Car rental solutions in Zambia

City Drive Rent A CarHave you ever had car trouble in the middle of nowhere, with an important task or job that needs immediate attention? Organising alternative transport may be easier and cheaper than you think, especially when you weigh up the price against the cost of being stranded. Continue reading

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Bongwe’s Grand Opening in Lusaka – Live music, drinks and dance

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Popularly known as “Bongwe’s Barn,” the Bongwe’s Barn & Guest House is part of Bongwe Safaris and was opened to offer affordable accommodation to Lusaka guests, providing the same great services that Bongwe is  best known for. Bongwe’s Barn also has a lively bar and restaurant that serves fantastic “pub grub”. Earlier this month, Bongwe’s Barn relocated to a new venue in Lusaka’s Roma area and to celebrate the new beginning, the Bongwe team hosted a live music event. Blogger extraordinaire Benny Blow was there to capture the fun!

The taxi driver had a speech impediment and I was a wee bit tipsy. There was going to be much miscommunication. Giving directions to Bongwe Barn’s new location proved a little more difficult than I’d thought, but I got there just before the show began… Continue reading

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Fashion Mix Zambia brings Fashion Fridays to Lusaka!

Image Credit: Kreative Kingdom

Image Credit: Kreative Kingdom

What do you get when you gather a bunch of well-dressed people together in one of Lusaka’s trendiest locations on a Friday? Fashion Friday!

Fashion Friday is a unique concept put together by a group of individuals who host a platform known as Fashion Mix Zambia. Fashion Mix is a platform for people in the fashion industry, from designers, models, photographers and mere fashion lovers. This platform aims to harness, unite and grow the local Zambian fashion community.
Fashion Mix Zambia facilitates experience sharing, powerful collaboration and industry growth through rare interactions with industry icons, specially-designed classes and workshops and high fashion networking sessions at some of Lusaka’s best venues. This happens every first Friday of the month and has been aptly named as “Fashion Friday.”

Last month, Fashion Mix Zambia hosted the second “Fashion Friday” which was a resounding success. The event featured a master class on “Fashion and Media” presented by popular TV personality Lulu Hangala and Editor of Beauty Magazine and founder of Zambian Fashion Week,  Gillian Langmead.  Both women shared some useful tips and advice with designers and fashion journalists who attended. Some of the highlights included:

Advice to designers:

  • Use the media to push your products. Go out to newspapers, radio and TV. It’s not that hard to get your product in the media in Zambia.
  • Dress local celebrities and personalities. Ensure you deliver on your promise to provide the garment on time and with a quality finish.
  • Go out to the corporate world for sponsorship. Ensure you prepare well in advance and describe to the potential sponsor how your brand can add value to their company.
  • Consider using a professional stylist for your shoots
  • As a designer it is important to be disciplined, constant, have attention to detail, ensure high quality garments that are produced on time.

How we can boost the Zambian fashion industry

  • Focus on education and building. Great designers and journalists have come out of Evelyn Hone College but there is a need to see continued improvements to the course content offered.
  • More Zambian people should wear local and be proud of garments designed and made in Zambia.
  • Change the perception of the fashion industry in Zambia. Fashion shows are not just for entertainment but are used to showcase a collection to buyers, the media and the public in order to promote and buy local designs.

The master class was followed by a fashion show showcasing designs by two local designers Martha Kabaso and Muchanga Mudenda.

Mu (Alero) Gillian, Lulu and Angelika

Mu (Alero) Gillian, Lulu and Angelika

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Spotted: Local designer Kapasa of Magishi Love, with friends at May’s Fashion Friday

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Alero designs by Mu Mudenda

Fashion Friday

Spotted: Local designer Towani Clarke of Kutowa Designs with friends at May’s Fashion Friday

 

This month’s “Fashion Friday” falls on the 6th of June and will feature a master class on Fashion and Modelling presented by Top Model UK winner Lonah Shawa and Model Coach and designer Mickley Banda. This will be followed by a fashion show with the R&G Model Search qualifying models.

