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

imara by Mshana

imara by Mshana is the canvas and the pages on which I curate and display the life I wish to create for myself and others. I explore there 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!

Posts tagged Reflections
On hair and spirituality

If you had been following my birthday month countdown (which you should have. Jokes, do whatever you want 😂 ) you would have noticed that a lot of it was reflection notes. I wanted to sum it all up with one more reflection on two things that I have been thinking about critically recently. When I initially drafted this post, it was titled Birthday Reflections. Birthday, because I specifically wanted to conceal my age. Age is one of those things that breeds a lot of insecurities in me... it is quite up there with language and financial status, but I shall not get into those. However, let me tell why age is one that causes so much anxiety in me. 

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Road trip-ing in South Africa

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.

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A symposium, a period and a worldwide web surfing session later

Hi, lovelies!

I missed you on Friday but I promise it was for a good cause. I spent the whole day on Friday at the Dreaming Feminist Futures Symposium and didn't get a chance to post here. I promise not to make a habit of this but this was not one to miss. Although I do not have any pictures or anything visual to share with you, I have a whole entire Journal. Each year the Africa Gender Institute hosts a themed symposium like this and with it, they release a new issue of Feminist Africa. This year's issue is the 22nd one and it is titled Feminists Organising - Strategy, Voice, Power. I am so excited to indulge in the readings and I hope you will too.

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Wrapping my head around privilege

As part of African Leadership Academy's decennial celebrations, I and a couple of other alumni of the academy were asked to share our stories. We used to do this even when I was back at the academy. The process of sharing your entire life's story requires an extreme level of vulnerability and I was never brave enough to be that vulnerable. That was then. This time when I was asked, I wanted to share! The request found me at a place where I was already reflecting on my whole existence. Sharing my story gave me a great space to contextualise that existence and so, I reflected.

There were two things that kept popping up in my brain as I reflected, opportunity and privilege. Hold on to those ideas, I will come back to them.

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Home missing

By the time you are reading this, I must be on the plane to Cape Town already. I am moving. Again! I am not complaining... how can I? I chose this. However, that doesn't make it any less painful. Moving is scary and very unsettling, especially when you are moving from places you love. I love home and I love being home. The more I go the more I long to come back. I am telling myself, "it’s gonna be okay Bernie, you have done this before...6 times". Yet, I am here tearing up. I guess you just never get used to leaving. 

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My journey to fashion

If you grew up in Tanzania then you understand how important it is to get a new dress for Christmas (if you are Muslim, for Eid).

It's 11:49 pm on the 24th of December, 2002 and I am holding a torch for my mom whose back is bent over a practically ancient singer sewing machine. We are making my Christmas dress. Flower printed chiffon over a pink satin. We are making a high-waisted pouf dress with a huge bow at the back.

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Confessions of a bilingual orator

I am what you would call a bilingual orator.  A two-language speaker. The two languages I speak find individual chambers in which to stay in my brain without mixing, but the two depend on each other and form one whole language with which I speak, with which I exist.

My spirit, it speaks Swahili. I learned my Catechism in Swahili. I can only communicate with God in this language, because it is the language through which I was introduced to Him. Do not ask me to pray in English. I can try, but chances are I will fail miserably. I simply do not know how to. I have heard what other people say when they say prayers in English, and they are no different from my Swahili prayers. But I, I can never say those words to God in English and mean them the same way as I would in Swahili.

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