Democracy defined settled in the poets’ words and the audience’s snaps on 28th April 2023, Kenneth Kaunda commemoratory Day at our second #Atibwanji Poetry Slam which sought to ask for accountability and transparency regarding the Government’s performance since being voted into political power.
Like in our first #Atibwanji Slam installation, the Government was again cast on the metaphorical screen and examined. Criticism was offered on how the UPND-majority Government’s performance has been so far, based on their manifesto and the campaign promises they made before the August 2021 elections, citing the current unstable economy, the many pronouncements without tangible change, and the rampant travels that rarely bring much back than old hope.
Global Platform was filled to the tune of 82 poets and attendees, with 26 slam poets and 4 sacrificial poets taking the stage.
The first round was heavily contested with 26 participants, a third of whom were female. The second round was a showcase of both literary and performance brilliance as most poets put up their best performances yet.
The finalists were a delight to watch. They served a fresh swallow of poetry rich in storytelling, musicality, and performance-magic making the moment eternal. The lucky poet was Chindo Na Matthew, a Ndola-based poet who is no stranger to the Zambian spoken-word poetry scene and who often wows crowds with his beatboxing-consonance reeking and mother-tongue fat performances. He came ahead of Koko Kondwani S. Bwalya—a runner up at our debut Atibwanji Poetry Slam last year—and Sindwa Kanyimba Jr who were both held at a tie, and Jabes Bwanga in third place.
The slam inspired free speech discourse around the Afrobarometer’s summation that, “A majority of Zambians say they are satisfied with the way their democracy is working and expect the country to become “more democratic” in the coming years, according to a new Afrobarometer survey of 2022.’’ This unfiltered representation of youth issues from the horse’s mouth—this youthful expression—was a proof of concept of the importance of youths’ urgency in securing sustainable national development.
All in all, questions were posed, lessons were learnt, and masses in attendance were informed: “the rule of the people for the people by the people” leaves no one beyond. This democracy is accountable and transparent, founded on trust in delivering duty and promoting rights. Since Government’s performance trickles down to the quality of citizens’ livelihoods, the #Atibwanji Project is emphasizing that all citizens must be involved in the protection of their democracy. The Slam is one of many interventions we are using to ensure that citizens—especially youth, women, and other marginalized groups—are aware of the Government’s performance.