Showing posts with label Mumbwa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mumbwa. Show all posts

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

From Mumbwa Villager To Award Winning International Journalist

Paul poses with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres
By Paul Shalala in New York

Ask any Zambian about the word Mumbwa, the answer they will give you will have something to do with backwardness, under development, primitivity or illiteracy.

For decades, my hometown Mumbwa in Central Province has been a laughing stoke countrywide.

There is a common phrase in the country that any person who shows signs of being primitive is a Mumbwa-Mumbwa.

But where does this derogatory term Mumbwa-Mumbwa come from?

In the 1990s, the 152 kilometres Mumbwa - Lusaka road was in a dilapidated state.

People on public transport could take 4 hours to reach the capital city.

The road had huge potholes, diversions and all sorts of things.

By the time someone reaches Lusaka, the whole body would be painted brown with dust.

This is what made most people identify Mumbwa residents when they walked the streets of Cairo, Lumumba, Cha Cha Cha or Freedom way.

"Uyu achoka ku Mumbwa, namuonela che ku lukungu patupi," (This one is coming from Mumbwa, I can tell from the dust on his body).

This is how residents of my agricultural town were given this funny name and to date, people still think Mumbwa is backward but alas we have moved on.

Today we comfortably drive only one hour from Lusaka and you are in Mumbwa.

Mumbwa is my home town, dad was transferred there in 1967 to open schools and he has lived there since then.

Initially, he was a Head Master at Lusaka Girls School which is located along Chikwa road.

I was born at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka on 29 August 1984 but I grew up in Nangoma area of Mumbwa.

Mumbwa: Where the journalism dream was born

My journey to journalism started like an accident.

As a boy growing up in Lubanze village, I was always attracted to the many fighter jets which used to fly over our farm.

My village is just a few kilometres away from Mumbwa Air Force base where fighter pilots occasionally train in our airspace.

In the 1990s, it was common to see Zambia Air Force planes do aerial acrobatics and military manoeuvres in the sky.

The way those planes did summersaults and all sorts of moves, made me develop interest in aviation.

I grew up hoping to become a pilot.

In those days, my father Namasiku Kamuti Shalala had an ITT Radio (Dot Com babies don't know it) and we used to listen to it every time we went to look after cattle in the bush.

Dad was so updated with news that he never used to miss any single news bulletin on the BBC World Service, the international radio channel of the London based media conglomerate.

His favourite radio program was BBC Focus on Africa which was in those days presented by among others, Kenyan journalist Joseph Warungu.

Every time the montage for Focus on Africa would ring at 3pm, 5pm or 7pm GMT, I would rush to dad and tell him: "Tate, kinako yamakande." (Dad its time for news).

I started living the life my father led, I knew all the Sola Odunfas, Umaru Fofanas, Tidiane Sys, Elizabeth Ohenes and many other BBC Africa personalities of those days.

Fortunately, i met Umaru Fofana in Turkey in 2011, Joseph Warungu in Kenya in 2013 and Tidiane Sy in South Africa in 2016.

And Every time i met these people, I took photos with them and showed them to dad and he would feel great.

With time, I grew interest in journalism.

Dad would repeatedly tell me: "Mwanake, njiubata kuba nizibo, akubale." (My son if you want to be intelligent, read."

Dad had a big library of newspapers and books, I used to read like I don't know.

I researched on many things to an extent where when i reached Grade seven, I knew all capital cities in Africa and all Presidents on the continent.

Because of this interest I was developing, dad started calling me "Bo editor" not knowing that one day i would become a journalist.

To date, dad still calls me Bo Editor whenever I visit him at the village.

When i finished Grade 12, I decided to abandon my childhood career of becoming a pilot and ended up choosing journalism.

When i picked my Grade 12 results, I got 10 points and my siblings insisted I do law.

However,  I refused and enrolled at Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka in 2005 and did the three year Journalism Diploma.

I remember in one of the Basic Reporting classes facilitated by my mentor Douglas Hampande, he asked the whole class to explain the history behind the decades old Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

I raised my hand and he asked me to explain.

I went like: "Sir, in 70 AD, the Romans captured Jerusalem and expelled the Jews from the Holyland. The Jews then got scattered worldwide........"

Before I could finish my answer, Mr Hampande asked me to start explaining from 1948 when the Jews declared the State of Israel.

In short, my answer to this question was a demonstration of how I had done too much research in Mumbwa to a point where I had too much data on almost every issue of interest.

After leaving college in 2007, I lived with my elder sister Nawa (now Dr. Nawa Shalala Mwale) and her husband Mr Humphrey Mwale in Handsworth.

In 2008, a former college mate of mine Bright Mukwasa phoned me somewhere in July and offered me a job at a newly opened weekly newspaper called the New Vision.

The paper had just been opened and one of the people behind it was Webster Malido, a former Post Newspapers editor.

