I took a much needed hiatus from back to back blogging right after the WinterABC Challenge. I am well rested now and feel very glad to be back 🙂
As an aftermath to the challenge, I was inspired by Shazzy‘s appreciation post and thought it wise to also come back to express my gratitude for being nominated as one of the Most Outstanding Bloggers of the WinterABC 2021 Challenge – it is such a milestone in my blogging journey and I dont take it lightly.
Here are some of the heart warming reviews I got:
They say gratitude unlocks the fullness of life, so here I am… pouring out my love and gratitude to you all. Your sentiments mean SO MUCH to me.
A huge congratulations to all the other nominees, you can find their names and blog links here . A special congratulatory wish to the winner of the Most Outstanding Blogger Award: Elise Tirza!!! A very well deserved win.
Looking forward to blogging and growing in the days/weeks/months/years to come!
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.
Thank you for returning to my blog and journeying through the #WinterABC2021 Challenge with me.
In the next days, I will profile some amazing entrepreneurs as we talk business, technology and pandemic resilience. I call this series Business E-nterview (because of the virtual nature- fancy right? lol)
The first to be profiled is an exceptional Zambian based gift concierge who goes by the business name “ShortStuff”.
Please give a hearty welcome to Mubanga Hellen Mijere the face and brains behind the Shortstuff brand (insert loud applause).
Hellen, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you grace the Nsatu-rated Thoughts corner of this big internet world. Thank you for finding the time to give us a preview into your business world.
How would you describe your business in 5 words?
2. What made you choose the industry you are in?
I enjoy being creative an clients trust me to impress them. Also, working hours in this industry are flexible.
3. What is that one thing that you feel sets you apart from competitors in the industry?
Definitely my customer service. You’ve got to give them a customer experience that they can’t help but want to make positive remarks about.
4. When did you start your business and what are some of your key milestones so far?
I started my business in July 2020. My two key milestones so far include: achieving customer loyalty and branding of my products.
5. Has technology impacted your business in any way?
Yes. My business is run online. As such, social media has made it easier to advertise and engage with clients.
6. What would you list as the advantages and disadvantages of running a business in a pandemic?
Disadvantage: Gift baskets are hands on and involve personal shopping, this increases my risk of exposure.
Advantages:Most people are afraid of leaving their homes and going to look for a gift so they require my services more than often. Additionally, people spend more time on social media and this increases the chances of potential clients finding my website.
7. What are some of you customer retaining techniques?
Maintaining good customer service relations
Good quality and presentation of my products and services
Giving clients value for their money
8. Any closing remarks?
Every gift gives me an opportunity to be creative and put a smile on my clients’ face. I am still learning and growing even from my competitors who push me to do better.
Blogger’s remarks: I find it intriguing that ShortStuff was birthed during the pandemic and it continues to thrive despite inevitable local, regional and international economic hardships. A reminder that indeed, we can achieve anything we set our minds and hearts to.
Further, I am impressed by the emphasis on great customer service/relations. From the blogs I have been reading so far by other Afrobloggers, terrible client service is a consistent and uniform outcry. As such, to have a business that prioritizes that needs of the clients is applaudable.
Thankyou Hellen, for your time and for breaking the ice for what I envision to be a great series beyond the #WinterABC Challenge.
Here’s to more Business E-nterviews!!!!
Join me tomorrow on another edition of the Business E-nterview as I profile another amazing entrepreneur.
Some months ago, we officially clocked one year into the ‘new world order’. If anyone told me that the world in general and corporate world in particular would swiftly and compulsorily transition into virtual space, I would’ve chuckled in disbelief. But here we are, in a novel place proudly sponsored by the Covid-19 pandemic in collaboration with its numerous variants (deep sigh).
For today’s segment, I will share what remote working has been like for me. With over a year plus into this new world order- I realised I hadn’t yet shared what my experiences and encounters have been like. This is mostly because, the time the first wave of Covid rolled out, I was consumed with the balance between work and school- preparing for my bar exams and I really had no zeal to write for pleasure. I could say, I actually had some sort of Writer’s Block. There was alot I needed to let out but- the how and when was lost on me.
The months that followed were flavoured with anxiety, break downs and other emotions that came with the required adjustments into the new world and again- I did not have any time or zeal to put pen to paper and narrate all that was going on.
Buuuuuuut, as there is no expiry date on experience, I thought this would the right time to share my perspective. It is, after all business and tech week which is all encompassing of the remote working and online learning saga I have been plunged in. As this is write up is dubbed “Tech Talk”, my encounters will lean more on the Tech Aspect.
