Profile of Jimmy Kayika 

by Anna Zgambo 

Jimmy Kayika was born at Kitwe’s Chimwemwe Clinic in February 1996. He was raised in Copperbelt Province and finished Grade 7 at Kawama Basic School. Secondary school sent him to North-Western Province.

“I passed Grade 12 in 2014 at Solwezi Day Secondary School,” Kayika says.

He returned to the Copperbelt and tried to pursue a creative degree, but there were no artistic programmes in Kitwe at that time. He applied to study at Copperbelt University and was accepted as a student in the Department of Real Estate Studies within the School of the Built Environment. 

“I wrote poems on campus after classes and launched Zambian ARTS Poetry, a group that encouraged CBU students to do spoken-word performances.”

Kayika noticed that some students composed beautiful poems, but they did not have the ability to perform spoken-word poetry. He saw that it was necessary to produce poetry books. The internet enabled him to learn about book publishing.

“In 2020, I published Dear Elizabeth, a poetry collection named after my mother.”

Dear Elizabeth by Jimmy Kayika was sold on social media at a price of 55 kwacha. Buyers paid with mobile money and they received the e-book on WhatsApp. A year later, he published The Three Girls I’ve Loved, another poetry book that was sold on WhatsApp for K55. He continued to write poems and sell books while finishing university.

“I graduated from Copperbelt University in 2021 with the degree Bachelor of Science in Real Estate,” Jimmy Kayika states.

After graduation, he registered a publishing company and began producing books for other authors. In 2021, Zambian ARTS Publications published Chasing Stardom by Borniface Kanyamuna; Shake Off the Dust and Rise by Reuben Phiri; Created to Become by Natasha Mwaba; Raped, Convicted Then Murdered by Memory H. Chanda; Maybe I Am Eve by Mwamba Chomba; and Bloody Rose by Memory H. Chanda.

“I enjoy publishing books,” Kayika says. “The arts give me satisfaction. It is possible to make a living from art.”

In 2022, Zambian ARTS Publications published Kaleni’s Pride by Victor Lilanda; Voices in My Head by Mathews Chibwe; Dikishonali ya Fikope mu Cibemba by Matha Nambuka and Chindo Mutale; The Incoming by Isaac Mvula; Shape Shifters by Omega Kasonde; Woman Up: The Resolute Woman by Memory H. Chanda; and The Power of Self Embrace by Lillian Chipeso.

“I advise authors to focus on readership building. Try to attract a large following. Make an effort to connect with the public. Zambian ARTS Publications can help you become a well-known author because we facilitate book launch events.”

In October 2022, started selling A Collection for Huldah by Jimmy Kayika. His third poetry book is available as a paperback and e-book. welcomes authors from all publishing houses to sell their books on the website. In 2023, Zambian ARTS Publications is hosting the Coppa Book Awards to recognise the best authors in Zambia.

“Let us support authors who release books,” Jimmy Kayika asserts. “Please attend book launches and buy publications. Zambia’s book industry will improve when authors are united.”

Writer: Anna Zgambo (+260955065455).

Source of information: Anna Zgambo interviewed Jimmy Kayika (+260976796297).

Photo: Mangoni Magnum photographed Jimmy Kayika for on 1 April 2023 in Parklands, Kitwe.

Profile of Mulenga Mumba
by Anna Zgambo

Mulenga Mumba was born at Ndola Central Hospital in July 1997 while her mother was visiting Copperbelt Province. She grew up in Lusaka and completed Grade 7 at Agape Primary School in 2008. Secondary school took her to Luapula.

“In 2013, I passed Grade 12 at Mabel Shaw Girls Secondary Boarding School,” Mulenga Mumba says.

She wanted to study psychology, but Mum insisted that a health programme would provide better job prospects. In her third year at Lusaka Apex Medical University, she entered a beauty pageant for the first time. In 2017, Mulenga Mumba was crowned Miss Apex.

She entered her second beauty pageant in the fourth year of university. In 2018, Mulenga Mumba won Miss Tourism Worldwide Zambia. The experience taught her that a beauty queen must champion a cause.

