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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

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Woolgather Wednesday Debut: The Illusion of Space for Multiple Stories and Identities

Mutanga Lindunda and I are the same yet different: We are
both Zambian.  I am slightly older, she is married.  She has a
weave, I have styled my own hair.  She is a career woman,
I am an entrepreneur.  She is a mother, I am an Aunty.  We
both love technology, believe in equality and both respect
each other's life choices by celebrating our differences and
embracing our similarities.  We both feel the pressure to
 conform to the perceived notion of what it is to
be a professional in Zambia today.
 © BongoHive 

First can I just geek out on this new word I have discovered!  I am in the process of naming each day of the week for the blog to help me focus my ideas and to structure my writing in order to post more.  

Wednesday was whooping my bleep a little (okay a lot) as I couldn't figure out a word that encapsulated the profoundity in nugacities and the power of excogitation - in other words the awesome possumness of nonsense that inspires and my love for pondering life's questions from identitiy to the concepts, schemas and codes that populate and inform our existence.  I finally stumbled upon and happily discovered this word woolgather  - synonyms include: fantasise, stargaze, ponder, excogitate, mull over, ruminate, as well as hallucinate, which all fit  to describe the cauldron of thoughts that mix and mingle in my mind, from which insightful and/ or silly posts are then created.

2014 has been declared the year of finding and owning the multiple yet unified voices required to express my Afropolitaness proudly, and to expose, celebrate and respect the various ways in which Zambian and African identities can, have and will manifest.  However, while I decided that this would be my goal for the year I realised that although many of us: abwana ba Afrika strive to actively raise our voices and express ourselves, we are doing exactly what we vilify the western hegemony in global media does: narrowly depicsing and essentialing our continent, culture and peoples.  We are also creating silos of identity, instead of allowing for fluid exploration and evolution.  We are starting to impose certain acceptable identities on ourselves which is more dangerous.  It is much easier to write off outsiders for not having an understanding of the intricacies and experience of being an African, but it is perhaps a lot harder, a lot more personal, and a lot more emotional when your own peeps tell you you do not belong, that you do not fit it, that your identity will not be recognised as the norm and therefore is not authentic and/ or is a fringe freakish identity best hidden from view.

Naturally having a nervous condition has had me explore this extensively on the blog.  Zambia is a very conservative country and I have struggled to maintain my voice and not modulate or frankly to resist the urge to just disappear from view all together to avoid people's very violent and insidious reactions that then lead to them somehow trying to snuff my light out. Two weeks ago I spoke on the radio about my life's journey and how I have come to be at peace with myself and the struggle, my choices and my identity and I spoke about my experience rocking natural hair at a documentary film screening.  This Friday I will be speaking about love and relationships in a Google + Hangout with fellow African women organised by the lovely ladies from the blog I am hoping that through sharing my experience and thoughts I will be able to create more dialogue about these issues surrounding finding your voice and living your truth.

As Zambia turns 50, I feel like we are schizophrenic.  We do not allow for a myriad of identities to bear the common stamp of being Proudly Zambian but continue to want to box people into a select few ways of expressing oneself, particularly with girls and women.

Here is to being who we are, and allowing each other to be, agreeing to disagree, and taking the time to look deeper to see that despite being profoundly different, we are fundamentally all the same :)

Hangout with me and other awesome African women speaking on the Metamorphosis of Love panel on Google+ organised by the Adventures blog this Valentine's day 17:00 GMT, 19:00 CAT.   

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