AKZAM - A Known Zambian

Do you, don’t do things to please people or to fit in - Hellen Zulu Phiri

The media and entertainment industry play a huge role in every society and has been doing so for a very long time from the time we used the vinyl records, compact disks, etc. till today. There are consistent changes and developments in the media/entertainment industry that require a lot of innovation and creativity. With new ideas and better ways to entertain and a of course rise entertainers in Zambia. There is a lot of potential for growth in entertainment so much that Zambia could be one of the best on the continent and perhaps the world. The best advice for every entertainer would be “TO BE YOURSELF”. Here is a story of an ambitious, creative and exceptional Hellen Zulu Phiri, a producer, presenter and a fashion designer whose personal motto is to Pray, Work Hard, Work Smart, and Play.

Give us a short background about yourself and about your personal life?

I am last in the family of five. I was born and bred in Kafue. I did all my Primary and Secondary education from Kafue, I completed my High School in 2008 at Naboye High School then I studied Journalism at the University of Zambia, as a child i always wanted to be a Journalist.

I have been married for four years now and have a beautiful daughter also I am quite adventurous.

Brief history of how you started in the media and what work done?

I did my internship from the ZNBC TV1 Newsroom in 2012, then continued working on a voluntary basis till i got employed in the Entertainment Department. I first worked as a Producer/field presenter Smooth Talk, Producer Born and Bred, Producer/Field Presenter Zed Connect, Producer/Presenter Unwrapped with Hellen, Producer/Presenter 3.7 Blaze, Producer/Field Presenter Morning Live. I worked for ZNBC from 2014 to 2019

Where are you based?

I am based in Lusaka, Zambia.

What do you think are the biggest changes in the media industry?

Some of the biggest changes I have seen are that people have become more innovative and creative and also we have a lot of Media houses around which means that there is a lot of competition now.

How do you want people to remember you?

As someone who contributed positively to the Media and I hope there is a young person who I have motivated to push and work towards their goals and obviously hoping my work will still stand out even when I’m gone.

What are some causes you are passionate about?

Helping people in need, my biggest wish is for one day to have an orphanage. I also care a lot about the girl child, I always want the best for all girls because they deserve, regardless of where they come from.

Do you have any other things you like to do?

I am an Entrepreneur running my own fashion line.
As earlier mentioned I am an adventurous person so I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, I also like hanging out with my friends and family as well. Trying out a lot of new things, including trying out different cuisines, I also like cooking and trying a lot of recipes. I especially enjoy being a mother.

What publications have you regularly read and what are your favorite books?

To be honest I don’t read as much as I used to, I was a book worm. I read literally anything I come across, one publication I used to read a lot was the People Magazine.

I have read a lot of John Grisham Novels and Sydney Sheldon, but I think ‘If Tomorrow Comes’ by Sydney Sheldon stands out. I also recently read Rich Dad Poor Dad, I love it. A lot of youths need to read it.

What is your personal motto?

Pray, Work Hard, Work Smart, and Play

Advise to the young people trying to be like you one day?

Stay focused on the goal, keep the passion burning because that’s what will drive you and finally always be open to learn.

Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of and also what would be you highest point in your career?

I hope every young person that has approached for help has somehow benefited from my advice, that should make me proud.

My highest point so far was having to create a show that a good number of people accepted and loved.

What do you think is so unique about You?

Just being me, you can never find another Hellen like me.

What is the biggest challenge you face?

I think it would be that if only our Industry had more financial muscle, we would be one of the best in Africa. It needs more support from all the sectors.

With so many people doing what you do, how are you different from others?

I’ll say it again, I stand out because I am me.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen in Zambia? and what is your favorite Zambian dish?

Chishimba falls is a beautiful place. I know the Victoria falls is amazing.

My favorite could be dry goat meat, dry Chibwabwa (pumpkin leaves) with Nsima. Nothing can beat that and they are best dried from the Eastern Province.

Why do you keep going, so many challenges but what makes you keep going?

I am optimistic things will get better plus I am still far from achieving my goal. So I have to keep chasing.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What advice would you have given yourself?

Do you, don’t do things to please people or to fit in.

By Kasonde Dalisto

Edited by Kantumoya Derrick Mpaka

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