The unexpectedness of the pandemic and the rapid yet compulsory transition into the virtual world was not easy to take in. To no longer be able to have full control of my experiences and to be constantly reminded that anything could happen to anyone at any time was disastrous to say the least.
The following where my main pain points as we transitioned into the virtual world:
Not being able to hug
Lol. No but really, I am such a hugger and physical touch ranks highly on my love languages. The limitation was overwhelming. I remember this one time, my parents came to visit my apartment to bring fresh supplies- vegetables, fruits and all. We could not hug and embrace each other and they stayed in the car the entire time, masked up and sanitizing their hands after the drop offs. I sobbed when I got back into the apartment. I look back then and feel we were just a tad bit overly cautious, but they are elderly and the first wave pronounced the older people as the most high risk. I had to trade in my affection for their safety. A brutal trade.
2. Not being able to go on solo dates – breakfast, dinner, movie etc
Prior to the pandemic limitations, my most reliable coping mechanism included being alone in crowded places (that sounded a lot better in my head lol but seriously). I enjoyed solo breakfast or dinner dates, attending live music and poetry shows, movies from the cinema etc. In a flash, all this was taken away and I struggled. I was forced to be indoors. ALL THE TIME.
What made it worse (or rather, better as far as Covid prevention is concerned) was that, my workplace immediately transitioned into full time remote working- we have not looked back since then. My school also introduced online learning and my screen time significantly increased. Church also started streaming services and let’s just say, I had no reason to be out there.
However, having to work, learn, relax and generally exist in the same environment was very triggering. I would take walks once in a while and spot a few people without masks and go back to safety (hate that surviving Covid is a group project, if others are slacking no matter how careful you are you’ll be gone). Also, my eyesight got compromised in the process and I now wear spectacles 😦
However, I very soon realized- this pandemic was not just a “wave” that would fade away quickly. It dawned on me months into the pandemic that this could be, as most people were calling it, the new normal. At that point, I knew I only had one choice- to ADAPT, quickly. The most vital thing I needed to work on was a perspective shift. It mattered not whether the glass was half empty or half full, I had to be grateful to still have a cup at all.
I trained my mind to see the good in the new world order. I happily set up my home office work station and begun to embrace the beauty of the Virtual World.
The unsung benefits of the virtual world which I have been dwelling on are as follows:
Since the first wave of Covid, I have been working remotely- I do not miss the traffic jams that would be the norm of most of my days pre-Covid;
2. As an ambivert, there were many times when my extrovert side was unwillingly dominant over my introvert side because, of social demands! I love that I am now able to attend parties, weddings, church services etc in the comfort of my space. This was the balance I never thought I needed!
3. I love that most companies are now intentional about providing delivery services for goods and services. I will choose convenience any day and what is more conveniencing than door step deliveries of favourite supplies? This has definitely been a plus!
4. I loooooooooove that most institutions are now being intentional about online learning programs/ discussions. I love to network and sometimes time, distance and lack of resources to move from one country or to the other would make me miss out on amazing opportunities. But now, I am able to connect with many people through my screen. Who would’ve thought I would be this pro-tech!
As controversial as this may sound, I have come to realize that there is beauty in every situation. All we must do is train our minds to focus on the positive. The new world order necessitated the transformation of my mind and birthed my perspective shift.
I still miss the world as it was before, I had hopes of travelling more last year and this year but all that has been down-sided. The grief that has come from losing loved ones and seeing loved ones lose their loved ones has also been very devastating.
Nonetheless, as far as tech is concerned, virtual reality has made some things easier.
In the days to come, I will profile some Zambian Entrepreneurs as they share their lived experiences. We will be talking, business, tech and the pandemic. Be sure to look out for that exciting segment.
Welcome to yet another exciting week of the #WinterABC2021 Challenge by Afrobloggers. This week we are ushered into Business and Technology conversations– a very timely and much needed topic given the time we are living in.
Before we dive in, here is a reminder of where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going:
This post is a rant. lol. Quite unethical to get the ball rolling with a rant, right? But, I believe there are no strict rules to this … so here goes.
There have been a number of things that some business owners do/say, which I don’t quite agree with as a customer. I believe that every customer regardless of the age or pocket size, must be accorded a certain level of respect and etiquette. I decided to call this post “Mind your business” as I believe business owners have to be mindful on how their businesses are run.
