I have been failing. Spectacularly. All throughout 2016. And I have been winning. Why? Because failure is the route to success. If you are truly creative and or/ entrepreneurial, you live in the certainty of stumbling, mumble fumbling and falling. A thick skin is required to keep picking yourself up, to keep, and carry on. In Zambia , it is the norm to pretend like everything is okay, as admitting fault, inadequacy or challenges is seen as weakness, not as an opportunity to innovate, learn and grow. The fear of losing out or giving up power is so ingrained, it stops people from actually realising their dreams because they are spending so much time looking over their shoulder.
Moving on to your sophomore project is always hard. My first production was a documentary about the Zambian National Football Team aka the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) called e18hteam (eighteam). Last year it enjoyed much success after it premiered in October 2014. From the unprecedented Zambeef sponsorship of the archival footage rights, to travelling around Zambia and film festivals around the world, winning awards in Indonesia, Spain, the USA, Nigeria and Peru, as well as screening in Cannes, I should be on floating in the clouds, basking in the rays of achievement. That is past glory though and cannot and should not sustain me. The film continues to go to film festivals and is now used as a tool for motivational talks to motivate, inspire and/ or for cultural exchange, but it is time for a new challenge.
An artist never stops creating and the best place to start is inspiration from the depths of one’s soul. That is where the African Cultural Exchange project, aka the ACE project, is borne from: a frustration so visceral, the only way to assuage it and turn that negative energy into the positive, is to work through it with my art. It has taken much to get to this point and I haven’t really started.
Luckily I have 4 amazing people to work with here in Lusaka: 3 Zambians and 1 Zimbabwean. I have dubbed them ZeDream Team, because in another life I was named Big Pun, and they were my first choice of crazy talent with beautiful spirits to work with. This blog will chronicle the entire process of this multimedia experiment aiming to reimagine African storytelling, through creativity in all its forms, as I journey with this team down the rabbit hole.
What I have learnt so far, as I have embarked on this sojourn into the unknown, is that I still have much to learn, and that is okay because I believe life is about growth. Leadership in this new capacity is much harder than I thought. Collaborating and expressing what is going on in my head to get everyone up to speed is overwhelming, because my brain is too quick and sees everything at the same time perfectly laid out and connected in my head space. It all makes sense to me, but parsing that out into the world in a way that makes sense is incredibly challenging. Focusing on what I want the project to address first has also taken a while to identify. But we have persevered and things are coming together.
I am known as the Queen of Passion and thankfully this Ndhlovukhazi Storyteller has enough fuel in the tank to keep regenerating, adapting, and is not afraid to change her mind. I am reveling in the uncertainty and in the crazy because beauty is starting to shine through. I just have to trust the process. Keep tweaking. Keep researching. Keep bandying ideas around. Staying open and allowing myself to be mentored by the team and people in my life whom I love and trust, while looking for new sources of knowledge and inspiration.
So as we count down to the official launch of the ACE project, to be announced on the blog in due time, please get to know ZeDream team through our Instagram account
In the meantime I will continue to fail spectacularly in style because I know it will all come together in the end.
Here’s to failing spectacularly to success!