Hello People! Most of you must have been wondering what on earth was going with Mulenga Kapwepwe while “the battle for the soul of the National Arts Council’ has been raging! The silence from my end, am told has been conspicuously loud. Well, here I am to break the silence and to let you in on what has been going on while the storm to toss me out of the National Arts Council Ark raged! This is just to let you know that I have followed Miss Imboela’s intellectual discourse with avid interest, most of the time I must admit, with my mouth wide open (as in ninshi ni njikata cinwa capanshi) or with my eyes shut (as in laughing out loud or LOL I believe).
Now let me admit from the outset, that insele, nefyakutukana fyena, showing disrespect to my elders or even my peers etc I am not very good at, here I can agree with Miss Imboela that I am completely useless! So I will not even go there.
Let me just say that when it comes to the National Arts Council, I merely chair a board that comprises of eight national arts associations and a four line Ministries (the numbers have shifted upwards and downwards over the years, this is the current line up). Decisions and actions taken by the Council are not mine, but are collectively debated and normally voted on. These decisions ultimately affect and direct the performance of the National Arts Council. Miss Imboela has sat on the National Arts Council board, and I am sure the years she sat on the Council will certainly stand out as the ‘golden Years’ for the Council when it performed really well. But since according to her it never has performed, perhaps her sitting on the Council was as silent as her music career. We as a Council sit four times a year… perhaps this is why it looks like I have been there for 14 years! A small note here, there was no Council in existence 14 years go (you can check this history). But am sure since I love the Chairmanship so much I must have been Chairing an empty room full of chairs and imaginary associations for at least four years.
Let me also beg your sympathy here, since according to Miss Imboela, I have been without a proper job and have no marketable degree and have been surviving on allowances from the National Arts Council for so long. Until very recently, the sitting allowance at the Council was K150.00 per sitting, as chair I get an extra K50 more than the rest. As you can imagine, it has been a hard life subsisting on this amount, as I am only been able to receive it every quarter when a full Council meeting is held. There are no other allowances at the Council. Pepani olila! Another small note here, that as a public institution, the National Arts Council is audited every year by a private firm and also by the Auditor General’s Office. So far, in the last 14 years (let’s imagine despite history and mathematics and all sorts of contrary evidence that this number of years is actually correct) that there has been no audit query indicating any ‘long fingered’ moves from the Chairman or anyone else. Please contact the Auditor General’s Office on this point.
I am also immensely flattered or embarrassed that I have managed to charm or bully or bewitch all the 8 Ministers and 11 Permanent Secretaries (not counting the deputies here) and two Governments I have had the privilege to work under as Chair of the National Arts Council over the past 14 terms (yes in the last post by Miss Imboela I noticed the 14 years have become terms).
But let’s leave the Council out of this and dwell on Mulenga Kapwepwe, since the council is not Mulenga Kapwepwe. Please bear with me if I sound rather flippant about all this, seeing as I am accused of grave and single-handed misconduct that has resulted in high poverty levels amongst artists and the wanton destruction of an entire industry. My philosophy is simply not to harbor anger and malice and jealousy in my mind and body (if you are the type that gets angry at least twice a day, please read a very interesting little book by a neurobiologist by the name called ‘A Stroke of Insight ‘ I especially urge those who have held on to anger, jealousy or malice for at least 14 years, you will understand how corrosive such emotions are on your mind and body. I tend to flash them out as quickly as they arise). Let the record show that I bear no anger or grudge against the intellectual might of Miss Imboela and she has absolutely every right to criticize me, she has her opinions. However defamation, libel and slander are not opinions, and it would be wonderful if she could discern the difference between these four things. I trust this little request will not be too difficult for her as she has repeatedly told us that she is a lawyer and a lecturer in law at the University of Zambia.
I call myself a creative, which am told is a perfectly legitimate status in a world where the creative economy is driving most nations’ development engines. I am in other words, an artist, and it is bewildering to find that as far as Miss Imbolea is concerned being an artist means you do not have a proper job, I can accept that from other people, but coming from a fellow artist makes it somehow defeating, If we do not regard our work as artists as our jobs, who will?
So, if I am a creative, what do I create. All of last year I have been working on a project, which up until last week had no name, because I was still figuring out what to call it and under what name to register the new record label I am about to launch. Thanks to Miss Imboela, I do have a name for it now, and I have decided to use the great publicity and visibility Miss Imboela’s massive campaign has accorded me to launch Chiduku Beats, a company that will work every year with three artists (as a group or individual) to create a new and creative sound. My objective is to engage three artists every year and push them to stretch their creativity and imagination to see what they can do. I am not a musician, but I believe I can still help in the industry by hiring the right expertise and skills. So I am putting the excerpts of the music videos and music that I have produced so far, working with Tasila Mwale, Shimasta and Mozgeta, and Glorious Band. I have been fully engaged in all aspects of both the music and video productions, scripting and suggesting edits and additions. These three CDs and accompanying videos will soon be available on iTunes, Youtube and in the music shops. Check them out and let me know what you think. And keep checking this spot for the latest in regard to date of their release.
In addition, coming to your television screens soon, will be a concept I have created with the help of young group of animators. I do the research and script they do the shooting and animation. This is my way of circumventing, but maybe re-inventing the reading culture and providing interesting information to the public creatively. It will be a short infomercial aimed at educating the public using the street names around the city. These young people are incredible and just take a look at what we have managed to create.
I am also just looking to publish an anthology of poems called ‘Life and Love in Chitenge.” I have approached Karasa to work with me on this as he is an incredible visual artist, as well as musician. I hope he does come on board, but if not, I will respect his decision. Here is one poem from the book. Make sure you buy it when it comes out.
These are some of the things am working on. Did I mention that Miss Imboela features on one of the songs on the Shimasta and Mozgeta CD? Yes, we got her into the studio to bop and sing along to the danceable tune called ‘Evelina’. Thank God for Facebook, you will soon be able to listen to an excerpt of that too. I think she sounds pretty swanky!
Last word, I plan to have a great launch for the three CDs, please do come, the only thing I ask is, come wearing a chiduku, Whether you are male or female, and when the MC shouts Chiduku Beats, I want all of you who will come to shout “Wamuyaya!” Thanks Saboi, for the great campaign tagline and great name choice! Enjoy the music and please support the music industry!
P.S. Should Miss Imboela succeed in removing me from the National Arts Council chairmanship, don’t feel sorry for me, I will survive, even though I will have to do without my annual income from the sitting allowance of one thousand five hundred kwacha per year .
P.P.S Congratulations Lupita N’yongo who won herself an Oscar award last night! Great achievement for an African woman!
Now let’s turn this ugly fight into something productive. Please view the videos and enjoy!