Some advice for writers, from Anne Lamott

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently finished reading the book ‘Bird By Bird’ by Anne Lamott. I’ve extracted some quotes from the book which I found interesting and helpful. Here goes:

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‘Bird By Bird’ by Anne Lamott


Bird By Bird‘ is a book by Anne Lamott about writing and life. It has some of the best advice I’ve read on sharpening your skills and finding your place as a writer in this world.

Continue reading “‘Bird By Bird’ by Anne Lamott”

They Say Home is Where the Heart is. But What if Your Heart is in More Than One Place?

I hopped onto my bike and started to ride. It was half past 7 in the morning but it was still very dark outside.

I pedalled enthusiastically, hoping that I would warm up quickly. Each vigorous push of the pedal only seemed to invite the cold wind my way. At this point, what I really wanted was my bed plus a nice cup of tea. But I had to quickly banish such thoughts because I wasn’t going to be getting any. “This 20 minute ride had better go quickly”, I thought. I pedalled harder. I needed to get into work on time.

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Why Zambians need their opposition MPs more than ever

Zambians finally have their sixth President! Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front (PF) beat Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in a tight contest (48.3% vs 46.7%). This is not the result I wanted to see but it’s a result I will respect. I hope to remember the biblical command to “pray for your leaders” mainly because I hold quite different views to President Lungu and the PF. Continue reading “Why Zambians need their opposition MPs more than ever”

Video: Carl Bernstein discusses ‘How to Be a Great Journalist’

I love this video. Carl Bernstein, a retired journalist and one half of the “Watergate Duo”, discusses what it takes to be a great journalist. With great wisdom and clarity, he shares some of the unchanging principles that need to be present for journalism to be journalism (at least in the traditional sense). He says some brilliant and wise things (see quotes below). For now, watch the video. It’s only 7 minutes long.

“To be a great journalist, be a good listener.”

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MasukuOnMyMind is changing! Find out how and why.


Dear friends,

For sometime now I’ve not been convinced that this blog was serving its full purpose and potential. I started the blog two years ago aiming to regularly discuss contemporary Zambian and Southern African political and economic issues. As I tried to do this, I encountered three main challenges: Continue reading “MasukuOnMyMind is changing! Find out how and why.”

A question for Zambian historians

The United National Independence Party (UNIP) led the country to Independence in October 1964 under Kenneth Kaunda’s leadership. After quashing and coercing opposition parties led by Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula in the early 1970s, UNIP became the sole national party, cementing KK’s rule which eventually lasted 27 years.

Fast-forward nearly 50 years since Independence and UNIP is nowhere to be seen today. The party that once dominated Zambian politics in almost divine fashion is dead. Interestingly, that is not the case with other liberation political parties in Southern Africa. A quick glance shows that the majority of them are STILL in power – ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe, ANC in South Africa, SWAPO in Namibia, FRELIMO in Mozambique, MPLA in Angola, BDP in Botswana and CCM in Tanzania.

Remember that UNIP possessed many of the hallmarks of your typical African liberation party: firmly socialist, populist, with a strongman at the helm. These traits can be traced through most liberation parties in the region, apart from the BDP in Botswana which took and maintained a democratic path from Independence in 1966. Another common thread experienced by all (bar ANC and SWAPO who only became parties of government in 1994 and 1989 respectively) was the arrival of democracy and liberal economics following the end of the Cold War. The difference it seems is that UNIP did not come out well post-Cold War.

All this begs the question: what did the party do wrongly/differently to end up in the position it’s in today, wielding no political power whatsoever in the country it helped birth five decades earlier? What are some of the unique circumstances that led to this?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!