Category Archives: strong Zambian women

AFRICA RISING – FUTURE LEADERS: My Experiences as a Journalist by Charity Musa

Charity and I worked together at a Chinese telecommunications multi-national company in Zambia. Not only is she an astute business-person and a rising star in the company, she is also a professional journalist. She juggles it all, and very successfully! It is truly an honor to feature her story here on my blog as well as a sample article she wrote about a farmers’ workshop sponsored by USAID and Agritech Expo below.

My Name is Charity Musa, a Journalist from Zambia. I have been practicing Journalism since 2004. Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to become one because of the journalists I used to see on television. I guess I would say that I was fascinated by them.

During my childhood, I had a powerful fantasy of being a journalist and my role model was the famous Zambian journalist by the name of Maureen Nkandu. Whenever I would see her read the news on television, in my mind I would think, “I want to be like her” — an influential journalist.

I envisioned my future. I guess what they say in the famous Video ‘The Secret “Thoughts become Things” worked for me. “I BECAME.”

Writing stories has always been my passion because it brings me inner joy to my soul, I have always wanted to tell a story and be heard. When I do not write, I feel like something is missing and writing stories energizes me. I get excited like a little kid that is about to be given candy by her beloved aunt.

So let me tell you a little bit about my journalism experience, I worked for Zambia Daily as a part time journalist from 2004 until the beginning of 2008. While working there, I did my freelancing for Sila Press Botswana as well and I appreciated the experience because people in Botswana read stories about my beautiful Country Zambia.

And in 2006, I did a Southern African Media Training Trust (NSJ) journalism exchange programme with Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) and I did an internship with New Era Newspaper for two weeks. It was a great experience. I got to learn more from the famous Veteran journalist who hailed from Zimbabwe, the Late Farai Munyuki, who was in charge of the programme at NAMPA for the Journalists from different African countries.

After 2008, I freelanced for UKZAMBIANS magazine writing mostly entertainment Stories and wrote a few articles for Huawei People Magazine and The Post Newspaper.

While I was working part time for Zambia Daily, I was trained by the best journalists like the Late Nigel Mulenga, Newton Sibanda, Joy Sata and Steven Phiri, who made sure I wrote stories well.

Nigel made sure I had a first lead story in the paper. I was so excited and honored. Here I am, a part-time journalist working for this National Newspaper. I wrote a lead crime story, which was read by millions of people that day. I like to imagine that more than a million read the article. After all, we can always dream, as we are so great at fulfilling our dreams through our visions.

That day was one of the most exciting days of my Journalism Life! Subsequently, I had the privilege of covering the Late Zambian President Dr Levy Mwanawasa. Can you imagine how I felt, a junior reporter being tasked to cover the President of Zambia? Those assignments were usually given to senior journalists with more Experience, but they trusted me enough with my colleague Barbara Mukuka to do the assignment and we did it with perfection. I think we wrote better articles than any other media outlets that day!

In conclusion, I would say, writing keeps me sane and happy, as it makes my mind more active and creative. I cannot imagine myself living a life without ever penning down a story because am very passionate about it and I believe that I make a difference with this passion.

Finally, below, I have included a sample article that I wrote about a farmers’ workshop held by USAID and Agritech Expo. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me via email: charitymusa@hotmail.com.

AGRITECH EXPO AND USAID TO HOLD EMERGING FARMERS’ WORKSHOP IN ZAMBIA

By Charity Musa

US. Agency for International Development (USAID) says Zambia is becoming a real hub for emerging commercial agriculture in southern region.

Due to its commercial agricultural sector development, Agritech Expo in conjunction with USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub is holding an agriculture Expo in Zambia.

USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub Director of Agriculture Robert Turner said in a statement that the two- day free technical workshop programme will take place at GART research centre in Chisamba, Zambia from 4th to 5th April 2014.

Mr Turner said about 50 emerging commercial farmers from Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique are expected to attend the workshop.

He further said the workshop was designed particularly for small holders and emerging commercial farmers to provide them with the basic information and context to better understand the technologies that would be available and on display during the workshops.

According to Mr Turner, “the Southern Africa Trade Hub is part of the US government’s Feed the Future Strategy, and our focus is both on the competitiveness of regional agriculture and on food security. As part of Feed the Future, the US government is focusing support on the following countries under the Trade Hub’s umbrella: Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. In all three of these countries, small holder farmers make up the majority of staple food production, but they all suffer from very low productivity. Our support to the Agritech Expo is part of the Trade Hub’s regional approach to improving productivity among emerging commercial farmers and small holders.”

