….Zambia is a good story, tell it more!
Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany His Excellency Anthony Mukwita has called on publishers to tell the country’s story and challenge the negative narrative about Africa dominant in other parts of the world to that of optimism.
Ambassador Mukwita says publishers have a significant role to play in changing the negative narrative promoted by a small section of the Zambian society and sections of the western media by encouraging the writing of books of various aspects of the country’s rich heritage.
Mr. Mukwita was speaking in his office when Mr. Chanda Pensulo, of Pensulo Publishers, in the company of Ms. Nyararai Mundopa, a Zimbabwean archaeologist, visited the Zambian embassy in Berlin.
“As publishers, you are in a unique position to chronicle Zambia’s multidimensional experiences along with her tangible and intangible heritage and enable Zambians to appreciate what is good about themselves and their country”, the senior diplomat says.
Ambassador Mukwita says Zambians will benefit more from a good story about their country and draw inspiration from there to build a better future for themselves as compared to a negative narrative.
Mr Mukwita said negative perceptions have a tendency of discouraging foreign direct investment.
“I am an incurable romantic who likes to see the glass as half full rather than half empty”, Ambassador Mukwita says, adding “that is why I reckon we must debunk the myth that Zambians don’t like reading and instead stock bookstores with local stories they cannot relate to”.
He says he has proved with the sales of his book Against All Odds, President Edgar Lungu’s Rough Journey to State House that indeed if more books were written about Zambia, Zambians will read them.
In his remarks, Mr. Pensulo acknowledged the need to change the narrative on Zambia and Africa as a whole by encouraging the publication of books. Mr. Pensulo is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Hungary focusing in Cultural Studies.
His area of study looks at issues such as physical elements of the Vitoria Falls, Mwela Outcrops in Kasama and the source of the Zambezi River including traditional ceremonies such as the Kuomboka, Umutomboko and Inchwala as well as historical places such as the Nachikufu caves of Muchinga Province.
Mr. Pensulo says has also written a definitive book about Zambian names.
He presented a copy to Ambassador Mukwita.
While absolute statistics are not clear, it is estimated that Zambia has around twenty publishers with literary works that cover a wide range of categories such as politics, history, current affairs, culture and fiction.
The meeting was a direct response to the Zambian embassy clarion call for publishers from Zambia to apply for free participation packages being given out by the Frankfurt Bookfair, the largest Bookfair in Europe that attracts about 300,000 people annually.
Details of application have been published previously by the embassy of Zambia in Germany.
ISSUED IN BERLIN BY KELLYS KAUNDA, FIRST SECRETARY – PRESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS.