The other side of fear

Anger

My best friend Vivienne sent me an alarming voice note yesterday. Her childhood friend Hannah Cornelius was murdered in Stellenbosch. She was stabbed several times and her body was dumped in a ditch on the side of the road. It was difficult to make sense of what Viv was saying because she was in a state of shock. But I later on read on the news that Hannah was murdered by car hijackers. This tragedy has occurred just a few weeks after Karabo Mokoena was murdered by her boyfriend. Her body burned and dumped in a ditch. In Uganda, we are still mourning the loss of Desire Mirembe, also murdered by her boyfriend, beheaded and her body dumped in a ditch.

Fear

Today, I hesitated to leave my house. I had to show up at work but I feared that once I stepped out, I would not be seen or heard from again. As I made my way through African street, I looked over my shoulder countless times. Black painted cars with tinted windows made my body shiver. The sight of good looking men with nice teeth made me want to run the opposite direction. I am angry, scared and irritated. I feel weak. I feel tired. I feel that all my life I have been conditioned to fear.

Anger

When I think about all these incidents that have occurred over the past few weeks. This violence inflicted upon women’s bodies. I get terrified. However, the thing that scares me more is the position I find myself in today. Being a woman. Being subjected to fear on a daily basis because of my body, because of my vulnerability.

On my way back from work, I was still haunted by fear. I thought about the journalists who walked into news rooms and were asked to report on the murders of these women. Were they women too? Did they hesitate? Would I hesitate?

I saw an interview the other day by Karabo’s mother. I thought how brave she was to even begin to speak after she lost a child in such a horrendous way. I then thought about the journalist. What does one say to a mother? How do we report facts and avoid being subjective on issues that affect us too?

Fear

When I told my father I wanted to be a journalist, I knew it did not excite him as much as it did two years ago when my sister decided to study engineering. He would tell me a story everyday about journalists in the Middle East who had been imprisoned and others beheaded for simply reporting the news. I said to him: “I do not want to be a reporter, I want to write.” He looked back and said: “Writers get imprisoned too.”

My father said he would support my career choice only if I decided to write about travel or fashion. He asked that I stay away from anything related to war.

I do not want to be a war correspondent. That has never been my ambition. I have always wanted to write but never been sure about what to write about until this moment. How do I tell my father that I want to write for and about women? How do I say to him that the issues I want to write about are much scarier? How do I say to him that the issues I would like to share with the world through my writing are things I experience on a daily basis?

Anger

In ‘Again’ Natalie Goldberg argues that as writers it is our job speak. But while we do this, we ought to be as careful and as respectful as possible. In second year we had a discussion with our lecturers about how we as journalists should position ourselves when reporting about tragic incidents or about people in need. Does one simply report the facts and leave? Does this not mean we are using people’s tragedies for our own benefit? I left that room in fear and this memory resurrected when I read Goldberg’s words. I have always wanted to be a creative writer because I wanted to imagine things and build a world from fiction. Whenever people ask me whether I want to be a journalist I tend to shrug and say no. Then why are you pursuing a degree in journalism they ask? Well… I do not know. I do know that I am scared to write about reality because of my sensitivity. I am a woman and had I been asked to write a hard news story about Hannah, Karabo or Desire am afraid that my sensitivity and subjectivity would hinder me from doing my job. How do I get rid of these unwanted guests?

Anger, Fear, Resolution

Today, I hesitated to leave my house. I had to show up at work but I feared that once I stepped out, I would not be seen or heard from again. I am angry, scared and irritated.

I have however found courage in writing this. In finally admitting that I live in fear because I am a woman. I live in fear of the future when am asked to write about a murder of another woman. I fear not being taken seriously because I have breasts. I fear that I have to keep fighting. I fear that I have to write how I feel. However, Goldberg urges me to turn to this fear and use it. She says “whatever is hidden or secretive will always come out.” So here I am. Finally admitting fear. But also feeling courageousness in finally holding my black pen and discovering how to say the things I did not know how to say.

 

Thanks Mt.Kenya

Two years ago while trying to skip Sunday study time at Greensteds International School Kenya. I decided to take it upon myself to join the hiking club. It was the best way to avoid doing any school work.

Mountain 2
Point Lenana (Mount Kenya)

Little did I know that this hike would have me asking my parents for funds to go on a five day hiking trip to Mt. Kenya.

To be prepare myself for one of the biggest challenges of my life.I went on several hiking trails in Nakuru Kenya. After months of planning, I finally geared up to climb Mt. Kenya.

I carried my own bags for the duration of the whole trip. The bags were weighing me down and I did have an option of having them carried by the amazing porters that accompanied us. But I wanted to challenge myself not just mentally but physically too. The porters also carried our food and did an amazing job in making sure we were nourished enough to keep on going.

Mountain 3
Catching our breath before embarking on another 5 hour hike to camp

Day 1: of the hike was a drilling 6 hour trek to the Austrian hut were we spent our first night. This day was particularly uneventful as we were all tired from our drive from Nakuru to Nanyuki North of Nairobi.

Day 2: was much more of a challenge. We got up at about 5am and begun an 8 hour hike to Shipton’s camp. We were accompanied by about 50 German army soldiers making their way to the summit as a part of their army training.

After endless meltdowns, laughter and dehydration we made it to Shipton Camp. We were served an early dinner of Ugali and beans and immediately sent off to bed. We were to rise at 2am to begin our summit to Point Lenana. The porters said it is better to summit in the dark as during the day Lenana looks impossible to climb. I was given the honor of leading our  group to the summit.