I worked there for almost two years and learnt alot from the colleagues especially that we had meagre resources and sometimes we would walk to assignments and back to the newsroom which was in Soweto area of Lusaka.

Despite all these challenges, the paper grow to become a bi-weekly and finally a daily newspaper.

From there, I joined MUVI Television in March 2010.

Before that, MUVI Television General Manager Costa Mwansa had been reorganizing the newsroom and wanted some people who would beef up the political desk.
Paul Shalala and Costa Mwansa earlier this year

"Young man I remember how you used to analyse local and international news at college, can't you join us at MUVI TV? I need you," read an e-mail Mr Mwansa sent me in February 2010.

I accepted the offer and joined the privately owned TV and thats how my journalism career boomed.

I worked at MUVI Television for two years and during that time, I literally went to every corner of this country covering politics especially the 2011 general elections in some by-elections.

It is in those days when I covered the opposition leader Michael Sata extensively and learnt most of his Bemba proverbs which he used to churn out at rallies.

At MUVI Television, I had a chance to study politics and governance in Germany for three months and became a permanent analyst (political commentator) on the flagship MUVI Television breakfast show Sunrise.

This show made me an instant celebrity as I used to speak my mind without fear or favour, analysed politics and coincidentally i was a student of Political Science at the University of Zambia at the time.

I won many hearts of people on that show were Costa Mwansa would moderate  and I would seat and debate various issues with another mentor of mine Mabvuto Phiri.

In 2012, I resigned from MUVI Television and went into freelance practice for six months before joining my current employer the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).

It is at ZNBC where this boy of Mumbwa has made his greatest impact on the journalism career locally and abroad.

While working at TV2 in September 2013, my boss Yvette Tembo (now Mrs Chanda), allowed me to spend three weeks in Mazabuka and Solwezi to investigate the impact of mining on small holder farmers.

The story was aired on the TV2 Morning Live program and it made me a finalist for the 2013 Africa Story Challenge Media Awards which were held in Ethiopia that year.

During the story camp for all 20 finalists in the lakeside town of Naivasha in Kenya, I had the opportunity of meeting Joseph Warungu and Maimouna Jallow, the two people I used to hear on BBC when i was a boy in Mumbwa.

The following year, the same story won me the Second Prize during the  2014 Africa Fact Checking Media Awards in Nairobi, Kenya.

Since then, this former cattle herder from Mumbwa has travelled the world, spoke at conferences and in August 2016 had an opportunity to seat 3 meters away from then US President Barack Obama when he addressed the Mandela Washington Fellows in Washington DC.

The UNCA Media Award

In January this year, my assignments editor Chansa Mayani sent me to Kabwe to cover Central Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kabwe as he toured the many fields which were affected by the Army worms.

After the assignment, we decided to sleep since the tour ended late that day.

Before we could start off for Kitwe the following day, the Permanent Secretary phoned me saying: "Press Aide (that's what he calls me), the World Bank Country Manager is coming to pay a courtesy call on me, please cover it before you go back to the Copperbelt."

I covered the event and after World Bank Country Manager Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg explained how the World Bank was to implement the US $65 million Zambia Mining Environmental and Remediation Project, I decided to film a number of shots of the old Kabwe mine and some townships to show the impact of lead poisoning.

I returned to my base in Kitwe and my editor Chansa Mayani told me the story was not as simple as I thought it was.

"Young man this is an international story. Go to Chingola, Mufulira and film people who are affected. Get the real voices of the victims of mining pollution and lets make a feature story for Morning Live," she said.

I followed her advise and filmed people in Shimulala area of Chingola who were affected by pollution.

The story aired a few days later and when the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) called for entries for their annual media awards earlier this year, I did not hesitate to enter.

Despite having entered for the same awards in 2016 and being unsuccessful, i remembered what my boss Chansa had told me and I entered the pollution story.

On Friday, I received the 2017 Ricardo Ortega Memorial Prize in Broadcast Media from United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gueterres during the UNCA Media Awards in New York.

This is the biggest media award in my career, bigger than the two previous international and four national media awards I won in the past four years.

Who would have thought that a former cattle herder from Mumbwa would one day travel to the USA, shake hands with the UN Chief, collect an international media award?

Who ever thought a Mumbwa-Mumbwa would be awarded at the same ceremony with celebrated Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie who was given the UNCA Global Citizen Award for her efforts to protect women and children in conflict zones?

No one ever thought a this former village boy who would every day walk on foot to school and back would one day compete in an international journalism competition and beat journalists from renowned international media institutions.

In short, life has many opportunities and God uplifts even the simplest people in society.


I believe God is not yet done with me, more is yet to come.

Today as I write this article from the 14th floor of the 1,700 bed capacity Pennysylvania Hotel in New York, I shed tears because I think I do not deserve the accolades am receiving on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and everywhere.

The person who deserves this is my 80-something old father at the village in Mumbwa.

This is the man behind this media award.

He is the one who made me a journalist accidentally, he groomed me to where iam today.

