Ricardo Braun presents Zikomo Zambia – a documentary film

In November 2016 the Practical Impact Alliance (PIA) Co-Design Summit, hosted by the D-Lab of MIT, took place in Kafue and Naboye, Zambia. The empowering people. Network is a member of the Alliance and was part of the event. Thanks to the empowering people. Network, Ricardo Braun, Brazilian biologist and filmmaker, could attend the Summit. He captured his authentic impressions of the event and the environment with his camera. Once back in Brazil he produced the documentary film “Zikomo Zambia” to share the traditional knowledge and genuine atmosphere of happiness alive in rural Zambia. Today we are glad to finally present the documentary on the empowering people. Blog.

The documentary film “Zikomo Zambia” merges three aspects of his trip to Zambia: The ecological modus vivendis of Naboye, the dramatic wildlife arena of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and finally, the international Practical Impact Alliance (PIA) Co-Design Summit held in Kafue and Naboye.

Learning from Naboye’s sustainability
Naboye is a community in the outback of Kafue. Most houses there are made from earth. There is no electricity, piped water or sewer systems, and local residents produce much of what they consume. But the low ecological footprint demonstrates a sustainable way of life that few modern ecovillages have reached in the western world. The traditional lifestyle of the Mwachiyaba and Mokaluka settlements are shown in the documentary. “I wanted to show that Zambia was also teaching us about their ancient culture of earth construction, ecological housing and the low impact lifestyle. In my point of view this is also ‘technology for basic needs’ but seen from another perspective”, said Ricardo Braun.

Vivid pictures of Zambia’s dramatic wildlife
Zambia is one of the cradles of the human race tracing back three million years. It is located in the meridional African savanna biome. The intense climatic conditions there determine how ecosystems and wildlife develop in different parts of Zambia. The dry season may last for eight months with high temperatures as experienced during the development of this film. Among other impressive landscapes, the documentary shows the splendorous Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River – the UNESCO World Heritage and natural boarder between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Collaborative Actions against poverty
The Practical Impact Alliance (PIA) aims to alleviate global poverty by promoting collaborative learning and development. The Co-Design Summit in Zambia brought together a group of designers, entrepreneurs and innovators from different countries with local entrepreneurs and people from local communities. Together they worked on solutions for child nutrition, sanitation, water management, education, pest management and mango products. The film is an inside look into an inspirational co-working experience and the idea generation processes that were explored through the different views and working areas.

The summit was co-organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT D-Lab), the National Technology Business Centre (NTBC) and World Vision Zambia. These organizations provided the logistics, accommodation, catering and transport during the event.

The landscape of Zambia and a group picture of the PIA Co-Design Summit 2016 team

Filming with a Zen mind

“I had no film script to guide the takes I developed in Zambia. I spontaneously selected special scenes to show the genuine reality of rural Zambia. So it was challenging to tell a coherent story afterwards. To connect the different scenes I tried to use as little text as possible to let the scenes tell the story by themselves, which is part of the Zen Lineal Film concept”, said filmmaker Ricardo Braun. The movie is part of the Zen Linear Film Expeditions Project that contains films with compositions where the movements and rhythms of nature are captured in different scales. The idea is to induce the viewer to connect to a certain ecosystem in order to observe the beauty, the textures, the colours, the light, and the dynamics of the natural world without many explanations.

Documentary Zikomo Zambia – Images and sounds of vernacular Zambia


Biologist, designer and filmmaker, Ricardo Braun has worked in the environmental area for more than 35 years. He studied at the School of Fine Arts (UFRJ) in Rio de Janeiro and was trained in film development and editing in Germany and Switzerland. He participated in several research and film expeditions in the Amazon region, Africa and Europe. He is member of the Empowering people. Network, the Maya Project and ACES in the UK. He coordinates the film project ‘Eyes of Nature’.

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