Women’s Day Post: In Conversation with Tsitsi Dangarembga

Arise
Tsitsi Dangarembga
Filmaker / Playwright / Poet / Activist
Photo Cred: Davina Jogi

 

 

This Women’s Month, my team and I really wanted to celebrate black African women (bAw) each day on our social media pages. To celebrate God’s gift of women who are making waves as activists, artists, and go-getters but also to celebrate our everyday sisters, friends, mothers and daughters. To be able to capture the essence of who the bAw truly is as formed by God.

I remember watching the movie “Neria” as a young girl and being moved by the plight of the widow Neria. That movie was ahead of its time and clearly highlighted the struggle of the black African woman in a patriarchal society. And so, it was a life-changing moment when my sister Rumbi reached out to the author of “Neria”, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and she agreed to engage in a conversation about her experience as a bAw.

Today, I would like to share her genuine and inspiring insights:

 


Rumbi Dube: What is the greatest hurdle you have had to overcome as an African woman?

Tsitsi Dangarembga: The greatest hurdle I have had to overcome as an African woman is lack of access to resources to maximize on my abilities, skills and achievements. Sometimes this hurdle manifests socially because society tells you that a black woman can only do this or this but not that. When society makes that decree, there is little to no support when you as a black woman opt to do the thing society has indicated you should not do.

This can even begin in the home as you grow up, because most of our families are patriarchal, this includes our mothers.  Many of us have had patriarchal mothers. I am glad to see some change in this respect, but there is still a long way to go.  At other times the hurdle is material, for example, when I have no access to resources, such as land and buildings to realise a dream that needs to go further.  At yet other times the hurdle is lack of access to human resources because men or political parties or patriarchal women – of which there are many – may not support your excellence.  The hurdle is also financial since, generally, as a black African woman, you are excluded from capital.

As a black African woman on the continent, you are generally relegated to donor aid and this donor aid is usually tied to political or another form of power.  It is also predicated on a world view that sees Africa as a continent of peasants who need to be saved.  So if you are not grass roots, and do not need to be saved, but need to be empowered to fly, you seldom qualify for donor aid.  I call this financial apartheid This brings me to the last hurdle in that the cumulative outcome of all these other hurdles is that one’s ability to contribute to one’s community and society is seriously compromised.    

 

RD: What do you wish the black African woman would come to realise?

I wish black African women would come to realise that we have to work together, that when we work together we can produce more than the sum of what we produce individually.  I also wish that black African women would realise we have to pull ourselves together and stop accepting a victim identity.  A victim identity is extremely dangerous as it can become an excuse for all sorts of negative tendencies and behaviours.  When captured in a victim mentality, people tell themselves, ‘It’s all right for me to do this because…’  They justify actions that are clearly not acceptable.  This results in serious ills for society.  In short, a victim attitude encourages selfishness, which, in spite of the Kardashians, is not cool.

 

RD: Which African women inspire you?

TD: Women of my generation have few female role models on the continent.  We have to be the role models for ourselves and others.

 

RD: What legacy would you like to leave for other African women?

TD: I would like people to say of me, ‘She never, ever gave up’.   In terms of external results, in the same way that black African women are too often excluded from capital and ownership, we are excluded from representing ourselves in narrative as we see ourselves in our diversity, agency and beauty.  Narrative, like resources is power.

Narrative is particularly important because we learn about the world, come to understand it and communicate with each other through narrative.  The exclusion of black African women from narrative is another reason why we have few role models.  So my desire is to create a strong institution that can focus on telling the stories of African women from the point of view of African women in a way that is accessible to many and has powerful impact.  This means film, rather than writing.  Writing has its uses and I pursue it also, but film is ideal on the continent for reaching wide audiences.

A decade ago, having realized this, I designed a project called Hitting a High Note.  It was to portrait at least half a dozen exemplary African women of achievement in half hour documentaries to record their stories for posterity so as to act as inspiration for future generations.  Well, that project never saw the light of day.  But I persevere.  I have already begun setting up the institution.  It is called the African Women Filmmakers Hub. Our pilot programme is successfully being carried out in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Malawi with support from the Ford Foundation. The next step is to roll out the five year programme across the continent and to create an African women’s film fund that will exist for a minimum of five years in order to enable a critical mass of African women to tell the stories that are important to them.

