My blog is a shape shifter. On some days it is pages of my favourite art pieces, on other days it is a well thought through portal of information and perspectives. However, on most days, it is simply a virtual diary and journal I use to let out some steam.
Alot has been going on from the last time I was here, I started seeing a new therapist- she is amazing! our sessions are very triggering but healing in greater proportions- I hope I get to detail the lessons some day. I had my 25th birthday on the 22nd of September whoop whoop! (A blog is in the drafts for that one). My Aunt got married and I was her Chief bridesmaid! My call day (‘graduation” where I get called to the bar is coming up, I am excited for it!), I will be contributing to two magazines soon- one paid, the other probono but both MILESTONES!!! I am beyond thrilled.
Despite everything the months have been and the excitement, changes and growth that have come with it all- I have been confused, distant and my headspace has not been as clear as I’d hope it would be. I am in constant need of breathers, cry breaks, prayers and affirmations to get by. But everyday is better than the last so yay! to the progress.
Writing about my emotions always makes me feel better, it reminds me that its okay to feel. It reminds me that its okay to not have it all figured out. It also serves as a reference point for when I surmount the bad phases, reading back and realizing my seeming mountains where just anthills when I reach the otherside is something I always look forward to.
Oh, my manners, HAPPY NEW MONTH lovelies! May it be everything your heart’s desires hope for. Also, how are you all doing? Do feel free to comment, I always look forward to our interactions.
I’m out for now- I think the next time you hear from me will be when I finalize and put up my birthday blog or show up with some music, I’ve been vibing too lately, or another random- we’ll see
Don’t forget to breathe slow and smile,
PS. Did you guys nominate me under the Expressive Category for the Afrobloggers award or I need new friends? lol just kidding… I’d be happy if atleast one of you did though. Lol Bye for now xx
I recently watched the movie EatPrayLove for the first time, yet to read the book. Whereas this is not exactly a movie review, I found it very soothing and took a few notes from the movie which I will share below:
” … a heartbreak you wont let go of because it hurts so good”
“We must always be prepared for endless waves of transformation”
“Still your mind. If you cant master your mind, you’re in trouble”
“Regret. Ocean of regret”
“Forgive Yourself. Everything else will take care of itself”
“Believe in love again”
“God dwells in you as YOU”
“You lose balance, you lose power”
“Only way to heal is to trust”
Overall, it really is a feel good movie and it is insightful. It also ignited my travelling desires which I cant wait to fully actualize!
For all it’s beauty, glitz & glam … I find love to be scary in equal or greater proportions.
It’s in the uncontrollable feelings of attachment towards another person. Their happiness becoming your happiness, their sadness becoming your sadness and everything in between affecting you just as much as it affects them.
It’s in the way you are trusted to be a pillar of hope, love, light and joy to another person. It’s in knowing that your decisions are no longer yours alone but have an impact on the life of another person.
The scare intensifies when you realize that love is permanent but people are temporary.
It’s in the thought that one day our loved ones may be no more. It’s in the consuming anxiety of thoughts of loss. It’s in the not knowing when your interaction will be the very last. Whether halted by breakup or death. Loss of a loved one is a real scare.
But someone once said, we like because but love DESPITE …
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is the United States’ signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. One of the programs offered by YALI include the cohort trainings through Regional Leadership Centers. The cohort trainings are divided into three tracks:
Business & Entrepreneurship Development
Public Management and Governance
I was privileged to be among the recent graduates from the Civic Leadership Online Cohort 12 of the YALI Southern African Regional Leadership Center (YALI RLC-SA).
In this post, I am honoured to host two of my colleagues who also recently graduated from the Civic Leadership track- Pennina from Namibia and Sethunya from Botswana. Together, we will share our YALI expectations, experiences, key take-aways and action points.
I hope you enjoy reading our dialogue of different perspectives below and get encouraged to join as a YALI member and apply for the program.
Why we chose the Civic Leadership Track?
Nsatu: I chose the Civic Leadership track as it gravitated towards providing essential skills for Civil Society Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations. From as far back as I can remember, I have always been inclined to helping the less privileged in society and being a channel of sensitization, hope and change. I have volunteered for a number of organisations and co-founded some initiatives. I know that the more I grow, I would like to continue being an active agent of change in my community and beyond and to do so, I need the right skill set among other resources. From the descriptions of the tracks offered by YALI in the Regional Leadership Cohorts, I knew without a doubt that the Civic Leadership track would give me the need tools required to make a difference. I should immediately mention that my expectations were exceeded.
Sethunya: My name is Sethunya Kenyaditswe, hailing from a small village by the name Gweta in the northern side of Botswana. When I first read about Civil Leadership cohort, I knew in my heart I had to submit my application.
Having grown up in a rural village where most of the basic needs are hard to reach, I am in a better position to advocate for my community. A few years ago, my mother who is retired came across a 5-year-old girl staying with her grandmother at the cattle-post. This girl was due for grade 1 but since her grandmother stayed in the outcast of the village, which is 15km away, she would not be able to go to school from there. Furthermore, she found out that she has been sexually molested by a teenage boy who worked in one of nearby farms. She called me to tell me this story and asked for my advice on how best to help this little girl to which I recommended her to take her in.
