us UB40 last year and it was EPIC (read about that HERE if you missed it).
The roll out by Stanbic a few months later confirmed that Boyz II Men were indeed set to grace us with their legendary presence in September of 2017. The excitement was real! This is a group I listened to on cassette, before I even knew what any of their songs were about. Their harmonies and melodies were infectious even to a prepubescent kid (at the time) like me, listening to songs about heart break and making love, understanding non of it but vibing to it still.
My friends and I would randomly burst into song and sing some of their songs, giving our best to harmonize like them. My dad played these songs in the car when he dropped us off at school sometimes, that’s how close to home Boyz II Men hits. Like, are you even Zambian if you didn’t grow up around at least ONE Boyz II Men fan? Plus anyone that knows me knows how much I love 90’s R&B, that was an era of music that left its mark.
The Stanbic Music Festival was set for the 22nd and 23rd of September, two nights of amazing live music! Wezi, Chefy, Mumba Yachi, Abel Chungu, K’Millian, James Sakala and Caitlin De Ville were set to open for Boyz II Men – a magical musical line up, auditory heaven. If my bank account was as willing as my heart and my ears I would have probably attended both nights (VIP so I could be right in the front), but tickets were going at K1,500 (VIP) a piece and K500 (Standard). I stuck to my financial lane, after all last year’s UB40 concert was pretty dope even from the Standard section.
Concert day came and I was still in slight disbelief that I was getting the chance to see one of my favorite musical acts, live in living color. I had been listening to Boyz II Men all week in anticipation, I knew it would be a sing-along of epic proportion.
My best friends and I take advantage of events like this to go out as a squad and be a problem, this one was no different…it was planned well in advance. So we made our way to the Polo Club, walked in and the set up was slightly underwhelming as we figured we’d probably have to stand on our chairs to get a proper view of the stage: last year the Standard section was slightly elevated so we still got a clear view of the stage, no such luck this year. To make things just a little bit suckier we had no screens in front of us (like last year) AND no speakers so we had second hand sound, but I guess that’s what we get for being cheapskates.
The concert was set to start at 6PM, and start at 6PM it did. Chishala Chitoshi (aka Gesh Groove) and Kamiza Chikula stepped on stage as our MCs for the night. This was such a pleasant combination as they carried the night and kept the crowd going, with brilliant banter and poetic introductions to each act. The chemistry between the two hosts was legit, I wouldn’t have thought two male hosts could keep a crowd going the way they did…not once was I frustrated by their intermissions, even when they were plugging Stanbic services.
They introduced the first act of the night, Mr Abel Chungu Musuka. An apt opening act as came on and owned the stage with his popular ballad Ichitemwiko. Thus commenced the night’s sing along, hands in the air, crowd swaying. He went on to fire up the crowd with a few more uptempo songs, his back up band and singers raving up the energy with each song. An A-class act.
Next up was K’Millian – I knew that in my heart I could probably spew a song book of K’Millian lyrics on site, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember the titles of his songs off the top of my head. This all changed as soon as he stepped on stage, familiar tunes that had everyone nostalgic and singing along, remembering a time these songs would play everywhere. When he sang Kakabalika and Nizakukonda I admitted to myself that I am a fan of the man. He sang with the ease and confidence of a man that knew he had cemented his place in Zambian music history. A legend.
The intermissions were not void of entertainment, as Gesh and Kamiza kept the banter coming and in between sets local DJ Sebastien Dutch kept the crowd entertained with his versatile selection of bops.
Nibbles and drinks were readily available, with food from top notch food joints like Steers, The Deli, Fishaways, Marlin. Drinks were also in abundance for revelers that were thirsty and those that preferred to experience the concert inebriated (be it slightly). And if the drinks went right through you, the way they do me, the pee breaks were bearable as the toilets were in abundance too…and clean.
I gained a whole new level of respect for James Sakala after last year’s festival. His live vocal skills are out of this world. For me, he was the top vocal opening act of the night. What I love about his live performances is the local/traditional feel of his music. He belts it all out in native tongue, all while playing the guitar. One song that’s still ringing in my head is his Namfumu, I can still hear all the riffs and vibrator as he smashed this one.
No one expected what happened towards the end of his set….in tribute to the late Chester Bennington (of Linkin Park), James proceeded to play an electric guitar cover of Linkin Park’s HIT SONG Numb. Nobody expected it. We were all so caught unaware but when we found our bearings and realized what was happening, everyone was scream-singing along and not missing a single lyric. A versatile artist.
Caitlin De Ville, like James Sakala, is an artist who stole my heart for the first time at last year’s festival. I was so hyped to see what she does with her set this year and she did not disappoint!
In an elegant chitenge frock and barefoot again (which I love, there’s an authenticity to it that wins me over every time), electric violin in tow, Caitlin took us on a journey commencing with recent hits that resonated with the cool kids. From DJ Khaled’s Wild Thoughts to Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, she had us on our feet, providing the vocals to her masterful violin instrumentals. It was even more amazing to see her cover local productions like James Sakala’s Galamukani and DJ El Mukuka’s Bottle of Loneliness.
Where she won the night for me, though, was when she took us back in time to the late 90’s and early 2000’s giving us hit after hit. From 2 Pac’s Changes and Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, to Destiny’s Child’s Survivor and TLC’s Scrubs, Michael Jackson’s Black or White to then Puff Daddy and Faith Evan’s I’ll Be Missing You, Caitlin had the crowd immensely nostalgic and singing along. This was proper preparation for all the singing along and throwbacks that were soon to come. The perfect curtain raiser.
It was finally time for BOYZ II MEN, THE MEN EVENT (See what I did there?). Nathan, Morris and Wanya hopped on stage to Motownphilly, to a screaming crowd – just as I had imagined it in my head. In my head if I ever attended a Boyz II Men concert it would kick off with this particular song. It was an actual dream come true. These men aren’t boys anymore, and they still brought the 4-count choreography, all whilst singing. Wanya even brought the waist moves! That is performance.
The screaming died down as we went into THE ballads: On Bended Knee and It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday had so many of us in our feelings, singing along word for word, it was like field karaoke except everyone knew the lyrics already…words can’t really describe how awesome.
The first few notes of each song they sang were punctuated with shrieks of joy from the audience as we realized what song it was – when they sang I’ll Make Love To You, the crowd sang every single note and hit every adlib, even they seemed in awe of how well everyone knew their stuff. They went on to do 4 Seasons of Loneliness and at this point they didn’t even need to sing, the crowd was performing for them.
They stunned us with a cover of Bruno Mars’ Locked Out Of Heaven. Of course they made it sound like their own song and left us feeling like we had just visited harmony heaven.
One Sweet Day came on and judging from the Boyz II Men social media pages, they were stunned at how well we sang the song. Vocally, we are a strong nation!
A Song For Mama had everyone pulling out their phones and sending voice notes to their mothers, as only millennials would, tears rolling down eyes, hugs all over the place. It was emotional.
As the night drew to a close they shut it down with End of the Road, apt. But I was sad because they hadn’t performed my favorite song, and just as I was ready to give up and head home they came out again to sing MY favorite song, The Color of Love. I was so overwhelmed I could hardly sing along. It was such a fulfilling experience that left me feeling like taking them home to harmonize in my kitchen as I cook.
Thank you to Stanbic Bank Zambia for helping us cross off one act off our bucket lists 🙂
PR Girl Media came through and put these elements together for what I feel was the best event of the year 2017 thus far. A combination of polo, fashion (both runway and draped on guests), live music, gourmet food and opulent beverages tuned to an African Luxury theme; apt, seeing as this IS Zambia (THE REAL AFRICA).
This isn’t the first Lusaka July event, but this one was bigger, and definitely better (not only because I went to this one). The first one was a test run, it was lowkey and not promoted as hard so most of us barely knew about it. This year’s event had people talking MONTHS before D-DAY. Conversations ranged from ticket prices to the name of the event; ZMW 700 a piece had jaws dropping and Cement Twitter talking about the number of houses or goats you could buy with that amount (pffttt, all the eye rolls, let people enjoy things!). The name ‘Lusaka July’, another topic of many an online discussion, because of its perceived direct relation to The Durban July; recent explanations have been made as to why The Lusaka July…because it is a glamorous polo/fashion event, and the most popular event involving horses and high fashion is The Durban July. PR Girl ran with something their audience could relate with and gave it a Zambian spin.
The months leading up to the event were filled with anticipation as performers, designers, event activities and sponsors were slowly unveiled. Each day it became clearer that this was no average event and maybe, just maybe, it was worth that 7 hunna. When South African actress and TV personality Boity Thulo was announced as the special guest, I can bet you ticket sales shot up by at least 50%. Hell, I’m not her biggest fan but even I was stoked!
The most exciting announcement for me though, besides the 8 drink coupons and the food stalls, was the social media booth on the red carpet that was gonna be hosted by Taonga Kaonga and I, a first for me and for any other event in Zambia. Of-course there were discussions in the background but that official announcement had me even more hype for the event, especially because I knew this meant I would definitely get the chance to meet Boity and be the envy of many of you.
The final run up to event was CRAZY! Every tailor you went to had someone prepping for The July. Zambians were ready to BRING IT with the fashion. I got to run around with PR Girl Media for a day and saw how hectic a full day with them pre-event is. We did radio with Luchi and TV with Malama of Diamond TV, this was the fun stuff.
8th July came around and I was so hype I barely slept the night before.
Nervcited, that’s the word. I was super excited and nervous at the same damn time! I was not only going to attend, but was gonna be doing live interviews with some of your favorite local socialites and celebrities. I had never done interviews before this so the nerves were definitely present.
I got to The Horse Shoe at 11 AM, as agreed, and the set up was magnificent. Definitely a luxury event! Red carpet arrivals were set for 11:00 to 12:30, but you and I know ALL about ‘Zambian time’.
While we waited I watched a polo match or two. I had NO idea what was going on, all I remember is thinking “damn, these horsies are soooo big,” I even saw one with a star tatted butt. I’ve heard some horror stories about horses going crazy because of noise so I kept a good distance just in case. I was slightly ashamed when I saw what looked like a 5 year old riding a horse 5 times his size and STILL being able to play the polo, madness!
The carpet only started to flow with guests after 1 PM and so my social media hosting on Facebook live commenced.
The red carpet fashion was an eclectic mix of chitenge fabric (the people’s obvious go-to for the African Luxury theme), beads, laces, African warrior gear, tuxedos and the occasional person that looked like they had been told about the event the night before and simply rocked up in their Saturday Night/Sunday best.
[Shameless plug: Check out the videos on the Lusaka July Facebook page]
Seeing as my job for the day was to talk to everyone on the red carpet and give fomo to people that decided they’d rather buy a bundle and watch the event via the interwebs, I missed out on some parts of the event. A friend of mine, however, knowing how much I like to share my event experiences with you all offered to share what I had missed while I was on the job.
Lusaka July, as told by Longa Mukoma:
The Sun was out and the winds were calm on this July Saturday, ideal for the second Lusaka July; the prestigious undertaking by Zambia’s very own PR Girl Media. No expense was spared on the layout as seats were spread around tastefully decorated spaces on a freshly trimmed lawn overseeing an on-going polo match that few could tell you the end score of. The food section had a range of cuisine from fresh sushi, prawns and wasabi to Zambian snacks; chikanda and fried groundnuts as well as a delightful treats for sweet toothed patrons.
The red carpet rolled out on time as the invites indicated but if ever the expression “fashionably late” was most at work ,this was the place. I shamefully arrived a little after 2pm just in time to find lunch in session and only half-filled lawn area. Regardless,the atmosphere was warm and people mingled with one other over food and drink. An hour in,the crowd was buzzing but not for the reasons one would expect;a swarm of bees (likely without an invite) had descended upon a table setting up a home beneath it just close enough to warrant a few patrons to pick their plates and move to safe distance. Quick action was taken to ensure they were pacified and no injuries were encountered .In event organising ,anything can can go wry but seeing how swiftly a crisis is handled and how quickly a crowd returns to enjoying festivities demonstrates true professionalism. This was a winning point for the organisers.
More guests arrived in their Sunday best in adherence to the African Luxury themed soirée, stopping to take photographs on the red carpet before a near-angelic Cleo Ice Queen came out to formally welcome us as the host of the event.
She patrolled the crowd filled with a blend of guests who included musicians; Kuni,Wezi, Mampi,Salma Sky, media personalities Mafashio as well as an elegantly threaded Catherine Phiri of Zambian boxing fame. Soon ,the music stage came to life and the sounds of a guitar filled the air. James Sakala opened with a beauty acoustic rendition of his song ‘Kanfumu’ pulling even the most dedicated backbenchers (such as myself) nearer to the stage.
He went on to deliver masterful covers of a few K’Millian numbers while a crowd of women swooned in awe as frowns of concern from the men they came followed them.
I finally got a chance to join the festivities and ditch the interweb booth just in time for the fashion show.
I’m not much of a fashion head, I wear what feels comfortable and looks good to me, but even I was impressed by the collections exhibited on the Lusaka July runway.
“Africa’s highest fashion was showcased at the Lusaka July. It was a day of glitz and glamour as designers from Zambia, Ghana, South Africa and Botswana blew us away with their stunning designs. Chisoma Lombe of ChizÒ, Nadrey Laurent from Accra, Quiteria & George from Johannesburg, Mwenge of Lace, Esnoko by chiza and Gaborone’s IZaura by Mothusi Lesolle -Four cities of fashion and a spectacular runway brought undeniable style to Zambia’s most prestigious event.”
Our local models brought their smize and strut and set the runway alight. The designers’ choice of runway music gave it that extra flare and everyone was taken in the moment. Models are such a sight to behold, now imagine a model elegantly dressed in top designs strutting their stuff down the runway, live in front of your very eyes.
The show was magic!
Below are some of my favorite pieces:
My favorite local model, Christina, was one of them and she said she loved my outfit 😁😍
Following the looks served by the designers, the people got a chance to be rewarded for the effort put into their attire as well.
Best dressed (male and female) won a return trip to Durban courtesy of Proflight, picked by the local fashion influencers present at the event.
Everyone was hoping to snatch this one, but I think we all agree Stanley Kaseke deserved to walk away with the best dressed male prize, his outfit was elaborate and on theme!
Chisanga Mwila walked away as best dressed female and I haven’t stopped looking at pictures of that dress since…looking like a beautiful peacock, she brought the slay!
After the fashion show, Zambia’s rising star Zarani took to the stage in a navy blue lace number accompanied by the Afro Red band. The way she swayed her hips as she covered some of our fave jams, from Davido’s If to MJ’s The Way You Make Me Feel…and went on to perform some of her own tunes. A powerful voice, a gorgeous face and body and some killer dance moves: the full package. Keep your eyes peeled, this one will be a star.
