About Margaret Blair Young

Margaret Blair Young teaches literature and creative writing at Brigham Young University. For the past fifteen years, she has specialized in the history of blacks in the west, particularly black Mormons. She has written six novels and two short story collections, but has lately become interested in filmmaking. Her current endeavor is a film to be shot in Zambia called Heart of Africa (www.heartofafricafilm.com)

That’s for Rich People. Don’t You Realize You’re Poor? (Part 4)

Thrown into JailThe policeman wasn’t much older than Tshoper, but his gait suggested his power—not actual power, but enough to demand money and threaten jail time.Tshoper was filming with a rented camera.  He knew he would now be accused of something and fined. Policemen in the DR-Congo make little money, and supplement it through bribery—or what they might call “tips” or “fines.”“Show me your authorization to film,” the policeman demanded.“I am a student.  I’m studying filmmaking … [Read more...]

That’s for Rich People. Don’t You Realize You’re Poor? (Part 3)

Epic FAIL--or is it? We spent much of today  (July 12, 2017) trying to get a visa for Tshoper Kabambi to go to the Durban International Film Festival, which has accepted one of his films. His flight and his hotel were already paid for by some people who are aware of his remarkable talent. We did NOT succeed. The reason? He has to prove to the embassy that he has enough money to support himself in South Africa. Therefore, he has to show the past three months' activity of his bank account. … [Read more...]

In Case You Missed Church

Well, most of you are in the USA, and it's early morning there, so you haven't missed church YET.  But just in case you do, or in case you're sick, this is my gift.I didn't get to go to church today, so I chose my own worship service. It was great. My late father gave the sermon and taught the Gospel Doctrine class.  Here is what he said.  It's the devotional he presented at Brigham Young University in 1998.  In it, he mostly tells stories--after an impressive introduction by a BYU adm … [Read more...]

That is for Rich People! Don’t you realize you’re poor? (Part 2)

The Tshoper Kabambi storyWe drive to the initial application point for all Congolese who wish to go to South Africa.  This is our second trip there.  We're trying to get Tshoper's visa so that he can attend the Durban International Film Festival. Tshoper is in the driver’s seat, as I have promised my husband and myself that I will never drive in Kinshasa.We stop as traffic comes to a halt.  Tshoper tries to steer around the jam, but a police officer shoos him back.  Tshoper asks why he ca … [Read more...]

That is only for rich people. Don’t you realize you’re poor? (Part 1)

There were three cinemas in Kinshasa, DR-Congo when Tshoper Kabambi was a baby, but he never saw a film.  By the time he was twelve, the cinemas had gone the way of many things in Kinshasa.  They were ramshackle hints of what had once existed, habitats for rats.Tshoper saw a Bollywood film via internet when he was a young teen, and announced to his father that he had found his vocation.  He would become a filmmaker.  He enrolled in the Kinshasa Institute of Arts and was told by one of his pro … [Read more...]

And the Thief Wins! (Or if Not…)

We sit in our hotel room in Kinshasa, Bruce and I, and it is lovely.  Oh, there a few little problems. Bruce has no change of clothes, none of his pills, and no underwear but what he’s wearing now. A thief stole my brother’s passport and visa, and we were all stopped just before boarding the plane from Paris to Kinshasa.  Everyone was so sorry that Dell’s papers had been stolen.  In fact, they were downright ashamed that humanity could stoop so low.  Nonetheless, you don’t board a plane without p … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day–Not Bad!

A few years ago, I was invited to speak in Sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day. I figured I’d avoid that particular invitation for life. It’s on my list of nightmares. This is how the person conducting the meeting introduces me in my nightmare: “Well, brothers and sisters, we usually have our ideal mothers tell us about the joys of keeping their husbands’ shirts neatly pressed, or the wonders of scrapbooking, all about their missionary children, and every splendid thing an outstanding mother can sh … [Read more...]