Sam Sakala | Zambia
What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?
I am rapper and actor and a social influencer. Mostly through social media. The social media is to start some necessary conversations. I've had corporate organizations come to me and speak to my following because they feel that I speak their language. I rap in two local languages, and the rest of it is in English. I've been doing this since I was nineteen, ten years down the line. When I was younger it was fun dance music. As I got older I realized it was necessary for me to put messages in the music, so mostly now I talk about patriotism. I come from a country that was colonized until the 1960’s. So many people still see themselves as inferior. I try to send messages that there's a whole world out there that you can go out and conquer. Now that I'm even older I recognize that there are other issues that I think I need to take on. Our culture is misogynistic, most women's groups will speak from women to women. Nothing that speaks to men. My center focus has been that for the past few years.
From the American standpoint one thing that I have noticed is the democracy and the systems here are very functional. They do believe that the power is in their hands. Unfortunately, in Africa people don't really trust their systems. I think that it's time we start having conversations about it. The system of American democracy is definitely something that I want to take back home, to start a conversation about having accountability and less corruption within our government. Especially within the civil service realm because people are paid very low wages. Its a problem that has to be addressed from the grassroot. Somewhere somehow has to spark that conversation about having to reserve that. Just being around so many people from so many different countries. Coming from an anglophone country we get to interact with more people from within the commonwealth, we don't interact with many people from francophone countries, countries colonized by france. We seemingly represent the continent but we don't really know what's going on in their countries. When we sit down and talk about the challenges we face I think Africa as a whole faces many of the same issues. Just hearing about the work that people are doing. I am starting to feel that there is more that I can do with the influence I have.
What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?
Zambia, the people. The wealth in Zambia isn't in the material things. That's one of the things I struggled with the most. People recognize your presence. The people there are really beautiful and friendly.
Philadelphia, the diversity and the connection to diversity and the culture they have to the city. They always have this sense of pride. I know nothing about football but I'm pretty sure the people who tell me that the Eagles are from here know that I know nothing about football. I come from a really small city so just being here I fell in love with Philadelphia.
Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?
I like to play videos games with friends.
If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?
Try the steaks, but if you're being daring and you want to try something, eat some caterpillars. You have to have them with something called Nshima. It's almost like a cake made from maize meal. Like grounded corn.