Duncan Sodala is a Zambian rapper who performs under the stage name The Holstar. During the stretch of his career, Duncan has also managed the highly successful rap group, Zonefam. While Duncan’s days of managing artists are behind him, his days of making music aren’t. His latest musical offering is a 4 track EP called AFRICORE, which was released in December of 2018. Duncan Sodala remains active on the music scene, but is mostly known these days for running Zambia’s first-ever mobile comic book store, Time Machine Zambia, alongside partners Nkole Malauni and Muhongo Chenda.
Time Machine Zambia is the only “place” in Zambia where you can get collectibles like comic books, video game and anime figurines, vinyl records, and even modern and classic vinyl players and anything else that you would deem a collectable with nostalgic value. You place an order, and the Time Machine guys will get their hands on it for you, if they don’t already have it in stock.
Duncan shared on the first-ever episode of the Time Machine podcast (also known as Timecast) that he first conceptualised the idea of Time Machine sometime back in 2015 when he noticed the Zambian comic book and anime community had really started to grow and take form. “I thought to myself, everyone used to read comic books back in the day, but not a lot of people had the access to comic books in Zambia.” With that realisation he had what he calls a “eureka moment.” Duncan took a risk and set out to fill the gap he saw in what could be a booming industry – by ordering a batch of comics online, which he would later put up for sale. The feedback he got from the endeavor was amazing.
Time Machine cites the first annual LSCon (Lusaka Comic Con) back in 2015 as its first major outing. Nkole Malauni described it as overwhelming. “The minute we opened the gates we had people flying in left and right, it was insane.” Nkole also added that the first comic book they sold right off the bat that day was a popular DC comic book called ‘Killing Joke’ by Alan Moore, released in 1988, a gem for any comic book collector. There’s no better place to take a mobile comic book store than to geek Mecca, which is exactly what LSCon is – a holy place where nerds/geeks with different interests come together to meet and celebrate all aspects of geek culture.
Time Machine isn’t just found in spheres that cater to the nerd/geek community, even though that’s their biggest audience. You can find them set up almost anywhere as the team frequents a lot of different events, as would be expected of a mobile business. You can catch them at malls, food markets, music festivals and restaurants.
One such restaurant is The Orange Tree restaurant found in the heart of Kabulonga. Duncan and Nkole highlighted the Orange Tree experience as one of their most highly successful outings along with to LSCon. “Some of the kids that came out to LSCon came through to The Orange Tree and they bought a lot of books,” Duncan recounts. “What sold other than the comic books that day, were the vinyl players. A lot of people complained about having vinyl records, but no vinyl players,” Nkole adds. “One of our mainstays at Time Machine, is vinyl. We’ve been seeing a trend for a couple of years now, and it’s evident that vinyl is making a comeback. Vinyl stores are starting to open up, and a lot of artists are starting to press their music on vinyl again,” Duncan added. He told me that Zambia once had a prestigious music store, Zambian Music Parlor, that used to stock vinyl records many years ago. It was run by the late Edward Khuzwayo, one of Zambia’s most accomplished and respected music promoters.
Much like Edward Khuzwayo, Time Machine aims to be a driving force in promoting and preserving art, be it music or comic books. And they’ve managed to achieve this by having annual workshops such as Music Appreciation Day and The Comic Book and Literary Arts Day. These events bring together local artists, comic book illustrators and storytellers under one roof to share their creative processes. They help promote a greater reading culture, while encouraging original storytelling and the preservation of these stories. Time Machine has collaborated with local comic book creators, such as Benny Blow and London Kamwendo (Mundane Kid) And Mwelwa Musonko (Foresight Comics), in showcasing the potential of the local comic book industry.
3Reasons to invest in comic books:
Comic books always go up in value and can be sold for small fortunes. Especially if rare and in mint condition.
Comic books are great pieces of literature.
Collecting comic books can be a fun alternative or addition to more traditional investments such as stocks.
3 Tips to help reveal the value of your vinyl record:
Look up titles on websites like www.discogs.com and check how much demand is there for said titles.
Check the catalogue numbers on the label of the vinyl record and on the cover; they should match. The matrix in the ring at the side of the record label gives information concerning the exact version of the album.
Determine whether the record is a reissue or an original pressing by researching the release dates, and learning what platform the title was originally pressed on.