In those days, I used to look up to many journalists and i would imitate them reading news or reporting while seated alone in our grass thatched house.

But like Zambia's award winning rapper B Flow likes saying: "We used to admire but now we inspire."

And like 2015 Junior President Winner Perrykent Nkole once said, "God can raise someone from Grass to Grace."

Today I want to inspire someone who is reading this, do not give up on your dreams, God will uplift you, do your part and God will do the rest.

When the United Nations Correspondents Association informed me that I had won the 2017 Ricardo Ortega Memorial Prize in Broadcast Media in the Bronze category, I almost gave up when I read the part where they said they could not give me accomodation and an air ticket to attend the ceremony in New York.

Luckily, without my knowledge, ZNBC Management had already sat and voted to sponsor my trip.

Three weeks ago when i went to see ZNBC Director General Richard Mwanza with a letter requesting for sponsorship, he smiled and told me they were miles ahead of me.

Coincidentally, the World Bank Country Office when they heard that my story on their work in Zambia won that prestigious media award, they too came on board and bought the air ticket before ZNBC could do so (what a double blessing).

On Wednesday i flew into the JFK International Airport in New York on a plane paid for by the World Bank.

And on Friday evening in New York, I was dining with diplomats, celebrities like Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, American comedian Jordan Klepper and multi-award winning journalists because ZNBC gave me a free platform for that pollution story to air.

ZNBC released resources and made sure I got a visa so that I don't miss the awards ceremony.

Bembas say "Uwakwensha ubushiku bamutasha elyo bwacha" meaning when someone drives you overnight, you must say thanks to them at dawn.

Likewise, the Tongas say "Leza napaa talizyi mijinchi" which means, when God blesses you, you will not hear his foot steps.

In this vein, I wish to thank ZNBC management, my bosses and colleagues like Mr Kelly Chubili (he passed the script), Chansa Mayani (who assigned me), Anderson Lungu (the video editor), Prince Chinene (who filmed the documentary) and John Zyambo who drove us to the spots where we filmed the documentary.

If I didn't personally thank the World Bank, ZNBC management and my colleagues in the newsroom, I would have fallen for another Bemba proverb which says "Ushitasha, mwana wandoshi (a person who doesn't appreciate is a child of a wizard."

As I ponder on the 16 hours non stop flight from New York to Johannesburg, I ask myself a simple question: what good can come out of Mumbwa?

The answer is miracles, Mumbwa is as good as any part of Zambia and this award is for every Zambian and we should all smile about it.

These smiles should overshadow the decades old "discrimination" of people like me from that area of the country who we jokingly call Ba Mumbwa-Mumbwa.

Mumbwa has risen from the alleged slumber and has today conquered the world, but does the name Mumbwa-Mumbwa still stand, the answer is a capital NOOOO.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

How A Monk From Nangoma Became A Catholic Priest

Father Milanzi (in white) with members of Nangoma Parish
By Paul Shalala

In the 1990s he lived in Shangala Village and I lived in the neighbouring village of Lubanze.

These villages are found in Nangoma area of Mumbwa District in Central Province.

We were both at Kasalu Basic School, though he was a Grade ahead of me.

At school, he never liked issues of girlfriends and we nicknamed him Monk Lee.

In those days, school boys who never wanted to interact with girls used to be nicknamed monks.

But this guy would sit us down and advise against premarital sex, HIV and AIDS, pregnancies, etc.

When we both went to Mumbwa High School, he continued being a monk and the Monk Lee name grew even bigger.

He then joined the Zambia Combined Cadet, a wing of the Zambia Army which trains pupils military tactics in preparation for a career in the military after school.

Being in the cadet made people fear him more as it was perceived that cadets had extra powers to either misbehave or discipline fellow students.

Father Milanzi presiding over mass at Nangoma Parish
This made my friend become a serious ‘anti-girls’ person.

Today, am proud to say Monk Lee is now Father Peter Milanzi who presides over St Joseph Mission Kalumbwa in Kalulushi.

The Parish is located along the Kalulushi – Lufwanyama road.

Monk Lee is now a full time Catholic Priest.

Two weeks ago, he went back to our village for thanksgiving Mass at Nangoma Parish and he was given a thunderous welcome.

Proud son of Nangoma.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mandela Washington Fellow: Paul Shalala

He is popularly known as ‘Mumbwa-Mumbwa’ or the boy from Nangoma.

You probably know him as a journalist but us who are closer to him know him as a proud Mumbwa villager.

Paul Shalala is so proud of his village that whenever he visits it in his native Mumbwa District, he never comes back without uploading a photo of himself eating lusala or eating mango with his ageing father.

Some have been making fun of his once ‘backward’ Mumbwa but the young man does not shy away from revealing his love for his childhood.

“I was born in Lusaka, raised in Nangoma area of Mumbwa District, educated in Mumbwa, working in Kitwe and I know one day I will be buried in Mumbwa. That’s my home and I know no other home than Mumbwa,” said Paul in a telephone interview from Syracuse University in New York where he is studying Public Management as part of US President Barack Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship.

