This is a blog about me and the things that make me laugh, smile, hurt or cry!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Musicians Take Issue With Amayenge's Nigeria Trip Accompanying Rupiah

Today's Post carries an article headlined, 'Musicians Complain over Amayenge's Nigeria Trip with Rupiah'. The article carries a letter of complaint written by Zambia Asociation of Musicians chairperson, Maiko Zulu complaining that the association and it's mother body, National Arts Council were not consulted over the decision to take musicians to Nigeria to accompany the President.

Now, I am all for protocol and following established channels, but to me, this story speaks of a sad state of affairs. People are just jealous that Amayenge got their moment to shine in the spotlight (and deservedly so, considering their consistent contribution to the music scene over the years). Jealous musical colleagues have counted the days of the trip, the hefty government allowances paid and the opportunity for further international exposure by their friends and taken umbrage.

Should the President not be able to take whomever he wishes to accompany him on a trip? (The debate on the President's ever growing delegations on international trips is another matter entirely). Why does he have to seek permission from an association? Appreciation of music is down to personal taste, so why should a committee be consulted first? I would understand if the President had taken the same band/group to accompany him on the last last three trips for instance. Then maybe we would say he is 'chingaring' other artistes from benefiting from international exposure.

The Zambia Association of Musicians and it's mother body would be better placed taking the President to task for not giving adequate funding to their institutions and that of the responsible ministry (MCDSS) so that the arts can be properly supported and developed to exploit cultural development and economic opportunities that could be realised from a well managed homegrown arts scene that is of export quality.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

I have been prompted to sit at my computer after pondering over an article shared by a micro-biologist friend last week. It is about research being done by scientists who are trying to create a genetically modified mosquito that cannot transmit disease. Instead, the mosquito transmits (through reproduction) a gene that ensures the offspring mosquito dies. I have tried my best to gather the facts, but i stand to be corrected by those with greater scientific knowledge. You can read the original article here .

Malaria is a known killer that is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. In Zambia, we have just under four million malaria cases every year and about 15,000 deaths. The WHO estimates that malaria can decrease GDP by up to 1.3% and malaria accounts for up to 40% of public health expenditure. These are grim and real statistics and with high drug resistance and ever more deaths from a preventable disease, it is understandable that someone out there is looking for a lasting solution by attacking the medium that spreads the disease. The mosquito itself.

Now, NGOs and environment activists have long been fighting the continued advance of Monsanto - the baddest of bad guys in the genetics industry and this is just the kind of news that enrages them and puts a holy fear in me. I chose my words carefully. Maybe it's because I am a social scientist, am fairly religious and believe in conspiracy theories, but I just don't think this is a good idea at all. No matter what scientific breakthroughs are made, I do not believe we know enough about life to mess with certain things.

I am not a purist and I know that the vegetables I buy in Shoprite are genetically modified which is why they keep for a month, whereas the ones from Melisa shrivel and die in three days. I buy from both stores. So, I cannot claim to be ignorant of the fact the genetically modified organisms and products exist in my daily life.

I don't like to think of myself as irrational, but the thought of a genetically modified killer insect, albeit one engineered to no longer kill is one of those issues where I don't even want to think about the number of things that can go wrong with a plan like this. You release a swarm of genetically modified insects from the lab into the untested real world. A developing country (granted, the test site of Malaysia is a middle income country), with huge populations, poor health systems, limited facilities, lack of drugs and understaffed health centres and I think you have a potential recipe for disaster.

It could all go well, that is true, but movies like the eighties classic, The Fly come to mind. Many people don't realise that an oft quoted line, actually comes from this movie - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid! Interestingly, Jeff Goldblum went on to star in Jurassic Park, another movie about scientists playing with nature and altering genetic makeup of species in order to create something else. In this instance, the dinosaurs bred when they weren't supposed to. Goldblum's character, Ian Malcolm when questioning the wisdom of the original plan comments that "life, uh... finds a way". And later, he also says "...your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should".

In a well meaning move, we are taking an insect and removing it's ability to transmit a killer disease in the hope that this insect will eventually come to dominate and though the mosquito will continue to exist, the ones that transmit malaria will die before they can. It does sound like a really good plan. But, I just can' get over the 'what if it isn't' part?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The President's Website

Recently, the President of Zambia, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda set up his own website, separate from the State House website.

