Zamfest 2017: Eat, Play, Love.

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! πŸ˜πŸ˜‹
πŸ” πŸŒ―πŸŸπŸ–πŸ—πŸ₯“πŸΉπŸ»

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 πŸ˜….

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 πŸ‘€

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 πŸ˜… 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 πŸ‘€. 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 πŸ‘πŸΎ


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 Β 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? 😏

February 2017: A Black History Win

Who could forget the babies-on-the-bake announcement that broke the interwebs and Instagram’s record for most likes (10 million+)? The BeyHive Β was expecting twins!! 🀰🏽🐝

BeyoncΓ© 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 πŸ‘€).

Β Let’s talk Black History in Zambia, do we have a Β 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 sawΒ Lulu Haangala WoodΒ 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)Β 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 BeyoncΓ©’s Lemonade, Justin’s Purpose and those two other guys πŸ˜…

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 BeyoncΓ© and Lemonade inspired her and her friends, her black friends. BeyoncΓ©’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!

Viola Davis:

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.

Mahershala Ali:


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 😍

Photo cred: The interwebs (sue me πŸ’πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ)

PAZURI: A Suburban Safari

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 πŸ˜…. For only ZMW 100, which is as much as you pay for a VVIP club experience at a recently opened exclusive club in Lusaka πŸ‘€ 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 πŸ˜‚ (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.Β 

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.Β 
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.Β 

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 πŸ‘€. A must visit!

Photo Credit: Pito (IG: @purple_flowerbomb) πŸ˜‰

Beijing Retreat: Oriental Delight πŸŽŽ

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ‘€. 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 πŸ‘€ 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 πŸ˜…. 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? πŸ˜…

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 πŸ‘πŸΎ

Photo Credit: PR Girl Media.

Zanzibar At Latitude: Serenity & Spice

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 πŸ–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 πŸ‡―πŸ‡² at Zebra Crossing on the 17th of December. This one will be a lituation! I hope to see you there πŸ™‚
Photo Credit: PR Girl Media.

Let’s Talk Birds & Bees

In my quest to be a social media warrior with a cause, I took on my very first live tweeting gig. This was something new and exciting for me because I rarely ever tweet about the serious things, I’m a quirky boi πŸ˜‰, but life demands that we occasionally step outside of our comfort zones if growth is to occur. I always tell my friends “I will grow up one day.” so here’s step one, I took on the challenge to live tweet from the 3rd Annual Tikambe National Youth Dialogue.
Now Tikambe, for those of us that need enlightenment before I proceed, is a youth program established to encouraged open conversation on youth based issues and policies. This includes influencing youth policies and encouraging involvement of the government in various youth related matters. If you want to find out more, checkΒ THIS,Β tell ’em Luke sent you 😌

Anyway, back to me and my road to better adulting. This year’s theme was “SRHR for all” (SRHR = Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights). I was particularly interested in this conversation because rarely do we see Zambians in open dialogue on sex related issues. The average Zambian kid doesn’t get the talk about the birds and the bees. This could be for cultural reasons or the fact that we are considered a Christian nation, so we mostly turn a blind eye to these issues, but that is a conversation for another day. At some stage in your life you learn about sex. This is bound to happen either in Science class at school, through friends or online. I was interested to see what this generation’s crop of youngsters knows about SRHR and where they learn this stuff from.
Friday, 25th November and I made my way to the New Government Complex in Lusaka’s CBD. I was ready for a long day of keyboard war, spreading knowledge on all the sex and reproduction things. My phone was charged, fingers flexed and data bundles on deck. As part of media I got to sit right in the front, this was pretty dope. The event was set to start at 8:00 AM, but in true Zambian fashion (insert weather, transport, logistics and all the other excuses we usually give here) it started shortly after 09:00 AM.
Tikambe’s own, Emmanuel Mulenga (Project Manager), kicked things off with an opening speech where he encouraged open sharing and learning during the day’s events. The masters of ceremony engaged the audience of young people, mostly eager secondary school students, in a question and answer session. They asked mostly questions about youth policies and received a band of answers from the audience. One policy I learnt about during this session is the re entry policy: this particular policy allows for a girl that falls pregnant to re enter school after a year, a maternity leave of sorts. But wait, there is a plot twist; the boy responsible for the young girl’s pregnancy gets a paternity leave for the same amount of time. This made many a young lady in the audience smile, because equality. That’s just some knowledge to throw at your High School kids WHEN you give them the talk.