As Zarani sang to us in the background, I finally got the chance to speak to Boity. Yes, that video is there for all to see. She is the sweetest person and said I looked good. She smells amazing too and her skin literally radiates a glow that we can’t pin on hydration. She plugged the after party during our short little interview and just like that the day was a wrap.
People mingled and hang around, drinking wine, networking and taking pictures in the outfits they’ll probably never wear anywhere else as they awaited the after party festivities to begin at 8PM. The after party saw Boity dancing on tables, to the tunes brought by DJ Hussein as patrons and matrons popped bottles of champagne to the end the night at The Horse Shoe restaurant that was turned into our club for the night.
Saturday 27th May, 2017 saw many an enlightenment seeker head to The Mulungushi International Conference Center for Lusaka’s annual TEDx event. With an impressive list of 18 speakers lined up, and the theme To Get Lost is To Learn The Way, it promised to be a TEDx event of note. For everyone that’s hearing about TEDx (or reading my blog) for the first time I gave a brief introduction to this event in my last post Jump on the TEDxpress 🙂
Although I don’t really rate being an adult (I actually kinda sorta hate it on most days, because it’s a trap and I didn’t choose it) I’ve been working at being better at it and TED has been the coolest way so far. I wouldn’t consider myself as a woke individual so it’s been a world of inspiration and life changing perspectives, sans shoving down throatness of most inspirational avenues. I love it!
I’m usually in bed till 11AM on Saturdays (don’t judge me, I’m up at 5 AM on week days trying to be a responsible adult) but I was up at 6 AM, getting ready to attend an event that starts at 9AM! I was so keen, mainly because this was a chance to see people I’ve only seen on television or on the internet sharing ideas and helping me (us) be a better adult
lots of them
in the flesh
all in one place.
It was a chance to be reminded that these are real people, sharing real ideas and making real moves. If they can, why can’t I? Maybe one day I’LL be on that stage sharing MY ideas.
I got there at 8:30 and as soon as I was all signed up I was blessed with a gift bag of goodies from the sponsors. Being a lover of free things, I immediately opened it to check contents: Destiny magazine (a fave), TEDxLusaka magazine, a gym coupon, a groceries coupon, a few more coupons and A POWER BANK; my personal favorite, because I had been talking about getting one since The Kariba Dam gave up on us and load shedding woes began, but I never got to it. So thank you Team TEDxLusaka!
Now it being 18 speakers, I’m not about to share what each of them had to say with you lot, that would be the longest blog post ever! Attend the next event for all that 😉
What I will share is my favorites for the day and why.
How many of you have heard about the Lusaka Social Circus? Before TEDxLusaka, I had never. So our MC for the day, a Mr Kapalu Mutenda who I have admit was pretty effortlessly funny, introduced Gift Chansa as the founder of The Social Circus.
Cue drums, all the drums.
The Circus had invaded Mulungushi.
I sat at the edge of my seat as a whole team of acrobats, performed for close to five minutes; throwing each other in the air and standing on a team mate’s head. I couldn’t take it! I had never experienced such a dynamic display of fitness, agility, flexibility and TRUST in the flesh in my life. I was SHOOK!
This went for close to five minute – throwing, catching, walking on a line of team mates’ heads, splits and summersaults that made the stage look so brittle from where I was watching. It was an excellent display of what the human body, partnered with trust and practice can achieve. The Social Circus is one to look out for.
After such an amazing set, Gift Chansa majestically struts onto stage and is still able to give a 7 minute talk on what The Social Circus is about and how it was founded. If that was me, I would probably have passed out backstage, considering how winded a 25 minute HIIT workout session gets me.
Gift Chansa began by asking the audience “What comes to mind when you hear Chibolya?”
“Baleku senda!”, among several other responses from the audience.
He follows with the question “Would you let your child visit Chibolya?”, a unanimous “no” from the audience.
A Google search projected on the stage’s backdrop shows Chibolya as a place of confusion, with images of drug activity and heavy police presence and articles of police raids and crime scenes.
Gift however goes on to explain that to him, Chibolya is home AND the birth place of the amazing Social Circus we had just witnessed. He speaks of the challenges that he faced as a young man, growing up in Chibolya and how nobody ever viewed Chibolya in a positive light.
This is the beacon of the Social Circus, to engage young people’s bodies, minds and souls and allow them to be change makers. The Social Circus does this through physical exercise, education and tutoring at their hub and team building exercise (of course, for the trust with all the throwing and catching).
He wraps up by showing us a mural painted (as seen in the image below) by the team in Chibolya, it shows two individuals looking at a number from two different angles; one sees a 6 and the other a 9. The 6 represents Chibolya’s already existing reputation while the 9 represents the reputation that Gift and the Social Circus tried to show us that morning, the positive face. I hope more people can see the 9 with time and with initiatives like The Social Circle. I see the 9 🙂
More entertainment came through via Namaala Liebenthal and her ZOCA (Zambia’s own Caribbean and African) dance groups. If you read my last post you know that I mentioned I was excited to see her because of her versatility: she’s a lawyer turned dance instructor (those two worlds could couldn’t be any further apart, I wanted to know her story).
First up was a bunch of ZOCA’s local and international instructors that performed a well-choreographed piece, followed by charming squad of ZOCA kids that were incredibly cute to watch as they tried to remember their steps and choreography and finally a set of teen girls from a program called Kuvina, a nonprofit that empowers through dance.
In her talk she sought to answer two questions, that she (and other people like her) gets asked a lot;
Why would you leave NYC to comeback to Zambia?
Basically, the answer about finding and embracing her roots didn’t satisfy anyone anymore so here’s what she tells people; Africa is on the rise, investment is pouring in and long lost intellectuals are coming back so there is growth she is here for all that growth. There’s a 180 degree paradigm shift that’s occurring. So next time you meet someone that just got back from the diaspora, rather ask “What took you so long to get back?”
Why would you transition from lawyer to dancer?
More and more people are building careers in unconventional ways. This is the future. To her, dance brings happiness and when you’re happy on the inside it begins to reflect on the outside, so you take better care of your surroundings.
Pick an innovative career that you’re passionate about and go with it sharing a defined message. That is how she managed to expand all over the world.
Another speaker I looked forward to seeing was the self-made Mr. Trevor Mumba. I was not disappointed.
He started by recounting the memory of the morning his mother passed on, and then told us how a year later his father passed on as well. He went on to live with his granny in Matero, who struggled to provide the bare minimum. He light heartedly explained how he had to hold his Bata Toughee school shoes together with a rubber band because they were in such terrible shape.
Fast forward to him standing on the TEDxLusaka stage, he sang “BIRTHDAYS WERE THE WORST DAYS…” and the audience aptly replied “NOW WE SIP CHAMPAGNE WHEN WE THIRSTY!”, well we don’t, but he does. Everyone cheered, millennials love a good musical reference. But that wasn’t it, he sang a Kanye West line “and now my grandmamma ain’t the only girl callin’ me baby!” to more cheers!
Everyone was feeling this guy, until he started to talk about what it took to get there.
You know, Team “while they sleep, we grind”? That’s him.
