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 …
Day 22/22 of the #WinterABC Challenge!!!!- WE MADE IT!
Between my generally tight schedule and episodes of writer’s block, I NEVER thought I would make it through consistently blogging for 22 Days!
As a first time participant of this challenge, I close the challenge with a bag full of experiences and lessons. Before I proceed to detail my highlights of this journey, here is a song dedicated to all my fellow participants! (Fun random fact about me lol, I LOVE MUSIC so much so that at some point in my life I considered being a DJ 🙂 )
Attempting to accurately detail and off load my full bag of experiences from the challenge may prove futile. But here is my attempt in 3 of my top highlights:
I learnt how to put mywork “out there” and it didn’t back fire lol.
Before this challenge, I was very hesitant about putting my blog out there. I would write and that was it. I knew I wanted to engage with other writers and sometimes I wanted to write things that would spark conversations with others. But, I lacked the confidence to do that.
I am happy to say that the challenge has boosted my confidence and I have gotten awesome reviews, constructive criticisms and generally learnt more about myself.
2. I tried out different styles of writing
I usually lean more towards creative writing with a bias towards poetry whenever I am blogging. However, this challenge allowed for me to try out a wide range of writing styles. From Poetry, to E-nterviews, music reviews, story telling, etc. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and there is nothing I love more than GROWTH.
3. I have made friends, future collaboration points andfuture content creation ideas
I honestly love that this challenge came with a sense of belonging. I discovered bloggers I didn’t know about and as we created and interacted it is safe to say we have created awesome friendship bonds. I have collaboration ideas and general content creation ideas and I look forward to a continuous, thriving relationship with all the amazing Afrobloggers!
Thankyou all for journeying with me and for being AMAZING PEOPLE.
It’s day 21 out of 22 days of the WinterABC Challenge. They say time flies when we are having fun and no truer words can be said about how fast the weeks have gone by.
As this is storytelling week, please gather around our virtual fire as we journey through another amazing akashimi.
Story 2: The Tears Of A Mother
Pali Akantuse …
(Readers respond: Kaikele ngefi fine twilkele)
If you do not know what these words mean, please read the intro to yesterday’s akashimihere
“Chibeka, don’t forget to fetch the water later today”, instructed Bana Chibeka (meaning: Mother to Chibeka) as she was knitting on the veranda of their house. Chibeka was not only an obedient child but she was also very beautiful, some would say she was the most beautiful girl in the land. It was indeed befitting that her mother called her Chibeka – a bemba name that means Shining.
Chibeka went to the hut and picked the insupa (calabash), waved her mama goodbye and headed to village river to fetch the water. Bana Chibeka had finished knitting and was now cooking supper when she realized Chibeka had taken an awkwardly long time to return from the river. She did not worry and continued cooking.
The sun had started setting when worry creeped into Bana Chibeka. This delay was unlike her Chibeka who would always return home before the sun set. Bana Chibeka, a single mother with Chibeka being her only child, begun to relentlessly search for her daughter.
She went to the river but could not see her daughter, she asked the neighbours but none were helpful in the search for Chibeka. Bana Chibeka, determined to find her daughter, went and sat at the banks of the river yelling for Chibeka, hoping she would hear her call and return home.
Between the yelling and crying, Bana Chibeka didnot notice that the night had gone by and the sun was no rising. As she saw other girls, Chibeka’s age come to the river to fetch morning water, her heart was filled with immense grief and abandonment.
Bana Chibeka was in a state of hopelessness when she begun to mourn the unknown whereabouts of Chibeka, cursing the village with the following song:
” Ne nama shine, ka shifwe shibole, ngo mwana wandi … Chibeka wandi …
Meaning: let all animals die and rot in the same way my daughter Chibeka has died …
She continued to sing this song as she headed back to her hut and as she sung all the animals in the village begun to die. Days went by and she continued mourning hoping the neighbours would now care about her grief and assist with her search. This did not happen. So again, she begun to mourn and sing:
Nabantu bonse, ka bafwe ba bole, ngo mwana wandi … Chibeka wandi ...
Meaning: let all the people die and rot in the same way my daughter Chibeka has died …
As she sung this song, all the people of the village begun to die. Some were pleading for her to stop singing but their cries were silenced by her grief.
Bana Chibeka then sung one last verse:
Na ine wine, nka mfwe noku bola … ngo mwana wandi … Chibeka wandi…
Meaning: Let me also die and rot like in the same way my daughter Chibeka died
With this last verse, Bana Chibeka also died.
Lesson/VIiews: To be honest, when I was younger I never knew if this story ever came with an underlying lesson. I was always more intrigued by the singing. I would always ask questions like, but what really happened to Chibeka? – that still remains a mystery. Legends have it that there is a land in an unknown place that remain unoccupied , this land is believed to be cursed by the tears of Bana Chibeka.
The older I grow and in light of the mental health awareness advanced, I believe a notable lesson from this story is the importance of being there for others. If you notice, Bana Chibeka’s neighbours were unhelpful and uncaring and this triggered feelings of pain and abandonment that led to her cursing the land.
In response to the story-telling theme of this week of the WinterABC Challenge, I will be retelling some of the folklore I was told by my grand mother when I was much younger. What better way to preserve them for the generations to come, right? 🙂
For some familiarity, “Utushimi” is a bemba word meaning Stories or Folklore. The singular form of utushimi is akashimi. Bemba is one of the 72 Zambian tribes. Grandmother in bemba is Mbuya. It is safe to call these series: “Utushimi twa ba Mbuya“. One of my favourite things about her stories were that they always had an underlying lesson/ principle as you will see.
Please comfortably gather around our virtual fire and let’s dive into the first story.
Story 1 – The 3 wivesto the king
My Grandma always started her stories with “Pali akantunse” (Once upon a time) to which I would keenly respond, “kaikele ngefi fine twikele” (we were sitted as we are sitted).
There was once a King (or Infumu as we would call him in Bemba) who had three wives. The first one was named Inkaka (meaning the quarrelsome one), the second Ulubuli (meaning fighter) and the third Uwaichefya (meaning the humble one). Each of the three wives to the King had sons.
As per the tradition of the kingdom, when choosing the rightful heir to throne, the wives of the King were required to cook delicious meals. The winning meal meant that the son to the preparing mother would be the crowned heir to the thrown.
Inkaka and Ulubuli were the best of friends neglecting Uwaichefya who they would mock and belittle any chance they got. Unfortunately, Uwaichefya’s household never received a fair share of food and other resources as the other two wives would always find a way to deprive her and her son. Consequently, Uwaichefya and the son were malnourished and unkempt.
As the day of the much anticipated cook-out drew close, the King ordered his workers to provide all the wives with the necessary ingredients they would need to prepare their hearty meals. As was their tendency, Inkaka and Ulubuli deprived Uwaichefya of her required ingredients. That notwithstanding, Uwaichefya would sneak out to the trash cans whenever she could and pick the left overs to work with.
After the first rains fell, the kingdom believed the gods had indicated it was time for the cookout to take place. The King and his council of elders gathered around the huts of the wives waiting for them to present their meals. The plate the king would eat from, was the winning meal.
Before long, the three wives appeared before the King and presented their meals. Inkaka had prepared a full inkoko (chicken), nicely roasted and served with ifisashi (vegetables mixed with groundnuts )and ubwali (nshima or cornmeal). The aroma of her food had the council salivating and was only challenged by the meal prepared by Ulubuli prepared her infamous isabi (fish) with katapa (cassava leaves), this was also served with ubwali. Uwaichefye made a meal that can not be desrcibed in words, she cooked the abandoned chicken pieces and the thrown vegetables, this was served on a broken plate as all her kitchen utensils were stolen by the other two.
When Inkaka and Ulubuli glanced at the food Uwaichefya had prepared, they giggled and teased. Reminding her as they usually did that she was not fit to be the wife of the King.
As the King approached the three meals, tension filled the air. The council of elders were confident either Inkaka or Ulubuli’s meals would undoubtedly find favour before the King. Much to everyone’s surprise, including her own, the King ate from Uwaichefya’s plate and by so doing chose her son to be heir to the throne.
Songs of praise and jubilation filled the kingdom whilst Inkaka and Ulubuli mourned in despair.
Lesson: Like I said, most of the Utushimi told by my Mbuya had important life lessons. For a young girl, this taught me to never be mean to people as bad things would happen to me as well. The older I grow, I also draw a lesson towards endurance and having light at the end of the tunnel. Uwaichefya and her son are also living proof that what’s meant to be yours will be yours, despite all odds.
Looking forward to sharing another akashimi that was told by grandmother tomorrow.
