The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘African’

Power of Opportunity!

Viola Davis delivering her speech at the 2015 Emmys.

Viola Davis delivering her speech at the 2015 Emmys.

Dear Reader,

So many things have inspired my life in the past few weeks that I actually struggled to package it in a way that I could easily share it with you. I want to share some of the sunshine I have been experiencing just the way you do the same for me. Yes, I enjoy sneaking into your blogs as well 🙂

Today, I found a way to share the sunshine with you and this amazing woman, Viola Davis, captured it in such a beautiful way. The message is clear and it’s all about the power of opportunity. The goodies in this world are for all of us and you too have the ability to break the barriers and achieve your dreams.

I challenge you to write your name here and read it to yourself in front of a mirror:

The only thing that separates  ___(your name)_____  from anyone else is opportunity. 

Speech by Viola Davis at the 2015 Emmys:

In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’

That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.

You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.

And to the Taraji P. Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharies, the Meagan Goods, to Gabrielle Union: Thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you to the Television Academy. Thank you.

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Be Inspired!

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THE ANKARA FABRIC

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An Ankara print dress by RED MUS that I wore during a fashion shoot at the Kuona Trust Art Center in Nairobi

 

Did you know that the famous African Ankara fabric originated from the Netherlands under the name “Dutch Wax”?

In Nigeria, Ankara (also called the “African Wax”) had only been used by low class citizens as a cheap alternative to special occasion outfits.

 

Brian in a blue shirt with touch of Ankara print

Brian in a blue shirt with touch of Ankara print. For special occasions

 

This was the case until the then Nigerian President Obasanjo embraced Ankara for his official wardrobe. He was known as a Nigerian cultural ambassador. Importation of foreign fabrics was banned and so Nigerian designers had to make do with what they had available; Ankara.

Susan in a dazzling orange dress and clutchbag with a touch of Ankara print

Susan in a dazzling orange dress and clutchbag with a touch of Ankara print

 

After years of modern day expression of the African Wax, this beautiful print made it’s way to international fashion runways and a massive following by Hollywood celebrities.

 

Hollywood songstress Solange Knowles rocking an Ankara print outfit

Hollywood songstress Solange Knowles rocking an Ankara print outfit

 

Also, much as the capital of Turkey is called Ankara, this has got no relation with the wax fabric.

 

Kevin in a red shirt with a touch of Ankara print. Casual wear.

Kevin in a red shirt with a touch of Ankara print. Casual wear

 

Regardless of it’s production in the Netherlands, what matters most is the history and level of importance associated with the Ankara fabric by Africans. It is our pride and we wear it bold!

 

I totally loved wearing this Ankara outfit with heaps of retro vybe.

I totally loved wearing this Ankara print outfit with a retro feel

 

How’s that for a quick history lesson?

Viva Ankara Fashion!

 

Love,

Ayuma.

 

Racism

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Since time immemorial, the two main categories of skin-colour-themed racial groups that have been at war are the black and white race.

Honestly, I wonder which fool came up with this concept and which impish individuals believed it.

For years racism between the two has been a mix of  black grievance and white fear.

But what would drive human beings to this point where suddenly the colour of the skin determines a “better”, “wiser”, “more cultured”, “successful”, “stronger”, and even “more powerful” human being?
Absolute balderdash!

It is a lie from the devil and his evil grandmother!
I grew up impartial to racism; I didn’t give it any room in my life, brain or heart.

I can honestly say that from a young age, interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds, countries and continents, economic backgrounds and even with different colours of skin… has helped me develop a deeper appreciation for God’s unique design of the human being.

Character has always been my best judge for what makes a good person. Those who know me well already learnt from my sweet adventures and challenges in the dating and professional scene when it comes to race.

I don’t regret a thing because I stood for what I believed in!

There’s nothing like being colour blind. We cannot deny what our eyes see and have grown to know. Most of us just need to change our attitude and see beauty for what it really is. We do have a beautiful variety of skin colours. We can’t run away from it because we are all beautiful designs and shouldn’t be shy to talk about colour.

At the end of the day, there is only one race in my eyes and heart – THE HUMAN RACE.