He started by asking how many of us had friends already asking us what’s for the weekend. His philosophy is to waste no weekends, he works Monday through Saturday with the goal to smash 20% of his targets on Monday while the rest of us mourn the weekend passed and/or nurse hangovers. He doesn’t even drink alcohol because he believes it’s a waste of time. At this point you could count the number of people in the room still clapping. We were conflicted. Inspired but challenged.
He proclaims he is the hardest working person he knows, and who can argue? He made a million dollars last year alone (via his firm Real Promotions, that’s all over SA and coming to Zambia soon)
He told us that his watch was more expensive than his Lexus, yo. GOALS!
He is always working and reading to better himself. He ended by calling himself a model of possibilities. If he can do it so can we?
Mafipe Chunga, chartered accountant and lawyer, walked onto stage in the loudest powder blue suit I had seen in a while. It made me chuckle.
He was the most engaging speaker though. He came on with a placard, on one side it read CLAP and the other YES. We, as the audience, were meant to follow the instruction on the sign shown to us whenever he lifted it. I couldn’t help but feel like this would land us in trouble but some point but everyone was so cooperative, it was cute.
He shared on what he called ‘The Chief System’. He started by demonstrating the impact of culture on us, by rolling a paper and then letting it go…it doesn’t go back to its original state, same thing with us. He used this to explain how the traditional chief system is present even in the urban work place:
Chief – CEO
Kapaso – PA
Indunas – Directors
Wealthy Peasants – Managers
The People – Everybody else
He gave an example of Zambia Airways. Nobody really knows why it closed down, there’s lots of speculation but he rates the ‘Induna’ charged with the project wanted to be close enough to claim involvement at success but far enough to detach himself if it failed: this in comparison to Germany’s BER airport that was 15 years in planning, 10 years in construction and was set back 3 times but they looked into the problem and fixed it.
According to Mafipe, the chief system ridicules genius, bold ideas and experimentation. There is no place for thinkers in this governance hierarchy.
For example, KK wanted to grow plantations of sugar cane for bio diesel but the Indunas were already hard at work and picked his ideas to shreds already.
Another example he gave was an idea of underground trains that was proposed but the Indunas picked unrelated issues from his ideas and shut it down.
For Zambia to move forward we need to have an “I don’t care that you don’t approve, I’m going to do it anyway.”
The chief system doesn’t only exist in the corporate set up, even our minds, self-doubt hinders our genius.
He wrapped up with, “If we’re going to lead the Zambian revival, identify the chief in yourself and destroy the chief in yourself.”
Is your change gene still dormant? These last two last speakers (from the many I enjoyed) might shake it awake.
If you’re into the Zambian political and social news scene you have probably heard about Linda Kasonde, FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW ASSOCIATION OF ZAMBIA.
Her talk was one definitely meant to inspire change, about women and for women.
She spoke about how she went from being a shy girl that couldn’t even run for office in the student council to 17 years later being elected Honorary Secretary of LAZ and then the first female president of the body that regulates the entire legal profession in Zambia.
Reading a book by Billi Lim, called ‘Dare to Fail’, a book that defines success as a day to day progressive journey towards a predetermined worthwhile goal. In this book she read of a girl that sought to be a ballerina and performed for a ballet master who shot her down and she walked away devastated. Years later she bumped into the ballet master and confronted him and he told her if she really had wanted to be a ballerina she would have pursued it no matter what he said. Failure is a part of life, the more you put yourself out there the bigger the rewards.
As a woman, she has discovered it is way tougher to be considered a good leader. People focus on all the wrong things and will hardly ever attribute good results to you. She cited examples of how women in leadership positions are made to grow thick skin because of what goes on around them. When she was elected LAZ President, she was praised and given awards simply for achieving this fete, but she still fought to prove she deserved it.
She ended with some advice for women:
Have the courage of your convictions
Pay it forward (it is lonely at the top so bring others with you)
Never give up “The non-exceptional rejoice when the great fall because it relieves them from believing that they too can be great.” So GET UP, if only to drive the haters crazy J
Build character (worry about character more than you worry about reputation)
Someone needs to be the first so that no one is the last.
Finally, Michelle Chimuka.
This one really touched my heart.
Her passion is for people with intellectual disabilities. While development increases this group of people are falling behind.
She started by saying how she could have shown us slides with statistics on people in Zambia living with intellectual disabilities but there are no stats, “they don’t count so they’re not even counted.”
Michelle’s younger brother has Down’s syndrome, so this gave her firsthand view of what life living with an intellectual disability is like. As she grew older and got ahead in life she saw her brother fall further and further behind. This triggered her to start The Sani Foundation to provide relevant holistic training to young adults with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to get jobs and live independently.
She shared the story of Diana, who came to The Sani Foundation saying “I wanna cook” so they took it on to train her. 2 years down the line, with no work experience and / or paper work she got a job, was hired (with pay) and is now supporting her family in Makeni off a job she works at Subway.
The Sani Foundation’s aim is to change the narrative: people with intellectual disabilities are no longer beneficiaries deserving of sympathy, they are active members of the working community and stats show they are loyal and efficient once in the system.
So how do we personally change the narrative? EMPATHISE to kick start inclusion. Get to know someone with a disability, REALLY get to know them.
Michelle Chimuka proved to us that the current system has failed people with intellectual disabilities not because they are not good enough but because IT is not good enough.
This only but a third of the day’s events so you can imagine the range of conversation that was had.
It was an amazing day of cohesive eye-opening, life changing knowledge. Videos from the event will be available SOON, if you’d like to see what you missed or relive the experience, keep your eyes on the TEDxLusaka social media pages.
See you at next year’s event
Photo Cred: TEDxLusaka Team.
Sometime last year, during that gap between uni and employment that is kinda forced on you in these parts, I was introduced to TED. I must say that I constantly heard about it from people close to me, but brushed it off because it required a stable internet connection and in my unemployed state the internet bundle struggle was REAL. If you know anything about the bundle struggle, you know that streaming or downloading videos will leave you feeling like you lost a limb. I was highly uninspired to get into the TED talk habit until I attended my first TEDx event, right here in Lusaka.
Anyway, before we ignorantly jump aboard the TEDxpress, and because I love to share, let me introduce you to TED;
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less, which is perfect for a generation with the attention span of a vine, snapchat video or 140 character tweet). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged (hence the acronym TED, and today covers almost a wide variety topics — from science to business to global issues. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events (like the one we’re about to jump on) help share ideas in several communities all over the world.
TED is a global community and welcomes individuals from various disciplines and cultures who seek a deeper understanding of the world. TED believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On the TED website, a a HUGE database of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers is being built for a community of curious individuals (regular Joes, like you and I) to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.
I vividly remember my first TEDxperience; a friend of mine got me a ticket and asked me to tag along. I had a very basic idea of what TED was but curiosity and fomo won the battle so I tagged along. One of the best decisions I ever made!
I remember sitting in a dome at Mulungushi Conference Center, watching and listening in amazement as speaker after speaker came forward and shared their ideas. What got me most is the diversity in content, not a single topic was repeated or recycled. I sat soaking in all I could, learning things I though I knew and unlearning certain things. It was interesting to note how thought provoking but equally inspirational each topic was. This was not your regular motivational talk where the offering bag goes around after, this was a genuine in-depth sharing of ideas and concepts.
Now, note that speakers are heavily vetted. Thousands apply and are declined because they do not have an idea that is TEDx worthy (there are guidelines to this effect), some speakers are approached by organizers and they genuinely admit they do not have an idea that is worth presenting in the TEDx setting. Basically, your idea has to be mind blowing and conversation worthy…start a conversation that leads to action, action that leads to change. Got it? Maybe when one of y’all shares at TEDx in the future you could share that you heard about it from me 🙂
One speaker I was pleasantly surprised to see take the stage last year was a former High School class mate, Mwansa Mbewe. Not to embarrass him or anything (because he was AMAZING at it) but he never struck me as a public speaker all through high school. This time however I was sitting in the audience watching in awe as he gave a talk on the decentralization of Lusaka city so as to decongest the streets and reduce traffic. His talk was more architectural than social. He delivered his speech calmly, with bits of banter and I was shook, shook AND impressed. See it HERE for yourself.
One other speaker I was hype to hear from when I looked at the list was Pompi, my favorite local gospel rapper (yes, I am that predictable). Anyway you’d probably think Pompi, being a gospel artist, would be there to spread THE WORD. Not the case, he gave a poetic talk on how life will often give us the wrong test…”a fish with a degree in how to climb a tree.”. This one left me contemplating ALL my life choices, with regards education. I always felt like I didn’t know what I was good for, especially in university, so Pompi’s talk gave a new perspective to this feeling. Watch it HERE when you get the chance. It’s a BRILLIANT talk!
There were so many speakers last year, but one that I am 100% certain non of the audience will forget is the young Kelvin Doe. Remember that name because Kelvin Doe’s story is beyond inspirational, it’s the stuff entire documentaries are made of.
“Kelvin Doe is a self-taught Sierra Leonean engineer. A true inventor by age fifteen, Kelvin built his own radio station using discarded scrap metal and electrical items that he found in his home town. Kelvin finds solutions to problems in his community, for example, making batteries to light homes in Sierra Leone where electricity supply is inconsistent, or building a generator. Even the FM radio station was out of necessity – to give voice to young people in his country and enable them to discuss and debate the issues affecting them. Through his innovations and inventions, Kelvin participated in the Visiting Practitioners Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and has had many speaking engagements at technology and engineering events. “
Kelvin Doe spoke about the importance of Africans changing their own narrative about the continent. Because if we don’t, who will? Check it HERE, and get ready to give him a solo standing ovation like the audience did that afternoon.
Now that you’ve got a taste of what last year’s TEDxLusaka was like, I hope you’re hype for the TEDxpress because this year’s selection of speakers is just as diverse, unpredictable and inspirational.
The line up features names like Mafipe Chunga, a chartered accountant and lawyer, who as an Investment Advisor at KPMG Zambia. I have met Mafipe and he is a photographer too, so I am excited to see what he has to talk about.
Also a part of the line up is everyone’s favorite DJ at the moment, Mr El Mukuka. Our very own crossover act, with the success of his Something’s Coming Tour recently got signed to Universal Records. I’m definitely down to hear what idea he has to share on the TEDx stage!
I had never heard of Trevor Mumba until a couple of weeks ago, but when I did hear about him he was literally everywhere I looked – there’s a name for this phenomenon but i forget – with good reason too. He is a success story few of us (from his home country – Zambia) have heard of. Trevor, orphaned by the age of 10 rose to become a director and partner of Contacts Marketing Company, Real Promotions South Africa. By 33 he had become a wealthy entrepreneur based in Jo’burg with business branches in several parts of South Africa. I’m pretty damn excited for his TED talk because who doesn’t like to hear a self made man share ideas?
I am also especially keen to hear from Namaala Liebenthal, an entrepreneur, choreographer, dance innovator and corporate attorney. I mean how versatile can one person be? Her versatility by itself is worth a TED talk, me thinks. She is the Founder of ZOCA Dance (Zambia’s Own Caribbean and African Dance Fever) and focuses on growing the ZOCA brand and uplifting and energizing her international teams of instructors and clients with the love of dance. With a foundation in classical dance techniques and a diverse experience of dance styles, Namaala has choreographed over 350 dances and was the lead choreographer for the 2015 Zambia Music Awards. She is the Co-Founder of two non-profit initiatives that use the positive attributes of dance to promote empowerment, leadership and self-expression. She is a member of the New York State bar, an Associate Arbitrator and a Specialist in Fitness Nutrition. A PHENOMENAL WOMAN!
Another phenomenal young lady, repping girl power is Ms. Natasha Kaoma. She is committed raising awareness about reproductive health and menstrual hygiene. While in medical school at the University of Zambia, she co-founded Copper Rose Zambia to carry through the reproductive health work. At 25 she is already an award-winner, winning the Zambian Women of the Year Healthcare Champion Award 2017, and is the only Zambian to have received the Queens Young Leaders Award (2017). Natasha is a UN Local Pathways Fellow for Sustainable Development Goals. Kinda leaves you feeling like you haven’t achieved much, huh? Come through and be inspired to do better 🙂
That’s enough dyonko, the TEDXpress to enlightenment and wokeness is always ready for you. ARE YOU READY FOR THE RIDE? That’s only 5 out of 18 speakers. Check the TEDxLusaka website for the full list of speakers. It’s going to be an awesome day.
This year a little goodie bag has been organised for everyone attending. Come through and see what the TEdx sponsors have for us.
Buy your ticket at any Umoyo outlet or via Computicket ASAP. They’re selling like hotcakes.
ALSO, if you’re like me and you like free stuff SHARE THIS POST WITH THE HASHTAGS #TEDxLusaka #JumpOnTheTEDxpress and tell us why you’re excited about this year’s TEDxperience.
The posts with the most likes (Facebook) and RTs (Twitter) by Monday the 22nd of May WIN a FREE ticket from QUIRKYBOI. Tell a friend to tell a friend 🙂
I deliberately had a quick tiny breakfast to save room for all the chow I was anticipating at “Zambia’s biggest and first of it’s kind food festival”. I am not much of a foodie, I’m more of a fattie. Anything that tastes good to me I will devour in seconds, no refined pallets and all the fancy smanshy talk you hear on the Food Channel. Anything that doesn’t taste good I will pretend to like (because I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings) but probably pick at it like a bird till it looks like I ate some.
I was really excited for this particular fest because it was also SQUAD DAY for my best friends and I. Every now and then we go out and act a fool as a group because adulting won’t allow us to do it all the time. What was more exciting is it was a squad member’s birthday weekend. All the reasons to indulge! 😁😋
I got to the fest at 1PM, only because besides the fact that weekends are for sleeping in, getting there was a bit of a mission.
Linked up with the squad and Amanda was dressed in a plaid shirt, a cap and shorts…she said she was channeling me. Ma setting. Funny, because I was in a plaid shirt too but this time I was rocking my bald nut (that, might I add, everyone kept rubbing all night. I hope you all got the fascination with it out of your system now) and I wasn’t in shorts 😏.
Our first REAL stop was the food stalls. The atmosphere was thick with the aroma of barbecue beef and sauce, so much sauce. My mouth watered. It was reminiscent of a HUGE family re-union with all your uncles manning the braai stands and your aunties prepping the potato salad and coleslaw.
We walked around for a bit, visiting each stand and trying to decide what were going to nibble on first. My heart was taken the second I saw the huge clubhouse-like burgers and kebabs on the braai stand right across from the Rugby Club. These burgers were HUMANGOUS!! The pattie came stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon with a base of pickles, onion and tomato, plus a side of fries. I was in burger heaven! I kept looking around to see if I would find anything else that I liked but my mind was made, I was having that burger. Kinda like when you like someone but you keep ‘shopping around’, for control, but deep down inside you know you’re only wasting your time 😅.
The burger won, I went back for it and had my fill. I was a happy chappy, with a little room for a cupcake…you know, dessert, for the fattie culture.
There was a station with foiled fish, a crowd favorite, because you know how Zambians love their fish when they drink like fish.
I heard whispers of a food stall that was serving nshima for K15. I didn’t see anyone have any and this was after I had stuffed my face with my burger so I wasn’t ready to take on nshima. It was a little disappointing that our local staples didn’t take center stage at a Zambian food festival. I was half expecting to see Bana Jacko from Matebeto serving her t bone, beans and veggies with that cold Fanta from the glass bottle OR at least Ba Bonnie from The Lusaka Jazz Club chopping up the his meat platter as he shows off his dance moves. But this was just the first one, hopefully next year we will see all the Zambian soul food.
What is a food fest without drinks to wash it down? Where there is chow, there are dops. Trust Zambians to TURN up, with an assortment of dranks. I counted plus/minus six bars each offering their own little special beverages, ranging from beer to blue and pink cocktails. Side bar: blue cocktails are never a good idea 👀
My personal favorite for the afternoon was the The Wine Shop. Wine tastes funny with food, probably because I don’t know what food goes with what wine, I’m unrefined so we sipped away at the cheap sour grapes non the less.
For all my health junkies, there was a drinks stall that offered an array of pure fruit juice mocktails/shakes blended right in front of you. They really thought of everything.
Remember when I said our first REAL stop was the food stalls? It actually wasn’t. Being one fourth of a squad of football hooligans our first actual stop was the Kaleza 5-aside football tournament. In the final (which I assume is what we were watching) The Law Association of Zambia kicked The Kaleza Dream Team’s butt to take home the trophy. It’s worth the mention that the Kaleza Dream Team was captained by Christopher Katongo…AWKWARD.
As the games went on, DJ Psycho Tash was on the turn tables killing her set. Her playlist was the perfect soundtrack to the late afternoon festivities.
Dance circles were formed. Lusaka’s coolest kids showing off waists that seemed to have a life of their own and boneless bodies wiggling to the beat.
Shisha/hookah circles were formed as well, to cater to the smokers. Cigars were on sale at K400, yes they usually sell for K800 😳. I knew smoking was an expensive habit but that blew my mind. They had baby cigars as well, which to me looked a badly rolled blunt 😅 for K50.
I enjoyed walking around and bumping into lots of people I mostly interact with on the interwebs. I met sooo many of my Twitter faves, no filter 👀. I also bumped into a few local celebrities: Uncle Gesh (who is SUPER COOL in person, I really want to be him when I grow up), James Sakala (who one of my friends totally went bonkers over), Tasila Mwale (forever a fave, she was supposed to be my date to the event but life happened 😩) and Chi (who is also the coolest person and life goals). It was such a diverse crowd 😁
Just a side note, two thumbs up to the organizers for the clean toilets and abundance of toilet paper. Very rare at many a festival 👏🏾
We were graced with so much live talent. Zambia’s got talent! Music for lovers and singletons alike to wind and grind to. LOVE. Music is Love.
The first live performance I saw was Wilz AKA Mr Nyopole, who is currently perched in my top 3 favorite local rappers list. He didn’t disappoint, bringing the energy with bops like Toliwe (his catapult to fame), Londole and Ninalakwa.
Between every set, the MCs would step up, hype the crowd and try to make us laugh…notice I said TRY. Stand up comedy is hard, shame.
Cactus Agony came on next and delivered the exact same performance he delivered at the Siavonga Music Fest a couple of years ago. Still, we bopped because his covers are actually quite good.
Maureen Lilanda followed with her beautiful timeless vocals. I’m always impressed by how she still holds her own on a stage and can still keep even a crowd of millennials entertained. Between a few of her own songs, she covered the late Lilly T’s Mvela and delivered each note to perfection. A vernacular rendition of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry raised my respect for her to whole ‘nother level. She is a gem!
I was so stoked to see Oliver Mtukudzi live for a second time. A living legend. If your parents didn’t own an Oliver Mtukudzi tape or CD growing up are you even an African millennial? We all know his songs by heart. He is a part of the African story. If you were present you know what I mean because we turned into a choir when he performed Todii (AKA what shall we do!) and Neria. Take me back.
Pompi owned the stage next. His stage presence is unmatched. I love how calm he is when he performs, he makes it seem so effortless. He had the crowd singing along as well, kicking off with “so fresh, so clean, check the Hygiene!”, to one of my favorites because of the stellar back up vocals Zoz are Zoz…and a more recent favorite Maganizo Pa Ndeke. Pompi is the business!
Oskido came out to close the night with a powerful set that saw me dancing in a circle with Kuni, Bubbles, Tasila Mwale and a few more of my interweb faves. It went down right in front of the stage, a beautiful mix to end the night.
Overall, FOOD + DRANKS + MUSIC is the recipe for success!
Who could forget the babies-on-the-bake announcement that broke the interwebs and Instagram’s record for most likes (10 million+)? The BeyHive was expecting twins!! 🤰🏽🐝
Beyoncé is notorious for keeping secrets and dropping surprises (albums, movies and the occasional mic), so when she decided to tell us she was having twins we should have known at this point that 2017’s Black History Month was about to be LIT!
Now I know you lot are probably rolling eyes so I won’t be an annoying Bey Stan (for right now 👀).
Let’s talk Black History in Zambia, do we have a Black History Month here? Black History Month in the US is designed to recognise history, experiences and accomplishments of black people. We may not have a Black History Month here in Zambia but we had quite a few celebratory moments that will probably go down in history even if it’s just for the (pop) culture.
To kick off February, we saw Lulu Haangala Wood celebrate a diverse group of inspirational Zambian men with Vodafone Jump’s #MANth (Month of the man). The idea was to showcase Zambian men that were doing right and doing it well, so for every other day during the month of February we were given insight into the lives of these men and their stories.
Some of these men I have met and some I have not, but they are doing amazing things and it was a positive challenge for me and hopefully other young black men to kick butt and flourish. These black men are making Zambian HIStory and that by itself is a win!
For me Chinyonta Msimuko (aka Chi) was the most inspirational thus far, simply because he dropped a banking sector job and chased his dream. He is thriving in the media industry and is testament to how far pursuing your passion can take you. I mean, who doesn’t know that voice?
Ladies? We saw them celebrated in their own ways.
The nominees for the Zambian Woman of The Year Awards were announced. This list unveiled a manifold of Zambian queens doing it for themselves, giving the gents a good run for their money. From health care to entrepreneurship, sports and other creative spaces, The ZWYA’s highlight black girl magic and to be nominated should be a win all by itself. I can’t wait to watch the awards and see these queens shine, nothing makes me happier than seeing black women conquer! Run the world, girls ✊🏽
Check out the nominees and how you can get your favorite to win, voting is open until the end of the month (coinkidink? I think not 😁)
A Zambian queen that flipped it on the boys and turned History into HERstory is Thokozile Mawumba (24) who became Zambia’s first female fighter pilot. How dope is that? I was going to make a bad joke about how FLY she is, but I won’t 😁 can you say WOMAN CRUSH? 😍
Girls are doing it for themselves!
