Research Tips – Qualitative VS Quantitative Methods For Your Research?

It is important to know exactly when you need to settle on a research approach. Sometimes there can be conflict between using qualitative methods or quantitative methods or using a mixed-method approach. At such times, it is important to reflect on what the purpose of your research is and how you want the two methods to work.

The Saddest Song I Ever Heard – May It Never Be Repeated

The saddest song I ever heard is actually a song I don’t know. I must have been 14 or 15 years old when I heard it. Night after night, day after day I heard it play in the bedroom across to mine. It was sad. On repeat. It gutted your soul and you could feel the pain in it. The only three words I remember from that song are:

“Baby come back”

It was my parents female friend playing it. It was on repeat because she could not sleep. She could not sleep because she was in excruciating physical pain that she could never escape. But that song spoke of a pain beyond the physical. An intense emotional pain. I was young, and had never experienced love nor that level of pain, but I felt it. It has haunted me since.

She came to visit us as a last hope to stay alive. She had come to Malawi in the hopes of finding a traditional healer that could cure or help her. Stories were rife in those days about such cures for her condition.  Her legs were severely swollen. She could barely walk. In my medical school days years later I realised she must have had Kaposi’s sarcoma. It was one of the opportunistic infections brought on by HIV.

I knew then in my teens that she had lost her husband a while back. She had also lost her daughter, a beautiful girl who had been born blind due to German measles infection. Her greatest pain was no doubt losing them more than the physical pain she was enduring.

I had brief memories of her in my younger days – cheerful and full of life. I remember Mum going to visit her in her days in the UK with another friend of hers. The pictures looked like they had fun.

But here she was – in pain and unable to sleep. Unfortunately she came when my parents were out of the country. As the oldest child, they had left me some money to use for emergencies and cautioned me not to use it for any other purpose. When she asked me for some of it in order to go and get help for her condition I could not find it in me not to give it to her. She got the money and went on her quest before my parents came back home.  I remember taking a scolding for that when they returned. But I was glad I helped her, even though something in me told me it was futile.

She only stayed a few days with us. I heard that she died barely a week or so later. That song echoed in my head and in my heart.

“Baby come back”

In my thirties when I suffered from severe nerve pain in my legs and could not sleep for days, weeks, months, those words haunted me in the night. I could relate to her pain, though something told me hers was so much worse. I heard the words:

“Baby come back”

That song has come to symbolise suffering to me. Torment. Melodious yet inciting so much dark emotion. I have never heard it since I was a teen. Searched for it, but cannot find it.

Which is just as well. I am not sure that when I hear it, I will be able to hold back the tears.

“Baby come back”

Yet, there was hope. Not for her, but for so many after her. That was in the days before antiretroviral therapy for HIV. It has prevented so many people from suffering the same fate. One can only be grateful for the progress that has been made in this area and the fact that for many who are HIV positive now, life is almost as normal as before. What a change.

Thinking of her just brings the reality of HIV in those early years. Behind those statistics are very personal and touching stories – people and their lives, hopes and dreams. The countless others affected by their loss.

I my work, I try to remember that always. These are not just numbers. I have found in traveling across the world that there are many professionals who see it this way too. You can see it in their passion and dedication to this work, often in tough conditions.

I was young and did not know what to do or say to help. If I could go back, I would go in that room, hold her hand and say:

“It will be alright.”

Change Is Indeed Constant

Travel is good for the soul. Covid-19 pretty much brought an end to that. For a time, we forgot what it was like to be in airports, to be on planes, and to be in hotel after hotel. We got to see that we could actually achieve a lot online and at home, with a little focus and a few deadlines to work towards.

I personally forgot how much I used to travel, and cherished the time to be at home. It was refreshing in a way. But it also came with the demands of the online world, one meeeting to the next and  no excuse to be absent. There was no respect of timezones.

Now, it is back to the busy world of travel. Only, it is a mix of busy online schedules and in-person work. The two worls have merged, almost seamlessly – a hybrid work schedule. It is a little hard to remember fully what it was like just two or three years ago.

But what does it matter what it was? All that matters is what it is. The present reality is what we must deal with. At work and in our personal lives. Things change. People change. We change. Where we are now is what matters. We must navigate that and work with it.

One thing is for sure – there is no going back. You adapt or you perish. At work and in our personal lives. Change is the only constant:

“Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.” Ecclesiastes 7:10

So the good books says – the former things are former…and we cannot say they were better. We push ahead with the new.

