Gender Gender

Nkandu Beltz: Journalist, activist for the voiceless

AS a voice of the voiceless, Nkandu Beltz will be remembered as one of the few Zambian human rights activists whose influence transcends borders.
Her works have earned Nkandu “Makili Nshindano” titles of, a social change-maker, philanthropist, speaker and author in foreign lands, particularly Australia. She is proud that her positive influence is being felt in the diaspora.
She explains that she was encouraged by her grandfather to stand up for what she believed in, as a result  Nkandu, a Zambian based in Australia began petitioning for girl-child rights at a tender age of 10.
“Making change in the world is in everything I do. Whether I am mentoring young people, developing a new community programme or raising awareness for important issues like HIV/AIDS and domestic violence among others,” she says.
She adds, “The secret to life is hard work, self-discipline and persistence. I have always wanted to help people and I am happy God has allowed me to be a writer, journalist and a public speaker.”
Her incredible journey has led her across the globe to Australia, where she now lives with her husband Erik Beltz and children Kopano, Claire-Malaika and Erik Tatenda Jr.
She says she is following in the footsteps of her globe-trotting husband who is a senior medical officer for the East Kimberley region, Australia.
“Having lived in Botswana, then in 2005, her family relocated to the Netherlands and now in Australia, I have learnt a lot in as far as helping the needy is concerned.” She says.
She started by working from Kununurra, a small country town in North Western Australia, with a population of about 7,000 people by helping the needy in society. Kununurra means the meeting of great waters in the local aboriginal language.
There she did a lot of community voluntary work while running her own business as a writer as well as working with organisations like Save the Children Australia.
She was hired by the Kimberley TAFE as a part-time lecturer in delivering educational programmes to young indigenous women.
The programme involved grooming the girl child for a Kimberley Girl contest which focused on leadership, giving young indigenous women the tools to realise their full potential and to empower them in their endeavours.
Through her community work she has found inspiration to write her first bestselling book, ‘I have the Power’, which was published in 2014.
Nkandu discovered from an early age that it is in these little acts of kindness that a person has the power to make a positive and lasting change in the world.
Inspired by her mother’s determination to provide for her family in a tough economic climate, Nkandu believes that any human being has the power to make the best of any situation.
“Throughout life, we are confronted by different challenges; which are self-made, but it is how we choose to act in these situations that leads us to greatness. The key is never giving up,” she says.
As a member of UN women, Nkandu is particularly passionate about empowering women with this message.
Her book “I have the power”, highlights Nkandu’s challenges and triumphs of being born a girl in Zambia. It highlights the realisation that she has the power to make a difference and that no one can suppress her integrity, just because she was born a girl.
In October this year, she launched a second book “Fierce & Fabulous” which delves into the lives of 14 extraordinary Australian women who have overcome various challenges in their work and personal lives to achieve their dreams.
Nkandu explores what it means to be a successful woman in society today. Through the highs and the lows, these brave stories of triumph connect women from across the world.
Also among her greatest accomplishments are the opportunities she has had to meet and interview a number of important leaders, including his Holiness the Dalai Lama recently.
Born on May 30, 1983 in Katete, Nkandu is the first born in a family of five. Her siblings are Mwape, Mwansa, Zandi and Chiseche. Her parents Ethel and Henry Nshindano once lived in Botswana but they relocated to Zambia in 2008.
Despite being born in Katete in Eastern Province, Nkandu grew up in Ndola. She describes her childhood as being adventurous adding that, “As a child life was simple, straight forward and abundant. We never had too much or too little but always enough.”
Other than her parents, her grandfather and mother were her inspiration who imparted good morals in her at a tender age and the fruits of their labour is bearing positive results.
Her community work started at Kikombe basic in Solwezi where she started writing poetry and in Ndola where she even joined the drama club at Masala Secondary School.
Her writing focused on girl child education, equal rights and freedom of speech. Her parents and teachers had a massive influence on her because they encouraged her to write and recite poems.
At 18, she was youth advocate and was involved with the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) where used her influence through writing.
Nkandu is also founder and director of Youth Empowerment Programme Australia and Director of Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Social Enterprise Learning.
She was chosen as a Young Social Pioneer by Foundation for Young Australians in 2012 and a Creative Innovation Scholarship winner in 2013.
She is a social change maker who last year decided to run under Australia’s Greens Party as a Lowan candidate but she lost the elections. Still she says, “I have the power within because I am fierce and fabulous”.

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