Lulu Haangala is a Media Consultant, Moderator, Speaker, Host, TV presenter, Voice-Over Artist, Media agency partner and Brand Strategist.
Lulu is determined to really help the youth and hopes to keep taking up spaces that allow her to help facilitate greater opportunities and learning points for them. She believes that Zambia has a large youth population and they really are the future, and even more importantly the present.
We had a sit down conversation with Lulu Haangala, Read and be Inspired!
Share a little bit about yourself with us
I am a lot of things, but to summarise, I’ll simply say I am a woman, a media personality, a creative entrepreneur, a mother and a wife. I am a soft person, a hard worker and a lover of fun.
Take us through your career journey
I have over a decade of experience in the media industry with an extensive background as a Media Consultant, Moderator, Speaker, Host, TV presenter, Voice-Over Artist, Media agency partner and Brand Strategist.
I started out my career in music singing alongside my father early from the age of 4. We would sing in church and at concerts. This helped to prepare me for the career path I currently have because it gave me my first real experience of being in front of an audience with power. For example, when I was about six years old, we got the opportunity to sing for our late first President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda. That’s an interaction I carry with me to this day because I still remember Dr Kaunda saying to me ‘You’ll be great.” It’s really something that has kept me going. It was a very humbling experience, in general, singing in front of so many people but my parents made sure to keep me grounded.
After I graduated from university I got my first job with Muvi TV, where I not only played the role of a TV host but also learnt how to be a producer (and took on many other roles that were needed). It was an exciting time! It was and. Working at a new station (one of the few private stations at the time), gave us the opportunity to do what we wanted creatively but also meant a lot of learning on the job. It was one of the best launching pads anyone in the creative space could ask for. We were allowed to experiment and set out how we wanted things to go. We got to push barriers, there weren’t really any limits. My aim had been to push barriers with how presenters dressed and how we presented; we could have fun while being on air and not be so serious. I felt at the time that the media space was too serious and needed some change. I was happy to be a part of that small shift in entertainment TV.
After a while, I moved into the corporate space and worked at CitiBank for 3 years before going out on my own as a media entrepreneur
Since then, I have run a media agency, an e-commerce platform called Afrishop that offers African users an easy shopping solution for goods directly from China. The business took a hit during COVID and this forced my husband and I to take a look at what else we could do to get by. Interestingly enough my newly found passion for cooking and Williams’ experience turned out to be one of our biggest blessings. We are currently running a culinary food agency called the Wood Kitchen. What started out as just us showcasing our life and experiences as home-cooks using digital media such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube has developed into a flourishing and viable business.
A consistent part of my career so far has been my passion to giving back and I do so through the CSR arm of my brand called the #WeKeepMovingZM initiative. This is something I’ve carried with me and it’s since also evolved into a Wood Kitchen CSR initiative and that gives me a great sense of pride.
You have been a mastermind towards a number of projects. Can you tell us how these visions were birthed?
Outside of setting up Afrishop in 2019 and the Wood Kitchen in 2020, as mentioned, I set up the #WeKeepMovingZM Initiative.
It was started as a grassroots based organization whose primary interest was helping those in final years of school identify, create, and manifest a set of achievable goals which help them see beyond their present constraints and into their future. It has since expanded into an organisation that also aids young professionals and business women to achieve their aspirational desires for a better future, however, they may be envisioned.
The initiative is the long-term culmination of my deeply held need to help the next and current generation of Zambians live up to their full potential. The #WeKeepMovingZm Initiative has previously partnered with organisations such as Samsung, Pizza Hut, UNAIDS, Orca, Rhodes Food Group (RFG) and Mugg & Bean and most recently in the last year, MTN Zambia.
Has a UN Goodwill Ambassador, what’s the journey been like so far?
It’s been quite an eye opening journey. Getting to sit at decision making tables has been quite an honour, both at a high and low level. Having the opportunity to not only hear first-hand the stories of people living with HIV, but also be able to use my platform to highlight the work UNAIDs has been doing in Zambia has been an amazing experience. There’s so much nuance that gets lost when you’re merely hearing their stories on social media, radio or TV. Seeing just how much the work we have put has changed lives for the better makes everything so much more worthwhile and provides me with a drive to do more.
What’s the next step for you?
Top of the list right now is to keep improving and growing our current business. We would like the Wood Kitchen to evolve into a lifestyle brand so we can share more of our interests. We are taking it one step at a time and are very grateful for the opportunities and spaces we’ve worked in so far.
As a personal brand, I feel like I am at a point where I want to share more of the knowledge I have acquired over time and be able to use that even more in the Zambian community. I really have so much passion for our youth and hope to keep taking up spaces that allow me to help facilitate greater opportunities and learning points for them. Zambia has a large youth population and they really are the future, and even more importantly the present. We should do as much as we can to help them be equipped to handle whatever life may throw at them in future by passing on what we’ve learnt and also giving them the platforms needed to teach us about our changing world. Things are not the same and young people ought to be at the helm of driving change for the future they want to see and live in.
What would you say to your younger self?
I think firstly, I’d look her in the eyes and say ‘It’s okay to be who you really are and that your hard work will pay off.’ Growing up in a country like ours, being yourself can really be hard so sometimes you might think it’s better to pretend and simply blend in. I stuck with who I was and that’s how I got to where I am. Keeping my authenticity has really been my super power. So I would just encourage younger me to keep going and let her know it works out in the end. Plus would also tell her that ‘the right man is coming hang in there’.
To connect with Lulu Haangala and The Wood Kitchen, please visit:
Instagram- Lulu Haangala
Facebook- Lulu Haangala
LinkedIn- Lulu Haangala-Wood
Website- The Wood Kitchen