That being said, here is a list of things that business owners do that I don’t like:
“DM for Price“
For readers who may not know, DM stands for Direct Message. When advertising their products, some business do not put the prices out there but instead insist that any potential buyers should contact them directly and request for the price. To be honest, I find this lack of transparency very questionable and also inconveniencing. Questionable to the extent that, I feel some prices maybe altered depending on the person asking and there is no way to hold the business accountable as they do not have a written record of what the price should be.
2. Bad Communication Habits
Understandably, running a business is not the easiest thing to do. But there is no excuse in the land above or the land below that would sufficiently create reason for a business to be rude to it’s clients. I am a very “may I speak to the manager” person when confronted with impolite services because I feel that it is a terrible habit needing fixing.
In the classic movie, Matilda (one of my all time favourite movies), there is a scene where the father is orienting the son on selling cars. He then says something like “people don’t buy cars, they buy me.. that’s why I have to be presentable” The same can be said with every business. As a bonafide member of the Zed (Zambian) Twitter Community, I have noticed how people with likable personalities easily drive they’re business agendas and rally up support. It is not a coincidence. One’s personality has a bearing on the customer of potential customer- whether this bearing is positive or negative depends on the communication mannerisms.
When I think of business owners who have given me a run for my money because of dishonesty, tailors come to mind. To accommodate the lack of efficiency and dishonesty of some tailors, there are unwritten rules that clients have come up with such as moving up the expectation date to avoid disappointment. I don’t think this should ever be the case. Businesses must openly communicate when to expect the product and stick to their word. In the fashion week, I will strive to profile one of my favourite Zambian tailors and commend her for her timely deliverables and exceptional work.
4. Over promising and under delivering
The bakers take the cake in this category. Pun unintended. I really do not like it when businesses indicate they have capacity to execute well and fail to deliver. I find it more honourable when some businesses admit they have never worked on what is being requested but will strive to deliver, this way client expectations are realistic and there is an option to go to another vendor.
All in all, to the readers running businesses (myself included lol), you’re commended for the hard work and the services you provide. This post is not to disregard all the strengths you hold but rather, it was just a gentle reminder to mind your business and take care of it’s growth by working on a few things that would make at least one customer (me) happy. 🙂
In the days to come, I will share more business and tech content (which most likely won’t be a rant as I have let things off my chest here lol). I also look forward to reading the amazing content from other bloggers.
In the meantime, please share what some of your pet peeves are when it comes to businesses.
Almost signed the blog off with “Kind Regards” – perks of Mondaying in the Corporate World.
Today is the last day of yet another week into the #WinterABC Challenge by Afrobloggers. This week was Advocacy Week. At the beginning of the week, I expressed excitement to hear “Loud, Unapologetic and Unfiltered” voices from bloggers across the continent and beyond. Unbeknownst to me in that moment, advocacy and activism alike have a tendency of opening up wounds as they’re usually platforms upon which people freely bleed with hopes that the injustices mourned for will not reoccur.
Understandably, this week was a cocktail of emotions and perspectives. There was strength, there was information, there was controversy …. but, there was also pain, trauma and gloom. To all the bloggers who shared this week- whichever voice you let out, I would like to remind you that it was not in vain. For those who faced their traumas, I send lots of love and virtual hugs. I pray healing visits y(our) hearts and souls.
Today’s “pat on the back” will be a hug through a song that always sometimes lifts me up (I hope it will have the same or similar effect). My dedication to everyone whose emotions were wrecked as they created and advocated this week:
As I committed on the last day of creatives week, every last day of the week will be a Recap & Highlights moment with sharings from various bloggers and seasoned with some Nsatu-rated Thoughts.
The invisible string that tied most perspectives last week, continued to do so this week. There were some post that were connected in a beautiful manner and where one blogger left off- another picked it up and the harmony was heavenly. I must reiterate that adequately capturing all the various topics or posts that were shared this week would be nearly impossible to do. However, you’re all commended for using your voices bravely.
I begun my week by talking about the difference between Advocacy and Activismhttps://missnsatu.wordpress.com/2021/06/07/advocacy-week-advocacy-or-activism/, I shared that where as activists are regarded as having lived experiences of the injustice fought for, advocates are mainly people that empathize and occasionally have audience with centers of power and can use their voices to effect change. I then reiterated that the classification or labeling between the two should be secondary as the end goal and primary focus should be the vocalizing and amplifying of voices against injustices.