The Master Class will start at 18:00 – 19:30 hours at Foxdale Court management office (2nd floor, Mama Betty Wing) and the fashion show will start at 20:00 hours at Roma Sky Bar.
Fashion Friday is absolutely free, come with your friends and enjoy a complete fashion networking experience with other fashion lovers.

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The Tale of the Mighty Siavonga Music Festival

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“What do you call a girl on a drummer’s arm?—A tattoo!” Theo and Derrick of the band Evicted humored, as I scribbled into my scroll. Their performance on the lake at the Siavonga Music Festival had just concluded, but with my coveted press permit in hand, I knew the merriment had only just begun.

BIGINNEN
The rains had passed, and the day of the festival had finally come. I was at the Kariba Music Festival for but a night last year, and I had resolved to gorge on the festivities in their entirety this time around. My tribe had assembled and our brother Yosa ferried us to the land of sun and sand in his metal chariot.

I needed to meet with Dan Hartwright to acquire a press permit, a seal that allowed me to transcribe the tale of this festival for others to read for decades to come. The letters I sent Sir Dan, he whose heart was right, must have not reached him on time. As a member of the Guild of Scribes and Pressmen, I required his consent to carry out my duties.

We arrived at the mighty Eagle’s Rest just as the blistering sun was setting, and Karen, overseer of the fabled lodge, saw to it that we had a place to rest our heads. Brother Dabz and I would be resting in a tent by the lakeside. But sleep was for the weak. We were weekend warriors; we were there to feast and be merry, to dance to the sounds of the bandsmen and women! We were there to be mighty!

As we marveled at the beauty of the beach, Mutale, an acquaintance of brother Dabz told us the tale of his time there last year. He was looking forward to hearing the enchanting music of Mumba Yachi.

“I was sleeping at around 4 AM, in a Ford right over there, and I heard Mumba Yachi playing. I was like, ‘What IS that sound?’”.

Mumba Yachi’s sound is deeply rooted in traditional Zambian music. His ballads had even I, often more inclined towards the music of the West, anticipating his set.

The people had already begun to sip on their ales when Pompi, the “Giant Killer,” was executing his sound check.  “The keyboard artist needs more vocals… We can hear more of the instruments than our own voices,” he said sending commands to the stagemen. The brew-thirsty crowd demanded more music and called for an encore. The Giant Killer obliged.

The stars studded the sky and J-bus officially struck up the acquaintance with, ‘Nice to know ya’. The crowd had multiplied in number and danced merrily to the reggae sounds of J-Bus as the stage strobe lights stroked their sunburnt skin.

“WE LOVE YOU, MUMBA YACHI!” was the call from some nubile female in the audience. Clearly his song and act was the stuff of legend. The stage men employed their sorcery and a cloud of smoke floated up from behind Mumba while he strummed his guitar and told the tale behind his song, ‘Tute’. It was a metaphor for how like cassava, some relationships can be bitter to taste.

Brother Dabz spewed something about music I cannot quite recall. It was mostly inaudible and my mind would drift to the bodies on the sandy beach. Unbeknownst to us, the Poet PilAto was also among us.  “I just want to be here as one of the people,” he told me. He would not be performing at the festival this year. He was not dressed in his usual performance attire, and if not for his black bear-size beard, I would not have recognised him.

True African performing at the Siavonga Music Festival

True African performing at the Siavonga Music Festival

Band: Kapiri Top Rank Suite

Band: Kapiri Top Rank Suite

One of the star acts of the festival, Mumba Yachi

One of the star acts of the festival, Mumba Yachi

Evicted Band serenades the crowd on the houseboat

Evicted Band serenades the crowd on the houseboat

Self proclaimed "weekend warriors." Writer Benny Blow and friend Yosa

Self proclaimed “weekend warriors.” Writer Benny Blow and friend Yosa

Sometime before the witching hour, a three man band took the chaflet. They played a trance inducing form of rock, whose techno-colour sounds you could almost see. The lead came from a bearded man playing some mystic instrument. Shamus of Shamrock, whom I had met many moons ago at the Siavonga Canoe Challenge informed me that this instrument was an electric violin and that the men hailed from South Africa. They answered to the name Albino Beach.

Albino Beach cared not who was awake at that hour. They played on until I stumbled into our tent and yielded to the sandman. Karen the overseer had handed me my scribe’s permit by then. She had managed to acquire it from Dan, he whose heart is right. The next day had more in store.

THE DAY EFTIR
I felt and looked like a beggar who had drank far too much in the morning, but the festivities had only just begun. I overheard many a phone call telling family and friends of what an enchanting land this Siavonga was. They spoke of the beautiful lake and the warm sun, and how the merry melodies of the bands people sang to their hearts.

When the sun had touched the highest point in the sky, Brother Yosa and his Lady gathered us and we made our way to Lake Safari, the second venue of the festival. Last year, the festival only had one venue. This time, the landing dock of Lake Safari’s metal wasps was used as a stage for acoustic sets. Overlooking the water, the live guitars and drums complimented the feel of the location.

True African, a reggae band clad in leather trench coats cooked up a fiery broth. It looked like it was fairly hot under their garments and inside their metal studded boots. The festival was not only about music. A contest to see who could swill their pint the fastest was announced and Brother Dabz beat his chest and took up the challenge. Weekend warriors, big and small, lady and lord, all rushed to the front and guzzled their beer. Dabz was the rightful winner of this contest, but he was unjustly robbed of his victory! We clanked our cups and drank more draught to soothe his pain.

The legendary Kapiri Mposhi Top Rank Suite also graced the stage with a performance. I had first heard their brilliant covers at the last festival and it was rightly so that they were there once again. Their command of live instruments and sound is something all people should witness.

I soon learned that my precious press pass was not so coveted after all. A drunken reveller approached me and asked if I could ‘snapwand give’ him a photo. He had me mistaken for one of the many photographers lurking the grounds. I commanded him to be gone and savoured the little dignity I had remaining. We the press play such an undervalued role.

To regain my self esteem, I walked with my chest out and flaunted my pass to prove that I had access to parts of the festival no one else did; that I could talk to anyone I so pleased. Back at the Eagles Rest I spoke to a Victor from Manchester and his friends Ahmed and Ayman from Egypt. They were acquiring some nourishment when I stumbled upon them. Ayman had been to festivals in the lands of Maputo and Cairo, and he mentioned to me that none had been as mighty as this one.

By then my belly was growling with the fury of a thousand dragons and I too required some nourishment. Lady Nicky of La Casa Deli, who had a sling around her arm, offered me a ‘press discount’ on my Boerewors roll. She at least had some respect for the press and I returned it. I stood in great admiration of her injury and assumed she must have wrestled with many a beast to acquire the meat used for her rolls. She called it Fringilla meat.

The music played on and we all embraced the night. I wandered the beach looking for something I felt was elusive. I sought to capture the feel of this mighty festival; to write a tale about something that great grandfathers would pass on for generations to come. This ‘holy grail’ I sought, happened to manifest itself in King Mofya and the Turn Down for What Clan. King Mofya (who by the way was a lady) and her clanswomen were beauts intent on spreading cheer and dancing to the unseen rhythm of the festival. They danced with no rhythm and their singing had no tune, but they cared not. Their ways enchanted me and I lived amongst their people for the remainder of the night. If a passerby happened to stumble upon them and wonder why they were loud as banshees, the clan simply asked, “Turn down for what?”