Mr Turner said it was important for the farmers to attend the workshop for them to adopt new agriculture technology.

“This includes improved seeds, fertilisers and mechanisation, and the Agritech Expo represents a sustainable, commercial mechanism to allow farmers access to these technologies. Because of Zambia’s commercial agricultural sector development, a wide range of companies representing a range of important technologies will be at the show. These technologies and services are needed throughout the region, and we want to support the show to be a regional resource.” He said.

Most of the emerging farmers, from the three countries, that have already signed up for the programme where eager to broaden their knowledge and make contacts at the Agritech Expo in April.

   
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Inspirational Life History (part I)

With a bright smile and hearty laugh, Sherry** has been dubbed by her nephews and nieces as the Zambian Oprah Winfrey. She has endured and overcome many hardships in life, like many young Zambians. She continually texts her friends and brother heartfelt, inspirational messages about not giving up hope. She is currently going to school in hotel and tourism and hopes to own her own lodge and restaurant one day. This is her life story – a testament to the scintillating spirit of the people of Zambia.

Sherry was born in Solwezi to one of five children. Together with mother and father, they lived there for six years. One day her younger sister and mother went for a stroll and never came back, as they were struck by lightning and died. There were four of the siblings left. Sherry was the youngest. One brother was three years older, another brother was five years older and her sister was seven years older. Her father was a businessman who frequently moved around. It was decided by her father and relatives that the children should move. Sherry and her older brother went to the Copperbelt to live with her uncle (brother to her father) while her older sister and other older brother moved to Lusaka. Sherry often heard from her father and knew he was busy working to support the family. Four years after her mother and younger sister died, her father died as well. Sherry was ten years old when she became an orphan.

Life with her uncle in the Copperbelt was full of surprises. Sherry has fond memories of a full house, sometimes more than 20 people living under the same roof. Attending primary school in Chikoliya in Muferlia, Sherry remembers having fun and playing with other children in the neighborhood flat. Although she appreciated her uncle’s hospitality, Sherry said, “Life has never been good when you stay with other people. You appreciate the shelter and the food but you are restricted. It does not feel good.” They lived therefor seven years. This is where Sherry already fluent in her first language, Lovale, learned to master the Bemba language.

When she was thirteen, her uncle retired and it was decided, again, that she and her brother would move. This time, she went to the village in Zambezi to live with her grandmother (her mother’s mother). A sweet woman, Sherry recalls, her grandmother was the one who taught her how to make nshima, the main staple food in Zambia, and to pluck the feathers of a chicken. Her grandmother, who looked just like her mother, was a fountain of wisdom and regularly took Sherry into the fields to teach her how to farm. To this day, Sherry attributes her cooking and gardening skills to her grandmother. Sherry entered grade seven in school and her grandmother supported her until she became ill. Sherry had to stop school for four years because there was no money. During this time, she sat at home with her brother. It was then decided once again that they would move, so they left their grandmother sick and headed to Solwezi again.

Her uncle (her father’s older brother) came to pick them up and dropped them off in Solwezi. They went to live with her older sister, who had at this point had gotten married and settled in Solwezi. The siblings was reunited but only for a short time. No one had a job and money was tight. They survived by getting help from relatives. Soon after the move, Sherry’s older brother left to work in Angola and Sherry left as well and went to live with her cousin (the eldest daughter of her father’s brother) in the Copperbelt. She had not heard from her brother in Angola for about four or five years until she learned he had died. Life continued and Sherry started grade eight in Kitwe in the Copperbelt. She lived there for three years until it was decided yet again that she would move to Lusaka and stay with the her other cousin (the middle daughter of her father’s brother). She entered grade ten at Lusaka Girls Basic School. She finished high school and has since re-entered school to complete her degree in hotel and tourism.

When asked about her future goals, Sherry responds that she would like to get married and have a family. Most importantly, she wants to help send her nephews (the sons of her deceased older sister) to school. She was imbued with this sense of care and concern while living in the village in Zambezi. She thinks that village life is more community-oriented and people help each other out, unlike in the city, where it seems people are more disconnected from each other. Sherry also has sad memories, as she recalls many of her old classmates from Solwezi are deceased. She recognizes the hardships many young Zambians have to encounter and she wants them to know together, they can keep the hope alive.

**Sherry is a pseudonym used to protect her identity. She has consented to the use of her life history on this blog. The painting of the lovely Zambian woman in the picture was featured during an art exhibit in July 2010 at the International School in Lusaka, Zambia. The artist has consented to its use on this blog.