Zambian emeralds have to be among the most famous and iconic gemstones in the world. They’re sought after all over the world for their natural beauty and colour. Record breaking emeralds have been mined in Zambia. Different forms of mining yield a lot of revenue for Zambia and for the companies who are involved in the sector. These companies undertake corporate social responsibility activities to give back to the society which they reap profits from, which is the right thing to do.
What I have noticed recently though is that companies like to use the same social responsibility in slightly different ways so they can get more marketing mileage from the money they spend. This includes the sponsoring of events. Companies either sponsor events that relate to their focus areas or they partner with agencies or media houses and come up with bespoke events which are organised to give the company exposure.
Now, this story isn’t about gemology or mining or a marketing lecture. Recently I had travelled within Zambia and after a long day’s work checked into the hotel and settled into my room. On this particular day I had a certain channel playing and after a bit of news it was announced that the next programme was going to be an inter-school quiz program sponsored by a certain emerald mining company in Zambia.
This got me very excited as growing up I used to actively participate in quizzes, including regional quizzes with some friends. The excitement of sitting with your teammates all night and brushing up on various topics used to be a lot of fun. When you are young you have the hunger for knowledge and the anticipation of what the questions could be would leave me sleepless. So, I promptly decided to watch the quiz and see how things have changed some 20 years after I used to quiz.
For the sake of me not getting sued by anyone, below are the changed and fictional names I will be using:
TV Channel: Zambia TV – ZTV
Emerald Mining Company: Zambia Emeralds – ZE
Agency Hosting Quiz: Environment Zambia Limited – EZL
Quizmaster: Very Angry Lady – VAL
School Team 1: S1
School Team 2: S2 (Unluckiest school quiz team in the world)
School Team 3: S3
Before I start, in my experience of school level quizzes, quizmasters are always very receptive and encouraging of participants and leave a bit of leeway when answers are somewhat correct. Unfortunately, VAL was having none of that and was ruthless with the participants.
The quiz was quite interesting and the team did amazingly well in open rounds. To cut the story short S2 (Unluckiest School Quiz Team in The World) lost in the end, but they should have been absolute winners as they gave the most precise answers but thanks to VAL they lost. Below are some excerpts.
VAL – Welcome to the inter-school quiz competition which has been set up by ZE in partnership with EZL and we thank ZTV for hosting the event on their channel.
VAL – Team 2, what is the color of the Zambian emerald, I repeat myself again, what is the color of the Zambian emerald?
S2 – (Full of enthusiasm, the girl in the team leans to the mic and says) It is green.
VAL – Wrong, the correct answer is emerald green
S2 – (Stunned silence)
VAL – Team 2, you can make up some points with the next question. Listen carefully. How much does ZE mine contribute to world emeralds?
S2 – We would like to clarify if it is a percentage in the answer?
VAL – The answer to your question is yes
S2 – Ma’am, we know the answer and it is 26 percent (The girl in the team was super confident this time when she answered)
VAL – That, is a wrong answer
S2 – (Totally sad, the girl hangs her head in shame)
VAL – The correct answer is between 25 percent and 30 percent
S2 – (Beyond grief)
VAL – Team 2, the next question is which authority in Zambia handles waste?
S2 – (The girl is now reluctant to even answer, her teammates try this time)
VAL – Please note before you answer that this is the last round and, in this round, I would like to remind everyone that you will have two chances
S2 – Thank you ma’am, our first answer is EZL
VAL – That is incorrect, what is your second answer?
S2 – Waste Management Agency
VAL – That is also incorrect and as a result of two wrong answers you do not receive any points. Hence as the quiz has come to an end, I would like to congratulate S3 for winning the quiz challenge today.
S2 – Ma’am, what is the correct answer?
VAL – Sorry, the correct answer is local authorities. Local authorities handle waste in Zambia
S2 – (Never will quiz again in life, alas)