Who are your role models?
That's always been a tricky question for me to answer. When younger, most of my peers were picking celebrities. Sure there were several whose work I admired but they were so removed from my reality that I could not quite make that connection. In them I saw nothing of myself and nothing influential that I could really draw on.
Today, I answer the question in this way: 3 of my role models include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Simphiwe Dana and Wangechi Mutu. Young, bright, talented African women. Successfully pursuing their passions and inspiring and influencing diverse audiences worldwide.
In them I see myself – what I can be, rather, if I continue to follow my dreams.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet and talk to the latter 2 (Wangechi lived in the same building as me, a time ago). These experiences helped me to appreciate how down-to-earth and real they were. In continuing to answer the role models question, there are so many more role models in my day-to-day life. Men too but, particularly women, whose strength, vibrance, spirit and dedication to what they believe never ceases to motivate me and make me grateful that I know them and get to exchange with them.
For me, a model is someone who energises me rather than somebody whose presence stops me in my tracks. I see role models as comrades. As resonating souls, whether or not I will ever get to actually meet and know them.
Over to you: who are your role models?
Images from top to bottom: Dana image, copyright Gallo Music and found on SimphiweDana.com. Mutu image by Sunu Woods found with this Daily Nation article about provocative art and apologies. Adichie image from The List.