At a time when most youths brag about ‘living’ in Kabulonga, Ibex Hill or Woodlands, Paul is always talking about his Lubanze village.

What is so unique about Nangoma?

“Nangoma is an area in Mumbwa which consists of over 500 villages which form almost half of the Chiefdom for Senior Chief Shakumbila of the Sala people. I grew up in Lubanze Village. That’s my homeland. I love that area and I visit it very often.”

“As a family, we have a lot of land. We do agriculture and own houses. My parents moved from Lusaka to that area in 1967 and since then they had been moving from one school to the other until they finally settled in Lubanze and retired there. “

“My father taught at over five schools across Nangoma. My mother did the same too and currently she is in the board for Nangoma Mission Hospital. Shalala is a household name there. Actually my elder brother Louis is contesting as Mumbwa District Council Chairman under the Patriotic Front.”

Asked about his own contribution to his village, Paul smiled before opening up saying he even owns a registered transport company for minibuses called Nangoma Transport.

He says he had been a Youth leader for the SDA Church in Mumbwa and worked a lot with youths thatside.

“I spent over five years from 2008 to 2013 leading and training Adventist Youths in Mumbwa as a whole: covering Kabile, Mumbwa, Nangoma, Keezwa, Lutale and other areas. Currently, I sponsor an annual Independence Football tournament called Shakumbila Cup which is named after Senior Chief Shakambila and is held at his Chisalu Palace in Kakombo area. This tournament is for all the village teams in Nangoma. I also sponsor and buy balls, boots and jerseys for two amateur football teams in  Nangoma called Manchester United and Kakombo Boys. Nangoma is my home and I cannot forget where I come from.”

Despite being born in the capital city, Paul never boasts of being a town boy.

His obsession for Mumbwa is surprising.

On Thursday last week, he and 41 other Zambian youths left for the United States to be part of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship.

The 42 youths were selected by the US State Department to be part of the 1,000 young Africans who are currently spread across the US attending training at various American universities in public management, energy, civic leadership and business and entrepreneurship.

Paul is studying Public Management at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs with 24 other youths from other African countries.

“I never ever dreamt of one day stepping into an American university and be taught by a Professor. It’s a humbling experience and I thank President Barack Obama for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I applied for this opportunity in 2013 and 2014 but I didn’t make it. I never gave up and for sure the following year I applied and here iam………,” he said.

Paul says he is already inspired by the composition of the fellows he has seen so far.

“We have a young politician from South Africa who is part of our class. He is the youngest elected Councillor in his country, having won a ward in Johannesburg at the age of 22 in 2012. I have also seen a South Sudanese and a Nigerian fellow who are both blind but are doing wonders back home.”
And with the coming of the Presidential Summit in Washington, DC which will climax with President Obama addressing all the 1,000 fellows during a town hall meeting in August, Paul says it will be an emotional thing for him to see Obama.

“I grew up in the George W. H. Bush days and I know every US President  since then,by name. Obama will be a special one because I will see him face to face and probably greet him. I cannot wait to get a selfie with him…….,” said Paul before bursting into laughter.

And when asked about his future prospects after coming back home, Paul says he has major plans for ZNBC and the media.

“With the help of my employer ZNBC, I plan to help set up desks for specialisation in the newsroom. Am learning how American newsrooms operate with specialised reporters in each desk. We can replicate that back home. We will be touring several media institutions and meet opinion leaders who can help me in that area.

“Secondly, with the help of other 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows, we plan to start training young reporters and school going children in basics of journalism. Our plan is to cover at least five provinces and spread the best practices of this noble profession to future media personalities.”

Paul is expected back home in August, a few days before Zambia gooes to the polls and he says: “Am coming to vote and I hope my 1 vote will add to someone’s 50 percent…...”

Note: This story was originally published by Zambia's largest online newspaper Mwebantu on June 20, 2016. It has been reproduced with permission

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Mandela Washington Fellowship: Its Meaning To Villagers Like Me

By Paul Shalala in Syracuse, New York
On arrival at Syracuse Airport with fellows from South Africa

I have lived a life of poverty, a life full of problems, a village life of being a kachema wangombe (cattle herder) and now i can dine with Kings, Presidents and comrades from all around the world.

Am Paul Shalala, the boy who in the 1990s used to wake up at 04:00hrs and help his father tie cows, go to the field and plough.

Am the same Paul who used to walk to Kasalu Primary School, learn and later go home to look after our cows two of whom i fondly remember being named Kingdom and Manyando.

Am still the same Paul who later went to Mumbwa High School, Evelyn Hone College and worked for New Vision newspaper, MUVI Television and now the Zambia National Broadcasting corporation (ZNBC).

Oh by the way am still the Paul who solely runs this blog you are reading The Zambian Analyst.