The temperatures are dropping and the temptation to do the bare minimum and stay warm is at a high. However, we as Afrobloggers are defying the odds and pulling out our creative, informative and educative cards as we adequately deliberate on various topics. This week ushers us into the next phase of the #WinterABC2021 challenge.
As can be seen from my title, this week is all about Advocacy!!! I am more than excited to use this opportunity to share my convictions, beliefs and support to various causes on my blog. I am also thrilled to see what my fellow bloggers will be up to this week. I expect the various blogging platforms to be intense with LOUD, UNFILTERED and UNAPOLOGETIC voices!
For my first post of the Advocacy Week, I decided to be more procedural than substantive by discussing the difference between Advocacy and Activism ( for some reason, I believe this topic may be tackled by more bloggers- but, I feel it’s a fundamental build up to the rest of the week, so I’ll dive into it anyway).
I must state immediately though, that I did not always know that one could differentiate advocacy from activism or vice versa. For a long time, I used the two terminologies interchangeably. Until I discovered there are actually different albeit being related. This post will highlight the major differences between the two.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is defined as “an act of speaking on behalf an individual, organisation, or idea”. It is used as a canopy term for many intervention tools. It includes active lobbying via letter writing, meetings, running public forums, questions in parliament and other influential settings, participating in various consultative processes, digital advocacy etc.
To be an advocate is to speak and learn about social and political issues. Advocates bring attention to and EXPOSE injustices, thereby helping the activist in the fight against that said injustice. Advocates bring pivotal considerations from a grass root level to the forefront of popular conversation. It is said that Advocates use their platforms to draw attention to activists who initialize change.
Eva Lewis raises a cardinal point by arguing that, there are two parts to advocacy- vocalizing and amplifying. She importantly highlights that although everyone’s voice is important, there are instances were a step must be taken back to not vocalize but rather amplify the voices of others. (SO PROFOUND)
Stephen Hall summarizes the characteristics of Advocacy as follows:
Advocacy has three key components: relationships, sound policy, and respect;
Advocacy could be described as pre-emptive influence;
Advocacy can be either pro-active or re-active;
Advocacy usually has a non adversarial, diplomatic; soft touch
Advocacy can look like: lobbying for budget allocations, taxation changes, policy development and initiating and promoting dialogue
What is Activism?
Activism is understood to be the collective action to exert pressure on centers of power in order to remedy grievances and felt injustices. This is achieved by organizing, strategizing, mobilizing, and educating.
To be an activist is to act on one’s own behalf and on the behalf others when solving multi-sectorial issues such as: social, economic, cultural, religious and political issues. It is to be at the forefront of a movement, often times compromising one’s energy, resources and safety in order to seek justice and evoke change.
Stephen Hall summarizes the characteristics of Activists as follows:
Activism involves the use of vigorous campaigning to bring desired change;
Activism is often the result of a lack of relationships or unsuccessful advocacy
Activism sometimes uses questionable tactics – or even “illegal means” such as civil disobedience and non-violent or violent actions
Activism tends to be reactive to an issue
Lacks direct communication and relationships with key decision makers, hence relies heavily on media or the role of Advocates who may be better placed to have influential discussions with centers of power;
My understanding is that, most times activists are part of the direct group feeling the impact of a certain injustice. Whereas, Advocates albeit not being directly impacted, empathize and still use their voices in solidarity to champion the cause being driven by Activists and to amplify their concerns and greivances.
Can one be both an Advocate and Activist?
My answer to the question is YES.
From the foregoing distinction between the two, one would perceive Activists as soldiers on the battlefront whilst Advocates help in procuring the needed ammunitions and other supplies required to win the war. However, I would argue that Advocates are war buddies of Activists and that both play a pivotal, battle front role in fights against injustices.
Both are necessary in order to create systemic change. They help to bring about important social, political, and cultural changes throughout the world. Arguably, without one, the other cannot function.
“To be an activist is to speak and act. To be an advocate is to listen and dialogue. Society can’t move forward without both.“
In my view, the consequence of mislabeling when it comes to what one identifies as between the two is not detrimental. In fact, I believe it does not matter whether one identifies as an Activist or an Advocate. If anything, I would argue it is very possible to act in both capacities- consecutively or simultaneously. I believe what is cardinal is to speak and fight for what is right.
After all, as the saying goes:
“One who remains silent in instances of injustice, chooses the side of the oppressor”
In the days to come, I will use this platform to vocalize my various convictions and amplify sentiments shared by others. Whether I will be regarded as an Activist or Advocate should be secondary to the matters that will be tackled which should be of primary importance and great concern.