Toward the end of the night, we had brought out our winter box and placed our drinks inside it. Brother Yosa and I sat in the sand and talked about our trials as young men. A few pints in and much debate later, the Sand Sentries swooped upon us and requested that we return our winter box to our lodgings, for drinks purchased from elsewhere were not permitted. I tried to brandish my pass and demanded that I see Karen the overseer or someone in charge, for the press needed not yield to Sand Sentries! After much protest, we were escorted to see Dan Hartwright himself. He was orchestrating the festival from his room, for a leg injury had rendered him immobile. I argued my case to him, and told him I needed my elixirs and brews to effectively carry out my duties. He disagreed with me and politely requested that we return our box to our tent. Clearly Sir Dan’s heart was not right! What sort of man denies a scribe his drink?!

THE FESTIVAL ENDEN
On the morning of the last day, Dabz and I were approached by a little man that had been lurking near our tent. He would appear out of nowhere and materialise right behind us like a wee wizard. When he startled us that morning, I quickly reached for something I could use as a weapon and almost struck him with my soap.

His name was Kennedy. He and his people were in charge of ferrying the performing artists on a bus and he told us of how mighty that last night would be. “Lelo izankala live!” he said in the local tongue, cocking up a thumb and expressing his creepy excitement. Late that afternoon, our tribe hopped off the bank of the Eagles Rest and onto Captain Thompson’s ship for some merry making on the water. As we boarded the ship, I could hear the chatter of the excited people. The water below the vessel swayed and caressed it while the cool air touched our faces and blew through the hair of the women.

The band, Evicted plugged in their musical instruments and checked their sound. Below deck I found Peter, Captain Thompson’s First Mate catching a few winks hidden beneath a mountain of sleeping bags and blankets. My guess was that he was trying to drown out the sound of the music. He looked like he had battled a sea monster the entire night and wore a pirate’s beard that cemented the look. He told me about his erratic sleeping patterns and how even though the festival was filled with merriment, it took considerable work from him and his people to make it so. I expressed my gratitude and proceeded topside.

“I used to have to steal my kisses from you,” sang Derrick, the frontman of the band, Evicted. They performed both original songs and covers that had all of us landlubbers dancing and cheering. Their cover of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ ‘Could you be loved’ had all on their feet and swaying to the rhythm of the water and the music. I saw one girl that looked like the rhythm was making her seasick (on a lake). I steered clear of her and moved my dance moves elsewhere.

“First time on a boat [singing]. Done a lot of crazy things, but this is the first time on a boat,” said Derrick. He and his bandsmen came from Zimbabwe and had played in a number of countries including Australia and South Africa.

“We also had a good time in Livingstone, remember?” Theo said to Derrick. They spoke of how they had received more adoration from foreign fans than they did back in their own land. They were having a grand time at the festival.

“Sorry to do this, but look at Justin,” Theo pointed, “He doesn’t talk to girls!” Justin was leaning against some railing and chatting up a young female. His mates were greatly amused by this and I guessed that he would be the butt of many a joke to come.

After a reggae set by DJ Daniel Lion, I decided to go and speak to Dan, he whose Heart was not so right. Though I was reluctant, I knew our meeting was fated. He sat outside his room, his leg in a bandage and propped up on a stool.

“I was the first person treated by the medical team at this festival,” he said. Dan had been summoned to be a part of this festival after the man originally contacted had also broken his leg before coming. It smelt like the work of sorcery to me. Some bitter old hag had crafted spells and used dark magic to stop this festival! But good always triumphs over evil! Dan had been speaking on his mobile and plummeted through a sink hole somewhere. He literally could not run around so Superman, known by some as Lukundo Siwale, was called to save the day. Windhoek Lager and Zamtel had also come on board to fight the forces of evil and make the mighty festival possible.

As I talked to Dan and asked more questions, the picture I had painted of him began to change its colours. He was actually an honorable man.

“I really wanted this to be accessible to the average Zambian, that’s why we chopped it [the price] to K50.” They would even organise a smaller community festival to give food and have performances for the townspeople, “to apologise for the noise,” he laughed. Sir Dan Hartwright’s heart was truly right after all.

