Diana Washe : Woman Crush Wednesday

My name is Diana Washe, I am a Johannesburg based mother to two handsome boys who are 6 and 3.  I’m also a full time Digital Marketer, Post-Grad student, an entrepreneur and an upcoming life coach.
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How did you get to where you are today?
Businesswise I can never talk about my business without including my story.”  My business was born out of depression.  After tragically loosing my husband when I was 6 months pregnant; I was diagnosed with depression.  My Grief Counsellor advised me to look for a hobby I can do in between our sessions, then I would go back and we talk about what  would have made. I still remember the very first item I created; I sew up some Ankara fabric and covered my new baby’s shoe with it.  I posted on Facebook page and I received positive feedback from my Counsellor and Facebook friends.  From then on every sample got more encouraging feedback until people started offering to pay for my products.
At first I was very hesitant until I gave it a go, I thought to myself, why not?  I’m enjoying making these accessories why not get paid for doing something I love?  It has not been an easy journey, as a single mother, full time employment, being a student and being the Creative Director of my business Shaina. As the Creative Director I come up with concepts and have to make some of the products myself and sometimes I outsource labour. My business is growing steadily at a pace I can manage and get to enjoy life while I’m at it. Earlier in the year I showcased at the Soweto Fashion Week, which is a fashion show for upcoming designers!
 
Who or what keeps you going?
God has been faithful and amazing in my life, without Him I would not be where I am today.  I don’t want to let Him down. I even renamed myself to Dianawashe because I am His.  My children also keep me going. I want to give them a “normal” life; I don’t want them to physically feel the gap left by their dad. The smiles on their faces and when they brag about me makes me push a mile further in everything I do!  I have an amazing support system in the form of family and friends.   My love for finer things in life is the other main reason I keep going.  I love champagne, wine, WiFI, All Stars, Mac, Fenty Beauty among other things, there is no way these things will buy themselves, I have to keep going to keep the ka-ching ka-ching coming!
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What have you learned about being an entrepreneur?
My business is only 3 years old. I’m still a work in progress and so far I have learnt that:
  • sometimes you need to work smarter not harder,
  • don’t put all your eggs in one basket,
  • diversify!

 

What exactly does your business entail?
I can safely say I do my life; my business is an extension of my life!  I love fashion, I love prints, I hoard accessories. I’m a very crafty creative being. I hand make African inspired accessories and bags. I make trendy and fancy accessories for vibrant young adults. I fuse different textures with African print to make affordable luxurious clutch bags and bow-ties. I am a Serial Entrepreneur!  I live in light bulb moments.
There are more lines from Shaina that are coming and I’m adding another wing to my business which is very exciting.   Follow me on my Instagram Page there is exciting business chapter coming up!
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What are the 5 words that people use to describe you?
Bubbly, Talkative, Gwara, (what’s the English word by the way?), Loving, Kind-Hearted
What is your favourite quote or saying?
Lets just make them two..
  1. I refuse to be ordinary my kids are watching!
  2. Life is short.  Be silly, have fun, love the people who treat you right.  Forget the ones who don’t, regret nothing, believe everything happens for a reason AND buy those shoes!  Never forget God above all else.

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Where can readers find you on social media?
Twitter: @dianawashe
Instagram: @mylife.andkids
Business Instagram: @shainaonline
©MaKupsy 2017

 

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15 Priceless Gems I Learnt From The #30DayAfriblogger Challenge

I blogged my heart out in September, a whole 30 days of creating posts was worth every minute of my time…

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Image from Pinterest

  1. What stands between you and what you want is the story you tell yourself about why you can’t have it. I told myself I was going to blog the heck out of this September Challenge and I did exactly that!
  2. Collaboration is key. There were days when the challenge topics were tough and I had no idea how to tackle them. Thankfully we had the option to invite guest bloggers to write for us on a not so creative day.  I’m grateful for Chantelle, Vimbai and Josh for coming to the rescue.  Through their work my eyes were opened to issues that I had been ignorant about.
  3. Having a Content Calendar makes life easier. When the challenge started I looked through the topics and I was convinced it was going to be one crazy month because it looked like a lot of work.  Turns out it saved me a lot of time because I worked on difficult topics beforehand and sailed through the easy ones.
  4. I’ve spotted my weaknesses and strengths. Before this challenge I was an impromptu blogger.  Thanks to having to do research beforehand I have become more organised and I can create blog posts days in advance.  My number one strength now is that I know I can actually blog everyday if I put my mind to it.
  5. I got out of my comfort zone and learnt about new topics e.g feminism. I always see the topic getting people in heated arguments on social media platforms but now that I am more knowledgeable on the topic believe me I will be jumping in with my views.
  6. Use of different tools and elements to evoke emotion. Pinterest was good to me, word play even better!  These tools helped with keeping my readers engaged throughout the month and I’m happy to note that most readers could relate to different topics.
  7. Blog titles.  The catchier the better.  One of my personal favourites this month was When In Doubt, Eat Sadza.  This post caught the attention of my readers; most readers are currently out of the country so seeing sadza left them feeling nostalgic.
  8. Scheduling posts was the best thing that ever happened to me in September! It gave me time to read other blogs and not work on blogging only.
  9. Excuses don’t bring blog posts! I wrote through both good and bad days.  That’s the problem when you initiate something; you can’t afford to let yourself down so it ends up being both a blessing and a curse.  I seriously think that Sweet Lips should give me a case of wine because I went through a lot of wine this month to keep myself from drowing.
  10. Trust is built with consistency.  My objective as a Blogger is to get people engaged on my blog and the only way to do so is through consistent work.
  11. You may be a blogger but you are also a writer. Once you are something you have the responsibility of being  the best version of that!  What better way to challenge your skills through a 30 Day Blogging Challenge?
  12. September has been the best month of the year statistically with 5,379 views, 3,598 visitors, 524 likes, 137 comments and 31 blog posts!  If you want to get this blogging thing on lock then becoming a reliable source for content makes your blog more useful and therefore popular.
  13. Team work is the sh*t! We had a WhatsApp group running throughout the challenge and we discussed difficult topics in advance and it helped to give you an idea of which direction to choose for your posts.
  14. Bearded men aren’t so bad after all, wait, bearded men are the business! Apparently a man with a beard comes with much wisdom, awesomeness and note there’s D on the end of the word beard!   My friend (who happens to have a beard) would check on some of my posts and read some of my drafts and let me know they were lacking my character.  Make sure you have a person like that to cross check your work before sending it out into the world.
  15. I was going to stop blogging by the end of this year because I thought I was completely out of ideas on what to write about but this challenge just took my creative juices to the next level! I now know how I’m going to proceed blogging wise sit tight, it’s going to be an explosive journey from here on.