At first glance, it appears simple and to the point, with a prominent notice that this website is not paid for by the Zambian tax payer, but by the President's supporters. I was aghast when I went through the site. I feel that as the leader of this nation, they could have done a lot better for him than this. The most obvious thing is that it appears to be what one would set up in order to tick off that, "I have a website".

1. My first gripe is that they did not use a .zm name, when this is what identifies us to the whole world as a Zambian website. If it really was a personal website, why did they not go with They went with, which could just as well be a website dedicated to the late ng'wazi Kamuzu Banda, first president of Malawi. They should have identified the website with Rupiah Banda, if it is indeed developed by his supporters. As usual, we are thinking of today and not tomorrow. or .com would have been a website to outlive his presidential term of office.

2. The intro is too long and too texty. It is difficult to know what it is all about.

3. News. This is the worst page. With our poor internet connectivity in Zambia, to require each news item to be downloaded in pdf is restrictive. So many people actually access internet by phone, and you must have a smart phone to read and download attachments. I should immediately get a sense of what news there is about the President with snippets (not headlines only), on the site.

Secondly, to effectively communicate with his people, the website should also generate its own stories. They (he) should set the agenda and not allow it to be set for them. In this respect, this news is passive.

4. The pictures are a mish mash and require flash (again, not ideal for our average local internet cafes). Also, it is not a proper gallery with captions. What are the pictures there for, what are they about? They don't tell a story or give us any more information about the president.

5. The videos, the same. They are adverts as opposed to telling us about what the President is actually doing.

6. Even as a vanity project, it fails. As such, i don't see the need for an alternative site from

7. Feedback. The website is clearly about Dickson Jere and not about the President. The perception should be that we are communicating with the President and not with his press aide. Of course, there is always a protocol, but we don't need to be distanced from the President, right when we want to talk to him.

8. Learn from others. It may be cliche, but is a good place to start. It's not my favourite site, so check back for an update once I have completed my research on great websites by political figures. Why not a facebook page too. A simple search will reveal just how many Zambians (of all shapes and sizes) access facebook on a daily basis.

Childhood Gone Wild

There are two issues in the childhood discussion that really bother me. They both entail asking children to grow sooner than they should.

Sexy Clothing
The first is what I call the 'sexualisation' of childhood. Walk into any shop and see the kind of things that are on sale for little girls. Apart from the sizes, there is no difference with what adult women wear. I have friends that are size 6 or 8 who sometimes shop from the kids section. Underwear, clothes, shoes, accessories. We are starting young and younger. What is there to look forward to when you grow up if you can do and wear everything while you are still a child. When do you tell a girl that the revealing clothes she has been wearing all her life and now no longer appropriate at any and every occasion. Why does a five year old girl need to wear halter-necks with a plunging neckline? There is no distinction, when in my view, there should be.

The no childhood thing manifests itself in other ways too, the most common in Zambia being skipping grades in school. Parents claim that this is so they can save money by cutting down on school years. Children work harder and harder than ever before. They have hours of homework and a mountain of organised extra curricular activities designed to push and push. Like parents, they must perform at all levels in all areas.

Why is finishing high school at 14 such a bad idea in my view?

Some things, we only learn through time and age. Why should we decide our lives so young (15 years), when many are still figuring it out decades later. Why would a parent want their child in college at 16 years old. Why would any father want that for their daughter, when he knows the mind of a young man. There is a reason why child psychologists all over the world recommend six or seven as the right age to start school. In developed countries there are restrictions on school age and I don't know why schools here (especially private schools) are allowed to admit children into grade one at the age of four. This is just wrong. Just because you are able to write grade seven and age nine, doesn't mean you should.

As someone who went to college at age 16 (in a class where the average age was 22), I saw first hand why going to college at 18 is a much better idea. Closures and the like meant that I was 18 plus when my second round at first year rolled round in November 1997. Further closures meant that instead of graduating at 21, I left school at 23. Because we had both started university at 17, my room mate and I have always been thankful for the closures as we were so much more mature and ready to take on the world when we did.

"Look Under Your Seat"

"Look Under Your Seat". I had dreamed to one day hear these words when, by some stroke of luck, I won an all expenses paid trip to Chicago to attend a screening of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Naturally, I would take my mother with me. This is the ultimate Mother-Daughter dream trip, followed by shopping and a make over, of course.

Sadly, we have just begun the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show and I will have to strike this one off of my life's To-Do List, as I did last year with 'Seeing Michael Jackson Live'. However, I feel that the occasion behoves me to share what The Oprah Winfrey Show has meant to me over the last 18 or 19 years.

Oprah Herself
The highlight is Oprah. Whatever people say about her, I think Ms Oprah Winfrey is an inspiration to me and millions of people all over the world. I truly believe that she is genuine and has dedicated her life to doing some good with the position of influence that she has and with the wealth that God has blessed her with.

Key Moments For Me
1. The fat in the wagon was probably something I saw on the news first, before seeing the show. But it is an iconic television moment.
2. I have NEVER understood what all the fuss was about regarding the Tom Cruise jumping on a couch episode. I have watched it many times (not just the clip, but the whole interview) and I still cannot for the life of me understand what the big deal was. I think it was just Tom Cruise haters, who resent that the guy was happy about his new love. What is so wrong with that? And because Tom and Oprah are friends, he was able to let go of his emotions more with her.

Celebrity Interviews
That's another thing I have loved about Oprah. Being a mega celebrity herself and way richer than any of the most famous super star, it made interviews very different from all other shows. I think that we often saw a candidness and an insight that you don't get from many other talk shows. I remember the Michael Jackson interview. From watching her show, you can tell that John Travolta really is one of her best friends. I loved when Hillary Swank went on with her mum and they both cried. You see, I'm not the only one for whom being on the show is a dream come true.

Texas Beef
The Texas Amarillo episodes when they sued her for saying she wasn't gonna eat a hamburger again. Whatever! I'm glad she won. I will always remember the white middle aged dude who recited her lines from The Colour Purple. Hilarious!

The Feel Good Factor
I remember reading an interview with Carmen Electra in Glamour magainzine, where she talked about a rough patch in her life and how we all have those moments when we need to get ourselves together and we end up watching lots of Oprah. I loved that. It is so true. Even though i don't follow the show that much these days (since I no longer watch TV), when I stumble upon a show, the feel good factor is always there.

The People
Celebrity or not, Oprah does ordinary people really well too. In  fact, that is why she is successful as she is. There are so many people that have appeared on her show who inspired and motivated me, who touched me and from whom I learned something. The indomitable human spirit has been celebrated time and again.

The Causes (good and bad)
1. Child Abuse. Oprah has done SO MUCH to tackle child abuse (especially sexual abuse). From the Oprah Bill that was signed by Bill Clinton; to the campaign to catch child molesters which I really disagreed with. I thought it created potential witch hunts. Being accused of being a child abuser is something you can never shake off if people get it wrong
2. The Gratitude Journal. The discerning reader of my Big Three Oh 30 things I'm Grateful for birthday email picked up that this was a gratitude journal. This is one of the most effective things I have ever learned. It always pays to count your blessings
3. Leadership Academy. If I am ever blessed with a huge amount of money, I will establish a Leadership Academy to teach and inspire young, gifted people. If not, I will do my best to influence the people who can to ensure it is run properly.
4. Books. Oprah's Book Club has done so much to get people reading proper books from which we can learn something about ourselves, other people and the world. My own book club that I started owes a lot to this great lady who has championed the writtten word and brought reading back into fashion for people ALL OVER THE WORLD.

The Give Aways
This entire post is centred around the stuff Oprah gives away. The fact that most of it is donated by corporations is completely besides the point. She gets these companies to do it for deserving people. The Car episode is still the most awesome as was the whole dream thing. I remember families given new homes, women given new looks. The list is endless. "Look Under Your Seat!"

The Weight
Oprah's weight loss (and gaining) journey is probably one that has resonated the most with people (especially women) everywhere. It is what makes her normal, just like you or me. About three years ago, I learned from Oprah about truly accepting myself for who I am and believing I was beautiful and sexy, just the way I am. This doesn't mean I have never tried to lose weight (it is healthier for you after all), but it is about self-image, worth and esteem. I will never be the same again.

I love you Oprah!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Hospitality Industry In Zambia -- A Home Away From Home?

Over the last few years, the Zambian government has been making a lot of noise about the 'Visit Zambia' campaign. We are told that tourism is the answer to our national economy's dependence on the mining industry.

Recent economic growth resulting in increased disposable income has seen the appearance of a guest house on every other street corner. Curiously, 90 per cent of these boasts the slogan, 'A Home Away From Home'.

Wonderful news, you might say. Not in my experience.

During my working life, I have stayed in various hotels, guest houses and lodges in Zambia, Africa, Europe and North America. Recently, I traveled to South Luangwa and Kafue National Parks respectively. En route, we spent one night in Chipata and two nights in Mumbwa.