 

RD: What does the future hold for Tsitsi Dangarembga?

TD: I have a confident expectation that I will realise my career dreams.  They all revolve around boosting the creative industries and growing the creative economy on the continent.  As human beings, our creativity is the path through which our inner being is manifest.  If we do not sustain our own creativity and its products, we will end up consuming and mimicking the products and creativity of others.  The world will be a poorer place if this happens and will not develop in the way that is intended, because black African women are on this planet to participate and contribute as much as everyone else.  Preventing their participation and contribution is preventing the great plan of being from coming to its best fruition.

 


 

Thank you Tsitsi for engaging with us and giving us insight into your journey and life as a bAw. It was humbling and encouraging to see that someone who has already achieved so much in her life faces similar challenges and struggles to us who are getting started. We wish you more love, joy and strength, as well as God’s best in all your future endeavours!

To my bAw family, I hope today is a special day for you as you are celebrated for being a beautiful creature of God! I also hope that the experiences of our fellow bAw, Tsitsi Dangarembga, encourage you to continue to pursue the purposes and goals God has placed on your life in spite of the resistance you may face. That we may truly band together and uplift one another as women in fulfilling the great work God has imparted on our lives.

Happy Women’s Days sisters!

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

 

About Tsitsi Dangaremba

Born in Mutoko, Zimbabwe, filmmaker, playwright, poet and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga completed her education in her home country, where she worked as a copywriter and started writing seriously as a poet and playwright. She obtained her Masters in Filmmaking from the German Film and Television Academy Berlin.  She has produced several documentaries and has credits on most of Zimbabwe’s feature film classics, including EVERYONE’S CHILD, which she co-wrote and directed.

She lives in Harare where she founded the production house Nyerai Films and the International Images Film Festival for Women.  She also founded the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa where she works as director.  She has received international awards for her prose and film work.  Her award winning short music KARE KARE ZAVKO (MOTHER’S DAY, 2005) was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Truths That Helped Me to Discover My Purpose

purpose word in letterpress wood type
Photo Cred: The Jesus Flock Ministries online

 

Our generation is one that is quickly getting over working for the sake of working. Working to pay bills or to rise in the ranks of a company or to achieve some form of accolade. I believe that this generation is one that craves meaning behind almost everything it does. Whether it be the reason why we don’t indulge in certain foods any longer or choose to spend time in specific places, we base our decisions on what we believe will add value to our lives. Therefore, even one’s choice of a career must be purposeful. Actually – one’s life must be purposeful. Period.

 

This may not be true for everyone but it certainly is true for me and for a number of people I have had the priviledge of engaging with recently, and was the inspiration behind my first post on Purpose. For quite a chunk of my adult life (from when I first got to University), I was questioning my reason for being. I was pretty sure that God created me to provide a specific gift to this world, and that He deposited within me all the things necessary for me to share it. It took a bit of time but I believe He has finally placed me in my path of purpose, and I know He can do the same for you. As a black African woman (bAw), you may be wondering what it is you were placed on earth to do. You may be questioning how you can actually discover what that purpose is. I thought I’d share some of the thoughts and truths that led me to discover mine:

 

  1. Pray

This must be the most important step in this journey, and one that never gets old even as you discover and live out your purpose. God encourages us in His word to ask and we will receive, to seek and we will find, to knock and the door will be opened for us (Mathew 7:7). Some of us struggle with this because we believe that God is all-knowing and knows that we have this question in the first place – that’s how I felt anyway. But I got so tired of just ruminating on the issue internally so I eventually prayed a specific prayer asking God to reveal my purpose to me. Doing this leads you to acknowledge that only God can guide you into your purpose and reminds you that you will be fully dependent on Him in fulfilling said purpose for the rest of your life. It also acts as a way of opening your mind to receive the answer.

 

  1. Think About What Keeps You Up at Night

I remember an old mentor of mine once saying that you will know what your purpose is because it will be a niggling feeling in the back of your mind that will not rest. It will be something that wakes you up at night. It will be that issue or idea that you just can’t seem to give up on, and that seems to follow you wherever you go. It will be your passion. Passion is defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” Your purpose is something that in essence has a hold over you. It is strong and will not be ignored.