To wrap this up, here’s a few international 2017 Black History Month moments (besides the baking twins) that made MY heart smile:
Oh wait, the twins are back. But this time they went to The Grammys, yes before you and I. They were gonna be on the Coachella stage before you and me also, but their doctor said NAH.
Anyway, we all witnessed the outcry when Adele’s 25 won Album of The Year over Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Justin’s Purpose and those two other guys 😅
Black people everywhere cried ‘is it because she’s black?’ and were salty about it for a couple of weeks. What made my heart smile though, was Adele speaking our hearts and talking about how Beyoncé and Lemonade inspired her and her friends, her black friends. Beyoncé’s speech when she scored Best Urban Contemporary Album about what Lemonade was for her and black women everywhere should have shown us she knew she wasn’t getting Album of The Year, because if she did get it what was THAT speech going to be like? We’ll never know. Adele gave that speech for her 😁 A WIN!
That is all, to be honest. She finally won her Oscar, for her riveting performance as Rose in the screen adaption of Fences. This made her the first black actress to score a Tony, an Emmy and an Oscar. Whoopi Goldberg’s Tony was for producing, to the smarty pants in the back 😝
And even though Denzel Washington did not win for Best Actor, he is a winner in my heart for Directing AND STILL delivering such a stellar performance in aforementioned Fences.
His Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Moonlight made him the first Muslim to win an Oscar. A black man won, for his portrayal of positive father figure! Need I say more?
Moonlight’s Win for Best Picture
An all black cast movie won? An all black cast movie that’s not about slavery won? An all black cast movie that’s not about slavery won The Oscar for Best Motion Picture? WHAT?
When La La Land was announced Best Picture, I turned off my TV and walked away. I scrolled down my Twitter feed and saw that there was a Steve Harvey flub and I was almost leaping for joy (at 6 in the morning, I am not a morning person!). This is the first time an all black cast movie has won this award and for this to be right at the end of Black History Month. A cherry on the chocolate cake. A WIN! ✊🏽
Just as a bonus here’s a picture of three more gorgeous black women whose movie (Hidden Figures) was nominated for Best Picture also 😍
Wildlife is something I’ve always found entertaining. In a perfect world I could Nat Geo Wild n’ chill 24/7, but life and adulting has to happen. I love Nat Geo Wild because it gives you all of nature’s grit and glory without the smelliness and danger of it. However, on the rare occasion that you’re able to spend time living your best carefree life enjoying nature in real time I would personally recommend Pa-Zuri Place, an amazing wildlife and chill haven, in Chongwe off Great East Road on the outskirts of Lusaka City. Trust, you will thank me later 😌
As a semi-random plan for the weekend, a bunch of friends and I decided we would spend the first Saturday of 2017 at Pa-Zuri. I was excited to try something different and get away from the usual Lusaka weekend chills and try something new, even though I didn’t know what to expect. But you know, not every day Jazz Club, some days Chongwe 😅. For only ZMW 100, which is as much as you pay for a VVIP club experience at a recently opened exclusive club in Lusaka 👀 we got to escape the madness of the city and embrace nature.
Upon arrival we were met by a galloping Zebra that ran right in front of us and across Pa-Zuri’s open lavishly green fields, it was such a beautiful sight to behold. I was expecting that that was probably the only zebra we would get to see and we were just lucky to have seen it up close. Not the case, we saw another zebra and another and another. At this point all the camera phones came out for the Snapchat stories, in true millennial fashion (and me, for this post 😊).
We decided to take a walk around the field so we could get to see the zebras up close, and we were pleasantly surprised by a number of ostriches that pranced around the fields with their little ones. One of my friends suggested we walk towards the little ones and touch them but I have seen an ostrich charge at people on TV and I am not that brave, an ostrich kick isn’t something I’d like to die from. I also learnt that watching an ostrich poop is one of the most disturbing things you will ever see! If you have experienced this you will agree.
Waterbuck also roamed the fields. They looked something like reindeer without the horns. As we approached them they would stop and give the rudest stare 😂 (but that’s probably just their face) and then wag their tails and strut off. At this point you would wonder if you’re watching the animals or they’re watching you and are just as amazed by your presence as you are by their’s.
Little antelope grazed the green grass on the fields but kept a greater distance from the humans than the other animals. I love how graceful and gorgeous antelope are. This is probably why the wild cats like them too 😁 that, and they’re tasty.
Besides the beautiful wildlife, Pa-Zuri also offers fishing. There are a couple of ponds on the landscape with fish in them. A friend of ours disappeared from the squad for a couple of hours because of this. He claims to have caught a small fish, using nshima as bait, but we did not see this fish so we’ll act like we believe him. So anyway, if you’re looking to learn how to fish in a pond before you take it to the rivers and lakes, this is the place for you. Plus you get the full ducks puddling the water experience as you fish.
If you’re lucky enough to catch some fish, there are a few picnic areas set aside for a barbecue and hangout with your friends and/or family so you could throw your fish on the braai and have it fresh out the pond. A bench was laid out for us and a braai stand set up, so the good times could roll. I should mention we had the best customer service, as we lacked nothing and our guy was present to answer any questions. We wound down the afternoon braaing, eating and chatting away. Great conversation backdropped by an amazing view of Pa-Zuri’s suburban wilderness is something you have to experience.
A swimming pool and sports center with tennis courts, basketball courts and volleyball courts is also available for everyone that enjoys sport as a form of relaxation. I would rate this as Lusaka’s little version of the Garden of Eden, except you aren’t allowed to walk around in the buff and cannot feed the animals, even if you are brave enough to get that close 👀. A must visit!
December has been a busy month for Lusaka’s PR Girl Media with #TheTravelSeries. I started a Travel Series Journal with Zanzibar at Latitude, but we had an unfortunate break in transmission with Jamaica at Zebra Crossing because I caught the kinda flu that has you feeling like you’re going to cough up a lung. I was quite sad about missing destination number two because anyone that attended all three events stands a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to one of these amazing locations, as long as you have proof of attendance of all three destinations (i.e your passport/ticket). So good luck to whoever wins that, if you need a plus one I am down 😉
So I was left with heavy FOMO for Jamaica because I had seen what the DJ setlist and menus had to offer, plus we all know when it comes to the music Jamaica is turn up central! And because no one felt like it was essential to tell us about their Jamaica experience (the way I like to share 😁) my imagination of what it was like still runs wild. This was all the motivation I needed not to miss the final destination, which was Beijing at The Retreat in Roma.
I was racking my brain trying to decide what to wear. I finally decided I was going to go as a millennial Asian kid in all my casual grey sweatpant glory but with a twist, the Origami Samurai hat! Yeah, but that dream died a slow death as I started to realize how hard it was to find one of those. This might have been a blessing in disguise because apparently that’s more Japanese culture than Chinese, and I wasn’t about to offend the Asians like that 👀. So in the end (two hours to event, because sometimes procrastination is my literal best friend) I decided to rock up in my egghead swag, sun glasses in tow, white tee tucked into pants minus belt, channeling a new age monk 😎
My time of arrival was 4PM and as soon as I walked in I saw how China Town had invaded The Retreat. Everyone was handed a little Chinese good luck charm in the form of red knot tassels, a good sign we were in for a proper Chinese treat.
Being a family event, I saw plenty kids swimming in the pool in the center of all the Beijing beauty. This was the sort of scenery I’ve seen in many a ZNBC Chinese flick, with the kids in the dirty pool (this one wasn’t dirty) as the adults go about their business. Their business here being ALL THE CHOW! There was a variety of food stands, all catering to a range of culinary palates. From chicken feet, to sweet and sour pork (that I absolutely loved!), to the yummiest buckets of dumplings in soy sauce, Chinese food IS the business!