Am still the same village boy who has at least traveled to a few countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe to cover events and later receive phone calls from my fellow villagers to confirm that they heard my voice on TV1.

What am i trying to say with all this confusion am creating in your precious mind?

Am Paul Shalala, a villager who never ever dreamt of ever stepping a foot in an American University.

With fellows Chipo, Kelly and Namaku on transit in Johannesburg
But yesterday, i was given an access card, a meal card, a room, an ATM card (really) and a tour of Syracuse University, a prestigious university located in the small town called Syracuse, a few kilometers north of New York City in an area the locals call the upstate.

By the way this is not just a simple university, its the institution which educated Joe Biden, the current Vice President of the United States.

This is no Matero University (where fake PhDs can be produced in 30 seconds).

I never paid anything to find myself here.

Actually, children of the rich are the ones who were supposed to be here, not ine Mumbwa-Mumbwa.

But who am i to find myself at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University?

What did i do for me to deserve this chance to be among the 1,000 Mandela Washington fellows who are currently studying at various universities for the next six weeks?

 Here is a bit of background in case some of my villagers are reading this.

In August 2006, when Barack Obama visited Kenya as a first term Senator, it was the first time i ever heard of this son of a Kenyan man who was destined to be the world's most powerful politician for an eight year period..

In the run up to his 2008 historic election as the 44th President of the United States, Obama had a lot of sympathy from many of us in Africa for obvious reasons.
At our village in Mumbwa with my kid bro Mukena in the 1990s

At the time i was a cab reporter in Lusaka and i remember interviewing some people to get their reactions to his election and what it meant for Africa.

In a major policy speech in Accra, Ghana in July 2009, President Obama said the future of Africa was in the hands of its young population and there was need for Africans to seize the opportunity.

In the subsequent years, Mr Obama established the Mandela Washington Fellowship which has over the past four years sent thousands of African youths to American universities to study business and enterprenueurship, civic engagement, energy and public management.

The selection of fellows for this program is so intense that in the past two years i had been applying and failing but on the third attempt, the US State Department selected me.

This fellowship is an opportunity for poor, little educated and unexposed young Africans like me to mingle with America's highly educated Professors, visit historic places around the country and at the end of the fellowship see Obama in your own eyes and take a selfie with him.

Obama went to the White House as the first Black (not vama African-American) President though of course Africa argues that the first black American President was Bill Clinton due to his many beneficial contributions on the continent.

I know by now some of you may be wondering why am taking you around in this article.

In short, this article is meant to show that it is possible for a village boy like me to one day walk the streets of Yale, Havard, Rutgers, Wagner, Virginia Tech, Columbia and many other prestigious American universities if they believe in themselves and push themselves to the limit.

As i sit down in my small hostel room at Syracuse University, i remember the words my father Namasiku Kamuti Shalala told me while we were hearding cattle together in 1996 in my native Lozi language: "Mwanake bupilo kikutiya. Aubata kubonahala inge yabutali, kikuitiisa kwasikolo nikubala," (when you want to look intelligent among people, you must work hard at school and read alot),

Dad's words inspire me a lot and since he uttered them, i have seen his wisdom having an impact in everything i do.
With Dad and my two grandmothers at our village in 2014

This coming week i will start my studies in Public Management and i will be in the same class with other African fellows who have Masters Degrees, Bachelors Degrees and several other academic qualifications.

I will share the same seats with an elected Councillor, Government officials, Media personalities and several other high ranking people from across Africa.

But ndemuchangu (poor me), the small kachema (Cattle herder) from Mumbwa will sit quietly, listen attentively and learn from these highly acclaimed lecturers and get the best that the American education system can offer to poor me.

By the way, am still the same Paul from Lubanze Village in Nangoma area of Mumbwa, am just privileged to be in New York today.

Am still that same Lozi villager who comes from that Tonga village in Mumbwa.

And when am done with the fellowship in August, i will go back to my beloved Zambia to continue doing my news job at ZNBC.

I will reclaim my villager tag upon landing at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka.

But for now ladies and gentlemen, allow me to forget about my villager status and sample the American foods and explore this great nation since my status here is that of a fellow: shhhh they don't know that am a villager.

Monday, 5 January 2015

WM Media Pty Ltd Profiles Paul Shalala And His Journalism Career

By Winston Muleba II, Zambia
Aspire to reach your potential by competing with people who you think you can’t beat says Paul Shalala. 
Shalala is a young journalist and blogger who is based in Lusaka and works for the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation as a Reporter. 
 “Am a news person and everything about me is about news. I read a lot of literature, newspapers and books. I watch a lot of TV programs especially news, documentaries and history programs. I also like making friends to hear what the common man is thinking and talking about. Am also a dot com baby. I spend most of the time on Twitter and Facebook trying to get latest news and find out what is trending across the world.” he says. 

