Experienced Senior Information Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Photography, Editing, Journalism, and Management. Strong media and communication professional with a Bachelor of Mass Communication focused in Mass Communication/Media Studies from the University of Zambia.
I am a journalist by profession and I work as an editor for the National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS) which is the media wing of the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia.
I hold a Bachelors’ degree in Mass Communication which I earned from the University of Zambia and I am finalizing my Masters in Public Administration with the University of Lusaka
My first job was with Youth Media where I worked as a section editor for the then publication called Trendsetters magazine. It was the only youth magazine on the market
Wine, chocolate and quiet time. I am that simple!
I am passionate about things that make me happy. As such I am passionate about my children. I am passionate about people and things who will guarantee me a good laugh. I am passionate about animals and nature. And I am passionate about writing and reading.
WHAT FUELS ME?
IMAGINATION: I believe that everyone has the power to live the life they imagine if they truly believe they can. I believe that dreams do come true if you’re ready to trust yourself and to trust that you are worth the life that you desire.
Having gone through personal challenges and crises that I never thought I’d go through, my imagination was the window through which I escaped into the life that I dreamed of living. And in turn, this subconsciously motivated me to make decisions that led me out of my challenges and into the life I am beginning to live and enjoy.
UNIQUE: As a young girl, somewhere along the line I lost my self-esteem and withdrew into a very shy adult as a result. I liked things that were different from most of the peers and found it very difficult to say ‘NO’ because I lived to fit in and impress people around me. My most valuable lesson in love is that there is only one me in this world and that there was nothing wrong with being different. Stepping out of the shell of who I thought I should be has been the most empowering feeling I have ever felt in my life; and getting to know who I am an falling in love with my uniqueness has enhanced my creativity and helped me progress in my career as the workplace always embraces innovation and strives for “newness”
LEARNING: Just as they say ‘change is constant,’ I believe so it is with learning. I love to learn and in my profession, I think I learn something new every single day. I learn something new about an event, about myself and about in life in general. I believe that learning is part of growth and it has made it easier for me to adjust to sudden changes in my life.
Focusing on what life has to teach me through difficult circumstances as well as learning from the experiences of others continues to mould me into a woman who is becoming better equipped to face today’s world and its challenges better.
MY GREATEST INFLUENCE:
My father, Dr. Chisale Mhango, is an advocate and my leading example of hard work. He detested laziness to the point where as a child I interpreted as being harsh but now I greatly appreciate. When I was a child, he gave me very few moments in from of the TV(which of course I hated at the time) and he kept me busy with extracurricular activities every day of the week except on the seventh day! But because of him, I had time to explore my skills in writing and develop an interest in reading.
The first book he bought me was the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and to ensure that I read it, he made me narrate every chapter I read during dinner time.
He grew up in the village with no electricity and had to struggle to get his education. As I proudly think of how he worked himself to a medical degree and finally his Ph.D., I remind myself that indeed everyone can live the life they imagine if they believe they can.
He also has taught me that the benefits of self-discipline and; how to postponed a day’s little pleasures in order to enjoy a greater success in the future.
My father is also enhance my ability to express myself. From the time I was a little girl, he listened and respected everything that I would say. At the time, it would usually be something trivial but he’d always listen attentively.
Now that I am a parent myself, I strive to be the kind of parent my father was.
MY TOP THREE ROLE MODELS:
My first role model is my mother. She refused to be married off after completing secondary school and became the first of my grandfather’s children to earn a university. Being the third born in a family of 7, she began a ripple effect which saw her young siblings attend university.
My mother is gifted with natural leadership skills and has a successful record of being headmistress of 2 the most reputable schools in Lusaka. I look to her for confidence to rise the corporate ladder, as leadership comes so naturally to her.
Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is another powerful woman I look up to. Having gone through similar personal experiences as she did, I see a number of my struggles and need to survive in some of her personal stories and I feel comforted and inspired that if she could have come through it even bigger than she probably imagined, then so can I.
Chimamanda Ngozi – she tops my list of female writers and I always wish I shared a talent like hers. Her imagination, her creativity and her colourful choice of words on paper are everything an inspiring writer could wish for. I love her sense of humour too and her stories are authentic in their reflection African society.
IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS…..
Five years from now, I hope to have earned a title as being a credible agricultural journalist. Agriculture is a growing business in Zambia but little information on opportunities in the sector is known. Furthermore, farming is still viewed as a dirty job that is the preserve of those who have retired from formal employment or those confined to rural communities.
I would like to be part of the group of people who are striving to make agriculture “sexy” to youth who are confined to the belief that only blue and white collar jobs make good money
I also see myself joining the farming community more actively by becoming a farmer myself and reaping the benefits that I see from other farmers daily.
I am privileged to have emerging entrepreneurs among my friends and they are always sharing their experiences with me and; are interested in the things I wish to achieve in my life. They are always ready to help whenever I need them.
