Focus on your inner peace

Focus on your inner peace

still-waters

I never knew I didn’t have peace until I understood what it meant. I prayed for it and received it but there’s a difference when you feel it AND live IN it. When you have peace NOTHING sways you. You don’t watch what the next person does or has. You don’t compete. Things come and go but you focus on your peace.

You celebrate and trust the journey. You wait your turn in stillness. Your time comes and you continue working in silence. 

Peace is not boastful, loud or proud. Peace protects you from certain people and negative things. Peace blocks out the noise. Peace likes space.

Peace gives you clarity and perspective, your desires and trials don’t disappear but you operate in wisdom. God’s voice is most audible when your heart is at peace. You’re anxious of nothing, never in a rush, just ready to receive – grateful.

Col 3:15

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Pray for peace, I’m in a great mental and spiritual space because of it.

Womandla is looking for Africa’s Hidden Figures

Womandla is looking for Africa’s Hidden Figures

wangari-11

A friend asked me who I’d like to meet and feature on Womandla.com.  I paused, not because I did not know, but because I had no rehearsed answer.

I responded and said I would want to meet any woman who is the first. The first at achieving a massive milestone, the first at attempting or conducting an experiment or the first at innovating and creating something life-changing until the first becomes the new normal.

One thing I know is that I look up to various women for their success and ability to break glass ceilings, who then provide opportunities to those who come after them.

With the recent exposure of international films and stories of ground-breaking, history-making women namely Hidden Figures and recently The Immortal Life of Hendrietta Lacks, I remembered why I even started Womandla.com.

Womandla is looking for Africa’s hidden figures. The female African heroines who continuously change the status quo, lead in politics, the community, non-governmental organizations and those who fight blood, sweat and tears for women and children’s rights. These women hardly receive recognition or media attention yet they still quietly lead and make an impact.

Can you imagine how many women are out there bubbling and brewing with inspiring stories of their latest and nascent, life-giving dreams with no one there to tell their stories, record them or even create African movies and educational coursework about them?

Womandla exists to document, inspire and feature in textbooks that future generations will one day learn and study from.

Womandla is not interested in the figures but exists for the difference women make.

We want to take uniquely African stories to the rest of the world.

The Tibeb Girls, Africa’s Powerpuff Girls

The Tibeb Girls, Africa’s Powerpuff Girls

A renowned Ethiopian female film director Bruktawit Tigabu has produced a 2-D animation series, called “Tibeb Girls” to educate adolescent girls on the various body changes that happen at their age as well as how to live a healthful life. 

tibeb 2

The three characters, FIKIR, TIGIST, and FITEH, use their superpowers to deal with injustices and harmful practices toward girls in Africa.

The Tibeb Girls is an important and relatable edutainment series that teaches African children of the “taboo” topics they otherwise would not be able to discuss with their parents. This program makes it easy to apply the knowledge and skills learned beyond the classroom.

The fact that the girls have superpowers is a bonus! This series proves to young, black girls that they too have the capability of inspiring others and changing the world through good deeds!

The Tibeb Girls also features a cast of local women whose strong character and excellent performance set the right precedent for young African girls looking to venture in to the media industry. The team also hopes to  inform Ethiopians and the wider African society about the dangers of harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation and the forced marriages of young girls.

#Womandla

The Inspiration behind Womandla

The Inspiration behind Womandla

Melinda Gates, a TIME magazine 100 honoree, says she wants to make investments in health and technology to help unlock potential for women around the world.

I watch the Melinda Gate’s Foundation developments incessantly and adopt their strategies as a guideline for my plan. The vision and the work she does, as mentioned in this video, encourages me on my journey.

The internet is such a wonderful tool when it comes to introducing us to topics and people that would otherwise be almost impossible to meet in one’s lifetime.

Whether Womandla will be an organisation that will be likened to Gates’ or not, I am working hard at establishing a legacy  for the next generation. For me, it isn’t about the accolades but the significant difference we will be making in the life of the young, African woman.