He says always remember that no one will uplift you and your career if you do not take the first step to leap forward.
Shalala says his specialization in the past six years he has practiced journalism is politics and governance. 
He says he was born on 29th August 1984 at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka in a family of seven children.
“My father is Mr Namasiku Kamuti Shalala, a retired teacher now a farmer in Lubanze Village, in Nangoma and my mother is Mrs Monde Phyllis Shalala retired teacher also. I am a Christian, a Seventh - day Adventist. ” he says.
He says he went to Kasalu Basic School in Nangoma area of Mumbwa for his Primary and Junior Secondary School.
“I then went to Mumbwa High School for my senior secondary from 2000 to 2002. I studied for a Diploma in Journalism at the Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka from 2005 to 2007. Currently studying for my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Zambia under Distance Education. I have also done several specialized journalism trainings just to sharpen my journalism skills. I studied Politics, Elections and Good Governance at the International Institute for Journalism in Berlin, Germany, Business and Financial Reporting by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Kampala, Uganda, Advanced Economic and Governance Reporting by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, Energy and Environmental Reporting as part of the Europe-Africa Young Journalists Programme in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Investigative Journalism and Anti-Corruption Reporting by the International Anti-Corruption Academy during a weeklong course at the West Africa Regional Training Center in Accra, Ghana.” he says.
Shalala says in the past years, he has worked in the print, electronic and online media.
“After college, I joined New Vision Newspaper in Lusaka where I worked for close to two years. In 2010 I joined MUVI Television where I worked until February 2012. I then decided to go into freelancing. I wrote for a number of online international newspapers like The Media Project in the USA and The London Evening Post in the UK. In September 2012, I was offered a job as a reporter at the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) in Lusaka. That’s where I currently work in the TV1 newsroom. I report mainly on politics and governance for our TV news but off course our stories also air on TV2 and Radios 1, 2 and 4.” he says.
Apart from his TV job, Shalala says he is also a blogger.
“I run my own blog called The Zambian Analyst ( where I analyze politics and governance issues in Zambia and the world. A blog is the only place where a journalist can add their own opinion and views to a news item.” he says.
Shalala says he is also a small businessman.
“I own a company called Nangoma Transport Limited which of course is registered by the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA). The company is a year old and has two public service minibuses that service the Lusaka – Mumbwa route. At the weekend when am off duty at ZNBC, I sometimes work as a minibus conductor. It is fun sometimes to go through the challenges conductors face on a daily basis. I’ve had experiences where a passenger thinks you are illiterate and they start insulting you in heavily broken English and when you respond in the Queen’s language, the confrontation ends because your English sounds superb. I have also had situations where you carry drunk people and they refuse to pay. It is fun being a conductor.” he says.
He says he has received a number of media awards in the past few years he has been practicing journalism.
“In April 2014 I won first prize TV category in the Policy Monitoring and Research Center (PMRC) for my stories and analysis of the constitution making process. On November 14, 2014 I received second prize in the 2014 Africa Fact Checking Media Awards in Nairobi, Kenya for my story on the impact of multi-national mining investments on Zambia’s food security. There were over 40 entries from journalists in 10 African countries. The first prize was won by Edem Srem of Ghana and Kenyan journalist Victor Amadala and myself came out second. My story had a huge impact such that dams were built for the farmers in Mazabuka after my story was aired, a Minister visited the displaced farmers and the plight of the displaced farmers became a priority for stakeholders. This is why I think I won the award. On December 18, 2014 I won the Best Innovation Award at the 2014 ZANEC Media Awards in Lusaka. The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) awarded me for a story I wrote on my blog on how 20,000 teachers in Zambia under the umbrella of the Zambian Teachers Forum are running a Facebook group of over 15,000 members and a WhatsApp group of over 5,000 members to help teachers find easy swapping from one district to another, mentor new teachers and share best practices of the art of teaching."
Shalala says the Africa Fact Checking Media Awards are a brain child of the collaboration between the Agence France Presse (AFP) Foundation, a sister organization of the AFP news agency in France and Africa Check, a journalism organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“The two organizations introduced these awards to inspire journalists and help them fact check information on the continent. The two organizations encourage journalists in Africa to follow up propaganda and false claims made by politicians, public officials and other opinion leaders to mislead the public. Any journalist in Africa who does a story and fact checks a public claim can enter the awards and walk away with thousands of dollars. Am lucky to have been the only Zambian journalist among the eight finalists from across the continent and I was again the only one from Southern Africa among the three who got the awards.” he says. 
He says when he received his first media award he was happy and motivated to work even more hard to get more awards.
“An award sets you apart from other colleagues when you receive it. International awards just make one feel they can go as far as other countries can go. We always limit ourselves to Zambia but when we take part in these international awards, we actually discover that even Zambians can do It.” he says.
Shalala says Awards open up opportunities.
“A week after I won the Africa Fact Checking award in November 2014, I received an invitation from a Mozambican journalism organization called Sekelekani to go and speak at an international journalism conference on reporting on the extractive industry. Within three days of that invitation, I received another invitation from the Open Society Institute of Southern Africa (OSISA) to speak at their summer journalism academy. Unfortunately the dates for the two invitations clashed and I opted to go to Mozambique where I addressed Mozambican and Angolan journalists and civil society activists in the Indian Ocean resort town of Bilene. My target now is the CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards. In the past years i have entered twice and lost but I haven’t given up. Like Bembas say, one day kakabalika.” he says.