The importance of Advocacy and the need for everyone to take a stand was succinctly yet accurately captured by Joseyphina’s World (https://joseyphina.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/wbc-advocacy-5-why-you-need-to-take-a-stand/) when she wrote: “We all believe in something; hence there is always something to stand for. Regardless of whether you’re religious or not, we were all created for something. None of us was made just to waltz through the earth with nothing to offer and yet every opportunity to mess it up” .
Mental health also appeared in the soul deep sharings by Valentine which he called “Please Come In” . He let us into his real life encounters and left us with life altering perspectives to ponder on. The Please Come In sharings can be read on his site, accessible here: https://valentinewrites.co.zw/visceral/
Rufarocarol added her voice to the very important mental health discussion by writing on Drugs and Mental Health. She importantly and thoughtfully, shared resources available to help anyone struggling, these can be accessed here: https://rufarocarol.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/252/.
In one of his artistic romance tales, Casa tackled an angle of mental health that comes with loving and losing. In a letter he called, “To a woman who broke my heart” (https://casaldotonline.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/winterabc-day-7-to-a-woman-who-broke-my-heart/), Casa showcased the power that comes from harnessing the mental strength to look on the bad things done or said to us as ushering us into our greater good. In his words, he wrote “I may never find true love again, but it doesn’t matter. Because I was forced to learn to love myself. And that’s the most romantic love story of all” – so profound.
Governance, Youth Leadershipand Constitutionalism were also tackled this week. I believe these are conversations that need to be had constantly as the leadership and governance trends in Africa have left much to be desired. In tackling this topic, Tee Madzika https://teemadzika.wordpress.com/2021/06/10/chronicles-of-the-youth-and-leadership-winterabc2021/ shared that: Africa’s leadership operates to simply obtain power and hold onto it by any means necessary and later raised an array of thought provoking questions we all need to ponder on: “Why is it that Africa’s best and brightest are lead by the worst? Why is it that there’s no room for the youth in politics on the world’s youngest continent? What is it about retirement that African leaders fear so much?”
Later this week, I wrote about Access to Justice (https://missnsatu.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/advocacy-week-access-to-justice-poverty-reduction-winterabc-day-7/) and the role it would play in reducing poverty if upheld. I highlighted that it was important for the courts of law to to be impartial irregardless of the litigants difference in economic and political power. In reply to my post, Benjamin question the question ofcapitalism in a post he called the Fallacy of Capitalism (https://musanjufukavubu.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/advocacy-fallacy-of-capitalism/). He asserted that there is need to reform capitalism. He argued in his controversial yet insightful post that, ” The origin of all inequalities and suffering is caused by capitalism. Not defining it but I will say a line about the economic system. It’s one where a tiny fraction of people in the world own and control all resources, products, and their only objective is to maximize profits for themselves. This is outrageous or even sad for a human with as fully functioning mind.“
The African Culture was another topic addressed this week. In her post on the Mother Tongue (https://sanctuaryofgreatness.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/mother-tongue/), Shazzy stated that – as someone who is very Afrocentric, I found this post to be very “on point”. There is need to uphold the African Culture and to stay rooted through language. In here words, Shazzy stated that: “I want to talk about the new generation of children who cannot speak their mother tongue at all. They twang like they were born with oxford dictionary on their mouth. I’d blame the parents on this one. A child is taught good English at school, and even when they come back they still allow them to speak English in the house. Parents should prompt the children to use their home language at home.“
Connie wrote about Death and Wills generally. However, I feel this awareness can be tailor cut to the African culture as it is uncommon for most people to prepare for their deaths. Some deem it as summoning evil spirits or bac luck whilst others have reservations about their dependents feeling entitled. Nonetheless, it can be agreed that the need to leave wills that adequately carter for loved ones is important. Read more on this topic here: https://behindclosedscreens.wordpress.com/2021/06/11/death-and-wills-advocacy/.
As can be noticed from the recap shared, indeed this week was a cocktail of emotions and perspectives. I appreciate that different causes where given the audience they deserve and were talked about with conviction.
To read more on the amazing content that Afrobloggers brought this week, search for the #WinterABC2021 hashtag on Twitter.
Next week, we tackle a very futuristic topic: Business and Technology. I am excited to create content around this and to also see what my fellow bloggers will have in store for us.
When the idea to tackle this topic for Day 6 of the WinterABC challenge was birthed in my mind, I hesitated. Mostly because I thought it would be yet another procedural tone when I should be tackling substantive issues already. Then I had a shift of mind, I realised that by writing about Digital Advocacy, I was in fact- advocating for it. I decided to proceed against this realization.