“My advocacy work began with environmental protection,” she recalls.

She volunteered as an environmental advocate at Joyce & Friends Foundation. The charity is run by Joyce Mwansa, the first runner-up of Miss Earth Zambia 2019. The project encourages children to take responsibility for the environment. Mulenga and Joyce visited schools to plant trees, clean spaces and discuss pollution with pupils. Education was top priority.

“In 2020, I earned the degree Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health at Lusaka Apex Medical University,” Mulenga Mumba states.

Shortly after graduation, a friend complimented her thrifted style and she decided to pursue slow fashion. Mulenga opened the Ragged Different boutique to sell chic second-hand apparel at Complex Mall on Augustine Lungu Road in Libala. Rent was 500 kwacha every month.

“Ragged Different was making K1,500 to K2,000 a month because I attracted customers by advertising quality clothes on social media,” she reveals.

In July 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic forced Ragged Different to close. Hygiene concerns during the COVID-19 crisis made it impossible to sell thrifted clothing. She started sewing cowl neck tops that were sold online for 50 kwacha. Her passion for pageants persisted.

“In 2021, I participated in my fourth beauty pageant and won Miss Africa Zambia,” Mulenga Mumba says.

On 17 December 2022, she travelled to Nigeria to represent Zambia at Miss Africa. The contest took place in Calabar over two weeks. She returned to Lusaka with a fresh commitment to sensitise Africans about the benefits of slow fashion.

“Fast fashion pollutes Africa,” Mulenga Mumba asserts. “We will safeguard the environment by renewing fabrics, repeating outfits, recycling clothes and resisting consumerism.”

Her free time is devoted to promoting environmentalism at Chibolya Community School. In 2023, she works as a slow fashion stylist on a media team consisting of a photographer, set designer and director. The team provides image management for T-Low and various Zambian artists. She designs costumes and styles public figures using ecological techniques.

“I apply knowledge of environmental health to create slow fashion,” Mulenga Mumba affirms.

Writer: Anna Zgambo (+260955065455).

Source of information: Anna Zgambo interviewed Mulenga Mumba (+260977355628).

Photos: Esther Chanda photographed Mulenga Mumba for on 7 March 2023 in Lusaka.

Writer: Anna Zgambo
Date: 8 March 2023
Publication: Portray Zambians
Genre: Creative nonfiction
Place written: Lusaka, Zambia

Profile of Mwansa Agness Chungu
by Anna Zgambo

Mwansa Agness Chungu was born in Lusaka in November 1992. Her parents both died in 1995. She passed Grade 7 at Northmead Basic School in 2006. In 2011, Mwansa Agness Chungu earned a Grade 12 certificate from St Mary’s Secondary School in Woodlands.

“I was raised by my uncle and aunt,” she says. “I thank Peter Rolland Chungu (His Royal Highness Chief Mwansakombe of Chifunabuli District) and Celestine Chanda Chungu for being incredible parents who supported my education and dreams.”

Mwansa Agness Chungu graduated from the University of Zambia in 2017 with the degree Bachelor of Library Information Science and Development Studies. In 2018, she left Lusaka to start working as a librarian for Chinsali Municipal Council in Muchinga Province.

“My job description includes arranging books on shelves, updating the library catalogue, registering members and maintaining a conducive reading environment,” the librarian explains.

Labouring in local government showed her that Zambia needs policy development experts. In 2020, she began a long-distance programme to obtain a master’s degree in development studies from the Information and Communications University in Lusaka.

“My dissertation investigates policies that strengthen household food security,” Chungu states. “My research proposes that agricultural crop diversification is a policy that may mitigate nutritional insecurity.”

Her future goal is to contribute written policies in the farming industry, local government and education sector. Chungu notes that it will take years of preparation to produce policy books that can develop Zambia. She writes creatively on paper.

“I taught myself to write poetry by reading Maya Angelou’s poems,” Mwansa Agness Chungu says. “I am the author of three publications entitled Assassin’s Memoirs, Random Poetic Words and Memoirs of a Tormented Soul.”