He says on a daily basis Journalists are insulted, beaten and ridiculed but one does not need to give up because there is no easy career on earth.

“All professions are challenging. Prospective journalists shouldn’t join the media fraternity for the fame or making connections. Journalism is a calling. You have to be passionate to do what reporters do. If you are not passionate, you will run away from the profession when faced by a few hardships.” he says.
Shalala says his role model is Rageh Omar, a Somalian-born British journalist who has worked for the BBC and Aljazeera.
“He has received several media awards for his courageous works and was one of a few western journalists to have covered the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. His determination to cover sensitive and dangerous stories inspires me a lot. Rageh is a war reporter and that’s what I aspire to do when I have chance to join the international media. I hope to report from war zones like Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza.” he says.
He urges young people in various professions to try their luck.
“You may never know what response you may get. Don’t be defeated by the word ‘International’. You are also international yourself if you join others from other countries. Believe in yourself and your potential will take you a step further.” he says.
Shalala says he would want the world to remember him as a journalist who strived to raise governance issues and one who rose from a humble background in the villages of Nangoma area of Mumbwa to become an award winning journalist on the continent.
Aspire to reach your potential by competing with people who you think you can’t beat. You can do it. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
For comments: / 0966 461 943/ 0950 594 050
(This story was published by WM Media Pty Ltd on 4th January 2015 on their blog. The original story can be read here:

Friday, 31 October 2014

THE MICHAEL SATA I KNEW: From A Reporter’s Perspective

Michael Sata, Paul Shalala and Justine Kawisha in Senanga, May 2011
By Paul Shalala

I first came to learn of Michael Sata from his several mentions on ZNBC radio when i was growing up in Nangoma area of Mumbwa District in central Zambia during the 1990s.

In those typical Mumbwa-Mumbwa days, radio was more prominent in the villages as it was the most reliable source of news because newspapers, the internet and TVs were a luxury.

I never knew what position Mr Sata held in the Frederick Chiluba-led government at the time but i only knew his name through his many news items on state media.

My first opportunity to see Mr Sata was somewhere between 1993 and 1994 when President Chiluba came to my village to tour the Catholic-run Nangoma Mission Hospital.

It was my second time to see the presidency in my village and it was some how strange as it wasn’t election time.

Earlier in 1990, President Kenneth Kaunda became the first head of state to visit my village.

While on his road trip to Mongu, Dr. Kaunda made a stop-over at Lubanze village and spent a few minutes at Kasalu Basic School where i was doing Grade 1.

My father Mr. Namasiku Kamuti Shalala, who was the school headmaster, received the head of state as we the pupils did the usual chisokone salute while lined up along the Lusaka-Mongu road.

Fast forward to 1993-1994, Dr. Chiluba came with dozens of vehicles and my fellow villagers were excited to have found something to entertain themselves with for a while.

In Chiluba’s entourage, i saw this well built man who stood so close to the eloquent head of state and he was quiet and attentive to whatever the president was saying, nodding his heard from side to side as Dr. Chiluba spoke.

And when i looked closer, it was the King Cobra himself, Michael Sata, the man who would one day rule Zambia for three years and a month.

After that event in Nangoma, ten years passed and i never saw the King Cobra again until 2006.

In that year, i covered one of his rallies in Mandevu area of Lusaka during the campaigns which preceded the 2006 general elections.

At the time, i was a student reporter at the college-run Hone FM radio.

In 2006, Mr Sata was a firebrand opposition leader who spat venom on the Levy Mwanawasa-led New Deal government which he did not spare with every opportunity he had to address the people of Zambia.

The following year, i did my industrial attachments for three months at the Zambia Daily Mail.

During my time at the Longolongo road-based broadsheet, i covered a press briefing by Operation Young Vote President Guess Nyirenda who issued a statement on Mr Sata and i was forced to get a reaction from the Cobra.

With fear in my body, i peacefully picked up the phone and rung Mr Sata who answered me politely and even gave a reaction without hesitation.
From then on, i kept calling him for stories for the rest of his years in the opposition.
After college, i spent two years at the New Vision Newspaper where i covered Mr Sata several times.

Being a newspaper, we used to get stories from the Cobra on the phone without really bothering to interview him face to face.

When phoning him, i would go like: “Mr President, this is Paul Shalala from the New Vision Newspaper, am asking for a phone interview with you sir………..”

Then he would answer: “Go ahead Mr New Vision with your questions……………….”

It was always a great experience to speak to him on phone.