*Bonus Lesson: It’s good to invest in learning some technical skills!*

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Image from Pinterest

That said, let’s celebrate good times!!  Congratulations to every blogger who participated in this challenge. It was one energy filled month, we outdid ourselves African Bloggers!!!  This is the end of the #30DayAfriBlogger Challenge and I’m happy to have been a part of something so profound.  The first time I did a write everyday challenge was last year in September and you can read the posts from here.

I would love to hear from you, when was the last time you took up a writing challenge?  How did that go for you?  Did you face any challenges along the way and how did you handle them?

I’m going to be away for a while, taking a “break” from blogging but I will still be here reading through all your amazing posts.  Have a lovely weekend ahead and stay beautiful both inside and out.

©MaKupsy 2017

 

 

Day 25: What Feminism Means To Me

Day 25 of #30DayAfriBlogger Challene topic is Feminism or Humanism or Womanism.  Where do you stand and why?  I have a Guest Blogger who shared her thoughts on Feminism with me, enjoy the read.

“I am compelled to remain on this feminist path by the many women that…feel comfortable in living differently” –​ ​Florence​ ​Butegwa

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Vimbai Midzi

 Women deserve to be treated equally, to be given a fair chance to succeed, and a safe environment to live their lives in. – Vimbai Midzi

It was a quiet realisation in a room full of women who had been through the abuse I had experienced. I hadn’t spoken at all that day, and my heart was heavier than I can articulate. There were hundreds of candles for the vigil, and hundreds of women sat in the hall – some shocked at the stories that were told, some crying, some humming quietly. My friend, who had been the closest person to me since school started, held my hand as we swayed back an forth. Without warning, surprising myself even, I stood up and began to tell my story too. I spoke with the smallest voice I’ve ever heard come out of me about a violence I wish I could forget. I stopped, one minute in, fighting tears. I looked up for reassurance of some kind, and when I looked back at my friend, she had a sign up that simply said, “You matter.” That tiny act of kindness which probably only I noticed, was the beginning of my journey with feminism and defining what it’s meant to me.

Feminism, broadly speaking, is the belief that all women and men are fundamentally equal, and that the differences in the way women and men are treated comes down to patriarchy.

Patriarchy is basically a system that privileges men over women in society – whether with regards to workplace opportunities, access to education, inheritance laws, political leadership positions or romantic relationships. Patriarchy is the thinking that says that women are intrinsically inferior to men, which trickles down into various sectors of society. For example, patriarchy is the reason in many developing countries, if a family cannot afford to send all their children to school, they’d rather send the boys and not the girls. Sometimes it’s subtle. It’s in the way girls are raised to aspire to marriage and are ‘trained’ to take care of a family’s needs, while boys often lack basic domestic skills because they aren’t expected to take part in domestic labour. Patriarchy is the reason why, for years I stayed silent about my sexual abuse, and was willing to go to the grave with it, for fear of being ridiculed or blamed. Patriarchy says that women’s lives, ideas, dreams, bodies don’t matter as much as men’s, and feminism exists to counter that.

You matter.

African feminism stems from African women’s actions and thoughts around equality within the context of African societies. It’s important to stress that my African identity is integral to my fight against patriarchy across the continent. It is particularly important, on a continent where women are systematically excluded from economic, political and social spaces, that my feminist work does everything in its power to tear apart the patriarchy that holds women back and under the feet of men. African women, post colonialism, had to deal with fighting racial oppression from white regimes, and further oppression from their own black male family members, colleagues and leaders.

Feminism is both collective and individual in its practices. Many of the changes in laws protecting women’s inheritance rights, fighting violence against women, ensuring equal opportunities in professional and educational spaces, have come as a result of the collective action of groups of feminists across the continent.  Being a feminist also means that feminists over the years have fought for me to have autonomy and personal choice –an integral part of feminism.  It also means that I’ve come to have a personal understanding of the different ways patriarchy affects me and the ways in which I fight it in my daily life.

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Vimbai Midzi

Personally, there are two things that come to mind when I think of what feminism means to me.

