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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Transitioning From Young And Eager To Accomplished

I feel like I have been in a perpetual cycle of trying to transistion from the young and eager African I have always been to one that is accomplished, having made enough steps and made enough marks along the way to be able to look back and see a clear path from which to continue journeying on.  I am either walking around in circles or wandering around aimlessly or do not know how to read my own map. God forbid I am running in the same spot and created so much dust I cannot see that I am accomplishing nothing at all! I can see a few marks here and there but cannot connect them to be able to show a way that leads to something truly fruitful and meaningful.  That could just be the high bar I set for myself, propelling me to continue to challenge myself.  Or it could be that I am really quite useless and am still in denial or worse deluded into thinking I am making progress!

I re-read Mariama Ba's African classic, So Long a Letter, this week as I am setting out to concatenate all my various actions through school and work to finally start doing something that makes me happy and contributes to the continent.  Even though the characters are Muslim, West African, married with children, and living through the excitment of independence,  the strength that both Ramatoulaye and Aissatou show when life throws them curve balls is so inspiring.  The fact that they are able to do what it is they love and provide for their families without the help of their husbands is admirable.  The friendship that they have for each other and the advice they are able to give when the other is in crisis is something to aspire to.  Which reminded me of the counsel, help and shoulders to cry on my best friends have offered me, especially in this last year.  I am eternally grateful to have such love in my life, particularly from my African Posse of the female persuasion.   BIMBO just made an important life decision and was weighing the rationality of her thought process in making it.  Her ruminations made me think of a quote that really resonated with what it is that we who love Africa are all trying to do:

We are trying to "appreciate a multitude of civilisations without renoucing our own,  to raise our vision of the world, cultivate our personalities, strengthen our qualities, to make up for our inadequacies, to develop universal moral values in us," to make a better Africa.

However, trying to make that transition from young and eager to accomplished is no easy feat.  Finding people to give us a chance, finding the right organisation and/ or the resources to venture out and do our thing for many of us is proving difficult, especially in these uncertain and turbulent times.  Our youth invites people to find reasons not to give us the responsibility to be innovative, creative and productive in order to grow and thus we are being stifled.  Having some experience can leave us in limbo with too much for some things and not enough for others, causing us to be overlooked, or worse, underestimated. Going for what it is that we want to do and will make us happy versus quelling worrisome parents trepidations and satisfying expectations with regards our life choices is the perpetual quandary of the African child.  With family and friends adding more pepper to the already hot soup, it is hard to find our own ingredients to make our unique life recipes.  Trying to please oneself while fielding off societal expectations is quite tiresome.  There are things that are expected of a young African Woman, some which are great to aspire to, and others that are suffocating and restrictive. Ditto for the African Man. And for men and women in all cultures around the world.

I have decided that so long as you know what kind of life path you want and what you want to accomplish then all you have to do is seek out ways to achieve your goals and not be afraid of not knowing or changing the plan as you go along, despite the naysayers, pessimists and party-poopers.  You need to be flexible and prepared from anything. Piece of cake...ha!

All you need to know is the kind of river you are travelling on, the kind of boat you are captain of, and the direction you are going.  As you navigate the unforseen twists and turns, the rapids and placid waters, the crocodiles and the hippos, you will start to see how it all fits together as you learn to navigate and work out and hopefully eventually foresee these diversions and as people provide safe harbour with resources and advice along the way for you.

Right now I am on a very wide river that is eeriely calm and so wide all I can see is water (which leads me to think I may be stranded in the middle of some ocean) in a very tiny canoe with one paddle.  I think I am headed for a waterfall and I'm about to cascade into a period of exciting rapids. I pray I am not headed for a patch of tricky hyacinth that may trap me in unproductive pursuits indefinitely. I am hoping this happens soon because wandering around aimlessly is not something I do well...I can be aimless while knowing what path I need to take though ha ha ha ;}.

This post is dedicated to R4L, BIMBO, LOLZ, OXFORD SHIRT, COMBINE and MINI MI: Without you, my nervous conditions would paralyse, rather than propel me to excel.  :)


  1. Love u too whoops! Deep stuff, and as the dust settles, I trust you will see the purpose in your path. It is well!

  2. Thanks love, getting more positive each day. Making the effort to not let the world around me control how I feel...