Global Citizen x Mandela 100

FNB Stadium. Johannesburg.

Sunday the 2nd of December saw the unprecedented assembly of a galaxy of international powerhouses – influencial figures from political, social and entertainment spaces – as Global Citizen came down to Johannesburg in South Africa to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela and address socio-economic issues that currently plight Africa & the world at large.

Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 was a huge platform for donor countries to show their support via delegates, but also for African countries celebrating Madiba and standing up for his hope for a better future – making sure that Africa was speaking up and getting its voice heard.

An array of issues were addressed as the likes of Oprah, Naomi Campbell [whose now infamous pronunciation of “amandla” was a major highlight of the night] Gayle King, Al Sharpton, Nomzamo Mbatha, Bonang Matheba, Pearl Thusi and heads of state such as Paul Kagame & Cyril Ramaphosa, The World Bank Group’s Dr. Jim Kim and many others (I thought I’d only ever see on television) took to the podium(s) to enlighten a stadium of thousands, plus the viewers at home on various concerns. The festival was hosted brilliantly by South Africa’s favorite export, the effortlessly hilarious, Trevor Noah.

Neglected tropical diseases, HIV/AIDS and education were major highlights as each speaker sought to bring to our attention to how we, as Global Citizens, could be the generation for positive change – both by ourselves and in encouraging our leaders and people with the power to spearhead change to look into addressing these concerns in our societies.

As the legacy of Nelson Mandela was celebrated, the crowd waited with baited breath on performances by top tier local & international artists. From the timeless Femi Kuti, to Nigeria’s Star Boy WizKid, South Africa’s spirited Cassper Nyovest and international musical royalty The Carters (Beyoncé & Jay Z) – this setlist had the makings of the average music lover’s bucket list.

The queues leading to the festival were a sight to behold as attendees, both local and international, flocked to FNB Stadium for what could possibly be the concert of their lives – at least that’s what it was for me.

I walked into the stadium still in total disbelief that I was actually going to be a part this phenomenal experience, feeling everything in real time – in the flesh.

I had missed the opening by The Soweto Gospel Choir but I could hear the roar of the crowd as they took the stage. Caught in the lines, I missed WizKid, Usher, Black Coffee & Sho Madjozi too, and the rave reviews from everyone that saw them gave me feelings of slight regret but also joy still because there was more to come.

As we walked down into the stadium, Femi Kuti had just begun to conquer the stage and was giving a thrilling performance of his ‘Bang Bang’. His set dripped in West African authenticity, as he energetically ran across the stage while singing. I couldn’t believe his energy & the choreography that matched the very sensual lyrics. I’ll never get over watching this African legend showing off his vocal & instrumental prowess.

Femi was followed shortly by another Nigerian superstar, The KokoMaster also known as D’Banj. His signature “I’M D’BANJ!” punctuated a hype delivery of some of his most popular hits…

“I have a confession…” a shirtless D’Banj sang, at a point, as the crowd echoed in response because they knew what time it was.

More representation from Nigeria as Tiwa Savage took to the stage after a brief introduction by THE Naomi Campbell. Adorned in a colorful one piece ensemble, she also took us on a short trip featuring her biggest hits – from “All Over” to her hit with South Africa’s R&B crooner Donald “Raindrops“, Miss Savage is well on her way to African Pop Princess royalty.

Pharrell, who looks even younger in the flesh, [*whispers* vampire] took to the stage next. He performed in boyish beige shorts true to his Skateboard P alias. Known for his exemplary production, he performed a string of his best known jams – “Freedom“, “Lemon“, “Drop it like it’s hot“, “Frontin’“, the more recent “Feels” to bringing out Usher mid-set, who gave a quick performance of “You don’t have to call“. Then Chris Martin joined the party with a fun rendition of “E Lo“, and then Pharrell wrapped up his set with “Happy“.

Ed Sheeran stepped onto stage (just him & his guitar) just as the sun set, kicking off his serenade with “The A Team” as the stadium lit up and the crowd provided backing vocals, sometimes taking the lead. Instead of outfit changes, Ed brought out a new guitar for every next song. So a roaring guitar solo, “Thinking Out Loud“, “Shape of You” and a shocking treat as he spat some serious bars, Ed Sheeran had the crowd singing, crying, rapping & hugging all in one set.

As the night was heading towards its peak, Mr Fill Up (South Africa’s Cassper Nyovest) invaded the space – opening with “Tito Mboweni“, as his electric persona charged the crowd to feed back his energy. Chris Martin stepped out to join him as they performed “Timbuktu“, later on joined by surprise guest UK rapper Stormzy.

