Mulenga Mpundu Kapwepwe grew up a curious and daring young lady; always ready to offer suggestions and proffer solutions to the challenges of her country people.
Her orientation and background as the daughter of the former Zambian Vice-president may have contributed a great deal, but determination and interest were her major propelling forces.
Mulenga’s early days were spent in the midst of great thinkers and change makers who were hugely connected to the liberation of the African nation from British colonial rule.
“I grew up in an environment where the struggle for the country, the liberation of this country, was very much a part of the conversation in the home,” she recalls.
A lover of art and culture, Mulenga has tried her hands on almost all forms of literary and artistic productions, from writing to opera and educational materials production, short stories and plays. She has also produced videos, television and radio programmes on a number of subjects, which has led to a bourgeoning career as one of the nation’s most beloved and respected playwrights.
Born in October 1958 in Lusaka, Zambia, the power lady is a graduate of the University of Zambia and holds a double degree in Psychology and Sociology.
Interestingly, Mulenga never had a formal theater education, but she doesn’t consider it a limitation in anyway. To her, interest and determination are all that matters, and this propelled her early writing career.
“I’d begun to write the history of my tribe, and as I got into it and I dug into it, I thought this would make a really good play, but I didn’t know how to write a play,” she explains to CNN.”I told myself, ‘Well, I don’t think Shakespeare went to a playwright school so I’m sure I don’t have to.” Exactly, the winning attitude.
Through the years, Mulenga has received countless accolades for her theater work. Her plays all focused on issues that concern the history and culture of Zambia and the role of female leaders in the traditional sphere.
A youth mentor and focused leader, Mulenga has involved herself with many projects to help Zambian youths chart their lives’ path. She has built libraries in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, to give young children the opportunity to read, get informed and further educate themselves. A culture she received from her dear father and which she has imbibed through the years.
“One thing about books and my father, is that we had a lot of books when we were growing up. So I got into building libraries because I feel other people must have the same experience that I had. And especially for me the people who might not have the opportunity.
And that’s not all, Mulenga Kapwepwe is set to create a reading revolution in Zambia. She plans to establish three temples of literature in Lusaka. With so much on her plate, the queen of arts has no intention of taking things slow. She founded the Lusaka Youth Orchestra to provide teens with a space to embrace music, as well as create a youth sports team — the Chilenge Girls football team — to keep young girls “off the streets.”
If you follow closely, you may just be able to guess her next move. She has huge plans of directing a blockbuster soon.
It’s no secret that this African queen is driven by something more than luck, a secret she loves to share with the world: “Don’t abandon your ideas. You can scale them down. You can reshape them. You can do whatever it is, but keep at it. Perseverance. And you learn, keep learning, and ducking and diving until you get what you want. That’s been my lesson. Success is wonderful, but so is failure.” CNN African voices.
The leading lady has worn several well fitting caps at different times in her life. She is the Chairman of the National Arts Council of Zambia, the statutory administrative body for the arts and the Patron of a number of Associations, including the Women in Visual Arts Association, the Zambian Folk Music and Dance Association, The Youth For Culture Association and Vice Chairman of the Ukusefya pa Ngwena Cultural Association, Zambia Visual Arts Council, and The Zambia Women Writers Association. Mulenga also sits on the Zambia Commission for UNESCO, and the Arts Institute of Africa and Chairs the Arterial Network.