Mountain 4
The view before we  begun the final summit to Lenana

It was completely dark and the only thing guiding us was the torch attached to our heads. I was covered in multiple layers of clothing which made it difficult to climb. Despite all the layers I had on, the cold took a toll on me and I was left gasping for air on several occasions. Thanks to my wonderful teachers, I was offered both mental and medical support. My chest was burning but I pushed through and made it to Point Lenana.

The biggest challenge was having to convince myself that I am capable of doing the impossible. All in all it is a trek that I would recommend anyone to embark on.

Next on the agenda is the great Mount Kilimanjaro!!!

 

We celebrate you Marion!

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Will Durant

My lovely sister Marion graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Computer Science  from the University of Cape Town, South Africa yesterday. It has  definitely not been easy journey. But I am so glad and lucky to have been around to witness her determination, persistence and over all patience in making sure she achieved her goal despite the hurdles. So proud of you Marion.

Here a few pictures from a very exciting and much awaited day.

Blogging: (Eish the struggle)

MIIII

I have been blogging for a  few months now and “boy oh boy” it has not been the easiest thing. I am generally an individual that does not like to share much, so this process has been a difficult one.

I apologize   for not blogging frequently. The last thing I want is for this to be one of those once a month post blogs. I have day to day activities I love to do and as much as I wanted to share these things, part of me felt that I would not enjoy them as much as I do if I opened up.

But I think we grow from taking risks.

So…………..

Indoor cycling
The Indoor Cycling Studio at Rhodes University Grahamstown, South Africa

One of the things am completely passionate about is cycling and more specifically Indoor cycling. I have been a frequent spinner for two years now and proud to say that this passion pushed me to apply for the position of Indoor cycling manager at Rhodes University which I successfully got.

At the moment am waiting for a response to whether my audition for as a spinning Instructor was successful.

I am more than happy to share this because I hope someone out there is as passionate as about spinning just as I am,

Over the next few months I hope to open up more about my passion for adventure, health and generally life.

Here’s to being brave and risk taking.

Africa’s Finest

As Africans we each have the power to subvert stereotypes and create our own stories. We are far from a dark continent, we are a continent surrounded by light, filled with love and drowning in creativity.

This week I met up with two awesome students from Rhodes University Grahamstown. They shared their passion for telling stories. These portraits for me are a way of sharing our diversity here in Africa as well as the passion we all share towards creativity.

Meet Kholeka Majola

Last year Kholeka was a third year Television student at Rhodes University. After working on a story focusing on African identity, she developed a growing passion for African discourses, African hair and stories. Today Kholeka is a fourth year multimedia student hoping to use her profiles and portraits to show the world that besides every story is a human being.

Image 1 (Kholeka Majola
I am Zulu, am black and am a woman”
Image 2 (Ethel Nshakira
“What is home is home to you?”           “Can it be one word? ”                            “Yes!”                                                          “Chapati.”

And the lovely Ethel Nshakira.

Ethel Nshakira is a Ugandan student studying a BA in Journalism at Rhodes University. As an African aspiring Journalist Ethel feels that there’s so many African stories that have never been told and others that need to be re-told. This is an exciting time for Ethel as she has the perfect opportunity to not only tell Ugandan stories but African stories at large. Being an African aspiring journalist Ethel is excited to use this platform to work with fellow Africans and change the narrative.

My Uganda, my home

CNN recently named Uganda among-st the top 5 best tourism destinations for 2017. As a Ugandan I can’t help but be extremely proud to see my country be appreciated for its beauty that took me a while to appreciate.

In honor of this recognition I have decided to post some pictures of different wild animals and waterfalls my family got the opportunity to see this Christmas at Murchison Falls National Park Uganda.

Changing the narrative

The world must respect us, they must see us, they must understand who we are as AfricansMo Abadu

Last week I shared a few of my favorite things and gave insight in the few media platforms that inspire me. One of the few things I did not get to share was my love for the television show CNN African Voices. The truth is if I was to list all the things am currently obsessed with I would have to probably publish a novel. Thus, why not simply write a new blog post.

 I discovered the show when my sister did her usual stealing of the television remote and demanded we watch African voices on CNN . Her friend’s brother from Rwanda was featured in that week’s episode. Part of me was embarrassed that as much as I am on this self-discovery journey of appreciating my Africa, there was so much I still did not know.

African voices has provided a platform for Africans to showcase their talents. Every week a new episode focuses on different individuals excelling in the food business, arts or sports. I cannot begin to express my excitement at watching a global show that has managed to change the narrative and focus on the good that comes out of Africa.

On this week’s episode of African Voices, I was particularly drawn to Mo Abadu, a Nigerian Media mogul. If like me your addicted to television talk shows then you will recognize her from the television show Moments with Mo. Mo argues that the Media today should produce content that is diverse. The media shapes and creates public opinion as well as builds strength within our society.

I think one of the main things that has pushed me to search and write content from and for Africa is feeling that I was not properly represented both as an African and black woman. It is more than inspiring for me to see that fellow African women are pushing for the same agenda. We must change the narrative, our stories must be told by us and given the attention they deserve.

Take a look at this week’s episode of CNN African Voices by clicking the link below and hopefully you will get to discover and celebrate Africa’s rich diversity and creativity.

 

http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/03/27/african-voices-mo-abudu-nigeria-media-mogul-a.cnn