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!

Road trip-ing in South Africa

spring break adventures


By the time you are reading this, I would have had a great Easter with one of my best friends in Johannesburg, come back home from a week-long road trip, and had a whole week of classes. That’s right! I went on a road trip! I flew to Johannesburg, spent Easter there and then drove (well someone drove) all the way back down to Cape Town.


It was such a worthwhile experience! I had a great company, reasonable expenses and just enough off-screen time. The lack of connectivity made it extra hard to keep up with the blog and posting on the socials. But have no fear, I will be sharing a lot of the images I took on the road trip with you throughout the weekend on Instagram (@berniemshana) and finally post all edited photos in an album here on the blog.


However, the lack of connectivity really forced me to have reflections time. I reflected on the half semester that just happened, I reflected on my personal growth and best of all, I checked in on my dreams in life and my goals for the year. I must say, I have not had a moment to do that in a long time and I finally did.


My biggest discovery from the reflection was that I miss home. Not the usual I miss my family and I want to go see them for a minute kind of I miss home; a deep sense of longing for home. I have always known that I want to settle back in Tanzania when I finish my education yet, now more than ever I realize how I need to be in Tanzania. I have come to realize the need to understand the community you want to impact but most of all, I have come to dread offering my knowledge and services to places that do not value me.

Without getting into too many details, let me just draw you a picture. I have 12 hours a week allocated for a community service internship at an NGO in Cape Town and I only spend 3 of those hours actually working. My supervisor doesn’t seem to mind me not having anything to do. As much as I enjoy the nap I take on my way there and back, I dread the time and resource wasting. Every resource I waste or that goes underutilized makes me wish I was at home. I would be much more valuable and ten times more productive and utilized. And if not, then at least I would be wasting time on my people.


I also got a chance to evaluate my growth. Girl, did I grow! It is not that I had not been growing before it is just that being here in South Africa, my coming here on an American Study abroad program and how personal the subjects I study are, have made my growth a lot more conscious. So, I am consciously growing. I am hyper-aware of the space I occupy, I am discovering my personal privilege, I am uncovering my own coloniality and being forced to decolonize and most of all, I am facing my insecurities and getting comfortable in my own skin. It’s an emotionally and mentally tasking journey but a very necessary one.