THE AFRICAN WOMAN’S CHALLENGE:
The voice of the African woman is still undervalued or even ignored in some cases. Now that technology has given humanity the opportunity to better express themselves through various media, the opinions of African women seem to receive negative responses which stereotype the African woman as either a bitter person or a verbally vulgar person or; she is judged based on her appearances (even by her fellow woman) as someone whose voice is unimportant because she her looks are not important.
Looking at social media, when a woman in Zambia, for instance, speaks an opinion that is culturally different from most people, she is demonized, insulted or trolled. She is attacked personally with an aim of humiliating her and/or thwarting her opinion.
As a woman who is protected by the confines of my profession, I try to enhance the voice of such women in a simple way such as retweeting their opinions on Twitter or; like and sharing their comments on Facebook, not so much because I agree with their opinions but to simply show that I respect their voice.
Working as an editor, I also do one-to-one mentoring with young female journalists on how to articulate their opinions especially via print media.
WHAT I DO TO RELAX:
Music is my number one love. I have developed a love for afro jazz which I enjoy even while I’m working. Spending conscious time my children always helps me switch off from the outside world and tune into the most valuable human need ie love. I also enjoy meditation.
MY – I.C.E. [INSPIRE|CELEBRATE|EMPOWER] VISION
To begin with, history has proved that the African woman is one being that has being to hell and back. She continues to confront the obstacles that have built on culturally norms while in the workplace she is usually underrated or underappreciated and hence her rise to the top is always a rigorous battle.
While the African woman in the rural area is usually ignored outright because it is assumed that since she can’t speak the English language or because she didn’t complete her basic education then she cannot understand issues that are considered important.
However, given those struggles, these under rated, underappreciated and under educated women have raised presidents, they have nurtured and raised orphans to be successful self reliant members of society; and they have given up their dreams to make the dreams of others come true.
The Rosa Parks of America, the Winnie Mandelas of South African, the Ellen Johnson Sirleafs of Liberia and our very own Juliet Mulenga Nsofwas (aka Mama Chikamoneka) of Zambia are the few examples of how many African women today, continue to confront a society that still views them as insignificant.
The African woman must be empowered because she empowers those around her through her selfless giving of herself. When you see an African woman fight for something, just know that she does not fight for herself but for others who she holds dear.
The African woman must be inspired to be comfortable in her own her skin in order to arouse the confidence that society will have in her.
MY AFRICAN UNION PLANS:
I would love to assume responsibilities that have to do with mentoring of the young female pupils and students. I agree with those who have said that the girl child is usually the more confident when compared with a girl but begins her loss of self-esteem once she reaches puberty. It is during this time that society that begins to tell her who she must be. It is during this period that she gives up on her dreams and loses her freedom of expression. Depending on her environment, she sometimes never gets it back as she grows.
I, therefore, would love to be part of the people or department that help and mentor young girls into stepping aside from some for the African society’s definition of who they must be and allow them to step deeper into who they can and want to be.
My profession has exposed me to the power of the media and how to use it to reach even the young girls in remote areas; hence I would enjoy responsibilities that would allow society to empower young rural girls and women.
FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE:
To our daughters, nieces and young females, I’d echo that “You are so much more than what you see in the mirror” There will always be someone prettier than you, more educated than you, wealthier than you, more popular than you etc and so you will never be the better than any other female because the standards of external beauty, glamour and power is subjective.
But you can be the best version of you and in that, you will find complete satisfaction because there is only one you in this world. And once you feel fulfilled and satisfied with who you are as a person, then you have already begun your legacy and nothing or no one will derail you from who you want to be.
I would also remind our young girl to respect and be proud of your culture. We are slowly losing our identity and forgetting our strength as African women because we have chosen to sideline our culture for a seemingly civilized culture which has presented us with different standards of beauty and success.
Our ancestors may have made some mistakes in establishing certain cultural practices, but their choice of cultural values such respect for elders and behaving modestly, for example, are some of the things which will never go out of fashion.
To my mothers, aunts and traditional matrons (ie bana chimbusa), I would say that it is okay for our daughters and grand-daughters to have a voice. It is okay for them to have other aspirations rather than being a wife and mother. It is actually empowering and fulfilling for them to be able to choose the life they want without being compelled to defend their choices. When we empower our young girls with the right to make their own choices and make their own mistakes, they will be compelled to make choices that are good for them.
And to my peers and my sisters who are wives and/or mothers – I would like to say the mantle to empower the African woman was passed onto us when we grew into womanhood. Let us aspire to create a world where our daughters, nieces, grand-daughters, and grand-nieces can feel confident to make their own choices. Let us teach them how to identify and love things which will make them better members of society; and let us always remind them that they have the right to express themselves in any way they feel comfortable. They should not be judged for their choices, neither should they judge their fellow African women for theirs.