The last 18 months have been one of the most creative periods across the Pan-African world. More people than ever took the plunge to start conversations, launch enterprises, and centre “purpose” in their vision for their futures.
That all of these sparks began to fly at a time when people could not meet and talk and discover new spaces together meant that so many initiatives were digital from conception. But not Lisanga Vibes. Founder Marcy Massaki from the beginning wanted to build real community in the traditional sense of the word, i.e. face-to-face. She moved her conversations online for a while as we all did but she is ready to jump back into the “real” world this December with an amazing event at the Africa Centre, London.
The AHP caught up with her to learn more about this visionary Pan-African.
How did the idea of Lisanga Vibes come about?
Having lived between Paris and London, I realised that working in urban cities left little space for productive networking. So, I wanted to change the narrative starting with my own network. As a storyteller, I am deeply passionate about African cultures, African history and love to highlight talents about the continent and its diasporas. I love researching but I mostly love sharing what I learned with others. I needed a safe space where these open discussions could take place so one evening of January 2019, I invited a few friends for dinner at home and this is how Lisanga Vibes started.
What inspires your desire to connect Africans on the continent and those in the diaspora?
I am a proud Congolese who was raised with a pan-African heart. Speaking fluently Lingala, English and French, I am a polyglot millennial who could not help but use those languages as assets to connect with my community wherever I go. I love exchanging ideas and discussing with people. We are blessed to come from a culture where orality is essential so I guess it must be coming from my ancestors!
Related Lecture: An Introduction to African Religions
What are the aims and vision of your organization?
Lisanga means ‘gathering, meeting’ in Lingala one of the languages spoken in D.R. Congo. Lisanga Vibes is a safe space for the African Diaspora where they can meet, bond and connect beyond social media. Our events encourage cultural exchange within the community as we want the diaspora to bond with one another as much as possible and connect with their roots. Based between Paris and London, we work daily to bridge the language gap by producing content for an audience either francophone and anglophone via our blog, our podcast “Around The Tree” and the “Crispy Talk Show” on Youtube.
What were some of the challenges in starting and running the organisation?
Being a young entrepreneur is never easy, it feels like working three jobs at the same time. So, I would say the most challenging is staying motivated every day, keeping the objective in sight and not giving up regardless of the ups and downs.
Are there any other upcoming events you would like us to know about?
Yes, definitely! We are hosting on 4th December 2021 our second anniversary party at the Africa Centre, London. We have been planning this for months and cannot wait to celebrate with all of you. There will be games, food, drinks, music and many more surprises. Only thing I can say is save the date ! You can find our tickets on AfroMoya. We also have one more “Crispy Talk Show” to produce this month, so please subscribe to our YouTube channel and you won’t miss anything.
Anniversary Party Registration: https://www.afromoya.com/event/view/lisanga-anniversary-party
Can you share with us some of your company’s accomplishments and successes so far?
In less than two years, Lisanga Vibes became a brand with four branches. We started with events which were stopped because of the lockdown but will come back in 2022. We also expanded digitally with our blog on one side and the “Crispy Talk Show” on YouTube, where I have the opportunity to invite amazing guests. Finally, we also produce, in French and in English, our podcast “Around the tree” which makes our community travel through the diaspora with us. When I think about how it all started in my tiny flat two years ago, I can only be thankful to all those who supported us from day 1.
If you were to name one thing you are proud of as an African, what would it be?
Our culture. I love the beauty in our cultures, and it is such an invaluable heritage which makes me so proud to be African every day.
Which African would you say has influenced you the most?
This is a tough question, I could give you hundreds ! There are so many coming to mind, I cannot choose just one so will give you three names : Mama Kimpa Vita because I would not be a good Congolese if I did not mention her, Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela she is such an incredible queen and finally Assata Shakur because when I read her autobiography she healed me.
How can people who want to join your community reach out to you?
We are very active on social media so they can easily find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We also have our website where they can subscribe to the newsletter and stay connected with us.
- Website : https://www.lisangavibes.com/
- Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/lisanga.vibes/
- Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/lisanga.vibes/
- Twitter : https://twitter.com/LisangaV
- LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/company/68244704/
- YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCefDODB5hazD9WicsSV5erg?view_as=subscriber
Are there any people that you would like to acknowledge for their immense support to your organisation?
Yes and again there are so many to thank. It would be long to list everyone, but I would like to thank all amazing women who came to any Lisanga event in 2019. Remembering our dinners and their smiles keeps me going, we are a strong community now. In the background, I am blessed to have been nurtured by Ismacom, the amazing designer of our logo, by AfroMoya our ticketing platform with whom we have an amazing brand partnership and finally our strategy advisory agency MAHÔL AGENCY for their continuous support as they also gave life to Lisanga Vibes. I am immensely grateful to my close family circle as well as our growing Lisanga family and to you for this interview !