Assassin’s Memoirs has 18 poems. The chapbook was self-published online in 2021. Random Poetic Words features 20 poems. Chungu sells the ebook of Random Poetic Words on Amazon Kindle. In 2022, she sold 15 paperback copies of Random Poetic Words.

“Zambian ARTS Publications will release Memoirs of a Tormented Soul at the end of January 2023,” the author announced in the first week of the new year.

Memoirs of a Tormented Soul by Mwansa Agness Chungu has 31 poems in English. The 62-page poetry collection was edited and designed by Jimmy Kayika. In 2021, Kayika published Bloody Rose, a poetry collection by Memory H. Chanda. In 2022, Zambian ARTS Publications earned a Ngoma Award when Shake off the Dust and Rise by Reuben Phiri won the Gwendoline Konie Award for Most Outstanding Poetry.

“Reading poetry develops the mind,” Chungu proclaims. “We will develop Zambia by reading books.”

Writer: Anna Zgambo (+260955065455).

Source of information: Anna Zgambo interviewed Mwansa Agness Chungu (+260976662259).

Photos: Lolavye Simukoko photographed Mwansa Agness Chungu for on 9 January and 10 January 2023 in Chinsali.

Writer: Anna Zgambo
Date: 10 January 2023
Publication: Portray Zambians
Genre: Creative nonfiction
Place written: Lusaka, Zambia


Profile of Thandiwe Chisala Chibale
by Anna Zgambo

Thandiwe Chisala Chibale was born at Kitwe Central Hospital in September 1990. In 2007, she completed Grade 12 at St John’s Convent School on the Copperbelt. Her passion was social justice.

“As a teenager, I was committed to helping children and women overcome injustice,” Thandi recalls.

She decided to undertake legal studies. In September 2015, Thandiwe Chisala Chibale graduated from Zambia Open University with the degree Bachelor of Laws.

“I was interested in seeking justice instead of practising law,” Thandi explains.

She chose to work for charitable institutions. Thandi taught creative writing to vulnerable youths at Kachimfya Mentorship. She served as a volunteer at H.E.L.P. for Zambia before becoming vice-director of the charity.

“As the vice-director of H.E.L.P. for Zambia, I empower victims to recognise abuse and follow correct legal procedures,” Thandi reveals.

She married Luke Lungu in 2017. Their two children were born in 2018 and 2021. Thandi bakes and reads stories to the kids.

“My late auntie told stories when visiting us from the village and I always enjoyed them,” she shares. “I started writing when I was ten.”

In August 2022, PrintNet Zambia printed Wungi the Lion & Nsansa the Happy Monkey by Thandiwe Chisala Chibale. The book has two animal stories for young readers.

“I write folktales with moral lessons to guide children,” the author states. “My writing is inspired by the beauty of nature and what I see around me daily.”

In October 2022, H.E.L.P. for Zambia published Temwani the Singing Mango Tree by Thandiwe Chisala Chibale. In November, she won a scholarship to study English.

“I am studying long distance to earn the degree Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and English Language at the University of Edinburgh,” Thandi says from Kitwe.

Temwani the Singing Mango Tree and Wungi the Lion & Nsansa the Happy Monkey are sold at Delden Bookshop in Copperbelt Province. Clients call 0969397713 to order books from the author.

Writer: Anna Zgambo (+260955065455).

Source of information: Anna Zgambo interviewed Thandiwe Chisala Chibale (0969397713).

Photo: Luke Lungu photographed Thandi for on 30 December 2022 in Garneton.

Writer: Anna Zgambo

Date: 3 January 2023

Publication: Portray Zambians

Genre: Creative nonfiction

Place written: Lusaka, Zambia



Profile of Ireen Chanda
by Anna Zgambo

Ireen Chanda was born at Kabwe General Hospital on 2 February 1994. She finished Grade 4 at Lwaluo Primary School in Kasama District. Her family relocated to Kanyama Compound in 2002. Ireen Chanda completed Grade 8 at Lady Diana Basic School in Lusaka.

"I had to stop school in Grade 9 because there was no money to pay exam fees," Ireen explains. "I decided to concentrate on music."

