DIASPORA ZAMBIANS RAISE FUNDS FOR COVID SUPPORT


By John Chinode

This is the time for unity, who says Africans cannot do it for themselves.

The community of Zambians living abroad held an online virtual concert on the 16 th of May 2020 to raise funds to buy medical equipment to fight the pandemic coronavirus in Zambia. Several top Zambians artists were lined up to perform for the event which was live on YouTube and attracting over 700 viewers.

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Some call it a ‘Blackmans time’ others say it Is ‘Zambian time’. Either way artists in Zambia that were lined up to perform, ended up not performing due to the time difference between the USA and Zambia as well as organisers starting the event late -not unseen at most African led events. once the event got off the ground, all expectations were far exceeded.

Fashion Designer Inonge Anandala Van De Wettering who is based in Amsterdam and was hired as one of the presenters, was so patriotic when I phoned her for an interview, as she took my call, she sounded very eager to talk to me. As I could hear dogs barking in the background, I said to her ‘’mwikala ne bwa’’ (do you live with dogs) she burst in laughter and said yes but they firmly stay outdoors.

Inonge said, “We are the first African country to come up with such an initiative, and it has paid off as we have managed to raise the money needed”.

“She further went on to say that Despite the realistic setbacks like starting the event later than anticipated due to the different time zones, the DJ’s were very good and entertaining. The speakers did well to let people know the purpose of the event which was for a very genuine cause, and I was honoured to be part of this”.

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Pic Courtesy of Inonge fashion designs.

It was something new and intriguing seeing Zambians abroad joining hands to support their country of origin in the challenging times COVID- 19. At approximately 8.30 pm GMT, the event kicked off with UK Zambian entertainment giants DJ Snypa, DJ Blair Kami, DJ Enomatix, DJ Petey Powers, DJ Boldy and DJ Pro of So Online Radio Station. They were joined by Flo Kid from the USA warming up the Decks for the guest speakers.

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Pic Courtesy of So Online Radio Station

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Pic Courtesy of DJ Flo Kid

The DJ’s set themselves up very well with most of them proudly hanging the Zambian flag in the background. Suffice to say, they all tried to dress up for the special event.

The main goal of the event was to raise funds to purchase the much needed medical protective equipment to facilitate the fight against coronavirus pandemic in Zambia. Several notable community figures took turns in giving their speeches.

Denise O ‘Brien Journalist and founder of Dome consulting said, “What a joy it was to participate in the sense of global community as Positive Runway helped raise awareness and funds during the Zambia Virtual Concert! To witness DJs, entertainers, models, celebrities, global icons and government representatives all join for one successful mission was exhilarating. In one night, as one nation under God, we collaborated with many niches of the world to raise over $19,000 USD. Incredible during these pandemic times,

“I have a big heart for Africa. In the eighties as a young college student, I had the opportunity to march in the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Out of all the world countries, I was chosen to carry the placard for the country of Congo.”

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Pic Courtesy of OZA.

Positive Runway founder and recipient of the prestigious title of “African Woman of the Year” Dr Justina Mutale felt the purpose of the event was achieved. I caught up with her the following morning and before I could get a word in, she quickly said: ‘’Shani Chinode mwiache wandi (how are you Chinode, my young brother) thanks for giving us the support’’. There clearly was a lot of joy in her voice and she said, “The main thing mwiache wandi, we raised the money and the coming together as Zambians. This has shown what we can do for our country rather than relying on the government to provide everything for us as citizens’’.

“She further added that It was such a short notice, but we were blessed because all the notable people we needed came on board immediately.”

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-12 at 07.48.48 (2).jpeg (192 KB)Pic Courtesy of Dr Justina Mutale

Organising an event like this in a concert hall would have costed the organisers a few good thousand dollars. However, on this occasion, there were no financial costs to consider as all performers, DJ’s and presenters donated their time, free of charge.

Mr Masheke Akashambtwa - General Secretary of Organization of Zambians in Atlanta recognised Zambians in diaspora for the global effort they had made. I caught up with him the following day and he greeted me with laughter and sounded like he was at home relaxing after a busy night online.

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Mr Masheke Akashambtwa

Pic Courtesy of OZA.

Masheke said, “Where there is unity and ideas everything is possible. There was no monetary capital used for the concert as everything was done on a volunteer basis. Channel A, TV online gave 9 hours of their airtime to this concert and we are extremely thankful”.

He further stated: “That some sections of the people gave us constructive feedback like starting late and why some of the billed artists did not perform. This is a learning curve and technical glitches are expected. our next step is now to ship the personal protective equipment, mattresses, scrubs and beds which we have stored in a warehouse in Texas”.

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Goods ready for shipping to Zambia
Pic Courtesy of OZA

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