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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

Saturday, 28 May 2011

One Year of Mwana Ba Afrika :)

Can't believe that I wrote my first post just over a year ago! How time flies... This blog has brought me more satisfaction and a sense of purpose than I could have imagined :))))))))))!  Being able to put down my thoughts, work through my nervous condition (an inherent feature of my Afropolitaness) and explore my African identity concurrently with the continent's has been the most fulfilling experience of my twenties.  I pray that it continues to feed my soul and energise my spirit :).

I already created a 2010 Top 10 Posts list.  Here are 5 more posts from 2011 that I think are worth reading if you have not already:

Afropolitan African Delicacy
The Global Fund - A Victim of it's Own Transparency?
Innocent Mugabe
(Re)Branding Africa
Only Human (and That is Enough)

I think the most profound and also unexpectedly comforting thing I have learned in 2011, of which I spent the first 3 months in Europe, is that you can find the motherland in the most unexpected places.  Africa and it's peoples are everywhere and we have an impact that we have yet to exploit to its fullest potential.  To illustrate this point I end with a picture of me in Liechtenstein (don't ask me how I ended up there ;}) posing with a sculpture inspired by the motherland entitled African King:

 Here's to another year of exploration and silliness ;}

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Africa Day: What I Wanted To Say Yesterday

Yesterday was a day to celebrate the continent and our freedom to forge our own destinies.  I was unaware until I had a chat with MINI MI that for some African countries, this day is just another day even though it marks the commemoration of the African Union as well.  Nigeria does not seem to acknowledge the day.  It has been an official holiday in Zambia as far as I can remember. I think it is an important day for the continent to reflect, to take pride in who we are and resolve to be trailblazers who defy the world's expectations and become the great peoples we have the potential to be.  I say peoples as although we share a commonality in the African experience, we have unparalleled diversity that should be preserved and celebrated as well. 

It is an interesting time for Africa.  Sudan will be split into two soon.  Egypt is witnessing the cost of freedom.  Revolution is a long process and the media have not helped in perpetuating the illusion that demanding change culminates to democracy overnight and when they aren't oversimplifying they are spreading gloom and doom.  Unfortunately the Libya situation is worse than ever, and my fears have been realised.

However, progress has been made in Cote D'Ivoire with President Ouattara rightfully being sworn in as President as the people had chosen at the end of last year.  Let us hope that this is a huge step towards sustained peace in the region.  I hope that they finally deal with their human rights issues.  Here is a video of the inauguration:

As for me Africa Day was particularly invigorating.  The day before I saw David and Goliath battle in the 21st Century, when Rafa beat John Isner after being pushed to 5 sets for the first time at Roland Garros.  I have gushed about Nadal before, but I have gained a new level of respect for him after watching that match.  Watching him fail to find a way to penetrate Isner's game after he lost the break in the second set and seeing him transform in the fourth by taking a chance and going for Isner's mammoth serve and finally making inroads to break and take the last two sets to win was awesome possum :)))))).  Seeing him adapt and change, persevere and call on his inner-strength to will victory was just wow! My favourite match of his on clay for sure. Definitely a classic. You can watch his interview after the match here, (look for Day 3).

How does this relate to my Africa Day? Nadal's win despite what seemed to an insurmountable obstacle in his way gave me the strength to declutter my life literally and figuratively so that I can be receptive to God through faith in myself and my abilities.  The only person who can help you is yourself.  You have to find the strength within when you are faced with external trials and tribulations.  So I spent the day cleaning my personal space and clearing my head and I am now prepared to move forward with energy and optimism and most importantly faith in myself, my abilities and my contributions to life.

I will end with my fav African song of the moment.  Africa let's "hustle and stay focused" :)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Caught with his Strauss-ers down

It has been an interesting week in the news.  The recent sexual assault case in America involving a Guinean chambermaid and the now former Managing Director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, came from completely left field. The important difference between this and the concurrent revelation about Arnie's love child  with a member of his household staff is that even though both these men abused their powerful positions, Mr. Schwarzenegger's affair was consensual in this instance, though he has admitted to non-consensual sexual activity in the past.

I have voiced before my view on what people do in their private lives and particularly in their bedrooms, especially with stars, sportsmen and those in public office.  If it doesn't affect their jobs, which for the most part I think is usually the case, that is a private matter between the parties involved frankly.  However,  Strauss-Kahn's situation is completely different. If he is indeed guilty, no one is above the law, and such conduct should not be swept under the carpet.  France's stance on the sexual antics of its public figures, that has been considered lax by many in the world, is now under such scrutiny. Is this changing as as the French press uncharacteristically focus on this story by revealing an unprecedented amount of detail about his sex life? If you would like the salacious details I leave that for you to find. Should the media hold public figures accountable for what they do both in the office and in their bedrooms? Does France's strict privacy laws have a part to play in how Strauss-Kahn felt he could behave when he was not on official duty?

I am rather disturbed as a global citizen and as an African woman about women's sexual rights and how they are regarded.  I do not think that anywhere in the world has gotten it right.  This week a debate in the UK had me quite perturbed when the Justice Secretary seemed to trivialise certain instances of rape and failed to understand that whether it is stranger or someone you know, whether it is a first encounter gone wrong or after several consensual encounters it is still rape.  I have commented on rape in Africa before and believe African men need to step it up and treat women better but it is important to acknowledge education  for BOTH genders is still desperately needed all over the world about such issues.

On a lighter note, yes I am very proud of the very cheesy title to this post :}

Thursday, 5 May 2011


As I sink further and further into self doubt I am drawing upon the words of someone who is thought to be quite smart.  This fellow of times past said:

"The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd.  The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places noone has ever seen before."

I am counting on the fact that Einstein is considered to be quite a smart chap. If Bertie says this is so, I am going to believe it.  I am very alone at the moment, trying to forge my path in unchartered waters and trying to remain uncompromisingly steadfast to my dreams and aspirations.  So he'd better be right otherwise I am taking a huge professional risk because I am crazy, not because I have gumption, vision and moxie!