Zambia: A Ring of Empowerment - the Circus That Teaches Young People How to Win At Life

analysis

A Zambian circus group's social initiatives could teach us all a lesson about the undervalued importance of play.

Gift Chansa grew up in Chibolya, a neighbourhood in Lusaka, Zambia, known as one of the roughest parts of the city. Stereotyped as a festering hub of crime and drug culture, Chansa's childhood backdrop came with a lot of baggage.

According to Chansa, "If you come from Chibolya, then no one takes you seriously." Few people in Lusaka would hire someone from Chibolya, and at job interviews Chansa and his friends used to say that they were from somewhere else, anywhere else.

"Sometimes though," said Chansa, "you don't think about it and you say, 'I am from Chibolya', and then people treat you different. You're always pushed back and reminded where you come from."

It's a vicious cycle, almost impossible to escape. No one could have predicted that Chansa was destined to fly - there were to be no boundaries pushing him back, and nothing stopping him from bringing Chibolya along for the ride.

It was in the streets of Chibolya, about 16 years ago,that the seeds of Chansa's incredible...

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