When i worked at Muvi Television from 2010 to 2012, i had several close encounters and one on one interviews with the Cobra that still reminds me of a man who gave stories to reporters as and when they needed them.

In May 2011, my employer then, Muvi Television assigned me to cover Mr Sata when he traveled to Western Province to hold rallies in Mongu and Senanga.

We traveled with the Cobra’s advance party, arrived in Mongu on a Friday evening and slept.

The Cobra landed the following morning on a chartered aircraft and in his usual populist style, he wore the traditional Lozi siziba which charmed hundreds of Mongu residents who welcomed him at the airport.
President Sata upon arrival at Mongu Airport

Mr Sata straight away went to the Blue Gums Ground where he addressed a huge rally and tore down the Rupiah Banda-led MMD administration which he accused of having killed innocent people during the January 14, 2011 Mongu riots.

As a proponent of populist politics, the Cobra read people’s mood and spoke only what they wanted to hear.

I filed my story the same day and it aired on MUVI TV’s 18:30 main news.

The following morning on Sunday, while Mr. Sata was attending mass at a Catholic church in the neighbouring town of Senanga, i sat a seat behind him in the church and listened attentively and watched how Catholics conduct their services.

As mass went on, i just saw the Cobra extend his hand to me and he gave me a folded paper which i quickly read and made me smile for a few minutes.

On that paper, the opposition leader wrote: “Thank you very much Mr MUVI TV. People in Lusaka have told me that the story you sent on yesterday’s rally in Mongu was aired on MUVI TV. Good job.”

At first, i was shocked that the venomous Cobra could write a personal note to me.

To this day, i regret having lost that paper. I wish i had kept it as a souvenir for my children and their children to read in future.

After the church service, Mr Sata went to a lodge to rest as he waited for his public rally in the riverside town of Senanga that afternoon.

As was his habit, the Cobra started reading newspapers to update himself with what was going on around the world.

With my colleague Justine Kawisha who was then working at Radio Mazabuka, we saw Mr Sata’s free time as a photo opportunity.

We approached him and asked to take pictures with him and the Cobra shockingly agreed.

We stood behind him and asked someone to take photos.

That person (i cant remember the name) took three photos which to this day are the only photos i have with Mr. Sata (Check photo above).

When the time for the rally came, we went to a ground where Mr Sata addressed the people of Senanga who came in their hundreds.

It was at that Senanga rally that Mr Sata issued the famous 90 days promise to produce a new constitution and restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

My TV report for Mr Sata’s rallies in Mongu and Senanga which aired on MUVI TV contained that story and you can watch it on this Youtube link:

In September 2011 when presidential candidates while filing their nominations at the Supreme Court ahead of the 20 September general elections, Muvi TV assigned me to cover all the candidates and i spent the whole week camped at the venue.

When the day for the Cobra’s turn came, there was confusion as hundreds, if not thousands, of Patriotic Front cadres thronged the Supreme Court grounds to see Mr Sata file in his papers.

I remember in my TV report which aired on Muvi TV that evening, i showed a confrontation between PF cadres and Zambia Police Director of Operations Dr. Solomon Jere.

I remember also showing Supreme Court staff peeping through the windows, trying to catch a glimpse of the Cobra who was driven to the Supreme Court in a Toyota GX vehicle and escorted by a huge boat.

My TV report for that day can be watched on this youtube link:

After winning the September 20, 2011 with 43% of the vote, Mr Sata soon became a national asset whose access to reporters became scarce.

I covered him on a number of occasions at State House and during campaign rallies in the numerous parliamentary by-elections Zambia has had since 2011.

On June 2, 2014 while i covered the head of state at State House,  he jokingly said he had not been evacuated abroad for medical attention as was alleged by some sections of the online media.

My story on that State House event can be read on this link which i blogged that same day:

The last time i saw the King Cobra in person was on 19th September, 2014 when he went to Parliament Grounds and opened the first meeting of the fourth session of the eleventh National Assembly.

The head of state in his usual humorous mood, opened the house and punctuated his speech with

On that day, i sat upstairs in the press gallery not knowing that i was seeing Zambia’s fifth republican president for the last time.
I took a selfie at Sata's rally in Msanzala in February 2012

And for sure i never saw the Cobra alive again. I may only see him again in the coffin when his remains return to his beloved country tomorrow.

He died on 28th October, 2014 while receiving medical attention in the British capital London.

When my close friend Boston Chambuluka phoned me from Kafue at around 03:00hrs on 29th October, 2014 to break the bad news of the demise of the President, i remembered the King Cobra who i had a few chats with in the opposition and who later became the head of state thanks to his populist style of politics which easily wooed him votes.

If someone was to ask me to describe the late Zambian President Michael Chilufya Sata in a few words from a reporters’ perspective, i would describe him as a news source who needed no research to give out a news story at any given  time.

What a loss to us the so-called amutola nkani. Our source is gone.... gone forever.