Foodies and fatties assemble!
The pre-fest hype was real.
My taste buds were ready.
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 😅.
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.
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 👏🏾
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!
Nicely done, Zamfest. We go again next year? 😏