My unborn children will grow up knowing this as a fact and not just a liberal philosophy.

Love,
Ayuma.

Kenyan Boys need Mentoring on how to Handle Girls

https://i2.wp.com/www.todevahouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/girls-holding-hands-silhouettechildren-silhouettes-wall-decals--full-life-size-boy-girl-kid-onrblq2m.gif

Today, I seriously scolded a boy after he slapped a girl just because she did not do what he asked.

I was furious and deeply disappointed! More so because I know that children borrow habits from adults around them. He had seen a grown man do the same and thought it was the best way to make his point to a girl.

In primary school, I saw young boys run after girls whose breasts and hips had started developing.
The girls were in serious pain after the boys carelessly squeezed and pinched their breasts.

Yes guys, boobs really really hurt when developing or during menstruation!

Clearly, neither did the teachers nor the parents teach the boys that a girl’s body is sensitive and should be treated with care and with respect.

At a young age, I saw the real face of rape as dozens of boys in school raced after a girl in my class so that they can all ‘play’ with her developing breasts, hips, vagina and bottom. At one time, one of the targeted girls fainted after she sought refuge in a school bus but forgot to lock the door.

I was disgusted and often faced threats by boys when the girls asked me to help them with reports since my curves had not developed hence not pausing a danger to myself. I was scared of all the threats from the boys. The teachers did little to stop the madness and I was forced to be silent.

But today, I had a voice and I could not remain quiet. I told the boy that he acted like a coward by hitting a girl, not once but twice. I taught him how he ought to treat a girl. I told him that violence has never solved anything. I told him that he needs to grow up and learn to use his brain to communicate and not his hand. I requested him to shut up and not try to give me any excuse for what he did and take responsibility.

The girl was so scared and I tried to comfort her.

When the guardian of the boy came, I was shocked to see just how oblivious he was of the seriousness of the situation.

Disgusted, I scolded the boy, suggested a punishment and frankly told the guardian to man-up and discipline the boy.

I walked away disappointed to see just how much boys are not being mentored to act like real men.

Please, teach a boy how to handle a girl!

Someone out there might do the same to your sister, mother or daughter.

#StopGenderViolence

Scars into Stars – A Lifestyle of Mentorship!

A Lifestyle of Mentorship

A Lifestyle of Mentorship

 

My failed businesses had a purpose after all! Recently, I learned the positive side to all of my failed business projects in the past.

My mother once looked at me as I cried, one failed business followed by another. I had done my research right. I had prepared a super business strategy; I had already contacted some business mentors. Yet still, my businesses did not pick up and failed in the end. I truly learned the art of trial and error with an extra baggage of frustration.

But today, my mother’s words, “My dear child, don’t worry, one day all these things will make sense.”

That ‘one day’ was today!

I met a young man on my way home who camped outside in the cold selling some warm snacks for passers-by. I was intrigued by his determination and the fact that he was the only vendor within vicinity who was actually standing up, waiting for customers. Other vendors had wrapped themselves in warm things as they curled themselves on their chairs waiting for clients.

I’ve got the blood of a marketer so I simply gave-in to the young man for his commendable appeal. What I had planned to be a one-stop trip to buy a roasted smokie with kachumbari led to a deep conversation about business.

He said that he never got the chance to finish school but he’s using what he’s got to earn a decent living. In the freezing cold weather he smiled with excitement over his small business and said that he would like to try out new products. Other vendors had taken up his idea and he needed to beat the competition.

As he spoke, I remembered all of my struggles; all the capital I had invested, burning the midnight oil doing research and coming up with a business strategy, prayers galore and making my family members guinea pigs for business experiments

I could not leave this young man without fueling his passion for his business.

And so I spoke, and asked him questions, provided him with examples and gave him ideas on how to expand his business. He was amazed that a stranger would take time to motivate him!

Well, at the time my business was failing flat on the floor… my friends had no idea about why I needed to make it work so bad, my mentors suddenly went A-WALL, my family honestly just needed a break.

Then I finally learned my lesson today: my business failed not because my attitude or plans were wrong. They simply failed because of that extra push to greatness that I lacked from someone who believed in me.