In Chipata, we spent the night at the relatively new Crossroads Lodge. Of the four that currently exist (in Mongu, Livingstone, Chipata and Lusaka), the Chipata branch is considered the nicest. Immediately I entered my room, I knew that the same logic behind the design of the room (lodge as a whole), was the reason for the kind of services I could expect from this establishment.

Open the door to the bathroom and the door will not open all the way. Why? because it is obstructed by the toilet. What follows next, is a manoeuvre familiar to any traveler in Zambia. You must squeeze your body around the door and stand almost inside the shower or bathtub. Close the bathroom door behind you and shuffle over to the toilet. If you forgot your toothpaste or toothbrush before embarking on this bathroom journey, you must go through the same experience all over again.

Many guest houses and lodges actually use narrower doors for the bathrooms in their establishments. Or else they go to the other extreme where everything is so spaced out, you must take several steps onto the cold floor coming out of the bathtub or shower in order to reach your towel or toiletries.

I could write so much more, but maybe let me end with my experience in Mumbwa where a colleague checked into his self-contained executive chalet in hopes of relaxing while watching some TV. He switches on the wall-mounted flat screen TV, only to find it was not plugged in and the cable did not appear to match the socket. He goes to reception to complain and is told "there is no adapter Sir; if you want to watch TV, you will need an adapter."

25+ Random Things You May Not Have Known About Me

1. I have always wanted to learn Kick-boxing as a way of indulging my inner Charlie’s Angel. We all have one.

2. The first album I ever bought was Step By Step by New Kids on the Block on cassette tape. It was £5 from a friend who probably doesn’t even remember

3. Similarly, when I was much younger, my secret fantasy (if I wasn’t Masuka) was to spend a summer working in the Coyote Ugly bar. Weird, but true.

4. One day, I would like to own a Hattori Hanzo Samurai Katana sword (think Kill Bill vol.1)

5. Between Coke, Sprite and Fanta, I choose to Obey My Thirst.

6. I’ve been robbed so many times I think I have become less attached to material things. My favourite thing (and first major item) that was stolen was my electric frying pan – taken from my room at the University of Zambia. The thief stole it complete with the chicken stew I had prepared earlier. My friend came to console me by praying for God’s comfort after the loss of the frying pan. It was both hilarious and touchingly sweet that he did that – which is why I remember it so well.

7. I am a major procrastinator, as evidenced by the fact that I first received one of these over 18 months ago. But, sitting in the hair salon last weekend and bored with mobile Solitaire and Sudoku, I ended up navigating the depths of Facebook mobile and ended up in the friends’ notes section; which reminded me that I needed to do my 25 Random Things About Me at last.

8. I have a lot of talk time. According to a colleague, this means I really take long to explain things and use ten words instead of five, and repeat myself. I have joined Toastmasters in an attempt to fix this problem.

9. Last year for my 30th birthday, I asked people to give me airtime for my mobile phone if they couldn’t think of a present to buy me. I received about K800, 000 (just over $150) worth of units and didn’t have to top up for several months.

10. I have been told that my marketing skills are so persuasive and I can be so convincing that I can sell a corpse. With great power, comes great responsibility.

11. When I watched Superman Returns in the cinema, I was overcome with a sense of joy and hope when we first see Superman in his suit, holding up the plane on the baseball field. I felt goofy happy and had a ridiculous smile because it seemed that the world was alright again.

12. Superman is cool because he is the only superhero whose natural self is actually a superhero. However, my favourite superhero is Batman: he knows who he is and he is just sad because his mummy and daddy died. It also helps that Bruce Wayne is rich. I can’t stand the whining whingeing wimp that is Peter Parker. Suck It Up and get a life dude.

13. The first big item I bought when I moved into my own place after graduating from campus was a four-plate cooker/oven. I couldn’t handle life without an oven and baking any longer. It took me another four years to purchase my first TV.

14. Being a preacher's daughter, I have always been sure I would not want to be a preacher's wife. The call is not for everyone. I'll settle for being bamuka elder (Church elder's wife).

15. I am a devoted follower of which succeeded Mininova and The Pirate Bay as my favourite torrent search index. That said I own about three times more original DVDs than anyone I know. I am addicted to boxed sets and special/limited/extended editions of my favourite TV shows and movies. I aim to complete my Only Fools and Horses collection soon and have pre-ordered The Goonies 25th Anniversary Edition. My all time favourite set is my Lord of the Rings Special Extended Edition.

16. I collect children’s books. Why? Because I worry that my favourite books may be out of print when I have kids and I won’t be able to share this experience with them. My favourite books from childhood were The Silver Sword by Ian Serralier; The Magic Far Away Tree by Enid Blyton; Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge, both by Judy Blume.

17. I love watching sports. I started following football as a result of watching World Cup Italia 90. I developed a crush on then England captain, Bryan Robson and pledged undying support to whichever team he played for. I have been (and remain) a proud supporter of Manchester United Football Club ever since. My other favourite sports to watch are Athletics, Tennis and gymnastics. I love the Olympics for their diversity of sporting disciplines.

18. My Dad was a very good amateur boxer and my mother almost joined the army after impressing her superiors in national service. She resisted the recruiters and became a teacher instead.

19. All the men in my family can cook and bake very well. My Dad’s specialty is pumpkin cake and sweet potato cake. One of my brothers nails pancakes like no one else. My other brother makes the best cheesecake I have EVER tasted and hammers chocolate cake. My sister does the best marble cakes and I dream of Mum’s coconut cake. I can do mean banana bread/muffins and any kind of savoury pie.

20. My four grandparents were born and raised in what is now called Angola. These artificial borders were set up by the English to divide us, we are all one inside.

21. Growing up as a teenager, my dream man was Keanu Reeves, closely followed by Brad Pitt. For the last few years though, the man that does it for me is Morris Chestnut. He's not the best actor in the world (IMHO), but at least he looks good while doing it.

22. I will watch any movie with Clare Danes in it. I don’t know why, but I really like her as an actress. I also lean heavily toward European and independent or foreign films (with subtitles). I believe an English voice over renders the movie irrelevant. City of God, directed by Fernando Mereilles is one of my favourites.

23. Persistent insomnia is my subconscious telling me I am anxious about something.

24. For security reasons, most of my passwords are not in English. My sister used to be the person most likely to get closest to deciphering any of them.

25. I cry at anything that moves me emotionally – be it anger, frustration, excitement, sorrow, in real life, in books, in movies or in music.

26. I only do Nokia phones.

27. I love dance movies and dance shows like So You Think You Can Dance. Not interested in the acting, just the dance moves. I would love to do the closing scene/credits dance routine from the movie Save the Last Dance at my wedding. My fingers are crossed for a man who can pull this off.

28. Spelling is one of my pet peeves and I have been known to delete/remove my posts or comments on the internet that have major typos or spelling mistakes in them. My most recent one, ‘right’ instead of ‘write’. Oh, the horror!

29. All the jobs I have had have been those that make a difference in people’s lives. Eventually, I would like to teach my own courses at University.

30. I dislike people who beat about the bush and won’t say what they mean or confront you to your face.

31. My name is Masuka M. and I am addicted to the internet. This is the first step in the 12-step recovery programme -- admitting that you have a problem

Modified on Sunday, 20th May 2012


Hitting The Big Three Oh

In 2009, I turned 30 years old and threw myself a party to celebrate my three decades on this earth. In the run-up to this momentous occasion, I listed (in alphabetical order), thirty things that I am grateful to God for in my life:

1. Books
I have been a book lover since I was able to read. Through books you experience worlds that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to and you meet people you would never have known. It’s up to you to imagine the reality hidden in the pages. The Lusaka and Chipata book clubs that I started have been the source of some fascinating discussions in the last few years. I don’t think I could have lived in Chipata as long as I did without the book club to keep me sane. For those of you that don’t already know, my favourite book in the whole wide world is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

2. Brothers and Sisters
There are some memories that you only share with the people you grew up with, and I have been through thick and thin, good times and bad times over the years with my brothers and sister. One of my favourite things is the words and nicknames we developed for so many people, places and things. Case in point, a bajeeba – which means a little bit

3. Chingola
Chingola has a strong heritage of producing people from the arts. A sizeable majority of playwrights, musicians, actors etc hail from this small town on the Copperbelt. Many of these went to Chikola Secondary School which is about two minutes from our house. As a Chingolan, I support the Rampant Lions Rugby and Nchanga Rangers Football teams. Chingola once had the title of being the cleanest town in Zambia. For these reasons, I’m proud to call Chingola my home town.

4. Communication
The year 1989 stays in my mind because of four major news events that captured the worlds and my attention. The Berlin Wall came down; the Exxon Valdese ran aground off the coast of Alaska and the oil spill caused untold damage; the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China, where scores of students and others were killed while protesting the death of a prominent critic of the communist government; revolution in Romania leading to the downfall of Nicolai Ceau├žescu and culminating in his execution on Boxing Day.

I wanted to be a journalist ever since I was about ten years old. I loved current affairs and watching news, discussion and documentary programmes on TV. I believe in the power of the written and spoken word to change lives and nations.

5. Family
Where would I be without the people whose blood runs through my veins? I value my extended family more and more, the older I get.

6. Films
There’s nothing like a good movie! Many of my favourite films have similar themes of sacrifice, passion, a cause, justice, resilience, faith and courage against all odds etc. These include the Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Gladiator, Braveheart, The Shawshank Redemption, Casablanca

7. Food
I thank God that I am one of those people that appreciates food. Sadly, most Zambians are not big on food. They like eating, but they don’t like food, which is why every restaurant in my country be it Italian, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese etc also serves chicken and chips to cater for the average Zambian. I will never say no to Indian food or pizza. For a long time, my favourite dish was lasagne – Italian food is still on my list of top three favourites. I also love seafood and Thai food.

8. Friends
You don’t choose your family, but you do choose your friends, and sometimes, they choose you. I lost touch with most of my friends from primary school, but I’m glad that almost 20 years later, I still have friends I met in high school. Some came aboard at college and then university; more at the various places I’ve worked and others along the way in meetings and conferences in various countries across the world.

9. Girlfriends
They are my inner circle and a point of reference in my life. By coincidence, almost all their names begin with M, with some R and S to mix it up. You know who you are…

10. Health
Health is something we often take for granted. I have no major health issues as yet. I’m in good health and can pretty much do whatever - for that, I’m grateful.

11. Local Church
Moving to Lusaka from Chingola was not easy, neither was settling in to a new church family. Like all of us, they are very far from perfect, but my peeps at Great East Road assembly are sincere, passionate, dedicated and loving and that’s why I count myself one of them.

12. Music
I’m not a huge music person, so I’m the last person to consult on latest music. But I do appreciate the divinely inspired music and lyrics of Fred Hammond, Cece Winans, Twila Paris, Rita Springer and Third Day. Nobody rocks it like vintage Michael Jackson, The Beatles or Abba. I’m also partial to India Arie, Bon Jovi and John Legend.

13. My House
Accommodation is hard to come by these days, so you know when you got a good deal. I love my house and I have a great landlord – I have no complaints, only thanks.

14. My Parents
My Mum and Dad made it a priority to make Christ the foundation of our home and the focus of our upbringing. This was the inheritance they built and passed on to their children. It is from them I learned the value of learning and reading.

One of the most important things for a woman is to be secure in her Father’s love for her as this makes her secure as a person. I have always been sure of my Dad’s love for me. Growing up my Dad was very strict. One of the rules was that ironing of clothes had to be done in advance as ironing one item was a waste of electricity and evidence of poor planning. One day I was made to attend church in un-ironed clothes. I am eternally grateful for that and I think it contributed greatly to my being the detail-oriented person that I am today.

When I read Proverbs 31, I think of my mother and how hard she works for all of us. She gets up early and sleeps late. She is a rock. She senses and knows things and loves me in a way that only a mother can. If I can be half as good a person as my mother has been, I will have achieved much indeed.

15. Opportunities
Throughout my life I have graciously been afforded many privileges and opportunities that have given me advantages that others have not and do not have. This goes beyond just education and employment; to many things such as exposure and travel to just plain good things happening.

16. Pearls of Wisdom
We all make mistakes in life and have ups and downs. I am so grateful for the people who have influenced my life with well spoken words of wisdom. My uncle has intervened with sound advice as have friends, my mother, my brother in-law to name but a few. Sometimes you need someone to tell you the right thing at the right time and it helps when you know that person genuinely cares for you and has your best interests at heart.

17. Pictures
They say a picture tells a thousand words and that the camera never lies. I think both of these are true and that’s why I love photographs. Thank you PM for teaching me so much about pictures and for making me feel that I’m not alone.

18. Sakeji
I would not be the person I am today if I did not have the privilege of attending Sakeji School in Ikelenge, Mwinilunga District, Northwestern Zambia. I started school in grade one at the age of five some 24 years ago. Having lived only three decades, I look on my Sakeji years as the most exciting, enriching and nurturing time of my life so far. But I’m pretty sure that if you ask me when I’m 60, I’ll still say the same thing.

