Zambia has enjoyed 49 years free from colonial rule. It has been years of peace and we pray God continues to bless us.
A poem I wrote to celebrate Zambia’s Independence…
You held my mum in soft, warm, brown hands
Your earth, her bed
My heart embedded deep within her womb.
You birthed a woman ready to take on the world
Held her in your palm, with peace showed her that love was the revolution.
She arose and gave birth to me
Rising, surviving, overcoming
In the struggle that was the breaking from darkness to light
She looked ahead.
Often she rested on your coppery bed
Reconnecting with soil, soul and self
Positioned, perfectly, poised
She knew that the only way to be truly free – was
So she fought from the inside out
Asserted the right to have the right to be one.
One Zambia, one nation, one child, one generation.
This time last week I was getting ready to watch Macbeth. It was a completely new experience for me. The National Theatre live broadcast of Manchester International Festival Macbeth was introducing Nissi Mutale to live theatre, not so live. So here was I getting ready to go to the theatre and cinema all at once. Confused…you should be. So, The National Theatre show live screenings of theatre productions at cinema. Amazing right?! Maybe you are not as late as I am, and already knew this happened, but I did not. Anyway, immediately I had loads of questions; what would be added to the experience? What would be lost? Would I ‘get’ what the sound and lighting were trying to do? Would the production have a more cinematic feel? Would I be conscious of the fact that the camera wasn’t at the right angle? Would I be thinking about what I am not seeing and feeling because of the camera angle?…And believe me, the list went on.
Watching the show I completely forgot about all these questions. That has to be a good thing, right? The show was amazing! Kenneth Branagh as Macbeth, Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth, Ray Fearon as Macduff directed by Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh – dream team! The production was staged in a deconsecrated Manchester church on a catwalk type stage – audience on either side. The actual stage was covered in mud. The contrast of mud in a church made me think about the amount of dirt the characters would pick up as they walked up and down. The build up of mud symbolic of the growth of evil and sin as the story unfolds. The eeriness of the witches coming out of the church walls also showed how evil had crept into everything, the selfish ambition of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth evident and ill placed from the beginning.
The significance of the church really struck a chord during Lady Macbeth’s famous ‘hand washing seen’. Standing on the upper level of the church, the lady is seen marching up and down, then stops and is heard saying the following:
Out, damned spot! Out I say!…Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him. What, will these hands ne’er be clean?….. Here’s the smell of blood still: and all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh oh oh!
Set against the backing of the church, a new dimension of the lines is emphasised. Unable to confess and repent of her sins (as is practised in Christianity), Lady Macbeth is unable to simply wash away her sins.
All in all it was an amazing production. I did not take notes to bring a huge breakdown to this blog, but felt I had to, absolutely had to write something.
It was wow!
I have decided to add a new section to this blog where I will talk about books I am reading or have read. I read a lot! So I thought it only made sense to share my thoughts on some of the stuff I come across. I read a variety of literature, faith and self-help books. So to kick this section off, the author I am fascinated by at the moment is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I first read a book of hers around a year ago. ‘Half of A Yellow Sun’ was recommended to me by a friend who did not even really read, so that was immediately promising. Since then I have bought all her books on kindle. I am impressed.
Anyway the book I have just read is the new book by Adichie ‘Americanah’. The book explores a number of issues including; the black immigrant identity, transition, inter-racial relationships, class, class struggle, blogging, online identities and so many other issues. The main character Ifemelu is a 20 something year old who has moved to America to study and increase her opportunities in life. Like many Africans outside of Africa, Ifemelu has moved to America hoping to build a better life for herself.
Adichie takes the reader on the journey of excitement, discomfort, pain, searching, temporary excitement, dissatisfaction, realisation and longing for home, I for one have experienced as an African abroad. Despite having the comforts of family and my parents moving to England from Zambia when I was a baby, I still had identity issues I had to work on growing up as an African in Britain. I may not have had to deal with the passport and immigration struggles that many do and I will never for one moment pretend I know what that feels like. However that feeling of knowing you are different to everyone who is not African (and that includes Asians, Black British, Black Caribbean, Caribbean, English, those of mixed heritage…everyone who is not African…in my case everyone who is not Zambian), there are issue you will need to deal with.
This journey is depicted in the small and everyday happenings we take for granted: getting hair done, wondering how people perceive us based on the relationships we have, our social groups, the house and part of town we live in, our online profiles, these aspects are brought together to get the reader to think about African identities (represented by Ifemelu’s Igbo identity). I say identities because we know that there can never be a singular. Stereotypes are singular but Adichie challenges stereotypes in her book so that even the caricature is somehow plural.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting my thoughts on certain parts of the book that stood out for me.
I hope you will be challenged, chastened and cheered by it all!