Monday, April 24, 2023

LIAZ commemorates 2023 World Book Day

Participants at the World Book Day
in Lusaka West
The Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) today April 24, 2023 joined the rest of the
international community in commemorating World Book and Copyright Day themed " Your World" with Lubuto Library Partners at Lubuto Mthunzi American Youth Library in Lusaka West. 

The event was characterized by several activities which included a library tour, storytelling, read aloud session with the children and the book talk session which was led by a local author and producer of Kasuba's Inner Safari Quest Ms. Bwalya Penza. Ms. Bwalya born in Lusaka and educated in England is an author, speaker and certified Adventures in wisdom coach, teaches children how they would thrive as they navigate their way through life. 

 Over 40 children attended the event and LIAZ members who were in company were excited to learn about good children literature through this visit. Key to mention is the idea of braille children’s books in the collection and the excellent children's classification system displayed in the library which makes it easier for children to locate their favourite books.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Remembering Dr Vitalicy Chifwepa

 Library and Information Association of Zambia

Dr Vitalicy Chifwepa speaking at a LIAZ event
A few days ago, the library and information fraternity learnt of the untimely death of Dr Vitalicy Chifwepa. Dr Chifwepa was a highly professional and outstanding public servant, citizen and intellectual of our country who both practiced and taught library and information science. He started his career as a librarian in the Planning Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Development, as it was called then. That was after he obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Library Studies at the University of Zambia (UNZA). He proceeded to study for his Master of Library and Information Science at University of Western Ontario, Canada, after which he became a lecturer at the University of Zambia. 

He lectured in the department of Library and Information Science at UNZA from 1991 rising to the rank of Senior Lecturer. He later headed the Department before he was appointed as the Director of Distance Education at UNZA, and later as the University Librarian at the same university from 2008 to 2015. From 2016, Dr Chifwepa had been working as the Director of Quality Assurance at the Higher Education Authority (HEA), the position he held until his death on Tuesday, 29 March 2023. 

Of his many other accomplishments, Dr Chifwepa also served as the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) president, awarded a life member of the association, and mentored many people within and outside his professional circles. 

Dr Chifwepa’s death joins the many luminaries of our country who have gone before him, and whose work has impacted on many people. One after the other, the pioneering leaders of our continuing flight from want to knowledge, for whom the pursuit, production and application of knowledge constituted a way of life, have gone. The never-satisfied fat worm of death has consumed many of our intellectual guides and porters of light.

Like many others who knew and interacted with Dr Chifwepa, the moving tributes about him that have been read and heard from those who had the chance to experience life with him say a lot about the man. These testimonies demonstrate how, while alive, he touched the lives of others; that what he thought, said and did gave meaning and direction to the lives of many, lived his humanity on his sleeve and constantly challenged and enlisted us, as professionals, as human beings, to reveal or give expression to our inner greatness. Dr Chifwepa often spoke so passionately about the provision of quality library service for our country and his dream for the profession among others was the actualisation of the Library Professional Bill. It was as if he was spurred by the knowledge that the ultimate human legacy and essence of life is service to a given community, to humanity.

Dr Vitalicy Chifwepa
Many others who knew Dr Chifwepa would also agree that he consistently refused to draw attention to his earned and deserved academic credentials, believing, that conduct and sharing of one’s acquired specialist knowledge, not exhibition of one’s titles, is the fitting evidence of one’s education.

As members of the profession, colleagues and friends, we share the grief, sorrow and intense pain that Dr Chifwepa’s children and family must be feeling right now. They are not alone.  Many others, especially those whose lives he touched also feel his loss.

How does one let the world know how much debt it owes people like Dr Vitalicy Chifwepa – those who find a calling in nurturing the underdeveloped talent and endowment of genius that each person has by the sheer fact of birth; those who invest themselves completely into enriching the lives of others; those who find complete satisfaction in healing others; and those who, like academia and the professional practice, to which he contributed so much, are so selfless, so giving?

It remains our conviction that the relevance of death lies in its impact on those that live and that Dr Chifwepa’s death should inspire us to continually improve ourselves because it is in our quest for individual excellence that we truly become witnesses to the greatness of life and service to humanity. Let such deaths remind us to celebrate the ephemera and gift that each day is, to live now and in the present. 

Those of us still in possession of the gift of life have a duty to continue espousing and giving expression to the essential humane values bequeathed onto all future time by Dr Chifwepa and his outstanding predecessors, contemporaries, and successors no longer alive, so that their memory, individually and collectively, does not slide away as though they never lived.