For those old enough to have lived through the era when there was no internet and social media, you will agree that if you were told then that mass campaigns and fights against various injustices could be done behind the screen- you would gasp in disbelief. Previously, Advocacy looked like place cards and marching bands chanting their convictions and calling out injustices. These days, Advocacy looks like #Hashtags, tweets, retweets, blog posts and so much more. We are living in an era that has witnessed the uprising of Digital Advocacy.
Digital Advocacy is defined by Policy as, “the use of technology to galvanize people towards a cause, whether it’s a policy or a product. It’s an organized effort to influence public perception. Adding that, at it’s core, it can be one of the strongest forces of civic technology” .
The emergence of Digital Advocacy has been received by two main opposing views.
On one hand, there are people who ridicule the cause, condescendingly calling digital advocates “key board warriors”. Those that subscribe to this school of thought argue that injustices are reduced to “trends” or “hot topics” and that whether or not change is truly achieved, people move from one trend to another depending on what is latest. It is further argued that, digital advocacy is elitist as it only focuses on injustices that are able to reach media platforms and sidelines other injustices that may not be as “popular”. Under this perspective, it is lamented that after some time the hash-tags become… hush; whilst people’s grievances remain …. harsh.
On the other hand, there are people- like me, who recognise and appreciate the level of influence that is driven through digital advocacy. It is undeniable now more than ever, given the digital escalation that was mandated by the Covid outbreak, that the world is integrated through social and professional media platforms. I regard the internet as a window or portal to the outside world, it promotes integration and broadens perspectives.
Whereas the criticisms raised by those with reservations against digital advocacy may be emanating from genuine concerns, I believe it is disrespectful at best and inhumane at worst to belittle real life experiences and injustices into “trends”. The motives of all digital advocates cannot be stated with certainty for sure. However, I believe the same can be said about traditional advocates who would rally and chant. Even in that setting, one could only hope the cause was being supported from a genuine place. I strongly believe the same applies to digital advocacy and it cannot be justifiably sidelined based on this concern. Additionally, in a world filled with injustices, it is unfair to expect digital advocates to not vocalize or amplify on various causes in the fear of being perceived as “moving from trend to trend”.
I had a colleague who once argued that, the fact that first world injustices are broadcasted more than those of the third world is unfair. The said colleague made lengthy posts complaining about how attention is not given to local struggles. Again, I respected the perspective but was still bothered by the approach…I mean, would it not be better to use the platform you have to highlight the said local struggles than police and condemn others on how they advocate and what they choose to advocate for?
Furthermore, and unfortunately, just because a cause is fought for or supported doesn’t always imply results will yield at the desired rate. This is such a bitter pill to swallow for activists/advocates and it leads to advocacy fatigue when efforts are perceived to be in vain. However, it is no wonder that causes are fought for consistently. For instance, till date, every #InternationalWomen’sDay highlights problems that still need tackling because the patriarchal institution will take generations to follow to fully dismantle. Against this background, I contend that to perceive efforts by digital advocates to be moot because some results are not being achieved as hoped for is misguided, respectfully.
Having said that, I believe the power of digital advocacy cannot be overemphasized. Social media movements such as #MeToo have stirred up much needed conversations that cut across boarders. They allowed for people to feel seen and heard. The assurance of not being alone and the courage to share stories. Support groups emerged to help victims seek the desired justice and that is but only one example of how powerful and effective Digital Advocacy is.
Some notable things to consider when it comes to Digital Advocacy as guided by Voices of Youth, include:
Goals – what are you trying to achieve?
Audiences – who are you trying to influence?
Messages – what do you want them to know & do?
Tactics – how will you get there?
Timeline – when will you do what?
Monitoring & Evaluation – how successful are you
In conclusion, I reiterate that Digital Advocacy is not only inevitable in the era we are living in but is also beneficial. Notably, it may not be without flaws and as such, I urge anyone who notes flaws to be more solutions driven, being the change that’s desired to be seen as opposed to ridiculing the entire cause.
To all Digital Advocates reading this, never feel that your efforts are in vain. The post, retweet and hashtag movement you actively participate in has a positive ripple effect in the fight against injustices and in the support for noble causes.
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.
Welcome to yet another session of the Creatives Hub – a place where the various players in the creative cycle share their perspectives. Thank you for returning to this platform and following the discussions our panelists have been gracefully leading.