“Poetry is one of the biggest weapons we can use to change the narrative about Africa” ~ Simon Javan Okelo
While May 25th is the official Africa Day, I found that with all the rich information shared that day…a day was just not enough. Valuable conversations throughout the 24 hour marathon on Clubhouse shed light on areas in media, film, tech, finance, and ownership with many cracks in the foundation. Think about how you were introduced to the African culture. Was it through comedy sketches or commercials highlighting areas of need?
Honestly, my first introduction into the African culture, or at least one piece of it, was when my mother was dating an African man. That is probably where my love of the food and music steamed from initially. I remember fish head soup and their clothing that always had such beautiful colors and designs. Oh, and I believe that it was in middle school when I started to dive into the Caribbean culture as my mother took me to the Caribbean Festival at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia each year. Many times in high school I found myself buying reggae mixtapes with my lunch money. lol
My experience is not what the majority thinks of when they think of Africa. It is actually far from it and that is what sparked me to add a new topic to my blog. It would be where I shared some things from other cultures as a way to educate myself. You get to have a first row seat to the whole process.
Let’s start with Professor Lo Liyong:
One of the first voices that I had the opportunity of hearing during Africa Day was from Professor Liyong and the lesson he shared was one that I will surely keep with me. His message is one that any creative will need to keep as a rule as they show up in the world. Always have something to share!! Yea, that may sound easy but there are authors and poets and artists worldwide that don’t even carry a business card let alone their own work. (Trust me…I don’t like business cards either! They make me cringe so the lesson was for me too.)
Professor Taban Lo Liyong (born 1939) is a poet, and writer of fiction and literary criticism from South Sudan. While attending Africa Day on Clubhouse he was asked to share a poem with the audience. While he did not have any with him that he could read, he gave us some wisdom that every creative should hold close to their heart.
- Write a poem that is 12 lines long so that you are prepared when you are called to produce
- Create a song and use it for praising
- Create a psalm to praise God
Don’t keep repeating what you have heard others do…
Create your own…
Produce things that have never been seen before!
With over ten years of writing, Altovise uses her platforms to create opportunities for women to have their voices heard. Founder of the World Voice League, she educates and empowers through courses, a weekly accountability call, blogging, books, and the #SpeakEasy Podcast.