to be African, to be Woman, to be Creative, to be Fashionable, to be Intelligible, to be be IMARA

imara by Mshana

This is the canvas and the pages on which I curate and display the life I wish to create for myself and other liminal hu-women like myself. I explore here my passion for fashion, present my literally inspired visual arts, write my visual arts inspired written works, share my linguistics, travel diaries, show my finding comfort in food, and heck, whatever else I feel like... Welcome and enjoy!

Hiking Rhodes memorial at dawn

fun is not a universal affair


I challenged myself to go on a hike loves. If you know me, you sure as hell know I do not sweat on purpose. Yet here I am, 6 am on a Saturday morning walking up to the Rhodes Memorial at UCT. Even though I voluntarily signed up for this, I cannot help but say how bizarre I find the whole idea of hiking and camping “for fun.” I understand that my opinion is absolutely my own, so take it as just that, my opinion.

Here is my point. Hiking, to me, is simply walking up a mountain to say that you walked up a mountain and maybe see the view while there. Great! But how many times in your life do you need to do that? In my opinion maybe once. And, I have done that. My mother’s side of the family has a farm up a mountain and I have been to it so there, my fair share of hiking. Camping I define as to go into “the wild” to be “one with nature.” My American friend said to me once in her attempt to sell the concept to me, “it’s fun because you get to be disconnected to technology, cook food and eat with your hands.” Actively shook, I exclaimed, “that is not fun, you just described life with my grandmother!”

This is exactly what my point is… fun is relative. Fun is the things we choose to do when we have other options. One time things. Realities we leave behind when the moment passes. And yeah, I believe that every person who has never seen a mountain, lived in “the wild” or been “one with nature” should go and experience that. However, I am absolutely opposed to subscribing everyone to a universal definition of fun. 

This does not apply to outdoorsy things alone either. I think it applies to everything that is categorised as “fun.” For example, My sister called me the other day to explain how “fun” it was to catch the new public transport system in Dar es Salaam -magari ya mwendokasi- when her car was being serviced. She had never done it before so this was a tremendous adventure for her and she was telling me how much “fun” it was. I paused to exclaim, “that shist ain’t fun for me!” When I am in Dar es Salaam myself, I don’t drive (I don’t know how to) I use the public transport. I walk for 10 minutes to the bus stop, catch the buses to where I am going and it takes me anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 and a half hour depending on where I am going. That is not including the walk I may have to do on the other side either. That is not fun! It is exhausting. If you are taking the bus as an option for one day it is, but if this is your mode of transport daily, then this is no fun.

Fun for me is an Uber with air conditioning. Just like how fun for me is not a tent in the middle of nowhere, but a 5-star hotel in the middle of a city. So all I am saying is, fun is a matter of perspective so don’t try and sell what, to me, sounds like voluntary torture as “fun”.  

Otherwise, enjoy the pretty pictures 😘