 

For me, that strong sense and need to do something had to do with women and over time, with black African women and black African people in general. I could not help but be drawn to the issues that these people face. I can spend hours thinking about how to best encourage and uplift these groups of people. I can wake up in the middle of the night with a burst of inspiration or questions on how to aid them. It is constantly on my mind and has become a part of my being. So ask yourself, what idea or dream or question keeps you tossing and turning?

 

  1. Make Sure it is Impossible to Achieve

This same former mentor of mine, Andrew Adar, also highlighted the fact that your purpose will be bigger than anything you could imagine achieving on your own. It will feel and appear impossible! This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes which says, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” I’m not sure who said that but it is spot on! Your purpose must be like a mountain with you standing by it as an ant. This is because God must be the Ultimate fulfiller of your purpose. And as Luke 18:27 says, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” So be encouraged when your purpose seems foolish to achieve!

 

  1. Speak to People who Know You Well

Once you have spoken to God about the issue, it helps to take the asking a step further and speak to those who know you well. You may have an idea of what you are passionate about but it is also beneficial to hear from loved ones what they think you are good at or talented in. Sometimes we may miss what our gifting is because we have limited our understanding of ourselves. It may take the words of another person to ignite the fire and open our minds to what we are capable of. Ask God to show you who to ask and He will use them as vessels to confirm or reveal His purpose over your life.

 

I will never forget a young lady I met during my time at university who was insistent that she could see me doing my own thing and not working for someone else for the rest of my life. Then there was my ex-boyfriend who said with conviction that he could see that God had set me aside and was going to use me to do great things for His kingdom. From there it was people telling me or confirming my suspicions that I enjoy listening to others and encouraging them to desire and be better. Or the fact that I had a heart for women and most especially those who are looked down upon or look down on themselves. Looking at the purpose that God placed on my life, I can see now that these people were mouth pieces for God in guiding me into my purpose. What have some of your friends, family and even strangers said about you and what you’re good at?

 

  1. Notice Opportunities That Come Your Way

As you try to discover what your purpose is, you will notice opportunities that have come your way in the past or that are opening up before you. You will not need to have done anything for these to present themselves but without a shadow of a doubt, you will realize that God has and is orchestrating the right breaks that will propel you further into your purpose. For me, I realized that God allowed me to attend a high school where English Language and English Literature were offered and celebrated, which is what I was drawn to and chose to study. This has helped me in sharing stories in the form of writing. He also provided my school fees on more than one occasion so that I could complete my current Diploma which will aid in fulfilling my purpose. There are many other ways He has provided and without any influence from me. Look out for these in your own life.

 

  1. It’s Not About You

One of the best ways to tell what your purpose is, is when it reaches beyond you and your little life. It seems to have a life of its own. One’s purpose does not entail just making a comfortable living for yourself or doing things that benefit only you. Just as Christ’s purpose entailed saving humanity, your purpose plays a part in this great story of restoring sinful beings to their Creator and former glory. Your purpose will touch the hearts and lives of others – maybe even people you will never meet or know about. Your purpose comes with great responsibility because it is meant to change the world one small step at a time.

 

These are some of the things that helped to point me in the right direction as I searched for my reason for being. I hope they have helped you to do the same if you were seeking for yours. Maybe you have other things that have led you into your purpose. Please do share with the rest of us so we can learn and grow together.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Your Story

open book
Photo Cred: YIPA Online

I received this short devotional from my mother-friend, Aunt Gail. It really made me question whether I honestly understand my story as God has purposed it. Do I short-change His vision for me? Do I doubt who He says I am? Do I truly understand how He desires to heal and grow and love me? The answer is that I do not get it most of the time. The below devotional reminds me that my story begins where I end and He starts. I hope it provokes you to think about your own story. Enjoy 🙂

 

Where Your Story Begins by Uknown

Daughter, you hear Me say it true: I begin a new thing in you.

The past is behind you. I was there with you. I can show you where I was.

Looking back is not bad, but staying there is not My plan. Let Me place My hand on the places of pain, where you feel alone, where you cry out for rescue.

I have rescued you, daughter. I created your frame, the contours of your skin, the timing of the way your eyes close, just so. I know your makeup, all the details of you, your entire story.

I author you, daughter.

The drafting of your story, your hand in Mine . . . there is paper not more beautiful–curls of letters that make Me smile.