After gaining some knowledge it was time to be entertained. You know, work hard play hard.

We were given a snippet of Zambia’s upcoming talent from the secondary school kids in attendance. One of the performances that stood out for me was by a guy called BlessCo (sp) who hails all the way from Kasama. He was lip synching (sidebar: Zambians are the ultimate winners of Lip Sync Battle, after Britney Spears) but his song and energy had his peers standing up out of their seats and dabbing in all corners of the room.

Another piece that stuck with me was a poem by three young girls from Matero Girls School called “Lost Generation”. Although this particular one was not for you if you are of the woke persuasion because of a few “problematic” statements, it did highlight lots of issues that young people face. From early child marriages, child abuse to abortion…”I am sick, I must speak, this is freak, this is fake , I must confess.” went the catchy hook as they highlighted these issues with all the vigor they could master.

Β  Β  Β Finally, the moment we were waiting for, The Minister of Youth & Sport (Mr. Moses Mawere) graced us with his honorable presence. The audience was asked to rise and the national anthem was sang, signifying that we were about to get down to business. Honorable Mawere gave his keynote address and spoke about how comprehensive sexual education would help reduce the number of unplanned teen pregnancies in Zambia. He stated how government and stakeholders alone can’t reach all youth, hence it is important that initiatives like Tikambe are sponsored by shareholders and finally he called on more of these stakeholders to partner with the government to contribute to reduction of teen pregnancy, child marriage and STIs.

Two youth representatives then presented Hon. Mawere with The Position Paper. The Position Paper’s objectives are listed as follows:

– To encourage communities to participate in the development process.

– To encourage mutual dialogue for communities, young people and their leaders.

– To encourage mutual dialogue for communities, young people & their leaders.

– To encourage young people to engage with their civic leaders in critical and constructive dialogue & debates on matters affecting them.

– To provide evidence and supplement government efforts in monitoring and tracking of youth policies to take action.
After this we were treated to a short screening of Tikambe outputs. This short documentary highlighted how Tikambe is changing lives all over the country by encouraging youth to visit health centers and openly discuss SRHR. Tikambe radio and TV shows are a powerful medium for youth to ask the right questions and learn more on SRHR. We learnt of community initiatives, such a Community Health Day that was held in Idah’s community. Idah is a Tikambe volunteer that sang the initiative’s praises.
We were then treated to a debate. The motion? An easy guess: “Peer Pressure is responsible for teen pregnancy and STI’s.”

Proposing were the dynamic team from KYFC (Kanyama Youth Friendly Centre) and Opposing this motion were a vibrant team from PPAZ (Plan Parenthood Association of Zambia). I love debates, I love that sometimes in a debate you have to argue for/against something you don’t personally agree with to convince the audience and adjudicators you are right. These kids brought the fire as debater after debater came forward, observed all protocol and propounded point after point, with evidence from research in tow.

The consistent argument from the proposers was that youth are bound to group think and tend to want to conform for fear of being alone, and so it was agreed by them and the research they carried out that indeed peer pressure was a cause of the aforementioned vices. The opposers sought to highlight choice and how no one is ever directly forced into sexual acts, it comes down to a decision made by the individual. In the end a winner could not be named as the ‘applaudometer’ by the audience showed no clear winner.
After an hour long tea break, we resumed with an afternoon Question and Answer session with Ms Zimba (a midwife) and Ms Kaonga of Kabwata clinic. It was interesting to note how many questions were asked “for a friend” with regard to contraceptives. Many girls had concerns with the effects of contraceptives and where to get them. Ms Zimba spoke on youth friendly corners in most community clinics where these contraceptives and SRHR information can be given without the condescending attitude that most of these girls claimed to have encountered. Ms Kaonga went on to explain that effects of contraceptives vary depending on body type but they rarely affect a woman’s uterus.

Following a question on what advice the ladies on the panel would give a teenage girl considering abortion, Ms Zimba stated how there are abortion friendly clinics where girls can get safe abortions as long as all legal paths are followed. I bet you didn’t know this, I was stunned as well.

Β  Β  Β  Β With our newly found enlightenment, a member of the audience who was a Youth Rep from EGPAF was asked to give a Vote of Thanks as the 3rd Annual Tikambe Youth National Dialogue came to a close.

“It has been a very fruitful event,” he said, “thank you to everyone that came through. Let us continue with the good work”.

It really was an eye opening experience, I learnt so much and hope to be present in the coming years as the initiative grows.
If you are interested in learning more about Tikambe, follow the movement on Social Media and join the conversation;

Instagram: @tikambezambia

Twitter: @tikambezambia

Facebook: Tikambe Zambia.
#Tikambe #Natulande #LetsTalk

Crowd Yamu Ma Yard

When Stanbic does music, Stanbic DOES music. 8th October 2016 drove this point home for me. I wasn’t even going to go, because those ticket prices were crazy (for me, in all my broke man glory) but my blessers came through. #Blessed #GodsFavorite at this point. Thanks to them I had a chance to be a part of the Music Festival madness in the Standard Ticket Section (which btw, is always the most lit section at any event. I don’t know what it is about people in VIP and VVIP sections, they never really turn up).
So anyway I made my way to The Lusaka Polo Club, ready for a chilled night of live music, great company and drinks. I was half expecting a small crowd because a popular beer and music festival happened to fall on this particular weekend and was relatively cheaper. To my surprise the Stanbic music festival filled up pretty fast, with the VVIP and VIP section filling up before our Standard section, crazy huh?

The set list that night looked alright to me. Izrael, Afunika, James Sakala, Caitlin DeVille and the main crowd puller UB40!

Gesh Groove and Karen were our MCs for the night, they brought their wit and humor with them. I’ve said a couple of times how I want to be like Gesh when I grow up, he’s too dope.

Izrael hit the stage and I swore I only knew 2 or 3 of his songs, but as his set progressed I realized I had been singing along to every song he performed. Then he brought out Nalu, his wife, the crowd went wild! I was super excited as well. They performed a couple of songs together and you could tell they’ve been singing together for a while because their stage chemistry is pure magic, their harmonies were flawless. They ended their set with a kiss which had us elated because, you know, Zambians aren’t particularly down for PDA so when they do it’s an occasion!
Next up was Afunika, introduced to us as his own brand of kalindula. Even now I swore I wouldn’t know more that 2 of his songs but as his set went on I again found myself singing along to each song. His energy was through the roof! His back up dancers did this thing with their waists that had me questioning my Biology…maybe some humans are boneless, because WHAT? I should mention that at this point I was just elated that these artists were singing LIVE and not giving us Lip Sync Battle vibes. It made me proud of our artists.
James Sakala hit the stage next, accompanied by the amazing Elect Band. Dressed in a white one sleeved Afrocentric outfit that I wanted to jack from him, because it was dapper African attire goals, shout out to his stylist! What followed was a tribute to Paul Ngozi and a couple of his own songs. One segment of his set that got all of us up out of our seats though, was a Mandoza tribute. We were not ready! RIP Mandoza. James Sakala and The Elect Band are a match made in music heaven.
Caitlin DeVille and her electric violin were up next. When I tell you this girl has gifts! I was mind blown by her violin skills alone but she dances while she plays, barefoot on the stage might I add. The stage smoke and the brilliant set lights topped off an amazing violin journey as she played some pop records, popular rock anthems and a few of her own compositions. What stood out for me was when she played Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” and the crowd provided backing vocals. At that particular moment there was genuinely no place I’d rather be πŸ™‚ Oktoberfest catch your shade! I kid. I was pretty sure I would lose my voice by the end of the night.
Gesh and Karen gave us a 30 minute break before the main act, UB40, came on. Yo, stage presence is something these guys have on lock. They came on and immediately everyone was on their feet. We were jamming to old time favorites like “Cherry Oh Baby”, “Sillhouettes”, “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” and so many more. These are songs I had heard play in the car as my dad dropped us off at school. They performed a couple of new songs from their most recent album as well. I was in awe of how amazing they sound live, one of my friends kept yelling “They sound just like the tape, guy! Just like the tape!” and if you were there you know this is 100% FACT!

So at around 10:30 PM Ali yells “goodnight Lusaka, it’s been great!”, the lights go off and they walk off stage. It suddenly hits everyone that they have not performed their greatest hit “Red Red Wine”, I mean when someone mentions UB40 what song almost immediately comes to mind? The crowd was livid, stomping and yelling in unison “RED RED WINE! RED RED WINE!” It was a beautiful kind of livid though.

After about 20 minutes and almost giving up, they were back! First with an amazing drum solo with mad lights, and then they came back and finished off their set with crowd favorites “Kingston Town”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and the parting song “Red Red Wine.”

Well played, Ali, Astro and Mickey!

Stanbic did the damn thing and I am amped to see what next year’s festival has to offer.