She could not write Grade 9 examinations due to financial challenges. Ireen's only hope was singing. She pursued music when it became impossible to continue school.

Ireen Chanda joined Conscious Sounds Promotions in 2010. She sang backup vocals for Burning Youth, Senzo and various reggae bands. Her confidence increased and she started working as a solo musician.

"In 2014, I went to Bum Bum Studios to record my first song," she recalls.

On 24 October 2015, Ireen Chanda won the Best Female Reggae Musician Award at the Komboni Radio Upcoming Artist Music Awards. On 3 May 2016, she registered Osaibala, her first album, with the Zambian Music Copyright Protection Society.

Ireen wrote the lyrics to the "Usaniseke" single. "Usaniseke" is an original Bemba-Nyanja song that warns listeners not to laugh at vulnerable women. The music video of "Usaniseke" shows the singer struggling at home in Kanyama Compound.

In 2022, Conscious Sounds Promotions released "Ghetto Girl" by Ireen featuring Cactus Agony. "Ghetto Girl" is an English-Nyanja anthem about overcoming the hardships of compound life. Her lyrics exude class consciousness.

"I came to Kanyama Compound in 2002 when I was eight years old and I am still living in the ghetto," Ireen Chanda reveals in December 2022.

"Ghetto Girl" delivers relatable social realism. Her fanbase is growing due to demand for authentic Zambian reggae music. She has eighteen thousand followers on the Empress Ireen page.

"Listen to 'Ghetto Girl' and please share the song," Ireen chants.

Fans voted for her when she reached the finals of the Zed Rasta Awards. On 17 December 2022, Ireen Chanda won the Best Female Reggae Musician Award at Mellowmoods Edutainment Centre. Conscious Sounds Promotions will release her next album in 2023.

"I encourage radio stations to play 'Ghetto Girl' and promote Zambian music," Ireen says.

Writer: Anna Zgambo (+260955065455).

Source of information: Anna Zgambo interviewed Ireen Chanda (0972346014).

Photographs: Chibesa Ngosa (0974171502) of HICOT Photography captured Ireen Chanda for on 25 December 2022 in Makeni.

Writer: Anna Zgambo

Date: 26 December 2022

Publication: Portray Zambians

Genre: Creative nonfiction

Place written: Lusaka, Zambia



Profile of Agnes Banda 

by Anna Zgambo 

Agnes Banda is a teacher at a government primary school in Lusaka. In her free time after classes, she encourages Zambians to get tested for HIV and adhere to antiretroviral therapy. Ms Banda educates Zambians to eliminate human immunodeficiency virus.

"I was born in September 1970 in Luanshya on the Copperbelt," Agnes Banda says. "In 1991, I finished Grade 12 at Katete  Secondary School. In 1995, I earned a teaching certificate from Chipata Teacher Training College. I am employed by Government of Zambia as a teacher at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Primary School in Lusaka."

Banda, age 51, has been working as a professional teacher for 27 years. She taught at Shimano Primary School in Kaoma District in Western Province and Ngwerere Primary School in Lusaka. She reports that there are problems affecting education performance at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Primary School.

"We do not have enough teaching materials," Agnes Banda says. "Some of our pupils sit on the floor. Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Primary School needs more desks and books. Our challenges are many. Health is a challenge for some teachers. I sometimes feel tired when I do not eat enough food while taking ARV medication."

Agnes Banda is HIV positive. She has been taking antiretroviral medication for fifteen years. Her mission is to educate Zambians about ARV adherence and positive living. Her health messages are educational.

"I try to demonstrate that HIV is not a death sentence," Agnes Banda says. "I aim to educate people who are HIV positive. Let us take ARV medication correctly. Drink water. Be honest about your status. Keep practising safe sex to avoid re-infecting yourself with other variants of HIV. Please abstain. My number is 097 7715312."

Source of information: Anna Zgambo interviewed Agnes Banda.

Writer: Anna Zgambo

Date: April 2022

Publication: Portray Zambians

Genre: Creative nonfiction

Place written: Lusaka, Zambia