Daughter, the story of your name is written in My book, your beginning, the moment where you felt you ended and I begin. That is your beginning, child.

You begin where you end and I begin.

And the story keeps writing, child. After beginning there is adventure. After beginning there is trust and falling and catching and believing and choosing and waiting. There is much waiting and beginning again.

Your story running right off the page with Me.

 

Guest Post: The Ladder of Success for the Black African Woman Seems to be Dismissed by Submission by Bulelwa Mpinda

Submission

Photo Cred: Cierra Cotton

There are dreams that have been parked all in the name of submission. We have heard it several times that as a woman, more so a black African woman (bAw), you are restricted to think or dream in a certain manner because we have to make space for our men to feast on our ideas whilst we align ourselves in the kitchen trying to cook the best meals and scrub the cleanest floors to get the somewhat esteemed opinions of how good of a wife we will make.

I realise how many of us women have been brainwashed by the illusion of tip toeing around society’s views of who we should be. I once spoke about the story of Mary and Martha and eluded to the point that had Mary stuck to society’s trend of being a woman based in the kitchen she would have never had her life transformed. She literally was out of place more so in a Jewish tradition. Had she not felt the moving of the Holy Spirit pleading with her to meet her Master for the divine appointment, she would have still found herself battling over the same sins because tradition said “park”.

Your purpose is your divine appointment with the Master. The more you pursue purpose the more transformation takes place. Submission goes hand in hand with God’s word – no one should give you illusions of what they think. It is written that Ruth was found in the field working and Dorcas ministering. Rahab also had an assignment with her Master – had she thought that she was just a prostitute she would have had society label her and dismiss her purpose of listening to the Holy Spirit.

I figure that a man who is intimidated by a woman who is on about her Father’s business is intimidated by his own insecurities. If submission equated to the fact that a woman had to be at home cooking and cleaning, I guess all house wives would have never seen divorces. We need to train up our children into respecting men from a biblical view and never the enforced fears of losing out on marriage.

We live in a society that does not want women to excel in God’s work yet excel in marriage. I started my NGO years back and I have been met with words of being opinionated; overpowering; independent and looking like I don’t need a man (giggles). I believe that excellence excludes you and elevates you. We have made it seem like submission does not go hand-in-hand with purpose. Your purpose should never disarm the hierarchy of Divinity. What we have done is to place opinions beyond the ode of “Thus says the Lord”.

I love this quote by Joyce Banda,

“It’s heavy, but I am able to carry it. Why? Because I’m an African woman. An African woman carries heavy loads anyway. That’s how we are trained; we are brought up that nothing is unbearable. I use that now, positively. I use that now to have the thick skin that I have, and not fear, and move forward, and push; and push forward.”
— President Joyce Banda of Malawi

 

Submission:

I know most of you are staring at your screen thinking is Bulelwa Mpinda even married yet? Certainly not. But I speak of the revelations of God imparted to me.

Submission is not an act of lack. It does not take away the power of what you can do, but it enhances the visual eyes into allowing a man who is led by God to see the things that you would not. Society has played an advanced role in redefining independence; a woman who is chasing after God knows how to submit.

The term has been diluted into thinking that submission does not go hand in hand with love. If you can respond to his “I love you’s” then you surely must learn to respond to his “no’s” – treat that man like the head. In as much as a woman can be running her business, and be career driven, that does not redefine who God said she is. Women are failing to catch their blessings from God because of the “I can do it all by myself fever”. You advance most when you learn to unite in love and when you learn that submission has nothing to do with power but with love.

Two is better than one; submission is having a mission for your future in the partnership and submitting all the requests to Heaven, allowing God to pour out direction in your man’s life. We learn to submit through all we go through.

A pastor once said (when I was visiting Zimbabwe) that submission is vouching for your man, and never leaving his direction even if he is doing it the wrong way. It is not proving whose right or trying to undermine his decision. He will be redirected back – don’t undermine his role into thinking you can make a better decision. A man’s self-esteem is built on his woman’s will to submit to him and men, a woman’s self-esteem is built in you loving her. Don’t exchange roles women and men – take your place.