I went back to my home village a few weeks later and met this girl for the first time. She was shy, frightened and you could tell she has never really experienced being loved and taken care of properly, and I promised my mother that I will help her take care of her. She is now part of the family and knows she is loved. She knows how to express herself now and you can see how free she is.
It is this girl who I now refer to as my daughter that inspired me to get into the YALI Program in order to know more about how to run an NGO and how to be helpful in my community.
Pennina: Between the start and the finish is purpose. Purpose is only fully attained when one is in knowledge of the right tools, has them and propels them towards the right focus. I come from a community like any other that has it’s unique set of problems, and in working towards successfully solving them, I need to play my part too. Civic engagement is vital in any community set up, not only does it rest the notion of personal responsibility on individuals, but it encourages others to do so as well through authentic civic engagement which is built on a shared understanding of community needs. My work at the Northern Charity Initiative here in northern Namibia helped me in realizing that engagement should be a priority in order to strengthen democracy.
Expectations before starting the YALI program
Nsatu: I had no specific expectations when joining the just ended YALI program. All I knew was that I was going to learn a lot, meet new people and gain new experiences. I started the program with an empty jar and with every discussion, webinar and assignment- my knowledge jar was filled.
Sethunya: I recognize that even though we managed to help one girl, there are many more children in my village who need the same help. Through the program, I expected to gain skills that would assist me as I work hard to make sure that I get my CSO off the ground running. This is in order to ensure that more girls get to go to school and are taken care of.
Pennina: Most of my expectations were weighing on the network I was looking to grow through this program. A network of same minded people, who understand that change happens when we show up with courage and compassion to improve our societies.
How the experience was and key take aways
Nsatu:One word to describe the experience would be: INSIGHTFUL. It would take an entire book to adequately unpack the lessons from the program. However, it is my wish and desire that I get to implement the lessons learnt through various initiatives. That notwithstanding, I must admit that the package gave so much more than I expected. It was particularly interesting to note that CSOs and NGOs need to be as intentional about revenue making as they are about creating a difference. The interactive discussions with my group members and the care group that would check on our mental health was really the icing on the cake. It was worthwhile.
Sethunya: I have learned a lot from the program, it opened my eyes to a lot of subjects, such as how to get funding, how to form partnerships and how to know if an organization is the right fit for your CSO etc. I am grateful for YALI, because before I joined the program having a CSO was a dream which seemed way too far to reach but now I am pumped and highly motivated to take all the lessons from the program and implement them.
Pennina: The YALI experience is a once in a lifetime adventure, coupled with a plethora of lessons to pick. My best being the significance of authentic and transformational leadership that is a generational need for Africa, in avoiding a more permanent and dysfunctional inequality of opportunity on the continent.
Nsatu: I would like to encourage anyone interested in setting up or being part of changing society through an NGO or CSO to consider applying for the YALI RLC and specifically, the Civic Leadership Cohort. I value the developed network with the various leaders across the Southern African Region. I cannot wait to create, collaborate and contribute to change.
Sethunya: I am grateful to be able to connect with my fellow leaders from different countries, we will be able to share ideas and help each other going forward. I look forward to many many interactions with the leaders and I hope we can recognize that we all need one another for make our dreams a reality.
Pennina: People are central in our communities, and we need to collectively do better for and by them. YALI gives you the tools you need to do better, and knowledge that sets you apart. Take the opportunity.
I would like to extend my gratitude to my two amazing ladies and fellow leaders, Pennina and Sethunya for taking time to feature on this blog and for sharing their experiences. You, ladies, are made of gold. THANKYOU. I cant wait to witness the greater good that comes out of the knowledge gained from the program.
For those interested in the program and the many other online courses and initiatives by YALI, here are the links to YALI resources:
I have been struggling with deciding the appropriate structure or form this blog post should take. Should it be poetic jubilation of triumph from the perspective of a youth that took part in a historic revolution? Should it be a detailed narration of events leading up to this moment? Even though the form is lost on me, I’ll write anyway as this has to be documented. It NEEDS to be documented.
For those who may not know, on August 12 2021, Zambia had it’s general elections. With what has been recorded to be one of the largest voter turnouts, people lined up in long queues for many hours- to use their votes as voices to speak for the many years their voices were silenced.
Borrowing the words of an anonymous Zambian Voter:
This was not an election, it was a revolution. No one can stop a revolution
What followed from the 12th of August was days filled with anxiety, expectation, uncertainty and religious following of updates by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). This was also flavoured by the shut down of internet and a widespread use of VPN. Memes and banter formed the basis of most conversations with margins between the two main contenders being at the center of the jokes and commentary.
In the early mornings of Monday, 15th August 2021- a winner was finally announced by the ECZ. The once opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema (HH aka Bally) emerged victorious as the President-Elect of the Republic of Zambia.
An emblem of democracy. History in the making.
As Zambians, we used our votes as voices and instruments of power