I’m taking the baton and responsibility for our continent and it’s young leaders because the future is African and I’d like to be a great part of it!

#Womandla

The Xhosa Sci-Fi book everyone’s asking about!

The Xhosa Sci-Fi book everyone’s asking about!

black kid

By Sihle Isipho Nontshokweni

Leading up to the last post, many of our followers on social media have been asking about the book.  “George’s Secret Key to the Universe” titled Iqhosha eliyimfihlelo kaGeorge kuzungezo lweNdalo, in isiXhosa, is a delightful science fiction book for young readers.

The book carries a scientific message for children, exposing them to a world of science, astronomy, and physics. This read strikes a balance between adventure and science. In several segments of the book, the adventure is suspended and Lucy and Steven Hawking’s expound further on the science, detailing themes such as exoplanets, the origin of life, and of course the black hole. Amid an adventure filled story, a great deal of learning occurs, which means that the usefulness of the book continues after the reader has put the book down.

Xolisa was inspired to translate this book after seeing how captured her then nine year-old son was by the content in the book. She continues to say “I thought if my son can learn and love science through fiction at the tender age of 9, what of other 9-year-olds in the country?” The experience of translating George’s Secret Key to the Universe affirmed Xolisa’s belief that stories can be used as a stimulus, an appetite wetter to invoke enthusiasm for physics amongst young readers. To conclude she says for too long Africans believed that there is no language in science and mathematics, yet there is.

Xolisa’s work is a massive gain for all who are invested in rebuilding quality education in South Africa. To begin, Xolisa is taking content that is commonly consumed by those who can fluently read English and is exposing the material to Xhosa readers. Secondly, she is matching languages with stories, because without language a child can never access the knowledge or the story. Given the two-tier education system in South Africa, Xolisa understands the challenges of expecting children to learn through a language they do not speak, a language that is not spoken by their parents and a language they do not think in.

This problem is worse in poorer schools where children experience at best three years of mother tongue, then changing to English medium schools after a year of English introduction. This is the tale of two cities where children in predominantly township schools (commonly with a poor command of the English language) are likely to be disadvantaged both through language and pedagogy. Thirdly, Xolisa is boldly building up a glossary of African terms, so that scientific words are not confined to the English language, but are rather explored in African language. This is a major step towards the intellectualization of African languages in the South African context and beyond.

Clearly, Xolisa Guzula’s work puts children at the center. Xolisa challenges black families especially where parents work eight or more hour days, with weekends tied to community commitments, to ponder the question: “Where do we put our children on our list of priorities?”

George’s Secret Key to the Universe will be published by Jacana Media. The Zulu manuscript is soon to be finalised before the books go to printing. Jacana Media usually place their books at Exclusive Books stores and at The Book Lounge.

#Womandla

Thanks to Xolisa Guzula, children can read Sci-Fi books in isiXhosa

Thanks to Xolisa Guzula, children can read Sci-Fi books in isiXhosa

Xolisa Pic 2

By Sihle Isipho Nontshokweni

I recently attended a Children’s literacy, literature and multilingual storybook production and translation seminar hosted by PRAESA in collaboration with IBBY SA and PEN SA. Throughout the seminar, I was impressed by Xolisa Guzula’s depth of knowledge and insight on children’s learning. Not only had she been a volunteer and co-founder of Vulindlela Reading Club in Langa, Cape Town, and of Nal’ibali reading clubs nationwide, she was seated on a panel, discussing the process she underwent to successfully translate a 305-paged science fiction book from English to isiXhosa.

So simple in her disposition and generous in her acknowledgments of those who have taught her the ropes of the game, Xolisa is strikingly self-aware yet strangely she seems oblivious to her successes. In her defense, she says “when you do the work without thinking about fame you don’t realize the difference you are making. I love the work that I do, it is the reason I wake up early every Saturday morning to be at those reading clubs. I look forward to teaching children literature. It is the reason I translate and write stories so that I can expand the content available to bilingual speakers.”