1. YOU MATTER

The jokes about self love aside, loving myself and acknowledging my intrinsic worth has been the foundation of my feminist journey.  Women deserve to be treated equally, to be given a fair chance to succeed, and a safe environment to live their lives in. Feminist policies like advocating for free sanitary pads so girls don’t have to miss school because of their periods, is telling girls that they matter. Their ability to attend class and society’s effort at leveling the playing field for their start in life, matters. My pain, my joy, my failure, my success, my ideas, my dreams – they all matter, and they should be taken seriously.  Feminism makes it necessary for this to be actively made a truth in women’s lives. Every demand for harsher punishments for rapists and kinder environments for rape survivors to tell their stories and get justice, every push for states to address femicide and emphasise women’s autonomy over our bodies, is feminism telling us that we matter.

2. PATRIARCHY MUST FALL

It’s important to note that patriarchy is enacted mostly by and for the benefit of men, but that women can perpetuate it too, and that men can suffer from it. Feminists fight against patriarchy as a system that harms both men and women, albeit harming women more.  Patriarchy sets impossible and toxic standards for men and how masculinity should be performed. This often means that masculinity is associated with violence, strength (the kind of strength that can never show signs of perceived weakness) and unchecked power. Men are therefore socialised to believe that they cannot be emotionally vulnerable.   for example. This would explain the rise in male suicides as a result of men being unable to seek help for mental health issues like depression. Patriarchy also socialises women to make decisions or say things that are harmful to other women, and that ultimately benefit men. When a woman judge in Uganda suspended a female court clerk for wearing a mini-skirt there were a lot of comments. In this instance, women’s dressing and bodies continue to be policed by a system that takes away women’s bodily autonomy.  That the decision was made by a woman, shows the pervasiveness of patriarchy and that; as a whole system, it needs to fall, for the sake of women mostly but also for the sake of men.

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Image from Pinterest

Feminism for me means learning and unlearning everyday.  It means standing up for myself in an environment that seeks to shrink me.  It means standing with women at all times, ensuring that our rights are protected, our voices are listened to and the war on our bodies is being stopped.  It means being unapologetically me and living myself past the pain of years of ingrained patriarchal practices and language. It means reclaiming the identity that men for centuries have given to women, and forming one for myself. Most importantly, feminism for me, is the quiet realisation that I matter.

You can find Vimbai on Twitter; @Just_Midzi she loves, supports and fights for or with black African women.  She also has a new project under way and you should watch this space for it.  A big thank you to Vimbai for sharing her thoughts, I for one now have a better understanding of what Feminism is.

©MaKupsy 2017

Day 20: Breathtaking African Destinations

If I had all the money in the world I would travel the whole world; twice!  Nothing gives you that kick as much as leaving your day to day routine and simply plunging into a completely new environment.  The first time I went on a travel adventure I went to South Africa all by my merry little self.  I made bookings and hit the road.  My parents were worried sick because they thought something tragic would happen to me but nothing did and it was one heck of an astounding experience!

Sadly I’m not as well travelled as I would like to be so I got some travel junkies to help me out with today’s post.  After reading this I promise you the first thing you will do is be friends with Google and search for the first flight out of your country.

Vumba, Zimbabwe

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Photo Credit: @NdiSandra (Twitter)

My favorite Destination in Zimbabwe is definitely Vumba. I am still to travel to a place more beautiful than Vumba. Very quiet and serene with the humming of beautiful birds. The weather is amazingly cool and I have done a gazillion countless trips there because you can never get used to the beauty.  The food is amazing. Tony’s cakes are out of this world. I’m sure that’s the best cake one can ever eat. Forest Hills is my favorite resort in Vumba, it’s such a homely place with amazing people. The food is beyond amazing and Takura makes bomb weird dishes. I would totally stay there and just get fat!!

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Prince of Wales View

Minus the good food and hospitality at Forest Hills, they have amazing views. Its not far from Leopard Rock Hotel so if you need to play some golf or go for a game view Leopard Rock is the place. Game views are so much fun and you get to feed the Ostriches.  Make sure you also pass by Prince of Wales View point on your way. The beautiful view of Mutare will always brighten your day. – @NdiSandra

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You gotta love Vumba!

 

Arusha, Tanzania

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Tanzania

I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Arusha, Tanzania and I would definitely recommend it as a top destination to visit. As a Zimbabwean I warmed up to it very quickly because it reminded me of home. The people there are so welcoming and friendly and the food is the organic goodness we grew up eating in Zimbabwe. Although I never got an opportunity to sight see as I was on a business trip I managed to visit some of the local Masai markets and the markets in the CBD. The Masai markets boast of beautifully handcrafted proudly Tanzanian pieces; from bags to shoes, to jewellery. If you are looking for souvenirs from your visit to Arusha this is definitely a place to stop by. I also enjoyed the markets in Arusha’s CBD. I’m an avid fan of African print material and in the search for an originally Tanzanian piece the CBD was definitely the place to visit.

The people there are so welcoming and friendly and the food is the organic goodness we grew up eating in Zimbabwe.

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Although I never got the chance to go out to try their local cuisine or their braai spots or as they call them “nyama chomas” I think this is a definite must do for anyone visiting Arusha. The night life in Arusha is also something worth exploring. I would say it is different from what I am used to in its simplicity. The prices of alcohol are very reasonable. On a night out we spent about 60 000 shillings on two rounds of drinks (several beers and double whiskeys and cognac orders for four people), which is equivalent to R400. Tanzania seems to have a great appreciation for African music from not only within the East African region but also from the rest of the continent. We enjoyed ourselves dancing to music from Angola, to the DRC and the DJs even accommodated us by playing our favourite Zimbabwean and South African songs.

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Photo Credit: @_____layslee (Twitter)

Due to my limited time there I was unable to visit Mount Meru which is one of the main attractions in the city. Mount Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and is the fourth in Africa. It is a definite must see. Of course there is Mount Kilimanjaro which everyone deserves to see at least once in their life. There is so much one can do in Arusha as the city boasts with many National Parks such as the Serengeti National Park, the Arusha National Park, Ngorongoro National Reserve and Lake Manyara National Park. I would definitely visit Arusha again so I can experience everything it has to offer. – @_____layslee

White Sand Beaches, Mozambique

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Image from Google

The White Sand Beaches of Mozambique are on my list of dream destinations.  If there is one thing I NEED this year it’s definitely a holiday!  I need to get away from all the stresses this country brings me on a daily basis and just enjoy an adventure filled weekend away.  I’ve been to Mozambique before but to the boring parts of it and on business so that wasn’t any fun.  I have a vivid imagination and I’ve already pictured what my trip will be like once it materialises, at least dreaming is free right?

I will arrive in Mozambique on a Friday evening and check into a medium range hotel.  Apparently accommodation in Mozambique is pretty reasonable averaging $24 per person.  I can’t go all out high end accommodation because I have a daughter starting Grade School next year(the joys of parenthood).  I’m obviously tired from my flight so I settle for an early night.  Still deciding if this will be a solo trip or I’ll bump into a chocolate brother over the weekend…

When I’m there I try out everything from the food to the drinks, no time to waste I’m here to have a ball of a time!  I’m honestly tired of all the food lately so it will be a welcome change to try out a local dish and definitely delicious sea food; I love all things white meat.  As long as it’s prepared in a way that I normally have it I’m going to enjoy every bite of it.

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Food of Mozambique (Image from Google)

You know those drinks in coconut shells you see on TV?  I want to try them out and I know there is no way they won’t have them in Mozambique.  I mean, this is my dream so it’s definitely there.  I will have me some sex on the beach both figuratively and literally!  How am I going to come all this way and not get laid???  But keep it on the hush, what happens in Mozambique stays in Mozambique…

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Image from Google

These are some of the activities you can do when you visit Mozambique and I will try out all of them because life is too short to not go hard.

  • Diving
  • Ilha de Mozambique
  • Maputo Central Market
  • Cocktails at the Polana Hotel
  • Swimming with Wild Dolphins (just wait till you see the pictures I will take!)
  • Gorongosa National Park
  • Sailing in a Traditional Dhow
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Image from Google

Don’t forget the walks on the beach.  My trip would be incomplete without it.  Take a dip every other minute to enjoy the cool water on my skin while taking in the clear blue water.  This is the one trip I will be completely off the radar and not even buy a sim card.  I will simply take photos of beautiful views and interact with locals and dare to do something different.  I can’t wait to visit Mozambique!

What are some of your favourite destinations in Africa?  What’s your dream destination and when do you plan on going there?

It’s day 20 of the #30DayAfriBloggerChallenge this is the first time I have ever actually counted down days in a month!

©MaKupsy 2017

Day 19: Your Career Your Choice?

On the #30DayAfriBlogger Challenge today’s topic is “Why Did You Choose Your Career Path.  I’m a qualified Secretary and now that you know what I do let’s talk about the fun stuff!

What did YOU want to be when you were growing up?  I know with my generation everyone wanted to be a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, a soldier an accountant, a businessman or a pilot.  Those seemed to be the only options one had to choose from in order to be labelled successful.  I on the other hand was completely different.  I had other plans on my mind and none of those occupations tickled my fancy.  I had different dreams and who knows some might still come true in this lifetime.  I always felt that if I became or got to do some of the things on my list I would be happier; so here is my list of things I thought I would one day do once I was all grown up.

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Image from Pinterest

  1. Study choreography.  I love to dance,(not professionally) think naughty suggestive shake your ass like a salt shaker type of moves.  I’ve always felt that if I had the opportunity to actually study dance I would have one job I would love and literally run to every day because I can never get enough of all the dance styles that keep being created every single day.  Seeing that the choreography dream isn’t coming true soon enough I have taken to never leaving the dance-floor when I go out to party.  You should see my moves, Beyonce ain’t got nothing on me!
  2. Music.  Sometime in my early 20’s I thought being a DJ wouldn’t be a bad idea considering the way I love my music.  I remember applying for some voice over positions and that never materialised.  A friend who happens to be a DJ needed some Voice Over’s done for his music mix and approached me some  years back.  I enjoyed the few seconds of fame and loved hearing the sound of my voice.  I figured it wasn’t too late to pursue that career but what else must one do after being a Voice Over Artist?  However, this is definitely a dream that can still come to life if I put my mind to it; I just have to make it a side gig because the way Zimbabwe is set up you can’t make it your end and all!
  3. Counsellor.  I would like to believe I am an attentive listener and once I put my mind to it I will encourage someone to talk about issues they feel they cannot normally share with other people.  I already have a qualification in HIV/ AIDS Care and Counselling so one day when the opportunity arises I will step up and use it.  Methinks studying couselling works to my advantage because people feel safe to share their problems with me.  In this case health and fitness problems and I’m always willing to help no matter what time of day.
  4. Globe Trotter.  I wanted to travel the world. I didn’t want to have a permanent address.  I wanted my life to be different and planned that each year I would stay in say Kenya for one year, then move to India the following year and off to Netherlands, anywhere but home was going to be absolutely perfect for me.  I wanted to learn about different cultures and traditions while I enjoyed being on a travel adventure.  Alas, that hasn’t happened yet, but on the upside I have travelled to some parts of the world and still plan on travelling beyond Africa.
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Image from Pinterest