As a black woman I have learnt the essence of diving deep in the word of God to know what my purpose is. The sad reality is that men are terrified of women who go and get what they’ve been assigned to get. But I believe what terrifies them the most is experiences of rude, so called independent women they’ve met in life who claim to be pursuing God’s purpose. A woman who is chasing after God’s will is obedient to the authority God has ordained – the so called ‘I don’t need a man’ yet mingling in private spaces gaining references as a woman about God’s purpose and who is fully OBEDIENT to the word of God. If not you are not marching in sync with the word of the Master, you are not independent – you are bitter.

Women need to come out of the syndrome of thinking independence is a place where they can hide. You can’t heal a covered up wound with your opinions. Submission does not place a full stop on the purpose God has called you to do. Honey, be about God’s business whilst maintaining DIVINE STANDARDS.

 

With love,

Bulelwa Mpinda

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

 

Miss Bulelwa Mpinda is a beautiful young soul that is submitted to her God and is the CEO and Founder of YSI (Young and Spiritually Inspired). She began walking down her road of purpose when she founded YSI which aims to be an influential organisation that will be a hub for young lives to come burdened and leave having pursued their dreams and utilising their leadership skills by mentoring them in the direction in which they yearn to grow. YSI aims not to groom followers but leaders that will breed leaders too.

Bulelwa, rejected at birth, lived in various orphanages till the age of three when she was adopted by the Mpinda’s into a family of love. This young lady with big and beautiful wisened eyes did not let the scars of rejection deter her as the Mpinda family groomed her in God’s word and works. Bulelwa can be found reading biographies as the lives of people and their stories inspire her and has a soft spot for orphans as this colourful young woman believes that hers is a story of hope to those trapped in the claws of depression, self-hate and suicide.

Guest Post: Kim’s Naked Selfie by Sikhonzile Ndlovu

happy-womens-day-jeyjoo

Photo Cred: Jeyjoo Online

 

This International Women’s Day (IWD) I am still reeling in shock following Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie. Not that I am totally surprised because it’s become a regular thing with her. But happening around the occasion of IWD, I  can’t help but wonder what ideals Kim is putting forward. For centuries, women have been marginalized, recognised more for their physical attributes than their intellectual capabilities. Yes Kim’s selfie has black tape over the ‘essentials’ but honestly the image leaves nothing to the imagination! She then says ‘When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL’. I know she is not alone in this and this is not an attack on her person.

 

Mass media often portrays women in ways that emphasise their sexuality.  Advertising, especially, has managed to commodify the female body. Then we have women who willingly display their naked bodies. Is this self-actualisation? Are they trying to prove a point? To who? Who is this for? I worry that such behaviour plays into the very stereotypes that we are trying to dismantle as women. Or I am the only one trying to reverse this negative portrayal?

 

I am also concerned about several young women out there who want to keep up with the Kardashians. As black African women (bAw) we need positive role models, who will drive home the point that as women we have much more to offer this world than our bodies.

 

Personally I am not against well-toned, curvy women, but I have everything against public display of one’s flesh most especially as a Christian. How will the world respect us when we present ourselves as nothing but sex objects? The bible says ‘know yea not that your body is the temple of God?’ Is this how we want to treat the temple of the living God?

 

Being a daughter, sister, mother and aunt, I want the girl-child to have positive role models. I want my daughter, especially, to know that she doesn’t have to be naked to feel beautiful. For those that don’t know, I have the prettiest daughter – made in the image of God. If we believe that we are made in His likeness, we will start appreciating ourselves more.

 

On this occasion of International Women’s Day, let us celebrate our beauty, but never forget the difference we can make in this world by giving of ourselves through serving others and uplifting the name of our Maker. Let us remember that the best we can offer the world is much more than our physical attributes.

 

With love,

Sikhonzile Ndlovu

 

Sis'Skhoe

Sis’Skhoe is a big sister of mine from Sandton Church, and a woman I respect and admire. She is a wife and a mother to a handsome young boy and a beautiful little girl. Skhoe is a Media & Communications Manager who conducts media research and advocacy on gender responsible portrayal. She is also in love with her Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Thing That Will Make Your 2016 Great

Happy Black Woman 1

Photo Cred: Healthy Black Woman

Happy New Year to those that I have not had the opportunity to wish as yet! I actually cannot believe that we have gone through the entirety of 2015 and now sit at the start of another year. It seems that it was only the other day that I was going through my hopes, dreams and goals for 2015 and yet it has now passed. It’s time to refocus and re-strategize for another year and another chapter in life.