Cactus Agony and his gruff voice took the stage and wowed all in the audience. He danced and sang like a Shaman and sweat poured from his head like rain. He asked for more lighting, and a fireworks display set the sky ablaze in the distance. The people cheered and danced to their heart’s content, leaving footprints in the sand and drawing closer to the stage.

The night closed off with performances from the Zedway Crew and even a surprise late night set by Abel Chungu. Lady Lulu Haangala, who had been the host of the entire event came on stage to give some closing remarks about an hour later. She had lost her voice and sounded like a sage old man whispering into the microphone.

The morning after, I felt like I had been gargling sand. We had screamed our lungs out and we had babbled legendarily. We had shared in the glory of the mighty festival and we had tales that would last us for months. And without a word spoken to each other, all the weekend warriors in attendance swore to return to the mighty Siavonga Music Festival for generations to come.

Benny Blow is a weekend warrior that has never lost a fight to a bear or beer. Read his literature on his blog HERE; follow his rants on twitter HERE, and befriend him on Facebook HERE .

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Trees For Zambia: A Local Climate Ambassador Goes ‘POP’ with Greenpop

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Greenpop Testimonial
My name is Ireen Ng`andu, I am a climate change ambassador under UNICEF’s programme ‘Unite 4 Climate Zambia’. I completed my studies last year and currently working as a volunteer with the Zambian NGO ‘Greenpop’ based here in Livingstone.

In the few weeks I have been with them we have been monitoring sites were trees had previously been  planted two years ago, running eco-workshops at schools, facilitating tree planting events and lots, lots more! I have learned a lot in these few weeks I have worked with Greenpop, for example, I discovered lots of information about new trees, their uses, and especially their medicinal value which is very useful.

Working with Greenpop has been an experience of a life time for me because I have also been to places I have never visited before or even imagined I would go to! Greenpop does not just plant trees, but it plants trees with great fun and excitement (with a pop!) That is what everyone needs.

This year’s “Trees for Zambia 2014” project promises to be great fun. It will be a three week long eco-festival which begins on the 15th June will run up to the 7th July. This an event I wouldn’t miss for the world!

I would like to thank  Greenpop for the opportunity  to work with them and also thank Greenpop representatives Patrick and Uncle Ben for their support during my stay. Thanks to my fellow volunteers; Emmanuel, Jamie, Sebastian and Solomon for their cooperation and coordination. Of course not forgetting my parents Grace and Muhamubi Simalonga for allowing me the time to be with Green pop.

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Ireen and two other volunteers at the Victoria Falls

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Uncle Ben from GreenPop with two children

Information about the 2014 “Trees for Zambia” Fest
Only a few more weeks to go before the Trees for Zambia Festival kicks off. Here’s what you need to know.

Most of the Participation Projects for Trees for Zambia 2014 are confirmed. Workshops to educate and inspire will take place and include:

  • Re-imagining our environments by Colour Ikamva
  • How we see environment through a lens by Ilizwi Photography
  • How to plant and maintain a Food Forest by Sean Spender
  • Permaculture design by Marshal Rinquest of Permaculture Adventure
  • Eco brick bench project by Candace Mostert from Greyton Transition Tow

Other programs:

  • The Treevolution Van will be going up in beginning of project and back down at the end – if you’d like to book a seat for one way or return, please email zoe@greenpop.org
  • Uncle Ben’s awesome artwork could be yours.  He has offered Greenpop some prints that can be won by contributors towards the Trees for Zambia project.
  • All “Trees for Fees” tree raisers have until 15 May to raise their trees.

PLEASE NOTE: Greenpop is urgently looking for the sponsorship or donation of a bakkie for their work and eco-festival. Contact Patrick (Project Coordinator for Greenpop Zambia) on +260 978 726 438 or email patrick@greenpop.org if you can assist.

For more details on how to get involved or support Greenpop please visit to the website.

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