At a time when South African leaders admit that our education system is on its knees, Xolisa Guzula is hope in action. She is a breath of fresh air and a powerful voice trumpeting the importance of language and literacy. She questions why African languages are confined to the home, whilst English and Afrikaans speaking children learn in their languages from the cradle to university and beyond.

Guzula challenges writers by saying: “If Adults only write for adults, what will the children read? If we do not shape them now, who will lead us next?”

She ends off the conversation by saying “Children do not begin to learn in the classroom. When we fail to intentionally create structures of learning outside of schools, we make it difficult for them to learn in the classroom. Children have a deep yearning for learning, we must harness that by all means possible.”

What an inspiration!

#Womandla

Sibongile Zungu launches the preferred South African Travel Company

Sibongile Zungu launches the preferred South African Travel Company

This past week I spoke to Sibongile Zungu, a qualified registered Chartered Accountant, who just launched her Travel Company called Preferential Travel.  She astutely describes herself as ambitious, witty, spiritual and romantic and spares a moment to share her past and prospects with us!
sibongile042

1. Tell us about your business and background.

SZ: I come from a family of entrepreneurs, yet I never believed in entrepreneurship. I felt it was unnecessarily risky, when I could easily live a very comfortable life with a 9-5 day job, ever-so-often waking up and wondering how much sick leave I still have available.
Preferential Travel is quite simply a travel company that arranges affordable travel experiences (mainly road trips) within South Africa for individuals, couples, and groups of up to 20. We have accommodation partners in most tourist attraction destinations in South Africa, and have an option on our website for clients to obtain quotes for destinations we don’t currently have listed.
Every single listed property on Preferential Travel’s site, is a place I would personally visit and can personally vouch for. I love adventure and natural surroundings, and all the properties offer that – not to mention they’re all very reasonably priced.
To the best of my knowledge, we are one of very few travel companies that also have CSI initiatives. Shammah Safe House is an amazing children’s home and we are proud to have partnered with them.

2. What are the challenges you face as a young, female entrepreneur?

1. Adequate emotional support.
2. Finding a quality mentor that is willing to actually invest time in you.
3. Finances
4. Time management – particularly if you have an 8 hour full-time job.

For my industry, specifically, I noticed very quickly that it’s a very tough industry to break into, and accommodation owners are not very open to helping start-ups. I had a good number of phone calls dropped in my ear and emails not returned whilst I was gathering my initial client base. I remember the first rejection email, of many, I received several weeks ago – “Sorry. The owners are not interested. Regards”. Such things fuelled me, and still fuel me, to push even harder.

3. What do you hope to achieve in your business?

SZ: Preferential means “superior”, “favoured”, “better” – I want the meaning of the name to manifest itself. So naturally, I envision Preferential Travel to be a leading travel company in South Africa, and I am branding it as such. I’m very fortunate to have travelled South Africa rather thoroughly, consequently I’m passionate about promoting local travel. I think our country is gorgeous!

I’m taking it step-by-step, and I truly value the partners that have decided to take this leap of faith with me. My main focus at the moment is on marketing. People need to know that Preferential Travel exists. I have the likes of Safarinow, RoomsforAfrica etc. as ultimate competition and I fully acknowledge that I won’t get to their level overnight. But I will get there. And do far “better”.

4. What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

SZ: Two things – God and my passion for travel. Just like my life, this entire venture is founded on Psalm 23:6.

5. Any words of encouragement to our network of ladies?

SZ: Hold the vision. Trust the process. Pray.

Bio: Sibongile grew up in Pietermaritzburg, Kwa Zulu Natal, with her parents and older brother then left for Pretoria in 2010 to study Accounting Sciences. She is currently working as an assistant manager in one of Africa’s leading professional services firms and is also studying towards a Masters in Taxation.

#Womandla