By Ben Kayuma
The majority of well respected celebrities in Zambia are people in employment holding senior positions in both public and private sector. If not that, then still most of them have a heavy dependence on government by way of connections or sitting on boards.
Not to take away anything from anyone, my view of who should be celebrated is rather different. Those in positions, public or private, are really just employees like every other employee and to me, they haven’t invented anything new or achieved anything unique to receive the accolade of celebrity status.
But then again, this makes me realise that maybe we are a society of under achievers. Surely, how can a Permanent Secretary or a director in government be celebrated more above real talented successful artists, sports persons, inventors and entrepreneurs ?
I thought that individuals who’ve excelled from outside the ordinary are the ones we are to honour much more than anyone else. Honestly speaking, many can be PS, MD, director, or even a Minister. That’s why even when they leave their offices, they are so easily replaced. On the other hand, there can only be one PK Chishala, Paul Ngozi, Samuel Matete, Kalusha Bwalya, The Witch, Lawrence Sikutwa, Sauzande, Chris Chali, Ricky Ililonga, Lawrence Yombwe, Agness Buya Yombwe, and many other great sons and daughters of this land who’ve done spectacular things.
We don’t celebrate talent and that’s the reason why our exceptional people live very substandard lives yet those in office flourish in opulence. How then are we ever going to entice and encourage talent if we don’t give it the respect it so deserves ?
Many times, I cry when I meet exceptionally talented people whose work once went viral but are now living in squalor. It pains me so much. This means that many talents in homes are destroyed before they even bud because parents believe that every child in Zambia will only have a decent life if they pursue traditional careers such as teaching, law, medicine, engineering, etc etc.
Zambia needs to wake up and start celebrating its real celebrities who posses unique characteristics and not those in jobs. I’m not saying there should be no recognition for those in jobs, they can be recognized in their own way in whatever sector they belong,thats fine. But for the nation’s sake, we need special talent to be promoted. Talent has a huge stake in the economy. The rich countries know this too well than everyone else. Not so far off, let’s take South Africa as an example. That country has a thriving Talent Economy and they are reaping huge benefits from it. I wish Zambia could take a leaf.
We keep praying.