He then went on with his hits “Baby Girl“, “Ghetto“, his more recent “Ragga” and closing it with “Doc Shebeleza“, cementing his spot as one of Africa’s favorites.

But you can’t talk about ‘Global Citizen: Mandela 100’ without a mention of what followed Cassper Nyovest. A few more very important speeches, by Oprah, current South African head of state Cyril Ramaphosa and the man of the moment Patrice Motsepe, it was time for the main event.

The Carters were introduced by Dave Chappell and “EVERYTHING IS LOVE” bold on the screen.

An intro video, detailing the love, life & times of a couple on the run (Jay Z and Beyoncé), as the crowd yelled in disbelief that this moment was real – phones out, for control.

Beyoncé and Jay Z strode to the front of the stage, hand in hand, and opened their set with Jay Z’s “Holy Grail” – Beyoncé murking a hook originally sung by Justin Timberlake and Jay Z shining with his verses as she danced in the back.

Carrying on with the duets, they performed “Part II (On The Run)“, “who wants that perfect love story anyway? cliche cliche cliche” Beyoncé belted out as she clung to Jay Z. And then taking us back in time to when their story began, their first official collaboration “03 Bonnie & Clyde“. At some point during this performance Beyoncé walks down one of the rumps and she’s so close, only then do I believe she’s real and this is happening.

After a costume change and a video interlude that included audio from Tekno’s “Pana” and Miriam Makeba’s “Malaika“, Jay and Bey step out to grace us with the more recent “Apeshit” off their joint album, sending the FNB stadium ablaze as the audience sings along to the lyrics. “skrrr skrrr skrrr”.

Pharrell joins the couple for a performance of “Nice“, also off their recent collaborative effort Everything is Love. They end this collabo session with “Drunk in Love“, flashing lights, a vocal-rap and choreographed chemistry that only the music gods can fashion.

Jay Z’s solo jams were a massive hit with the crowd as they rapped and raved along to “Empire of State of Mind”, “Niggas in Paris”, “Beach is Better” and “The Story of OJ”. I personally didn’t think I was a Jay Z fan, but after the night? I stan.

Beyoncé’s solo sets featured her in more outfit changes (all these years I’ve watched her shows and I honestly don’t know how she does it). A riveting performance of “XO”, “Halo” with a new arrangement featuring The Soweto Gospel Choir that had the queen catching The Holy Ghost and a surprise appearance by Ed Sheeran for their “Perfect Duet” that brought many in the crowd to tears.

Stepping out in a bright yellow ensemble, her dances in solid colors as well, completing the rainbow spectrum she performed the black power anthem “Formation”. A poignant representation of inclusion and diversity, in the Rainbow Nation – South Africa. “Run The World (Girls)” followed as she reminded us who really runs the world – “strong enough to bare them children then get back to business.”

Then they graced us with more from them as a couple, as they performed “Crazy In Love“, “Deja Vu” and then closed off with Jay Z’s “Young Forever” – originally performed with Mr Hudson, Beyoncé gives this number a spin that highlights how seemingly effortless her and Jay Z collaborate. Ending the night with the crowd belting “forever young, I wanna be forever young” as the couple hit the adlibs and then punctuated the show with a kiss.

A show that left the audience in applause minutes after the couple had ended.

A night to remember, thanks to Global Citizen and The Motsepe Foundation.

Photo Credit: the World Wide Web 🙂

Join the movement by taking action here in support of the UN’s Global Goals to end poverty. 

Stanbic Does Music: A Throwback Affair

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.

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Gesh Groove & Kamiza (MCs for the night)

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.

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Abel Chungu Musuka

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.

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K’Millian

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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.

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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.

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James Sakala

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.

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Caitlin De Ville

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.

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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 🙂

Next year we go again!

PHOTO CREDIT : The Stanbic Music Festival official Facebook page

TEDxLusaka ’17: A WOKE FEST.

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!

The Lusaka Social Circus

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?”

“WEED!”

“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 🙂

GIFT CHANSA

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.

NAMAALA LIEBENTHAL

ZOCA Dancers

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?

TREVER MUMBA

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.”

MAFIPE CHUNGA

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.

LINDA KASONDE


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.

MICHELLE CHIMUKA

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.

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! 😁😋
🍔 🌯🍟🍖🍗🥓🍹🍻

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.

Eat.

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.


Play.

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!

Nicely done, Zamfest. We go again next year? 😏