This time, however, I’ve had a completely different experience of the New Year and my desires for it. I’m usually someone who comes to a theme for my life for the year along with what I believe are God’s goals or wishes for my life. By the 1st or at least the 3rd day of January, all of that would have been set. This time around though, that was not necessarily the case. It may have been because of the disappointments I faced in 2015 or it could have been my fatigue from the previous year, but I was a bit wearier of making declarations around what my 2016 would be. I mean, last year my slogan was “Only The Best” and let’s just say the year didn’t quite work out that way. Lol. Well in my eyes at least.

 

And so, as I sat at the end of 2015 journaling to God, I confessed to Him that I was afraid of even hoping for 2016. I was afraid of making declarations and proclamations over my life for the New Year. I was afraid of setting goals or writing down my desires. These were thoughts that plagued me from the last quarter of 2015 until the second week of January 2016. I felt as though maybe something was wrong with me. But I just let it be and didn’t force the funk by trying to make up goals or desires. Instead, I kept going to God with my questions and confusion. Over time, I do believe He has begun to answer me.

 

God has been showing me that none of us have control over the way a year will work out. Yes we may have hopes and desires that we pray He will fulfil for us in the year but the truth is that we don’t know if: a) He actually wants to fulfil these for us or; b) how He will fulfil them for us. We read all these “prophecies” about what our years will be – “This shall be your greatest year yet”; “This is your breakthrough year”; “Things will shift in your favour this year”. The list is endless. And the truth is that these are things we want to hear. I mean, who doesn’t want to be told and to believe that this year all their desires will be fulfilled?

 

But you see, in as much as most of these proclamations are said with good intentions and well-wishes, they cannot influence the course of our year per say. Yes I do believe that our tongues hold power and we ought to speak out the things we desire to see in our lives (Proverbs 18:21). Yes I believe that we need to live lives filled with hope and the belief that God will do great things for us (Jeremiah 29:11). However, I have come to understand that we must leave the fulfilment of these desires and wishes in God’s very capable Hands.

 

You see, this truly may be the greatest year of your life. It may be great in that God will have made it His aim this year to lead you to let go of that sinful behaviour that’s been holding you back. Or He may be strengthening you to let go of toxic relationships that you see no problem with. Or He may be setting you free from the bondage of your negative thoughts and emotions. This may, however, mean that you lose a loved one or that your partner/spouse decides to leave you. It could possibly mean that you endure a number of car crashes or that you’re laid off from work for no apparent reason. It may mean that your 2016 does not shape up the way you saw it in your mind’s eye but you will receive fulfilment of the prophecies you made over it at the beginning of the year.

 

This morning I read a powerful devotional by Pastor Ray Patrick, and he highlights that the Bible actually reveals that our year and the times to come will only get more difficult and darker. He quotes 2 Timothy 3:1, 13-14 which says:

“In the last days perilous times will come; . . . evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them”.

 

 So the truth is that God predicts some hectic and not-so-fun times for us in 2016. Yet, He also encourages us to remember the lessons He has taught us in the past and to remember Him as we go through it all. This truth is the thing that will make 2016 a great year for you. It’s not the fact that you’ll receive those things you’ve been praying for for 10 years but the fact that you work on cultivating and building your relationship with the One who will see you through the good and bad moments of 2016. The One who will hold your hand through the uncertainty and fuzziness of 2016. The One who will give you clear directions through the fog that life can become.

 

Therefore, my greatest wish for you as you finalize your goals and dreams for 2016 is that you lay them all at Jesus’ feet trusting that He will fulfil them in the way that’s best for you (Romans 8:28). I also pray that as you face the challenges of the year (which we’ve been told will come) you will be strengthened to deal with them joyfully. May this be your greatest year yet in the will of God!

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

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Me in 2016 – Happy New Year!

P.S. I’m now on Instagram!! 🙂 (I know – never thought I’d join The Gram). Look for me @thebawlife and get some daily inspiration, personal anecdotes/stories and a few laughs. Let’s connect and get to know each other 😉

The Story Behind black African woman

black African Woman logo_FA-03 (002)

The new black African woman logo by Tique Design

 

In March of this year, I finally took a bold step to do something God had been prompting me to do for a while but that I’d been afraid to for over a year. I decided to start my blog and Facebook Ministry under the banner black African woman (bAw). I’d been writing some of these posts from as early as the beginning of 2014 and just storing them up, not really believing that they would impact anyone’s life. But God had a whole different plan for me and those writings. Don’t ever doubt the dreams God places on your heart.

 

Since I began posting on my blog, I’ve been asked a number of questions about my blog and the brand. More often than not, the question is “Why BLACK African woman? Why not just African woman?” With people asking that question, I have further realized why God placed this dream and this vision in my heart. The black woman is mostly irrelevant in society today. She is just seen as an African or an African-American or whatever else. People cannot understand why I emphasise the “black” part of her identity and this is why I do.

 

I have decided to write this post today to review why I am so invested in this brand and what it means to me. At the same time, I’ve chosen this time to reveal my new logo for bAw which will further aid me in sharing about this brand and what I believe to be God’s vision for it.

 

  1. Why black African woman?

So. You may be wondering why I decided to start writing under this name and about this specific woman?

Firstly, and quite simply, because I AM a black African woman and proud to be. For the majority of my life I have walked around without fully realizing and embracing my true identity. I have come to understand that I am a woman, yes. That I am from the continent of Africa. I am Zimbabwean. Yes I am black. But I recently realized that I have never identified myself as all these things – a black African woman. I’ve just identified with parts of me in different settings and at different times. But the truth is, I am always a bAw and will always be. Whether at home with my family, or in church, or on holiday, or at the mall. One thing that is undeniably true (apart from the fact that I am first a daughter of God), is that I am a black African woman. And I am finally proud of that fact.

Secondly, black African women are rarely celebrated, nurtured, groomed or given the priviledge and opportunity to be understood. Yes, there are blogs and movements that fight for the voice of the bAw to be heard but this is not what my brand is about. Because most of these are fighting for rights and the like. My brand encompasses that, but is more than that. My brand is more personal. It’s about identifying with, understanding and exploring the daily struggles, joys, pains, victories, defeats, hurts etc of individual black African women, which then form a collage of a whole lot of black African women. It’s about understanding the entirety of the bAw and sharing her truth with the world.

 

  1. What does bAw mean to me?

A look at the new logo for my brand sums up what this ministry means to me. The brightness of the white and the orange represents a new era for the bAw. The voice of the bAw is finally being projected, and she is discovering new amazing things about herself and sharing them with the world. The black outline is there to remind me that this brand is about the black African woman. I wanted to emphasize that the bAw also embodies hope, newness, love, joy, freedom and so much more greatness! Lastly, the bAw is dignified and full of grace. This is seen in the posture of the woman in the logo. Her head is held high because she believes in her value and worth, and she is preparing to step out into the world to defy the stereotypes that have always existed about her.

For me, bAw is how I fight for women’s rights – especially those of bAw. They are the most marginalized and prejudiced race and sex in the world. It’s a double-edged sword for my sisters. And as I explained in my very first post, other women of other races have their own platforms that deal with their issues and with elevating them. I shall not be ashamed of doing the same for my sisters. I believe that the true victory in attaining women’s rights begins by helping her to win the war in her mind. Once she believes that she is worth fighting for and valuable in the sight of God, there is no stopping her.

 

  1. What is this blog about?

In a nutshell, this blog provides a platform for bAw to share their stories – their experiences. And for other people to share their experiences of and understanding of bAw. My sisters are fighting a tough battle on this earth, and they need to be encouraged. It may be a story that a bAw reads on this blog that may save her life. It may be another bAw’s experience on this blog that gives another sister hope and perseverance. That is what this blog is about. To collect a journal of the stories of bAw and to lift it up unashamedly so as to say to the world that she matters too. She is still alive despite how the world, society and the devil himself have tried to kill her. That she is valuable in the sight of God too.

 

I hope this sheds some light on this blog and ministry. I would like to give a big thanks to Lia Nascimento of Tique Design for creating the logo for me and bringing to life my vision! For details on how to contact Lia, please see the image at the end of the post.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and understand my vision. I hope it makes things much clearer for you and I hope you can join in on this journey with me. Please don’t hesitate to ask any more questions. You can find me on Facebook (The black African woman), Twitter (@TheBAWLife) and soon to be on Instagram! Please do pray for this ministry and do engage – someone needs to hear your story 😉

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

Lia Nascimento Contact Details