When I was asked to write this article one of the ironies is that I am an African regarded as a foreigner in Africa if I am not in my country of birth. Being a strong, independent woman is challenging enough without any additives. Having worked overseas, it would have been perhaps more acceptable to be called a Foreigner but to be called one in my Mother Land??…. We need some bold policy changers to arise. We are separated by imaginary borders mainly in our heads and the Geographical ones do not even make sense…but that is a conversation for another day.
Most efforts are met with “they are stealing our jobs” even if we have created many for others. How can we as women build nations when we cannot support each other at grass root level?
Let’s quickly get to discussing a solution and start with a few pointers to get us on track;
- By understanding that it does not matter your race, country of origin, accolades, lack of accolades; what matters is cheering each other on and realizing that we are an extension of each other and not a dysfunctional body slapped together. If we are indeed schlepped together then it is for a purpose and we should be more focused on working in tangent with each other and not against each other.
- By creating networks that are not afraid to disseminate information. The fear of giving out information or contacts is simple insecurity, the more you give the more you receive, and that is a universal law. Now this does not mean randomly giving out your contacts to people that you have not scrutinized, no by no means no, while we are all “Kumbayaring” we need wisdom and wisdom is learnt through the sharing of experiences.
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- By realizing that whatever gifting God has given us is not for you but for others…so share. The world is waiting for you. You were created with a gift. A gift no one can replicate or imitate. Realize that no one can do what you do the way you do it. If anything you need to see others as people to add what you bring to what they bring so we can all bring out something new together.
- By realizing that a disagreement is not an execution sentence and it does not give anyone the right to massacre the other on social media. It simply means that you become more careful with who you allow in your space simple! You learn, you forgive and move on!
- By being honest about our limitations and forming partnerships that seek out the same goal and vision. Partnerships that are not fickle but that seek longevity and not instant gratification.
- By understanding that our voice matters. Whatever platform you have (be it for 2 or 200) use it for good. What a privilege and an honor to have the opportunity to impact and change lives so use it fearlessly.
As women we wear so many hats we are, mothers, sisters, lovers, daughters, nieces, colleagues, scape goats, teachers, nurses, students, resident chefs; These hats are juggled day in day out and sometimes simultaneously. So I ask again why not be kinder to one another? Gender aside just has human beings? Ubuntu simply means “I am because you are”. Whatever your religion, race, shape or size we come in you are beautiful Woman and you are powerful and more than enough to change other people’s minds.
Written by Angeline Mhlanga