I have a fun personality and I want to do things that unleash my character.  My current job doesn’t allow that though, it was an occupation chosen on my behalf and each day I make steps towards pursuing what I want and find a way to escape from a job that steals my joy.  I know it’s not too late to give what I love the most my full attention.  I want to leave this earth knowing I did everything that brought joy to my life.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs

©MaKupsy 2017

Day 15: Why I Initiated The #30DayAfriBlogger Challenge

I love me a challenge, especially one I set up for myself.  Last year I did my first Blog Everyday challenge and it showed me just how much I can do the work when it comes to committing to writing everyday.  However, looking back at my posts I was still an amateur at it but this time around my writing has completely changed, things are looking good!  It’s true, practice does make perfect.  In my case perfect(ish) because I believe I still have a lot to learn when it comes to blogging.

I sent out a message on all my social media platforms and announced that I was going to be doing a blog everyday challenge in September and all bloggers in Africa were welcome.  In no time I set up a WhatsApp group and got in touch with  a fellow blogger Thembi and we added interested participants into the group.  We had to come up with a hashtag and we finally settled for a suggestion from Omolayo from Nigeria and we all agreed to go with #30DayAfriBlogger Challenge.

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Image from Pinterest

I could have written a very long post on the reasons why I initiated this challenge but I am honestly mentally exhausted, writing is so taxing so you will have to settle for the list version.

Here’s why I am taking part in the blog everyday challenge:

  1. I enjoy a challenge, with each challenge I get to learn something new.
  2. I announced I would be taking part in the challenge to everyone who would care to listen so yes, I am officially screwed and can’t back down now.
  3. To improve my writing skills.  The only way you can get better at something is through practice and so far I have learnt new vocabulary and I’m paying more attention to my grammar.
  4. To connect with other African Bloggers.  I follow bloggers from all over the world but since the challenge started I have read more content from writers who are right here in Africa.
  5. I want to be part of something original.  In the past I’ve had to search through Google or Pinterest to look for a challenge to take part in but look at me now, initiating original challenges and sh*t?
  6. To have a visual reference of my work.  Picture telling someone you blogged everyday for 30 days and they don’t believe you?  Simple, give them the link to your September Challenge so that they can check it out themselves.
  7. I was starting to write less in the past few months.  I usually post at least 4 blogs in a week but it was down to 2 and on bad weeks 1 post a week.  I needed something to get me back on track.
  8. To encourage other bloggers to write.  To let them know that it is possible to write a post a day if you simply put your mind to it.
  9. To stretch my mental capacity.  I always have a challenge to work on my physical strength but this time around I wanted to take my mental strength to the next level.
  10. To celebrate Africa!  The way I see it if African Bloggers do not share their stories no one else will and this is certainly a great way to start.

September is African Bloggers month!

©MaKupsy 2017

Day 2: Top 10 African Home Rules

It’s a beautiful morning, Saturday is the best day of the week I kid you not!  (now that I have my own place).  Back when I was still staying with my parents sleeping in on a Saturday morning was something you watched on TV and the moment I got my freedom I made sure that waking up at whatever time my heart desired would be a top priority.  Let me share some of the rules from way back when which were drilled into my head.  My parents didn’t have to tell me twice, I was scared to find out what would happen to me if I chose to disobey them!

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image from Pinterest

  1. No sitting on dad’s sofa.  My dad had a specific sofa he liked and even in his absence you were not allowed to sit there.
  2. No going to play outside the gate.  The gate was ALWAYS locked and you only left when you had to go to the shops to buy bread or to go school.
  3. No singing or talking during meal times.
  4. No leaving your food unfinished.  Whatever your mother dished out for you had to be cleared, no matter how sick you claimed to be.  The whole “I don’t like eating this” didn’t exist in our home.  You ate EVERYTHING.
  5. No watching TV after 8pm.
  6. No bringing anything that does not belong to you, it could be a simple pen, believe me the very next day you would have to take it back.
  7. No going for parties that start at night.  No hosting parties either! I remember being told I couldn’t attend a friends party and yet she was just 3 houses away, I was gutted!
  8. No waking up late, I was usually up to help with cleaning the house by 5:30am and if I attempted to sleep any further my mother would come to my room and start singing or looking for something in my drawers or open my curtains and windows because “basa mangwanani” – you should start house chores early in the day.  I guess this explains why I am a morning person.
  9. No locking of bedroom doors.  There were to be no “privacy” as long as I was staying under my parents roof.  My dad used to read my letters when they came through the post!
  10. Everyone had to be home by 6pm.  To this day even when I visit I don’t even go anywhere after 6pm, it’s a long standing rule.

Just from reading my own list I realise growing up was hard man.  Who does that?  I could actually go on and list more rules but this list made me realise some of those rules helped mold me to be the person I am today.  I guess my parents meant well and wanted to inform some form of discipline and order.

Right now I have my cup of tea right next to me and a plate of fruit, I know if my mother knew I was eating in bed she would throw a fit!

What are the rules that you grew up strongly abiding by? Let’s share some them in the comments section, I would like to believe no one can beat my list!

#30DayAfriBlogger Challenge

©MaKupsy 2017

Day 1: My Blogging Journey

Last year I challenged myself to blog for 30 straight days in September and this year I had no plans of going through that madness on my own.  I think if you consider yourself a blogger then that challenge is something you need to do try out at least once.  This year I went through the challenge options on Google search and nothing on there got me excited.  All the topics were uninspiring and I thought to myself why are bloggers in Africa not coming together to make some noise about our colourful continent?  No offence on the “Share your outfit of the day topics” but gosh they are tiring to say the least!  I’m that one person who no longer wastes time hoping someone else will create something,I now make s*it happen!  I spread the word on different social media platforms and wasted no time bringing African Bloggers in one space to get involved in what the group termed the #30DayAfriBlogger Challenge

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Emotional Well-Being

When I started blogging I was still hurting over past relationships.  I was in an a very bad space.  I needed somewhere to bleed out my emotions.  I had no idea putting my thoughts on my blog would actually help me heal.  It was a tough journey but when I wrote about my experiences and I read through comments I realised that I was not alone when it came to some of the things I had been through.  A problem shared really is a problem halved.  When I look through my posts now I realise I have really come a long way and I can safely say I am happy and I let go of all the things that used to steal my joy.  It’s a great space to be in.  Sharing my story and being a part of the blogging world activated my mind to opportunities.  Not only seeing opportunities but acting on them as well.  I am currently a blogger for UnPlugged Zimbabwe and enjoying every moment of it.  What’s not to love about pursuing the things that fire your soul?

Health

The same time I started blogging was the same time I started my health and fitness journey.  There is nothing that puts you under pressure as much as documenting an activity because now you have to actually show some results!  However, it was a great move because if I had not done so I probably would not have lost 10 kgs in a year!  The toughest year of my life if you ask me.  It’s really easy to gain weight, it can happen in a space of days, losing weight on the other hand is a real mission!  I have made new friends through the different challenges I set up each month.  (I have also gone on to create another blog that is specifically for fitness and you should check it out!)  Creating challenges not only helps me stay focused but those around me also get that extra drive to exercise because they can see that I am consistent and actually get results.  Now I have the body I always wanted and I feel fantastic!  I will tell you this for free…maintaining your weight is the hardest part of the journey.  One of the best things that has come from my blogging journey so far is partnering up with Steward Health for both the September Challenge as well as working together on my vision of parkruns in Harare.  It promises to be an exciting journey ahead.

Humour

There have been occasions I have been upset about something and all I want to do is rant about it on a blog post.  The ironic thing is after a few sentences into the post I actually find that I am being petty but continue to write about it all the same.  You see, life doesn’t really have to consume you with negativity.  Fair and fine you will have a bad day or two but there is always something to smile about.  Blogging has helped me through bad days because I have a few blogs that I follow that specialise in humour and there is never a dull moment there!

I have had access to some exciting events and partnered up with some digital savvy brands over the years, that’s definitely the upside of being a blogger.  I have worked with #PPCZimbabwe #ZarkLaunchParty #ZimBiggestBraai #NafunaTV #UnPluggedZim #KidzCan #NaturalsZW #GoldenPilsenerGo4Gold

Blogging has given me the voice I didn’t realise I actually had.  I am MaKupsy.  The Blogger. The Fitness Consultant. The Traveler. The Naturalista. The Social Media Influencer. The Mother.

I would like to hear from bloggers…what was the reason you started and are still blogging?  What are some of the lessons you have learnt over time?

For the readers, what do you enjoy reading the most from my blog and what keeps you coming back for more?

You too can take part in the #30DayAfriBlogger Challenge, the more the merrier.

©MaKupsy 2017

My Battle With Suicidal Thoughts

In our African Culture suicide is something people don’t openly talk about.  I would like to believe there are people who have gone through what I used to go through but never told a soul or perhaps went on to carry out the act of suicide because they had no one else to turn to.  This is not an easy post for me to write because I know it will open old wounds and raise eyebrows but I feel it’s a story that needs to be shared and hopefully help someone who is probably contemplating suicide.

I have three close friends and I have told them about my battle with suicide thoughts.  It wasn’t something I just woke up one morning and decided to share with them; I had to make sure I could trust them with my dark side and have confidence that they would not ridicule me…I have always been a neat freak.  The state of my house reflects the thoughts in my head.  If I am in a happy and healthy space my house is sparkling clean.  If I am upset and overwhelmed then as you can expect my house will be an actual mess.

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Image from Pinterest

However, there was a time being a neat freak was not only about keeping my house clean.  It was my way of preparing to leave.  Why was I sticking around anyway, no one loved me, no one cared about me or believed in me so what wast the point of it all?  I thought to myself if I finally decide to end my life then at least people should come to a clean house and pack my things away without a hassle.

This happened to me for months on end. I would think about how I was going to go about it.  I walk to work and I cross a very busy street.  Some days I would contemplate throwing myself right in front of an oncoming car, other days I would think of jumping off from an office building and on the worst days I would think of getting run over by a train.  The one time I even asked my doctor friend if slitting my wrists would kill me.  I obviously asked in a round about way and when he told me it would send me straight to my death bed I had one more method to add to my list.  What made all these thoughts more real was all the suicide incidents that I would read about in the paper every other day and I would think to myself, why not; this will definitely end all my misery!  I was in a very dark space and what fueled these suicide thoughts were the obstacles that I kept facing; (heartbreak, unfulfilled dreams, low self esteem, no life purpose).  

The thing about suicidal thoughts is that you can’t go around telling people that’s what’s going on in your head incase they might think you have lost your marbles.  You will be fighting demons that you can’t see but can feel at every waking moment.  I had an injured soul and I took to many devices to try and cure it with no luck.  My friend used to complain about my “mood swings” not realising that they had more to do with my thoughts more than anyone in particular.  I could go for weeks, months on end without wanting to speak to her and some of my friends.  I just wanted to be left alone.  I withdrew from social media platforms, I even stopped going out but took to drinking alcohol instead to numb my thoughts.

From my experience suicidal thoughts come with depression which is unfortunately not acknowledged in our culture.  Tell most people that you are depressed and they will tell you to get over it.  I know you are reading this probably asking yourself why I didn’t talk to anyone about what I was going through.  Well, I did actually but I didn’t tell them the full details. What I got in return was “It’s a phase it will pass.”  Unfortunately this phase stuck with me from College days till just a few years ago when the suicidal thoughts finally left and set me free.

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Image from Pinterest

I would be lying if I tried to give you a formula on how to get rid of that heavy feeling you feel around your chest.  The thoughts of how you are worthless and how you are not serving any purpose on this earth.  The thoughts that suicide will make things right for you.  I don’t have that because for me I just woke up one morning and the dark cloud that had been hovering above me was gone.  I think whatever it was realised that it was putting me through unnecessary pain because with each day I was becoming more and more disinterested in life and I could hardly recognise myself.

Suicide is real.  I have seen friends take their lives over a heartbreak, people throw themselves off a building because of financial stress and wives burn themselves to death after finding out about their husband’s infidelity.  Before I experienced suicidal thoughts I mocked them and thought to myself who in their right minds would end their lives over things that could be fixed? I hadn’t walked in their shoes and it was easy for me to judge them.  I didn’t know that sometimes the thoughts in your head can be so bad you have to find a way to run away from them and suicide may be the only way out.  Now I understand that some people, me included will go through and have gone through some dark phases in their lives and unfortunately for some they will not live to tell their story but for the lucky few you get a chance at life again.

I am thankful that I never went through any attempt to commit suicide.  It all ended in my head.  Had I gone through with it I would have never had the chance to see my beautiful little girl.  I would have not seen how much of a positive and determined individual I have become and I would not have had the chance to write this and share this with you.

I am generally a bubbly individual. I have great days and not so great ones but my life experience so far has made me realise that we are all going through something.  It’s easy for us to forget to be kind to the next person but if you can be good to those around you.  You never know the difference your encouraging words or smile can alter their entire day.  Your positive energy may the the one reason they won’t go ahead and commit suicide.

In most cases of suicide a person doesn’t want to die they just want to stop the pain.

©MaKupsy 2017

One Zimbabwe #ThisFlag

The Story Of One Man Who Changed A Nation With A Bible, Flag & A Smartphone BaeZel

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The first time I heard about Pastor Evan was when I heard him on radio.  You can listen in here.  I just sat on my bed and thought to myself, WOW, this man is saying nothing but the truth.  He talked about all the issues in our country that we are too afraid to speak out on.  This was nearly two months ago and since then there have been a series of events that led to yesterday.  My heart would not let me simply sit at home and do nothing, tweeting did not feel like it was enough so I dressed up and went to join the crowd outside the court.  I was part of the crowd in the evening at Rotten Row Court and the experience there was indescribable.  Never have I seen so many people in one place joined together for one cause and that was to free #PastorEvan.  Black, White, Indian, Coloured all races were there; the diversity was overwhelming!  This will surely go down in the history of Zimbabwe!!!!  People in almost every part of the world were praying and doing any and everything to spread the word.  Social Media is indeed a powerful tool; a wildfire.  The hashtag that was and still is trending is #ThisFlag “#ThisFlag movement’s goal was to “get as many citizens as possible involved in nation-building”.  I tweeted and asked if anyone wanted to feature on my blog today and Mako came through.  This is her story…

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It’s hard to put into the words, the thoughts and emotions I’m experiencing. As a writer, this is both surprising and frustrating – I’m trained to use words as my weapon but words yesterday failed me. That’s what tends to happen when I write about my country. I experience a torrent of emotions that leave me unable to type a thing. However, reflection is a beautiful gift. Sleep and a short break from social media has afforded me time to look back at everything that has happened.

The first time I saw Pastor Evan Mawarire’s very first video, I got chills. The last time someone had dared to speak up, he had been dragged away, never to return. As I sat in my room in a university far away from home, I felt as if he was speaking to me. His struggles were my struggles. His frustration was my frustration. And it felt so good to hear someone say what many of us felt and experienced. It felt empowering to hear him say that our hardship was real and oppressive.  And when I saw the flag around his neck I was reminded of who I was. I am a Zimbabwean, and it’s my duty to do what I can to break the culture of fear and silence.

The stereotype that Zimbabweans are ‘passive’ or ‘lazy’ is a misconception that I have always loathed.  We were not passive when Mbuya Nehanda happily danced and sang to her death knowing that the fight would continue.  We were not passive when young boys and girls left school, crossing the border to join the fight for freedom.  We were not passive when people nationwide stayed at home on 6 July in protest against a system that seems to go out of its way to make life a living hell. We were not passive when we rallied together in support to help free a man that we all know did nothing wrong.  We are determined, hardworking and fiercely patriotic people.  When we rise to the challenge, we do not back down.  Yesterday serves as proof of our perseverance.

The news of Mawarire being called in for questioning made my heart drop. I remembered others whose voices were muted: Itai Dzamarara, Learnmore Jongwe, people whose names never got to reach the public’s ear. The pessimist in me slumped back in defeat.  It was going to happen again. Another one, gone, disappeared, or dead.  However; I remembered my favourite line from the movie The Prince of Egypt, “though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.”  That tiny voice inside me beat back against my resignation, telling me not to give into that sense of despair. That night I prayed not just for the good pastor, but for all of us, not to give in, not to run out of steam. Then I set my alarm for 8:30am and slipped into an uneasy sleep.

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Image taken from Twitter

I woke up at 9:30am on 13 July. I scolded myself for being so complacent as to sleep through my alarm. Others had woken up much earlier to go to the courthouse and make their presence known. I’d simply hit the snooze button and wrapped my blankets around me. As I got out of bed I felt an all too familiar pang in my stomach. A sharp stabbing sensation that spread across my tummy and made my knees buckle. My period had arrived, and this was going to be a bad one. I walked bent over like an old woman, each step on the cold floor amplifying the pain in my stomach. I chastised myself again. It meant that I would be rendered immobile, confined to my bed, battling with nausea and dizziness (I get particularly bad periods). But it would not prevent me from doing what I could to support and spread the word. So blanket, painkillers and hot water bottle in tow, I sat and tweeted and retweeted and posted until past midnight.

The day’s momentum was stop and start. I expected that we’d have to do the VPN dance once again, but to my surprise the Internet connection was working just fine. As I sat scrolled through news sites and social media, conflicting stories came in. Evan Mawarire isn’t at the courthouse. Wait, he is! But there’s been a delay. Oh they’re moving it to a secret location. It’ll be at University of Zimbabwe, a move to have the hearing in secret.  No, that’s a lie; it’s still at the courthouse by Rotten Row. The only certainty was the people coming through to support.  With their flags and their voices they stood outside the courthouse, watching and waiting for any news or development. I’m so grateful to all of those people. They represented all of us that day; those that couldn’t come because of distance, those that couldn’t come out of fear and even those who ridiculed and trivialized their efforts.  They showed power and dignity in their loyalty to the country and to the flag, and by keeping the rest of us informed as to what was happening, they provided factual and up-to-date coverage of what was happening.

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And a lot happened… Mawarire’s arrival at the courthouse.  The sight of 100+ Lawyers from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers Association showing up and all volunteering to represent the accused, free of charge. The police who stood and watched as their fellow countrymen sang and danced.  For a moment, I felt sorry for these police: many looked like they too wanted to drop their uniforms and join their peers, but they couldn’t.  There were celebrities, businessmen, civil rights activists and politicians that came through and raised their flag in solidarity. It was so beautiful to see everyone together for a common cause. I can’t imagine how it must’ve felt to be part of the gathering at Rotten Row.

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Two announcements symbolized the nadir and zenith of my emotions. The first was the change in charges, from inciting violence and disturbing the peace, to treason and attempting to overthrow the government. I laughed out loud. It was a harsh, joyless laugh. Same old, same old. Even as I felt that familiar resignation creeping in I refused to slump back and accept the injustice. That mental shift wasn’t just reserved for me alone. Many others also refused to simply accept it and walk away. We failed others who spoke up for justice with our silence. We could not let it happen again.

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Then the big news came. HE WAS FREE. The tweet from one of the people on the ground flashed on my screen and I exhaled in shock.  As much as I had fought hard against that nagging doubt, the news of Evan Mawarire’s release stunned me. They had done it. We had done it.  I immediately turned to tell my mother.  She almost dropped the cup of tea in her hand and asked me if I was sure. It was true.  Justice had prevailed.  Pictures and videos of people celebrating outside the courthouse filled my Twitter feed. I drank it all in, inspired, humbled, and proud, so proud. It was an unfamiliar pride, something I can’t quite put into words even now. It was the pride of knowing that, despite everything that had happened to us, we still had a voice. We’d just forgotten about it for a while, but now we’re reclaiming it.

I want to use my voice more. I want to give of myself to my country, my people and my future. I want to play a role in building the kind of Zimbabwe we all want: a prosperous, open, fair society.  To everyone who’s been tweeting, taking photos and videos, hash tagging and reporting these past few months, I salute you. Thank you for reminding me that this flag is for all of us.

Mako

 

 

 

I can’t wait for the day we become a stronger, richer and enthused nation.  A country with better opportunities, a country where no one thinks of relocating and leaving their children and loved ones behind because they are happy and content.  I feel like that day is coming soon though, yesterday proved that together we can make a world of difference.  Thank you to EVERYONE who supported this in each and every way they knew how to. #ThisFlag #PastorEvanIsFREE

 

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Got this photo from his Twitter account @PastorEvanLive , he certainly is a History Maker!!

 

This was the highlight for me yesterday:

@simonallison Judge asks who is representing @PastorEvanLive. 50 lawyers hold up their ID cards. Incredible moment #ThisFlag”

If you were and still are a part of this movement please feel free to share any or all the moments you have experienced through this.  Let’s talk.

Photo Credits : Tino Nyandoro

Blog Credits : Mako also follow her blog on mwanawevhuzim.com

 

MaKupsy