Angel, Zambian Film Fixer Extraordinaire

The film production industry in Africa is blossoming and new talent is being discovered every day both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Zambia is no exception and in terms of behind the scenes talent is a very talented lady named Angel Hoare.

Rich Production Experience

Angel Hoare, Zambian Fixer/Local producer
Adventure is in the blood of Zambian Fixer, Angel

Angel has been involved in the film industry in Zambia for many years now and boasts of having participated in well-known local and international productions.

The list is quite impressive with big name TV shows such as  Amazing Race Australia, Amazing Race Israel, Occupation Double, Around  World  with  80-year olds and Top Secret Waterfalls for the Travel Channel. Locally she has been involved in big name shows for Zambezi Magic; Turn of Fortune, Amooye and Makofi, to name a few.

In these productions her roles have varied from Production Assistant to Assistant Director and Associate Producer. All very exciting and crucial roles in production.

Production Fixing Work In Zambia

In terms of production fixing work she has coordinated for a documentary for the African Development Bank on African Regional Integration. But, the icing on the cake must surely be working as a local production assistant for scenes shot in Zambia for the blockbuster movie Black Panther! An appropriate achievement given that one of the things she really enjoys from all her varied roles is fixing for productions.

Angel doing film fixing work for the Blockbuster movie Black Panther In Livingstone, Zambia
Angel doing film fixing work for the Blockbuster movie Black Panther In Livingstone, Zambia

Asked why this is so she points to her love of travel, adventure and discovering new and exciting places as what she really enjoys about being a Zambian fixer. She also enjoys meeting new people in diverse settings from the city scene to the village or wildlife scene.

Which is good, because when you are as personable and easy going to work with as she is a great personality comes in handy in terms of getting things done in a timely manner and on budget. It seems people cannot help but fall in love with her energetic and friendly demeanour.

As far as Zambia goes she is well travelled and promises to scout any production the right location for their film production work.

A Knack For Getting Things Done Well, & On Time

Angel at one of the many spectacular falls she has on her list of film sites for Zambia

She points out that often times clients are on very tight timeliness and budgets with little time to be in a particular location and therefore it is important to be highly organised and detailed in planning as a production coordinator.This is particularly the case for international crews that are in country for short periods of time with a lot to do, she adds.

Which is why having the right contacts and knowing the procedures for getting the various permits required for fixing work in a country like Zambia is critical. It can be a very challenging task to get around getting customs clearance for equipment to come into the country, press passes, drone permits, booking locations, permits for heritage sites and street filming, coordinating location managers and all.  But she makes it all look so easy with her diverse experience.  

A Long (& Secret) List of Spectacular Sites For Any Film Production

It is not always glamorous and sometimes you have to do the heavy lifting with film production work
It is not always glamorous and sometimes you have to do the heavy lifting with film production work

Asked what her favourite sites are she points to the many wonderful waterfalls around the country that offer spectacular backdrops to any scene, starting with her hometown Livingstone, with the famous Mosi-Oa-Tunya or Victoria Falls.

But she has a whole list of falls and amazing sites she has been to around the country which she keeps very hush about. In this industry knowledge is power and she knows that very well.

Which means I must stop prodding and simply say that it was wonderful to have this chat with her regarding this work.

Contact Angel for All Your Production Fixing Work In Zambia

If ever you aren’t familiar with local filming requirements in Zambia or need assistance sourcing local crew, equipment or other support services, Angel will provide all the logistical support needed for your production. You can reach her on the details below:


Phone or Whatsapp: +260976024229

Here Are a Few More Exciting Sites From Her Work & Adventures

President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema – A Resounding Victory for Zambia!

President-Elect Mr Hakainde Hichilema, Bally

The 16th of August 2021 was a historical day for Zambia. On this day, the President-elect of Zambia, Mr Hakainde Hichilema (popularly known as “HH’’) gave his first speech after winning a landslide victory against his main rival and ruling party opponent Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu (ECL).

I was privileged enough to have a press pass for the occasion and would not miss the opportunity to witness it, but also to take photos for my memoirs.

On this day, my personal feeling was that of huge relief on many fronts. Relief that finally Zambia had a president we could call a leader and a visionary. His speech was well articulated and inspired hope in a better Zambia.