I was hype to try out the Chinese liquor too, but after hearing what was in it and its effects I humbly settled with Lemonade 👀 THAT was not the kind of night I was about to have, if you catch my drift.
I loved the oriental decor, with all the Reds and beautiful Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling and the trees in the backyard.
It made you feel like you were in one of those Jackie Chan movies, with the gorgeous market scene in which because he is working so hard at being a hero and protecting his people from villains a huge fight blows out right in there and they mess it all up. That didn’t happen here, (un)fortunately 😅. The closest we got to an open market fight was a display of martial arts by several groups. I was so close to the action, and this was not even strategic, but at some point I thought I would be caught in the cross fire and one of their martial art stick thingamajigs would fly in my direction.
The dragon dancers were in formation and brought the fire (lol, no they really were dressed in fiery colors) as they displayed a choreographed version of martial arts and didn’t skip a beat. Every kick and stomp was on point! Again all this was happening 3 meters from where I sat, a beautiful scenery.
We were also entertained by a Chinese B Boy. Apparently there is a growing presence of Hip Hop dance in China and I loved that we got a glimpse of what that’s like. This kid did a break dance to a set of Hip Hop tunes, breaking and bopping and spinning to precision. One of my friends asked “Do you think they flew him in from China?”, and I chuckled because WHAT? We don’t have B Boys in Zambia? 😅
To close off the night, the Bombay Lounge (VIP, for adults only) was opened at around 7PM. With El Mukuka, resident DJ for #TheTravelSeries, on the ones and twos. I would have loved to hear some Chinese tunes because I was curious about what their music scene is like, but El kept us entertained as we chatted the night away in the lounge so I was good with that too.
This one was a delightful experience and now I can’t wait to feel the presence of Beijing in real time. I wasn’t really a fan of Asia before but that’s one more destination added to my bucket list.
Kudos to PR Girl for The Travel Series 👏🏾
So December is here and with it comes the year end festivities. If you’re active on Social Media you might have heard about #TheTravelSeries hosted by PR Girl Media. I think this idea is genius because it brings an entire holiday destination experience to you albeit for only an afternoon/evening, kinda like a mini stay-cation 🏖If the economy is stinging you the way it is me, I know you will appreciate this. I am not as well travelled as I’d like to be so this is a chance for me to get a glimpse of what’s out there, before I get my coint up and I’m able to visit these places without having to consider which vital organ I can live without.
First destination (is it still called a destination if it’s brought to you? Yes? Okay) was Zanzibar. Now Zanzibar has always been on my bucket list. When I watch documentaries of the holiday resorts, the beaches and the general aesthetic of it on The Travel Channel I am fully green with location envy. So I got my little passport as soon as I could and was ready for this mind trip at Latitude 15, which by the way just happens to be located in my neighborhood.
Zanzibar Day was here and, of course, I was running late. ETA for all travelers was set for 11:00AM but I got caught up in my adulting and could only land at 1:00PM. I was pleasantly surprised to find only a couple of people present because that meant I hadn’t missed much (I suffer severe FOMO sometimes).
Now stick with me as I show you how Zanzibar was brought to Latitude, holistically 😏
The vibe was chilled, the sun was out and from the 3 songs that had played since I got to the event I could tell the soundtrack for today was going to be mellow vibes. You know, beachy 🌞🏝 SERENITY.
This right here is a no twerk zone.
This right here is an intimate space for chilled drinks and lit conversation.
I took a seat at the bar and decided to engage the barman in conversation (yes I was that guy for a day) as I waited to see any one traveler I knew.
Everyone already present was strangers, momma said to never talk to strangers. As more and more people came in, you could see the delight in their faces when they finally saw the set up.
Although everyone kept asking where the sand was, as there wasn’t any present, the beach ambience was absolutely present in the choice of decor. A moderately intimate beach vibe was created, besides the pool with beautiful chalets standing in for bungalows that I have one too many times dreamt of spending a night in.
As if the scenery wasn’t enough of a site for sore eyes, we were treated to a swim wear fashion show by Ahvia. Some of the fiercest models I’ve seen showcased their swimwear line. The confidence with which these girls strutted and paused across the pool area was astounding. A fellow traveler mentioned to me that one of the models was 17 years old and I couldn’t pick my jaw off the ground. The swimsuits came in all shapes, sizes and colors; from one piece to bikini and even a three piece, Ahvia had it all! SPICE & SERENITY.
I have to confess that even as I first stepped into The Latitude all I could smell was food. Maybe I was a little hungry but the aroma hit me all at once and I got dizzy. A good dizzy, like “damn, I need to taste that” dizzy. All the SPICE.
The first thing I got to taste was the complimentary cocktail handed to every guest as soon as they checked in. “Sex on the beach?”, of course.
I went on to have a couple of Mojitos and some ciders, you know for the island vibes.
The menu boasted a few yummy treats that were, of course, inspired by our island experience.
Something that caught my eye was the ‘surf n turf’ which is basically beef fillet, fresh water crayfish, papaya and a rocket. Doesn’t that sounds yummy and islandy?
A couple of similar small bites and salads were also available to give our taste buds the full Zanzibar culinary experience.
For people with a bigger appetite there were platters available. One of the cold meat platters included chorizo, Italian Salami, chicken liver parfait, cream cheese, olives and grilled veggies. That was a literal mouthful, it makes me hungry all over again just writing about it. These are just some examples of the mouth watering delicacies enjoyed by the travelers.
To keep up the beachy chilled vibes we had songstress Musonda serenade us as she sang amazing covers of some of my personal all time favorite songs. Anybody that knows me knows I have nigga ears, 70% of the music I listen to plays on BET, so Musonda was making the right choices.
This girl has pipes for days. She sat down looking like a Nubian goddess as she sang to us.
She sang Scarlet’s Nikakuona, hitting every note seamlessly and had me singing along. In my head I was standing on stage with her doing back up vocals. Of course Bob Marley was on her set list as she melted my soul with a sultry cover of his Turn Your Lights Down Low. I was kinda disappointed she didn’t do the Lauryn Hill version of the song but still she had my travel buddies and I singing along, harmonizing, snapping our fingers, some even had their eyes closed as they swayed side to side. Yes, she is that dope!
Another favorite song of mine (and my dad’s at some point, but don’t tell him I said this) she belted out Keisha White’s Weakness In Me with such finesse. You could have sworn this song was written for her. I am a huge fan already and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this talented young lady.
To top off Musonda’s auditory blessings we had Local and International DJ El Mukuka show off his skill on the turn table as he mixed well enough for the travelers to stand up and dance. I guess at this point of the evening we were officially getting a taste of what a Zanzibar beach party would be like. Anyone that’s been in the presence of Eltherios knows how amazing he is at what he does. He turned the chilled stay-cation a notch up with his bops, doing what he does best as our evening in Zanzibar came to a close.
And that was a wrap, my afternoon in Zanzibar was a worthwhile experience, curiosity satisfied with every single one of my five senses. (I hope you caught what I did there).
Next stop in #TheTravelSeries is Jamaica 🇯🇲 at Zebra Crossing on the 17th of December. This one will be a lituation! I hope to see you there 🙂
Photo Credit: PR Girl Media.