I know not if I’ll ever meet the young man again, but one thing is for sure – I made sure that by the time I left that young man, he didn’t have questions but ideas to put into action. After purchasing the snacks that he sold, I am glad that he was more determined than I had found him.

~Even if we suffer through challenges, the least we can do is carry the lessons we learn though it all and use them to inspire another person.

This is the true spirit of mentorship!

Yours Truly,
Ayuma.

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th - 22nd September)

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th – 22nd September)

 

UPCOMING HAY FESTIVAL!!!

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013. Mark the Date. You will definitely leave the festival thinking in a whole new way! Imagine the World OR Waza Dunia

Follow Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook and on @SMHayFest on Twitter for updates on tickets, travel & accomodation, guest authors, pre-fest events and event programming. see also our official website.

 

HISTORY OF STORY MOJA:

Storymoja Hay Festival is a collaboration between Kenyan publishers Storymoja and Hay Festival UK to create a platform for showcasing great literature, poetry and ideas in the country’s capital, Nairobi.
Out of the various editions organized by Hay Festival UK the Storymoja Hay Festival is the only one in Africa. It is arguably the biggest literary event in East and Central Africa. It is held annually in Nairobi and features internationally renowned creative minds.
Founded in 2008 The Storymoja Hay Festival is a four day celebration of our stories and our culture through storytelling, books, live discussion forums, workshops, debates, live performances, competitions, mchongoano and music.
The Storymoja Hay Festival has grown from 500 visitors the first year, to over 5000 attendees in 2012
We have enjoyed the support of over 50 partners over the last four years, including HIVOS, US Embassy, British Council, Dutch Embassy, National Museums of Kenya, Kenya ICT Board, Google, Alexander Forbes, Oxfam,

MENSTRUATION IS NOT A CURSE

Celebrating Being a Woman / ruby-cup.com

Celebrating Being a Woman / ruby-cup.com

How many ladies got their period without knowing what it is? Did any of you think that you were dying or suffering from a serious illness like cancer? Well, that has happened to many of us but it shouldn’t be so and this cycle should stop.

When a lady gets her period, this should not be handled with shyness, disgust or shock but with pride – as a girl is welcomed into the world of being a woman! Women aren’t born with a manual on the best way to deal with the frustration that comes with menses. This is why having a community of ladies supporting girls can help them through this process. If we never got the support we needed, this is our chance to do it right by reaching out to our sisters, daughters, cousins, and even the girls within our living environment. Or perhaps, we could reach out to girls who are facing this alone and don’t have the means to deal with menstruation.

Also, there are various medical interventions that have been designed to help women and girls have a smooth sail through their menstrual cycle. These include sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups. In Africa, sanitary pads and tampons have been quite popular and not many have heard of what menstrual cups are.

Well, a menstrual cup is a bell-shaped menstrual hygiene product commonly made from soft rubber or medical-grade silicone and is inserted into a woman’s vagina to collect menstrual fluid during menstruation. It is often reusable since it collects fluid instead of absorbing. Most manufacturers recommend replacing a menstrual cup once every 10years. This means that it’s economical since it’s reusable and you’ll only get to worry about “replacement” after an entire decade.

Also, the endless reports in Kenya are simply heart-breaking, about girls who miss out school because of their periods. Click here for more… Some of the girls cannot afford pads and end up using rags, old pieces of blanket, tree bark or mud to hide their “shame” which prevents them from presenting themselves in public or in school. This shouldn’t be so, not if we’ve got what it takes to support each other despite our backgrounds.

A Ruby Cup / ruby-cup.com

A Ruby Cup / ruby-cup.com

Ruby Cup is an award winning menstrual cup that’s the first to supply its menstrual hygiene products in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is mainly because there is an increased need for such a product to curb health and economic stresses on access to menstrual hygiene products that are long-lasting. You can use this product at home and those who’ve used the Ruby Cup attest to literally forgetting that they are on their period due to the comfort and relief it brings. But that is not all; you can help in distributing a Ruby Cup to a school girl from an underprivileged background. When you buy one cup you reach out to a girl and help her go through primary school, secondary school and finish College without having to worry about her period again.

