Kabwata Cultural Village
BY GINGHER LEYENDECKER, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Today we went to the Kawata Cultural Center to interview craftsmen. A woodcarver, a basket weaver, a batik and fabric artist, and a drum maker spoke to us, explaining their craft and how they learned it. The people who live in this craft village are very proud to be able to work for themselves and support their families from their art. They were very open to speaking with us, especially because we bought lots of their crafts!
Afterwards I got to take paper and pencils outside our compound and draw with the neighborhood kids. At first they were shy, not wanting to draw or speak. So I started asking them what animals they liked, and gave each kid the sketch. Soon the kids were drawing pictures for me. Before long I was surrounded, not only surrounded but enveloped in dozens and dozens of beautiful faces, yelling out “lion!” “elephant!” “zebra!” I stayed out for close to an hour, and we had a great time with the kids.
I am struck by the Zambian people in that they are so positive and proud and happy. Not just the ones who are well off, but also those in “high density” areas. People walk around everywhere, with pride in their appearance and dress, smiles for each other and a general sense of friendship among all. Even in opposing political parties who are demonstrating in the streets (this is election month) there is no violence. One of our guides Alan explained that “they might buy us a beer one day, or we might sit and buy them one, we are not against each other because we are for opposing candidates. We are all Zambians.”