Firstly, to all my returning readers, THANKYOU so much for being part of this journey. To those visiting this blog for the first time, please do feel at home and come over often :).To everyone that likes, comments and engages in whichever way- I see you and I appreciate you (BIG HUGS).
Over the past days, I have had an amazing time creating, reading and interacting with other amazing bloggers as Afrobloggers from all over the world, challenged winter by bringing a lot of HEAT to the blogging platforms. I couldn’t imagine any better ice-breaking week than the one we have had.
For those who may not know, we are 4 days into the #WinterABC 2021 Challenge. Details are below:
As seen in the image above, this week was Creatives Week and it is no surprise that creatives- SHOWED UP & SHOWED OFF (*standing ovation). Congratulations to everyone that has made it through the 4/22 days!!! As my pat on the back to you all here is a song to jam to:
One thing I noticed as I read through various posts from fellow bloggers is that, there was an invisible string that seemed to tie most perspectives together. I also noticed that were some raised questions, others unknowingly gave solutions. As the title of this blog suggests, and as will be my last day custom through the weeks – I’ll dedicate this last day sharing reviews, highlights and lessons learnt from other creatives.
Notably, it would take me about a thousand pages to adequately review ALL the amazing content I came across. As such, if for a reason or another I haven’t gotten the chance to review any of the work you did, please do not feel some type of way. As this is just Week 1, trust that by the time we drop our pens on Day 22, I would have reviewed most of your content. Needless to say, you’re doing an amazing job!
Soooo … let’s get into it, shall we …
For some coherence, I will group my reviews in general topics and share views that came through from bloggers around that topic. From my observation, the 3 mainly blogged about topics this week included: Imposter syndrome; Value of creatives (money talk) and Advice on how to stay motivated as a creative.
Imposter Syndrome was one of the most frequented topics this week. In sharing on this topic, Denzel (https://blavkprint.wordpress.com/2021/06/01/the-creative-life-blogging-imposter-syndrome/) recounted his personal experiences battling Imposter Syndrome as a creative. When he wrote that, ” As someone who mostly leans towards poetry I cannot shake off the feeling that I am not a real blogger because I don’t tackle topical issues such as politics, religion or economics. I am more than capable of doing that as someone who has in the past studied liberal arts/ social sciences however, I feel disconnected from that intellectual side of content creation and I have the utmost respect for people in these niches because for me blogging is an escape from that world……” I could have almost sworn he stole the words from my mind/heart – which ever runs deeper. It reminded me though, that blogging as an art looks different for everyone. Thank God for niches! It is very easy to feel like you don’t belong when surrounded by different styles and talents. I used to feel this way until I embraced creative writing as my stronghold.
We had another take on imposter syndrome from Benjamin (https://musanjufukavubu.wordpress.com/2021/06/02/imposter-syndrome-or-insecurity/). To begin with, I must state that Benjamin adequately embodies “questioning the question”. His posts are flavoured with controversy and will usher one into critical thinking. Particularly, in this post, which he called Imposter Syndrome or Insecurity (the title itself got me thinking…) he stated that “I will not go into the various types of imposter syndrome, because I don’t think what creatives in Africa face isreally it”– Controversial perspective. I understand that was being communicated is that, whereas feelings of inadequacy or inferiority (key components of Imposter Syndrome) may not be prevalent among African creatives, there is insecurity that develops because of a number of factors. On this note, he had the following advice to give: “If you are creative with wings especially, try to spread them out in the bid to avoid the feeling of inadequacy. Being a perfectionist doesn’t help the situation but only makes it worse. So slow down and find a pace that gives you joy even in the face of deadlines. Don’t get into senseless disputes with fellow creatives even when they come at you. Don’t at any moment block new ones, let them be an opportunity to make your work fresh.” and I couldn’t agree more.
I conclude this topic by highlighting the words of Shazzy in https://sanctuaryofgreatness.wordpress.com/2021/06/02/embrace-being-weird/ were she encouraged creatives to embrace being weird. She furnished a reminder worth bookmarking, by stating that: “As a creative, never allow fear of not feeling good enough about yourself make you to stop doing what makes you happy. Your skills and talents are good enough just as they are. Readers enjoy creative people who are honest and do not hold themselves back. You are an amazing ‘weird’ person. Yes sometimes you feel like you are the odd one out from other creatives. You feel like your content is not good enough or you are just too different to fit in the blogging community. Perhaps like me you feel like you do not belong and no one will ever read your work let alone engage – I think it’s important to still celebrate your weird you“
2. VALUE OF CREATIVE$$ (see the dollar signs? lol deliberate!)
It goes without saying that there is a unanimous cry from creatives to be paid more in the industry. Most creative’s input till date is paid through attention and recognition and rarely through money.
