KAMBISA!BeHeard. year report 2017
We admit that we have seem to be a bit quiet for a while. The economic crises, changes in the creative sector and the ongoing spread of social media on handheld devices, has changed the way we did things back in 2002, when we started by sticking pamphlets on trees, calling on people to sent in their stories for the first Kambisa! magazine.
Gradually, the mission to give people a voice gave way to that other reason for our existence: to connect strangers. We started bringing Dutch students to Zambia, took young pupils to meet their elderly neighbours, made co-productions that connected kids at Zambian community schools to those in Dutch schools for the intellectually and practically gifted. With hard shifts in the world of global politics and the revival of tools to manipulate minds with false news and sponsored media, you may wonder if social media gave us the freedom of mind we had been looking for. Whereas some used it to unite, others used it to divide. The mere abundance of information threatens to cloud our thoughts, rather than clearing it.
new sounds, new visions
Quality is key. We urge you to remain critical, surround yourself with unexpected visions over confirmations of what you already thought you knew. Verify what you hear, go see things for yourself, stay on the look out for obvious or hidden interests, keep on looking for alternatives. Perhaps now more than ever, to survive online, we need to chant the Kambisa! phrase: we need new sounds, new visions. If not to embrace them, then to reflect on our own.
You may think we have been quiet, but our minds have been so loud. After years of contemplations and preparations, 2017 saw the start of two big projects which are likely to dominate the years to come: the community food forest in Zoetermeer, and the community centre in Chilonga (which off course will have a bit of a food forest too, as many Africans are very used to having forests as living pantries, a concept quite unknown in the west).
– our weblord Ton Jense has worked hard implement the website and its bilingual functions (nearly 300 pages to check and correct!), updated WordPress and plugins, created a new landingpage and revived dead links
– poet Gerry Sikazwe joined the facebook team, lifting up the facebook stream with poetry from his collection ‘Words and Voices from a Root’, expanding our audience and artistic quality
– our Creative Director/project manager Desh Chisukulu went to Zambia to find a piece of land suitable for establishing a good foundation for our projects in the years to come, start the built of a house that can serve to welcome future visitors and host an office to support the start up. He managed to find out what the community needs, talk to the chief, consult his advisors, review the water situation and identify reliable workers, allowing us to start planning for 2018 and beyond.
– Astrid van Beek joined Kambisa!, bringing in a vast amount of experience in the tourism industry and practical skills like crowdfunding. She is expected to take Rob’s job as a board member in 2018
– Astrid and Klaartje took their plan for the joint Mobile Orchards/Kambisa! community food forest in Zoetermeer to the local government, and managed to get their support. They extended it with a financial plan, which should guarantee that the food forest will be able to run independently within a few years, developing maximum interaction of the communities in its proximity
– we started a strategic partnership with Think Green Zambia, an organisation that aims to promote a greener and cleaner environment by planting 1 million trees by 2020, often involving schools
we hope to:
– further improve and expand our online presence
– finish the house to a level where we can host international students and researchers for exchange projects
– drill a borehole
– start the built of a classroom, workshop area and office
– give our first ‘plant a seed’ workshop in schools around Chilonga and Zoetermeer
– start planting an edible forest garden surrounding the upcoming community centre
– get a student to study the marketing and tourism potential of the area
We thank you for all your support and hope to greet you in 2018!
Astrid van Beek