19. Salvation
By grace I have been saved through faith, not of works, lest I should boast.

20. Sistren and Brethren
The sistren and brethren keep me on track, rightly dividing the word of truth in the way only a man or woman of God can do. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another

21. Technology
I think that we have some wonderful inventions that make life a pleasure. I am one of those people who love gadgets and ‘tuntu tuntu’. The potato peeler, microwave, electric kettle, geyser, television, the original walkman, tipex, the ball-point pen. I could go on, but I’ll end here.

22. The Bible
My manual for life and living in any and every situation

23. The Bro’s
As a first born, I always wished I had an older brother. Since that ain’t gonna happen, I have honorary older brothers.

24. The Earth
Environmental conservation is one of my passions. I believe that we are stewards of the earth and intergenerational justice demands that we manage her resources sustainably and responsibly.

25. The Navigators
The Nav mission is to know Christ and to make Him known. I was wandering spiritually until providence lead me to the Navigator ministry at university where I was very broke while staying on campus during the vacation. After weeks of strategically visiting my neighbours at meal times (or diving), and their turning a blind eye I felt it only fair that I attend one of their meetings, especially since they seemed so nice and genuine. I took a step of faith, not knowing what I would find and I have never regretted for a moment. I’ve built great friendships and experienced true fellowship. I have learned many important lessons but I will share one; the Bible is not just a collection of words but it has power to transform lives

26. The Netherlands
I spent three months in Holland in 2004 and it was a life-affirming experience. My stay there coincided with my 25th birthday. It was a low time as I felt I was getting old (little did I know). It was also the first time I had really been away from home and I kind of had to find myself. I had an identity crisis and I had to question who I was and everything I had believed in up to that point. I went on to spend a month in Bermuda and I came back home as Masuka – the same but different. It was from this point that I described myself as a ‘journalist and social activist’. I also cut my long hair and grew dreadlocks that I kept for over five years. Currently, I wear my hair natural - rocking a baby 'fro!

27. Travel
I love travelling, meeting new people, seeing new places and experiencing new things. My work takes me to many countries but usually does not afford me the opportunity to go beyond the hotel and one or two tourist excursions. There are so many places where I want to explore the land, the history, the culture, the people etc. Top of my list is to further explore my own country of Zambia, as well as Egypt, India, Ethiopia, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Malaysia.

28. Work
I love that in development work I can look into someone’s eyes and see the change that has happened in their life because of what I do. Obviously every job has its challenges because we have to work with people and people have never-ending issues; but in the midst of office politics, you always get one of those days when you know you’re making a difference. I know I can look back on my career so far, confident that I contributed in a small way to making this world a better place.

29. Young People
Children and young people are my passion. This is what lead me to work in a youth organisation, to study children and youth development and to work to improve the lives of children and young people in my day to day job as well as in my own time.

30. Zambia
There are many countries in this world, but I was born and bred in Zambia. We have lots of bad stuff like poverty, disease, corruption. We have lots of good stuff like a beautiful country, rich culture and traditions and really nice people. I am proud to be a citizen of the Republic of Zambia.

Being thankful is something we all need to do at regular intervals in our lives. There is an old chorus that says, 'Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done'.

Modified on Sunday, 20th May, 2012


Loud and Clear - Good Morning World!

Hi there!

Welcome to Say it Loud, Say it Clear -- my first attempt at writing a blog. I have been wanting to do this for some time, but had no idea where to start or what to say. But, since I must start somewhere, my next two posts will give you an idea of who I am and what's important to me. Then, from there, I will start sharing what's on my mind.

I have many interests and passions. But I am primarily concerned about the the situation of my beloved country, Zambia. So, I will write a lot about development; politics and economics; poverty; the church and religion; women; children and youth; the arts; media and communication; literature and books; music; movies; culture and tradition. That looks like a lot of issues, but it will really depend on what is on my mind or going on around me -- in Zambia or beyond.

I hope to avoid 'speaking from without' as we say in Zambia. I will not claim to be objective on every issue since I will write about what is on my mind and usually from my point of view. Nevertheless, I respect other people's views and defend your right to hold a different view to mine. However, I am opposed to ranting, rudeness or blatant insults. Good manners in our society are already in in short supply.

Once again, welcome to my world...