The agonies faced by most creatives were accurately captured by Valentine (https://valentinewrites.co.zw/writers-doubt/) when he artistically lamented that, “But, one still needs income. If, for nothing else, sustenance. Food. None of my scribbling and musings are commissioned; purchased; or subsidized. The thought of street performances for tips in bond notes haunts. One degree of separation removed from begging and destitution“.
The Afterthought broadened the perspective in the post titled, “Creatives: Chasing Purpose“(https://totheafterthought.wordpress.com/2021/06/01/creatives-chasing-purpose/) She began by feeding our thoughts with the question “Would you rather die with fulfilled potential or die with a pot of gold?“. Whereas there are moments when the purpose comes with the money, most times creatives have found themselves in instances were their purpose or passion is treated as a “side hustle or leisure activity” because it can’t exactly pay the bills. This reminds me of a tagline in the linked post by the Afterthought which said, “There is that space between the dream and its manifestation. Its probably called frustration“. Lol so relatable. All in all, she encouraged people to, “… go to sleep with a deep sense of accomplishment. Not simply going through the rat race” and I couldn’t agree more.
In a post titled, Creativity: The New Money ( https://blackmwanasmemoir.wordpress.com/2021/06/01/creativity-the-new-money/), Blackmwana’s Memoir shared rays of hope for creatives by stating that, “the digital revolution and technology have opened doors for most creatives creating more avenues to make money (the new money). This has made creatives becomes trailblazers of innovative ideas” The post went further to explain the benefits of being a creative from an economic perspective. These include: Youth employment, Networking among peers, business growth and earning an income whilst having fun!
One thing can be agreed on for sure, the lamentations shared by creatives are valid. But, in a world where digital transformation is on a rise, now more than ever creatives will be an integral part of the traditional jobs. Influencers and creatives who have mastered the art of engaging and interacting in various forms will be the paid windows of growth for many.
However, it is still VERY okay to just want to create for fun, purpose or leisure and not be money oriented with your craft. Some have argued that monetizing something you enjoy doing may kill the spark. But then again, to each their own.
3. HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED AS A CREATIVE
This was another topic tackled by most creatives this week. It was refreshing to read tips and shared experiences on what other bloggers do to keep on keeping on. Some of my highlights in this topic, where as follows:
How I keep my creative juices flowing by justynlove (https://justynlove.wordpress.com/2021/06/02/day-2-how-i-keep-my-creativity-juices-flowing/) was a refreshing sharing around this topic. She begun by reminding us how creativity is intelligence having fun [heyyyy fun having intellectuals :)] and went on to share what she does to stay motivated. The activities listed include: going to the beach; watching sunsets; taking long drives; road trips; eating fries (found this interesting lol as a lover of fries); listening to music; reading music; sitting in silence and conversations with friends. My key take away from this is that inspiration can come in different forms. I also sensed a lot of self awareness from the post which I found encouraging. It is vital for creatives to know themselves and what works for them.
I also found Wonani’s letter to creatives (https://doseofwonani.wordpress.com/2021/06/03/letter-to-the-creatives/) very encouraging too. She gave a heart warming and much needed reminder when she said: “Unfortunately, it is normal to feel empty. It’s normal to have days when you simply can’t pour, or when the words you’ve put together aren’t turning into a sweet melody for the soul. It is normal to have moments when your fleeting thoughts are just that, fleeting. In moments like this, take time to feed your mind and your soul. Take time to bask in what you and others have created. There is a lot to learn from other people and a lot to learn from the creator of the heavens and the earth, the master craftsman” Taking time to feed the mind and soul stood out for me. I’m reminded that as creatives we can’t pour from an empty cup. We have to stay fueled and filled in order to sufficiently pour out.
All in all, I am so excited to have joined the Afrobloggers community this year and even more thrilled to be taking part in the #WinterABC2021 challenge along side all amazing creatives.
Looking forward to what is in store for next week!
Until then, please feel free to share some of the posts/phrases/experiences that stood out for you this week.