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Monday, August 1, 2011

My Journey to a meeting with the Princess of Africa

Can you believe that I am writing this blog on Sunday? Most of the times, my blogs are ready by Thursday, and then I post them on Monday (knowing that you are all sitting with great anticipation at your computers waiting for them)

It's been a busy and eventful week. Did you read my last blog? I hope you did, otherwise I won't continue writing this one. The event that I was talking about did in fact happen. She was here! And it was an honour and pleasure to meet her, talk with her, have lunch with her, joke with her, meet government officials with her, be her interpreter and the MC at the event in which she was the guest of honour. She is called the Princess of Africa (and she really is). Her name is Yvonne Chaka Chaka
Yes I was with her. I was with THE star of African music for an entire day and evening. I was with greatness. Check out her official website:

Chaka Chaka was invited by an organization of which I am part; and she was here in Burundi mainly because of her work with the United Nations in the fight against malaria. She is a true humanitarian and she has Africa in her heart. She was not supposed to sing at our gala, but what she did not know was that my boys Nicolas and Kijanya were planning to make her sing at all cost. Boy, it was magical to see my men sing with her!! They planned it so well that she could not resist. And when she hit the microphone, the crowd was at her feet. It was like a dream to see the Ngoma boys share the stage with Chaka Chaka, singing “Stand by me”, a song that she performed in the past with Bono of U2.

The gala was a huge success. Nobody wanted to go home. But it was mainly a huge relief for the organizers who put together the event (with so little help) and made it happen. I was with them, I saw what they went through to make it happen. I offered a little bit of help but the merit goes to them and they deserve it. Nana, Adrien and Machado, you are my heroes and the country should be proud of you (Nadege and Pamela, don't worry I did not forget you. You did a great job too).

I have been organizing events for quite some time and I know what it takes to make them happen. It takes serious commitment, dedication, faith and a lot of lack of sleep (lol). People who attend events just see the finished product but do not realize the amount of work that goes on behind the scene. It is so easy to see what went wrong at an event as a spectator and criticize, but the real challenge is to make it happen and very few people are willing to go the distance. Isn't that the same thing with success? We see successful people, admire them (or hate them), but we do not know what they went through to get there and the price they paid to be at the top.

What I have also seen is that, when you finally hit the goal, you don't even remember the pain you went through to get there (like a mother giving birth to a child). You want to do it again. That moment was this Friday when I saw Chaka Chaka on the stage singing with my Toronto friends, here in Burundi. Man, it was so great. I am sure Kijanya and Nicolas won't forget it too (for a long time)

Moral of the story? Do you want to meet a superstar? Just be one and you will meet the Princess of Africa.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

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