Lungu’s presidency had left me feeling rather uninspired and frankly quite irritated at his lack of leadership and oratory skills. I was not alone in having abandoned watching the state broadcast channel which always featured him and his Patriotic Front (PF) cadres or political party leaders as the main focus of their daily news coverage, to the exclusion of all opposition parties, including HH’s United Party for National Development (UPND).

One always had a sense of dread and cringing at their senseless and often arrogant talk, which was often aimed at malignant their main opposition party, UPND, which won the latest election convincingly above the 50+1 percent constitutional requirement.

An additional irritation and disappointment was the obvious plundering of state resources that characterised the presidency of Edgar Lungu. We were bombarded daily with images and videos of PF affiliated people that were showing off money, luxury houses or luxury cars.

One remembers scandals such as the 42 fire trucks that were bought at a staggering 42 million dollars; the 48 houses that had no traceable owner; the embarrassing travel of a huge delegation of the first lady, Esther Lungu, to the United States to collect fire trucks that had been retired and essentially garbage; the endless illegal acquisition of land scandals; the disregard for the law and the constitution; the tribal hatred and divisions that were used for political mileage; and the Honeybee Pharmacy scandal of expired drugs and leaking condoms procured by a dubiously registered entity, as a few examples. The list of scandals swept under the rug is endless and we hope they will be uncovered with the coming of the new administration, though some PF members were already urging HH to focus on fulfilling his election promises and not to dig up (dubiously) closed cases such as the 42 fire trucks scandal. On can only laugh at such foolishness and determination to hide their misdeeds.

A young girl holds up the UPND campaign chitenge

The economy was on a downward trend despite massive borrowing and debt which the country was struggling to pay. Infrastructure had improved somewhat in urban areas but it did not seem to have much impact on the ordinary man. Besides, many had the feeling that this infrastructure drive was simply because it was a convenient and massive way to steal public funds through kickbacks to PF politicians from those awarded to do the work. The malls that had sprung up over the years were mostly foreign-owned and many shops had closed due to the harsh economic climate. The PF were eager to blame its economic failures on the Covid-19 pandemic, which came as quite a convenient scapegoat. But the discerning were aware that this downward trend had begun long before Covid-19 hit the country, mostly as a result of mismanagement and corruption.

We watched helplessly and tried our best to adapt as earnings tumbled to less than a third of their initial value in dollar when PF. Prices of goods and services sky-rocketed. Everyone was feeling the burden and complaining. Except the president and the PF.

Indeed for them life was rosy. They seemed to have an endless supply of wealth while much of the population was under extreme economic stress. It is this lack of insight that ultimately led to their downfall. Leading up to elections they flaunted their wealth, their infrastructure projects and their confidence to win. They had lost touch with the people they were elected to serve.

UPND Spokesman, Cornelius Mweetwa

It would not be amiss to say that all the criminal elements in the country came out of hiding under the rule of the PF. They knew that joining the PF was the sure way to conduct their illegal activities with impunity. They were untouchable, above the law and the police could do nothing to stop them. It is no surprise, but still a great disappointment, that in his last week in office ECL chose to pardon 60 convicts, many of him were murderers who had served less than half their sentences.

I went to visit some relatives in Mtendere recently after UPND’s victory and was shocked at the stories I heard. I was told that the PF had become the den of every thief and criminal there. Stories of theft, extortion, vandalism, harassing innocent citizens and even murder were shared. I was told the horrendous story of how someone was murdered by PF cadres, dismembered and dumped in a field, but the case went nowhere. Under Edgar Lungu’s rule they were indeed untouchable – nothing was done, I was told, about this gruesome murder. 

What a legacy to have as an outgoing president! Corruption, theft, plunder, impunity, arrogance, disregard for the rule of law and being totally detached from the people. I wish I could describe his presidency another way, but Edgar Chagwa Lungu was the sixth and worst president Zambia has ever had. We pray as a nation that he forever retains this title, we do not need it broken. Many Zambians can say with a sigh of relief – “never again”! We need no repeat of this self-labelled “humble” yet visionless president.

People celebrate the election victory at Community House, Residence of Hakainde Hichilema

He held the country to ransom and the courts of law were no consideration. His third term bid was given a stamp of approval by the, many would say compromised, constitutional court. But the people of Zambia said a resounding “NO” to his third term desires. It was not a moment too soon. Another 5 years of Lungu and PF would undoubtedly have brought the country to its knees.

But less than a week after HH’s victory change had already started. Cadres were removed from markets, bus stations and other places where they had illegally set up offices and were extorting money from people and business owners. Government contracts were cancelled, no doubt given to PF cadres and in fear of being exposed once the new government took over. The revoked broadcast licence to Prime TV was restored unconditionally by eh Independent Broadcasting Authority. Some illegally obtained assets were being abandoned in plain sight. A close associate of the outgoing president had his accounts frozen by the Drug Enforcement Commission. The markets responded favourably and the exchange rate against major currencies, notably the dollar, improved to levels not seen in years.

All this before HH is even officially sworn in as Zambia’s 7th president. How embarrassing for the outgoing president. How exposing of his ineptitude, incometence and lack of will to do what was right. How symptomatic of the lack of vision that characterised the PF’s rule. They had 10 years to bring about positive change and squandered it all. Many of them are now living in fear of reprisal from the people they oppressed as well as fear of losing their ill-gotten wealth. They cannot sleep peacefully in the luxurious homes they built with plundered national wealth. Apologies and resignations from them abound.

Former Vice-Presdieent Dr Guy Scott at the occasion

While HH had a reconciliatory tone in his 16th August speech, many hope that he will not stifle the law enforcement agencies and let them do their work to bring these criminal elements that were masquerading as leaders to book.

Indeed, many are concerned by reassurances by HH that ECL would be “okay” and wonder what this means. They are quick to remind the president elect that his personal forgiveness for what PF did to him and the country, including being arrested fifteen times and spending weeks in a filthy jail, are his right, but that he should not stand in the way of justice for the country.

People voted for change, but people also voted for justice for all they have lost over the years and for the injustice they have suffered. There has to be consequences. Plundered resources have to be recovered. That is what the people voted for and in particular the youth who were labelled as “disgruntled” by the PF when they dared to protest.

They came out in their millions and voted for HH or “Bally” as they had come to call him. What an underestimate of their voting power by the PF. One said to me “I did not know what power there was in my vote until now, I am glad I voted.” What a sign of the PF myopia and arrogance, to the extent of releasing a song in local language saying ‘’sorry, but he will retain his seat.’’ They knew very well that they were not wanted but were determined to stay in power at all costs.

The heavy investment in the police and military both in terms of personnel and anti-riot gear was a clear sign that the people were to be controlled once this election had been won by them using any means possible. Dumped pre-marked ballot boxes are a testament to this.

I wish I had something nice to write about the PF and ECL, but forgive me, I do not. Some would say he deserves kudos for conceding defeat and agreeing to a peaceful handover of power. But is that not what a president in a democratic society is expected to do? Further, it is clear that this was largely due to the overwhelming margin by which he lost and was ”impossible to rig” as many of his advisors had told him.

I do not regret voting for PF and not Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) in 2011. It was time for the MMD to leave just like it was time now for the PF to leave. They both portrayed the same arrogance, corruption and disregard for the law. Unfortunately, PF let into its ranks the very people from MMD that we had voted out.

Vice-Presdient-elect, Mutale Nalumango

One would say the MMD folk now turned PF had learnt nothing from their equally humiliating loss. Perhaps that they continued to plunder under PF gave them confidence that Zambia was theirs to loot no matter what and that its peaceful people were powerless to do anything about it.  Let this be a harsh lesson for the UPND as they take over to serve the people of Zambia. Zambians do not want to see the same people they voted out back in the guise of “working with the government to serve the people of Zambia.” They failed to serve the people and thought only of themselves for 10 years. They do not deserve another chance.

HH takes office with a clean political record. The expectations of the people are high. His speech on the 16th of August sent a signal that these expectations would be met. Respect for law and order, zero tolerance for corruption, press freedom, economic recovery and growth, professionalism and appointment and promotion on merit and not on tribal or political party lines were all part of this speech, which was a breath of fresh air and made many proud to be Zambian once again.

We can only wish him and our Vice-President, Mutale Nalumango, the very best as they take up governance on the 24th of August 2021. We want you and UPND to succeed, for the sake of mother Zambia.

Under Edgar Lungu we were a country held captive by the organised crime family that had become the Patriotic Front. We can now proudly sing the words of our national anthem – “Free men we stand, under the flag or our land” and “Praise be to God.”

“Bless our great nation, Zambia.”

Godspeed, Bally!