Prof. Debra Spitulnik Vidali, PhD is the developer of the Bemba Online Project (BOP). She is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Emory University (Atlanta, USA) and the Founding Director of the Re-Generation Initiative. Over the past 25 years Prof. Debra Spitulnik Vidali has contributed to the anthropology and linguistics of Zambia, through the documentation and analysis of the Bemba language and through publications examining state-run broadcasting and urban life during the Kaunda period, alternative media, and broadcasting history. Contributions to Bemba linguistics span a range of linguistic levels, including morphosyntax; semantics; loan words; language variation and change; multilingualism and codeswitching; discourse circulation; and speech genres. She received her PhD in Anthropology and Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 1994. Her roles in BOP development include: project conceptualization, website design, linguistic scholarship, audio recordings, and web authoring. Select publications can be found here.
Prof. Mubanga E. Kashoki is one of Zambia’s leading scholars in the field of linguistics, as well as a senior academic advisor within the Zambian university system. Prof. Kashoki co-authored the grammatical description of the Bemba language with Debra Spitulnik Vidali. Prof. Kashoki is currently the Research Professor of African Languages in the Institute of Economic and Social Research (INESOR) of the University of Zambia (UNZA). Prof. Kashoki has served in various capacities at UNZA for over 40 years, after receiving the MA in Linguistics from Michigan State University in 1967. In addition, Prof. Kashoki served as the first Vice Chancellor of the Copperbelt University. Click here for Prof. Kashoki’s faculty page at UNZA.
Rev. Maidstone Mulenga served as a Bemba language consultant during Phase 1 of the project (1998-1999), in the development of the linguistic material and audio recordings that appear in the verb and phonology sections of the BOP. Hear Rev. Mulenga reflect on his language here. Rev. Mulenga is a native of Zambia who currently serves as the Assistant to Bishop Marcus Matthews, in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is also a trained journalist and worked at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle newspaper from 1995 to 2010 in various capacities, including Global Editor in charge of national and international coverage.
Prof. Makasa Alexander Raymond Kasonde contributed extensively to the development of textual materials that will be featured in the future on the BOP. This includes Bemba language transcriptions and English translations of material recorded from Zambian radio. Prof. Kasonde has published extensively on the Bemba language and is currently on the faculty at Africa University in Zimbabwe.
Bella Siangonya (MPH, Purdue 2010) was the lead webmaster for BOP website development in Summer 2014. Mr. Siangonya is a native speaker of Tonga, and contributed to the project with his technical skills in WordPress web authoring. From 2010-2014, Mr. Siangonya worked at Emory University on HIV and Tuberculosis prevention, and other health initiatives, within Zambia and South Africa.
Jayne Kangwa contributed to the BOP in May 2014 with Bemba language transcriptions of material recorded from Zambian radio and with feedback on website design. Mrs. Kangwa, a native speaker of Tumbuka and a fluent speaker of Bemba, brought her expertise in Zambian oral literature and drama to the BOP. She holds a BA (Education) from the University of Zambia and a post graduate diploma in International Relations from the University of Nairobi. She has over thirty years of experience in the Zambian civil service, including middle and senior management positions in the Zambian ministries of Energy and Water Development, Foreign Affairs, and Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources.
Nida Kangwa contributed to the BOP in May 2014 by reviewing and typing up handwritten manuscripts of English language transcripts of material recorded from Zambian radio. Miss Kangwa is currently a junior at the University of Maryland University College pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Management.
Yuan He contributed to the BOP in May 2014 as a technical assistant. He was involved in digitizing analog recordings of Bemba language material and in organizing Prof. Vidali’s archive of recordings from Zambian radio and fieldwork interviews (1986-1990). Mr. He is a student at the Emory College and is from Shenzhen, China. He is studying applied math, linguistics and pre-business.
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