MEMBER OF THE MONTH
“ Start with God, Stay with God, End with God” (Unknown)
”Winners never quit, and quitters never win” (Unknown)
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.", Eleanor Roosevelt
“Be thankful for, and honour your beginnings”, Nalishebo Meebelo
“Celebrate the woman in you”
Nalishebo Maria-Nakafulo Meebelo
BA (Econ), Grad. Dip (Bus), MBA(Finance), PhD
AKA ‘Data Scientist/Analyst/Miner’
“The value of an asset is in its scarcity” ...
Here’s My Motivation
I am inspired first and foremost by the Mighty Word of God and His constant presence in my life! He alone is King! Much wiser than all of us graduates put together – in our minute, yet great contributions to the wider body of knowledge. Yes, first Him!
I am inspired by my late parents, the stories of my forefathers, and a great number of family and friends. I am inspired by the famous wise quotes of Eleanor Roosevelt (former first Lady of the United States of America) who says among others, “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water.” I am inspired by women who choose never to give up! Women who pick up when they fall, dust up and march on, never looking back at the negative environments that they leave behind. These are my heroines!
I am inspired by women who discuss progressive ideas (e.g women of ZaWARD!!!!!!!), more than they do, events and people; women who choose to contribute to a better world. Eleanor says, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. We are called to use our time and our minds, wisely.
I am motivated by women who do not live for public opinion, who hibernate and find time to be scarce in order to explore and harness their own capacities, as they work towards reaching their next major milestone. For the principles of economics are clear: The value of an asset, rests in its scarcity! So, let us take note of this lesson. I count these women among the lost pictures and silent voices of those who have played a massive role in the development of this world we live in, without necessarily seeking recognition.
I am motivated by the fact that when life throws anything at us, we must remember to keep a value tag on our upper arm or on our shoulder all the time - like they do in the rank and file in the army - because we do have value, right?! I believe that we need to keep arming ourselves with value as women! - to keep increasing those stripes and stars, as we go about your business! To do it for oneself, first and foremost, because you owe no one an apology for your hard-earned successes. I believe in the statements “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” .. and.. “ It always seems impossible until it's done.” So, we are called never to give up! Importantly I believe in staying focused – for it is said that “focus is the womb of accomplishment”.
When I am asked to describe myself as an animal or object, I refer to myself as being like the majestic Nalikwanda (the boat that is seen during the Kuomboka ceremony) - I marvel at the systematic sequencing of those paddlers as they move the boat on the Zambezi river. Much like the agriculture researcher or the farmer! Systematic in approach! The paddlers make the process look so seamless.
In the same vein, one of my late mother’s favorite teachings in the kitchen was, “do things systematically!” Coming from a nursing background I guess this lesson made sense to her. So, I suppose, in everything we do, we should try our best to be systematic.
Finally, I also refer to myself as an Eagle and I draw this message from the Bible. Be strong, be scarce, be visionary and be targeted like the Eagle!
So, how would you describe yourself?
” Proudly Zambian”
I was born at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka Zambia in the mid-1960s, following Zambia’s independence! I am proudly a citizen of Lusaka! I grew up as an only girl in a family of four children - two older brothers and one younger brother. In my formative years, I played soccer, stood on the roof top of my parents’ home, and hang out with my loving and protective brothers – bless their cotton socks! I was basically, a Tom boy and I have no regrets about this, as it helped to build my inner strength. I later went to boarding school to be under the guidance of women of God – Sisters of Charity– for 5 years! This underscores my demeanor - soft on the outside, but make no mistake, I am mentally tough on the inside, basically equal to 10 men! This girl is also not a quitter! When I believe that I can succeed in something, please step aside, and cheer me on as my fellow sisters! Eleanor Roosevelt after all says, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. My character is not a wonder because I also hail from a clan of hunters, Ba Sakakuwa! We hunt and bring back home, the spoils.
