ABDON YEZI, Chief Executive Officer –has been involved in the promotion of
theatre and media arts since 2000, when he formed Yezi Arts Promotions and
Productions (a privately owned arts promotion agency based in Lusaka, Zambia)
,as a way of contributing to the arts and cultural industry. In a country where the
sector does not have a significant contribution despite its huge potential, this
engagement has spanned over the years, and has seen Yezi work as an actor,
director, author, producer, and currently is applying managerial skills and
experiences on the development of the arts. As part of this crusade, in theatre arts,
Yezi has produced over 12 stage plays (three which were awarded for excellence,
and have had local and internationalexposure in the sub-region).
In 2002 Yezi pioneered a regional international theatre festival called the April International Theatre Festival, which
has been held five (5) times since its inception, attracting over 110 participants each time it has been held.
Motivated by the link between theatre and the budding film industry in Zambia, especially from the human resource
aspect, Yezi ventured into the production of five theatrical movies. This commenced a seemingly long journey of
contributing to the development of media arts – especially for increased local content and promotion, particularly
on the national broadcasting television station (and the emerging 3 private TV stations). Since 2001 Yezi has
produced several social-related documentaries on topics around elections, child abuse, corruption, debt
cancellation advocacy, women empowerment and other issues impacting on social, economic and political
developments. He has also produced five theatrical movies.
In 2005, Yezi commenced research into the area of Zambia’s contribution to the liberation struggles in Southern
Africa, which has directed the independent producer to not only commence on a feature length film but a series
of documentaries depicting various aspects of this important era in thehistory of the country. Under this project
the feature film entitled Nkhondo Ya Mkwezalamaba (War of Sacrifice) was considered while a series of
documentaries, including “Battle for Kavalamanja… In Defence of the Nation” has been produced.
The documentary has since attracted positive reviews from the media and was awarded 2008 Best Documentary
during the National Arts Council organized Ng’oma Awards. It has also been shown in a number of Southern
African countries, and participated in the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, in Greece.
“Kavalamanja Remembered”, a 74-minutes feature-length documentary was a follow and has been distributed
locally and internationally. This consistent initiative of communicating for development has seen one of Zambia’s
remote areas being opened up to development projects – which eluded them despite bearing the atrocities resulting
from Zambia assisting to liberate Southern Africa.Experience in video production, has spanned and been consistent
since the institution was established. Our engagement has been mostly working with civil society organizations and
government agencies in the promotion of social-development issues. Most of our productions have been shown on
the national broadcaster. We have also looked at alternative means of distribution, which has included us entering
into partnership with long distance public transporters, as part of a ‘bus campaign’, that has proved to be very
useful. We are currently advocating for a mechanism that would facilitate for financing and growth in the film
industry, including the establishment of a Film Commission. At a regional level, we are actively involved in
initiatives and institutions that aim to increase attention to the film industry.
While continuing to explore new artistic challenges, Yezi has utilized his profession as a vehicle for positive
change, becoming an advocate, activist and philanthropist in the fields of governance, sustainable development.
He has served at Board Chairperson of the Southern Africa Communication for Development (SACOD) a
sub-regional network of filmmakers, producers, and distributors with membership mostly drawn from the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. Currently, YEZI is part of an initiative aimed at establishing a
film school under the auspices of ZAMCOM. He is also a member of the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers
(FEPACI). Platforms such as those provided by the Arterial Network and the Pan African Federation of Film
Makers(FEPACI) have been useful for most practitioners in Zambia
Kalonje Ndhlovu, Director of Operations -has been in the arts from as early as
1980, then more in drama. Over the years he participated continuously in
performing arts winning various awards in different fora for acting, stage
management and directing culminating into the Best Director at the National
Arts Council awards ceremony, the Ngoma Awards, in 2002. As the film industry
was maturing in Zambia, Kalonje was involved in productions as an actor,
production manager and director. To date he has to his credit more than
10 productions of different genres including dramas, docu-dramas, adverts
and documentary at the influential role as director.
The themes have ranged from development, social, political and mere entertainment for various audiences and
clients. He has also been involved in radio productions opening up an experience in mass communication using
various media and interpreting divergent themes and topics for easy consumption by the public.
Kalonje’s versatility has evolved over the years as he has dealt with various theme’s and used styles of presentation
that differ from one project to another taking into account the targeted audience and changing times and cultures.
This has made it easier to work with various institutions like Government, Cooperating Partners, Civil Society,
Corporate World and the general public. Additionally, there has been a lot of skills transfer through interaction
with international filmmakers on communication for development through the use of media arts.
Having a marketing background has added value to the ability to digest information and also to understand target
audiences to develop strategies of information dissemination and suitability of the final products. He is meticulous,
interactive and spirited in achieving tagets.
Novan Kasana, Media Development Coordinator -has been in the media industry
since 2003 and has vast hands on experience in television studio operations and
computer systems. Worked for Trinity Broadcasting Network as a Television studio
specialist and Control room supervisor. While at Trinity Broadcasting Network, he
also worked with other media organizations in initiating transmission and
consequently supervised work in various television productions. Trainer in television
control and transmission, he has accumulated knowledge in various media tools
and technical devices, familiar with electronic media and interpretation of print
Produced UNICEF’s International Children Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) for 3years, in 2005, our production was
voted the best among other productions by ZNBC and MUVI TV.Produced a documentary for Salvation Army in
2010, covering 10 days of their prayer conference.Over the years, he has taken keen interest in learning and
mastering the art and techniques of camera work and video editing, and that has been his area of specialization
at Yezi Arts Productions where he has been from 2010. He has been the key person in video recording,
editing, mastering and packaging of productions, among them;
- Kavalamanja Remembered
- Agriculture in Zambia for Agricultural Consultative Forum
- Against all Odds for Women and Law in Southern Africa
- Decentralisation In Zambia for Ministry of Local Government and Housing
- 16Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women for GCDD, WLSA, Diakonia and NGOCC.
Other productions include;
- People’s Process on Housing and Poverty, this project involved three provinces, Lusaka province,
Copperbelt province and Southern province
- Mitengo Women’s Cooperative in Chongwe
He has also undergone training on How to be Innovative and Creative in an organisation, Organisational
Development and in the assembly of live production system for television programmes, and is abreast with
various Audio/Video editing application software.