Here are some letters from school girls who’ve benefited from using Ruby Cups!
If you would like to have an edifying session with the Ruby Cup team at school, in church or even your group of girls, please contact the team at info.ke@ruby-cup.com.

For more information, please follow Ruby Cup on the social networks: Twitter: @rubycup and Facebook: RubyCup

Yours Truly,
Ayuma.

The Lonely War in Kenya

Poaching for Ivory in Kenya

Poaching for Ivory in Kenya

My opinion is that poaching in Kenya is a great result of corruption in our government. I totally support the fact that Hands off our Elephants is a great campaign to address this matter but my worry is that this time it’s our elephants; next time, it might be our lions, then perhaps our flamingos which are already facing a population crisis. Or perhaps our forest covers which continue to be echoed by the late Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement.

I say “I will not cry over elephants”, not because I don’t care about our elephants but because crying and worrying are emotional reactions to a situation that I feel is caused by our very own leaders. Yes! There is no way that all that ivory keeps escaping our borders without even one of our leaders knowing about it, leave alone blowing a whistle.

Our rangers can’t be out there risking their lives to fight poachers yet our leaders are part of the problem! This is the main reason behind my loud rant and I am glad that I have stepped on a few toes to make people speak up even in the social networks. The problem isn’t just the fact that our elephants are being killed by “foreign” poachers often pinned to the Chinese, China Wu Yi… The numbers of suspects are endless. But the problem is that while we are having sleepless nights about the poaching menace and how our economy is failing us, our very own leaders are part of the problem. This is why I strongly support the fight against corruption. This is the root cause of the problem!

I just wish, truly wish that all the vigour used in the anti-poaching campaign – the determination, the research and filming efforts (which I strongly feel Kenyan filmmakers should take lead on and not foreign filmmakers), the heavy emotion towards the loss of our country’s treasure (elephants) through the poaching crackdown – was put into fighting corruption which is the mother of this poaching menace.

How can we as Kenyan citizens best fight this poaching menace? How can I help to fight in the anti-poaching war in my daily life? Honestly, there aren’t too many options for us that will produce quick results that we need given the current state of the situation. My guess is that it might somehow boil down to raising funds just as we did with protecting the Mau forest, bringing Zack back home, Kenyans for Kenya and many other public appeals to take care of our own people and natural resources. But this shouldn’t be the case in my view. Instead, the country should be appealed to participate in a massive cleaning up of our house in our quest to fight impunity in our country. Yes, it might seem farfetched but I truly believe that if we as a nation put more effort in collectively fighting the big fire and not the sparks, then we would start seeing the change that we need.

Corruption is the mother of all evil

Corruption is the mother of all evil

Guess what? We don’t have to raise funds to fight corruption in our country! In fact, we’ll save loads of money by ensuring that resources go where they ought to go. You and I can simply start the war on corruption in our very own homes; the change begins with us! We could speak up and support the very few leaders in our country with a passion for a corruption-free Kenya.

I believe that all’s not lost and that we do have the opportunity to be a better Kenya and stop hitting global headlines as one of the world’s top 10 corrupt countries. This shouldn’t be, not with all the beauty I still see in my country. If Nigeria was able to fight this monster and be in a better place after the war on corruption…We can do it, we can make it. Not by getting together to raise funds but by collectively deciding, “WE AS KENYANS DO NOT TOLERATE CORRUPTION!”

We need to support true leaders who are managers, not crusaders who we often see in the evening news. It shouldn’t always be about them so let’s give them the silence that they deserve. We need to support our leaders who are true managers and focus on making do with what we have, not demand for more. Those who make strict policies to protect the dignity of Kenyan citizens. Those who don’t complain to every camera that points at them, but those who work and give results.
Then our elephants will forget the scent of poachers and roting blood of their own. Then Kenya will no longer be one of the highest taxed counties in the world. Then our children will grow up to taste the sweet fruit of integrity within our country.

The fight against corruption is big, insanely big, but we do need to start it soon before it’s too late.

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013. Mark the Date. You will definitely leave the festival thinking in a whole new way! Imagine the World.
Follow Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook and on @SMHayFest on Twitter for updates on tickets, travel & accomodation, guest authors, pre-fest events and event programming. see also our official website.

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

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