Zambia has been a mix of challenge and good fortune. I have been lucky to work with some the most respected & talented artists in this country. I have interacted with people from all walks of life -- politicians, radio and TV producers/presenters, families, etc. The incredible team of artists at Benecho Arts & Culture Consultancy have been an invaluable hosts and asset to me. Thank you George, Philip, Emmanuel and Richard. Without your assistance, I couldn't have linked up with all these dance companies, and pulled off appearances on ZNBC radio and the African Rise TV show.
This past week was particularly tough, working 6-8hour days, with two dance groups each day. I am humbled to be learning from and sharing my work with fellow Africans in different countries. It is particularly fascinating to see the common themes in our cultures, our challenges and our aspirations. I had a fabulous time last Friday working with an enthusiastic bunch of youngsters at the Africa Direction Youth Center, in Mutendere, Lusaka. Couldn't have ended on a better note. I am tempted to return on monday to honor the kid's request, but doubt it will happen, due to time constraints. Today, I was the guest of honor at a performance by Kulamba, a Chewa masquerade dance group, at the John Lengi "compound." Fascinating!!!!! Zambia, like many African countries, is rich in culture and traditions. It breaks my heart to see most of these slowly disappearing. Yes, we must move forward, but with deliberate caution. Because, not all movement is forward. Throwing the baby away with the bath water is not a smart thing to do. I get fired up when it comes to the role of the arts in community and nation building. The following quote partly captures the essence of my work.
"It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy." - George Lorimer