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Video: Phindu Zaie Banda performs for the Embassy's Africa Day celebration

Spoken word poet and gender consultant Phindu Zaie Banda joined the Embassy for a virtual Africa Day celebration on 25 May this year. We caught up with Phindu to discuss the motivation behind her work, and what Africa Day means to her. Watch the video and read the interview below for more.

Phindu, thank you so much for joining us today. How would you describe the inspiration for your work, as a modern, female, Malawian poet?

I started out my journey as a creative by simply wanting to express myself, by wanting to also tell the stories of other people. There were so many stories I felt were not being told, and I just felt like, you know what? I have a voice and a talent, I can write, and I think this is something I should do. It's been a continuous journey of learning how to better express myself, learning how to tell the story and capture everyone else's emotions without losing my own voice.

It hasn't been the easiest of journeys, but what it has been is freeing. I have discovered myself, and I have been able to tell other people's stories, to the point where people come to me and say "You know what? This hasn't always been clear to me, but you just told my story." So it's always me embarking to just tell one story, and then finding that there's more stories hidden between my own and other people's experiences, that I can express for them. That's a very beautiful and powerful thing for me.

What does Africa Day mean to you?

I have always identified as a woman first, and an African second. Africa Day, for me, is a reminder that I am all these things at the same time. A lot of my inspiration comes from not only the Malawian experience, but also African stories. I have found myself, I have seen myself, represented in women across the country and the continent. It's always very freeing and very empowering to see myself in other people. Africa Day is a reminder of that oneness, that I am not alone. That I am African, that I am Malawian, that I am all of these things at the same time without taking away anything or any part of me.

Phindu's album Bodies are not homes is available now on Audiomack. She's also on Twitter and Instagram as @phinduzaie and on YouTube as Phindu Zaie. 

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