“Focus is the womb of accomplishment”
I went to kindergarten at a school opposite what is today called Kulima Tower on Chachacha Rd in the city of Lusaka in the late 1960s, when one could see only two or three cars driving past at a time. I later moved to nursery school at St Andrews Church on Independence Avenue, Lusaka, when Maina Soko Military Hospital was a Nursing Home for older bazungus! Our home was right opposite the hospital and that was my first home! I later went to what is today called Woodlands ‘A’ Primary School, followed by Roma Girls’ Secondary School where I obtained my General Certificate of Education (GCE). I may be wrong, but I believe we were the last cohort of Form 5’s in 1983, before the Grade 8 to 12 system was launched. We also missed National Service which ended with the 1980 group of Form 5s, if I recollect correctly. I believe that National Service was an essential programme that helped to strengthen the characters of young school leavers. It was also good for team building. One can literally tell the difference in the character of those who went to National Service from those who did not!
I later went on to the University of Zambia (Lusaka Campus) where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with Public Administration. After a number of years in private sector employment, I moved to Australia in 2001, where I had the opportunity to take a serious bird’s eye view of my life, and to discover the next steps in my journey. I believe that it is always good personal practice to halt, take stock of your life’s journey, and to reboot from time to time! You might just be heading in the wrong direction or miss out on an opportunity when you simply carry on. I believe in an organically evolving life, some self-criticism and not being too static - thinking that one has arrived! The world is our oyster…..we still have a lot to accomplish!
While in Australia, as a single mother of two and a self-sponsored student (with no scholarship in hand), I obtained a Master of Business Administration degree with Finance (2003) and a Graduate Diploma in Business (focused on research methodologies and leadership skills (2004). I later obtained a PhD in Business in 2009, focused on knowledge management within the sustainable development framework. I believe that I not only contributed to solving a social problem in the Zambian mining community, but also helped to hone the use of a [then] popular methodology.
I am honored and pleased to have been able to reference my father’s academic writing in my PhD thesis (Meebelo, H. S. [71, 86, 94]). I am also able to use my scholarly learning in the work that I do today, and to use it as a lens through which I observe the realities of the world around me. I have since added a number of skills to my toolbox over the years and I continue to do so. Age is never a limitation to further study! Among my most recent skills is Data Science/Analytics/Mining, which I thoroughly enjoy. It helps to massage my brain! I never get tired of learning new approaches and willingly being in touch with the current context - more so, during this COVID- 19 era when a large chunk of our work has gone virtual!
“Where life begins and love never ends”
“Be thankful and honour your beginnings”, says yours truly. I am the only daughter of the late Henry S. Meebelo, BA. General, BA Honors, MPhil, PhD (born in my village), who later rose through the rank and file of the civil service (1962 – once a District Officer in Kitwe!) to become a contributor to the development processes of our country. I am sharing this to inspire us all. “It always seems impossible until it's done.”
My mother Mary Penelope Nya Kamanga-Mfune Meebelo, daughter of a mine policeman in the Copperbelt, started her nursing at 17, and later became the first Sister in Charge of what we know as D-Block at the University Teaching Hospital, in the 1980s. These two people formed my backbone and made me realize that is possible to chip away slowly. Life is not a race. Stay in your lane and move at your own pace! Do not worry about the next lane (ba neighbour!) you will arrive at your destination eventually!
I have two surviving brothers, two children - a daughter, and a son - and I am blessed with two interesting granddaughters, whom I thoroughly enjoy talking to. All thanks be to God Almighty!.
“It always seems impossible until it's done.”
I have a set of transitional skills that enable me to work in different sectors. I have worked in the private and public sectors at national, regional (COMESA) and continental (African Union Commission) levels in the agriculture and food system, in mining exploration, commodity brokering, logistics, research etc, looking at various thematic areas. I have worked with a number of stakeholder groups: governments, donors, philanthropies, private sector, farmers, researchers, and academics, think tanks, legislators, civil society, the media, women, and youth etc. I have served on a number of regional steering committees and technical advisory boards.
”For I know the plans I have for you...!”
By God’s grace I hope to spend more time with family; mentor young people and the willing; teach (eventually); grow my own food and farm more; contribute to policy research and academic papers; hone my data science skills further; do more Zambia tourism; and, hibernate once in a while!!! How about you?!