Sep 9, 2010

A New Project

I am starting a new project that has me very excited! I am going to document my grandfather’s life story. Grandpa Lyombe (fondly known as Old Phil) is an avid story teller and has led a remarkable life thus far. He was the youngest of eight children, and the only son to boot. He has been our family patriarch almost from the moment of his birth.

He was one of the earliest and youngest native Zambians to serve as a District Governor, and he also served in many other capacities during the first post-independence government. He ended his career as a diplomat in the Foreign Service, and has since spent his retirement as an indulgent grandfather, church elder and somewhat reluctant farmer. J

Beyond his impressive professional career I consider him to be the gatekeeper of our family history, and I feel the need keenly to record his stories, musings, and insights before they are lost after his death. This may sound morbid, but it’s the truth. My beloved Old Phil is not getting any younger, and I have to take advantage while he’s still alive and lucid to share his stories to willing (and unwilling) listeners.

I have recruited my younger brother to sit down with our granddad, and start the process of recording him on an audio recorder. I will follow up with my own interviews when I next go home, and perhaps even go through his old writings to weave the whole fabric together. This man has trunks of books and notes that hopefully haven’t turned to dust.

I am not entirely sure how long this will take to complete but I intend to put a lot of effort into it. At this point my end goal is have the final product in some written format to share with my siblings, and other family members who may want a copy. I may take advantage of low cost self-publishing services available online.

I want this project to honour my grandfather’s legacy and to keep his story alive for generations to come after us. I am not ready to officially call this a biography because that that just sounds too serious; I know I’m splitting hairs, but I reserve the right to do so. 

If anyone has done anything similar, would you be willing to share any tips or pitfalls to avoid or any general words of advice? I want to do this as efficiently as possible, and not bite off more than I can chew.

So, since I’ve put this out there I’m committed! I pray for continued tenacity to accomplish this somewhat lofty goal… 


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