KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
FACED with lack of financial support, Patrick Salubusa failed to sit for his Grade 12 examinations at Libala Secondary School in 1999. In 2014, at the Evelyn Hone Collegeâ€™s 47th graduation ceremony, he was awarded the best graduating public relations student award.
â€œMy education journey is a testimony that the failure to sit for an examination can be turned around as long as one realises the importance of education,â€ says the man the public has mostly come to know as Sauloshi for his antics on stage and radio.
Having also done video editing, he established Saulos Media Productions (SMP) Ltd, a firm specialised in audio-visual productions, public relations and events management.
â€œApart from managing various private and corporate events through the provision of dÃ©cor, catering, videography, photography and entertainment services such as hire of masters of ceremonies, comedians, dancers, disc jockeys and many other services, the company has produced a number of television and radio productions designed to promote various services,â€ he says
The firm has produced dramas and adverts for the National AIDS Council (NAC), Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), MTN Zambia, ZANACO, Kwatu, Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), HIVOS and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
What Sauloshi has done is to combine both his artistic talent and his academic preparations in order for him to put food on the table through SMP Zambia Ltd.
â€œIn short, Salubusaâ€™s name of Sauloshi has graduated from being a stage name to a company which has now employed seven full time staff members and 10 part time sales agents plus more than 35 actors working with the firm,â€ he says.
The Sauloshi name is also now increasingly being associated with politics, particularly in Matero where the Kabwe-born actor has lived for most of his life. He is Patriotic Front (PF) Matero constituency vice-secretary as well as mobilisation committee secretary and the chairman for the fundraising committee.
Sauloshi, who, as a comedian, is known for telling stories about the komboni (township), has intentions of standing either as a councillor or member of Parliament.
â€œA lot of people have represented Matero constituency as MPs and a lot of them have represented the people of Kapwepwe ward 25, where I currently reside, as councillors but I can tell you that once I am elected, that is when you will see a true servant of the people in shanty compounds because those stories I tell about Komboni life are not mere jokes but an indication that Komboni life is in my blood and that I understand it better than those who are not committed to bringing development to this area,â€ says Sauloshi, who has four children with his wife Rosaria Chama.
â€œEven the failure by my parents to raise school and exam fees in my twelfth grade and coming to sit for G.C.E. [General Certificate of Education] using the money raised through my talent makes me understand the problems komboni parents go through hence my resolve to bring politics which will improve peopleâ€™s livelihoods.
â€œMy job as a comedian is to put a smile on peopleâ€™s faces but you cannot put a smile on a youth who fails to raise money for school and eventually drops out of school. You cannot put a smile on a widow who fails to feed herself, her children and her orphaned grand-children. No wonder I am coming into politics to be the voice of these people, empower them and allow them to at least smile.â€
Sauloshi is joining a long list of artistes joining politics such as Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda, Kawambwa member of Parliament Rogers Mwewa, musician-cum-human rights activist Maiko Zulu, musician Chris Aka, comedian Ozzias Kaundula Banda, comedian Ben Phiri and former Lusaka Province minister Charles Shawa.
As an artiste, Sauloshi was elected director of the Ifyabukaya radio drama which he joined in the year 1998 as a cast member. With Ifyabukaya being a member of the National Association of Media Arts (NAMA), in 2012, he was elected as chairman of the association which represents all broadcasting houses, production companies and individual artistes and journalists involved in film, television and radio productions.
Under his leadership, NAMA introduced the annual Zambia Film, Television and Radio Awards (ZAFTARS) which will be running for the third year in 2016. Last year, he was re-elected for another three-year term as NAMA chairman.
As a media arts administrator, Sauloshi has participated in the development of the National Film Policy, the Digital Migration Policy and the National Arts Council of Zambia (NAC) Strategic Plan apart from sitting on the Task Force on the Implementation of the Hologram at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services as well as being the link between the Zambian filmmakers and the Federation of African Filmmakers (FEPACI), an umbrella body for all film associations in Africa.
He is certainly passionate about media arts.
â€œMedia arts, just like any other art form is there to entertain, inform and educate society and when it comes to job creation and promotion of the countryâ€™s tourism potential, media arts play a bigger role than any other art form because media arts is in charge of broadcasting as media arts include film, music video, new media, radio and television content and it is undisputable that countries like Nigeria are well-known today because of Nollywood, and that is the film industry,â€ he says.
â€œWith broadcasting content being taken as gospel truth, media arts has potential to lead or mislead the nation as far as culture is concerned as broadcasting of films, TV and radio content which is morally wrong is dangerous for the future of our cultural norms.
â€œTherefore, media arts, or production and broadcasting of audio-visual works, is one of the many ways of keeping a communityâ€™s identity alive but this requires the development of capacity and infrastructure to produce these products.
â€œThe experiences from other countries on the continent suggest that it is possible, through concerted action, government support and a transformed broadcasting environment to have a vibrant film, television and radio entertainment industry and this is because products like a film makes a contribution firstly to the economy through the production of the same film and secondly creates jobs which benefit other service providers such as equipment rental, catering, transportation, fashion designing, props and set designing, musicians and many others.â€
Sauloshi was born on December 23, 1980 in Kabwe and went to Nkwashi Primary School in Kabwe and later to Namando Primary School in Lusaka before proceeding to Matero Boys Basic School and then Libala Secondary School.
It was at Libala where he failed to sit for his Grade 12 examinations owing to financial difficulties. But 10 years later, he went to Chitanda G.C.E. Centre to sit for General Certificate of Education before proceeding to The Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authorityâ€™s (TEVETAâ€™s) Audio-Visual Unit for a certificate in video editing. And in 2013 a he completed his public relations course at Evelyn Hone College.
It will be interesting to see how his career unfolds in the coming years.
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka