Meaning, I have a flexible schedule where I can fit things in my week days that I would otherwise have to relegate to super-early in the morning, the end of the day or the weekend. Whether that's running an important errand; getting in some exercise or; meeting somebody who just happens to be in town for only the day!
In the end, the work has to be done and, being that I'm full aware of my business financial obligations, I'm not lacking incentive to ensure the work is done. However, I love having the freedom to choose when, where and how I do it.
I was asked to participate in a WOW Bites session during the Southbank Centre's 2012 Women of the World Festival. Bites are short talks, inspiring ideas, achievements, obsessions, stories, performances, manifestos and more. I thought I'd share the essence of my bite with you.
One of the most satisfying outcomes of spending so much time online is discovering interesting people doing exciting and amazing things. In my time internetting, I have discovered several women, around the world, using the digital space to tell their stories and through this: creating relationships that transcend barriers such as geographical distance and class; building supportive and collaborative networks and communities; and making things happen for themselves, for others and ultimately, for us all.
There are certain things to be expected from African cinema. You will see exploitation by foreign forces, and poverty as a result, and you will see people afflicted by HIV/AIDS. It is Africa afterall.
This is the impression a martian may have sitting in on a Q&A that I experienced during a film I saw that was part of the ongoing Film Africa festival.
More than 50 films shown across several London arthouse cinemas, many of them critically acclaimed, the festival aims to project a different view of the continent. One where Africans themselves determine how they will be represented. In such a liberal context, I was somewhat surprised to encounter such closed-minded views as the ones mentioned above.
Alternative stories – this has been a recurring theme for me in the past few days. After posting an interview with Ann, aka Afrolicious, whose passion lies ultimately in teaching people to listen and to be heard, I wanted to get some thoughts out in keeping with the spirit of this.
I've been ingesting Western culture all my life, despite growing up in Kenya, and starting this blog is just one reaction to that. One attempt to explore a different story. Being that I share my personal observations, experiences and thoughts – the exploration actually explores several different stories, informed by all aspects of my identity: Kenyan Tanzanian African Female Artist Designer Writer Immigrant Diasporan Business owner Blogger Natural hair wearer Perfectionist Optimist Idealist … and so on.
I discovered shrine to all things brown and beautiful, Afrolicious, about 2 years ago and I've been crossing paths with the woman behind the screen name, Ann Daramola, ever since! We've collaborated across continents and oceans – working with Epic Change to create To Mama with Love and most recently, Asilia worked with Ann to design the logo for her accessory line, Ankara & Lace. One thing I absolutely love about following Ann on Twitter is the boundless energy, passion and positivity she exudes. This is one lady you need to follow/exchange with/know.
According to the UN, "around 200 million people who identify themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent." In celebration of the diverse and flourishing African Diaspora (and indeed the UN International Year for People of African Descent!), I'd like to share with you two great projects that I've had the honour to work on recently.
Diasporan Darlings: a website sharing the unique experiences of life, love and work in the Diaspora – informing, showcasing, engaging and entertaining.
Spora Stories: an initiative by acclaimed playwright and scriptwriter, Ade Solanke, to bring the dynamic stories of the African diaspora to the stage and screen – great stories, well told.
"To poison a nation, poison its stories. A demoralised nation tells demoralised stories to itself. Beware of the storytellers who are not fully conscious of the importance of their gifts, and who are irresponsible in the application of their art: they could unwittingly help along the psychic destruction of their people."
— Ben Okri, poet and novelist, reaffirming the power of the story. It's interesting to think about the different ways in which storytelling is used. From the politician's speech to the grandmother's retelling of the past, from the CEO's company vision to the silent narratives we create for ourselves as encouragement. It's great to see a flourishing of art that is telling complex and multi-layered stories about our continent.
Check out this great video where writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, talks about the danger of the single story: