Soulful Reads

Agency, Possibilities, and Imagination

Countering myths about Africa’s past

Wangui wa Kamonji

  • Tracing African pasts through the interlinked lenses of agency
  • Possibility and imagination allows us to counter-narratives of Africa as a blank slate
  • Debunking myths about Africa as a place that did not innovate or create.


“We die thirsting for knowledge, yet it is all around us.”— Saki Mafundikwa In Crazy Normal, Trevor Noah makes a joke about South Africa that I think applies to all of Africa. In his sketch, Africa responds to the world moving in one direction with, “Okay…we’re going to go that way,” pointing in a different direction. The ‘rest-of-the-world’ is perplexed and Africa reassures, “No, don’t worry, we’ll find you there.” What Trevor


Noah illuminates is the ‘elsewhere-ness’ of Africa. Africa has impressive political, economic, social-ecological and cultural diversity – a diversity that is often un-understood for its defiance to being mappable by narrow Euro-American standards and statistics. So much so that Africa is today more often described in negatives than in anything else: lack, poverty, failed, corrupt and crisis being some of them.


Nomad Girl tales

Narissa Allibhai
  • Don’t give up hope
  • Love over fear
  • Trust yourself


Listen to this while reading: Rise Up (Yves LaRock)


This morning, when I opened my eyes from my daily meditation, the sun rays were streaming in through the window. Specks of dust were shining, glittering and dancing in the sunlight like fairydust. Entranced, hypnotised, I watched and watched with a soft smile of wonder on my lips.


This afternoon, I went to an Mpesa (mobile money) agent at a petrol station. I wore a mask – I’m taking zero risks as I am sheltering at my parents house during this period of the coronavirus pandemic. The askari (guard) wore a mask too, as did a handful of the few people moving around – the lady with the beige hijab in the line behind me here, the random man in blue trousers crossing the street there. A song about love creakily squeezed out of an old radio and I felt it – that love – for all these people, nervous and afraid of the looming unknown ahead, trying their best to protect their loved ones and themselves. My heart softened and melted just a little. A quiet capital city, a confused population, a worried population – even more about putting food on the table than the virus itself.


This evening, I took a solo stroll to breathe some fresh air amidst the self-isolation that those of us privileged enough to are practicing. A big drop from the sky, and another. Huge drops pitter-pattered around me and I smiled, breathing in that sweet smell when rainwater hits dust. Petrichor. That cool sensation of cloud droplet on my skin, the freshly cleaned air a gift to my lungs. I looked up to the sky and remembered the saying.

Are Conscious Entrepreneurs the Real Disruptors?

Sapna A Chandaria

Let’s face it. Choosing entrepreneurship is risky. However, it doesn’t mean that starting a business or being an entrepreneur is not a worthwhile cause. The common myth that currently exists would have us believe as entrepreneurs we have to be prepared for the absolute worst before we can reap the benefits of our efforts.


For example, the old paradigm of borrowing most, if not all, the seed capital from friends and family, creates an expectation that we absolutely have to succeed at all cost. If not, we not only risk losing our business, but we also risk bringing everyone else down with us.


On top of that, what about the absolute confidence and trust we must have in ourselves to even think about starting a venture like this? After all, who are we to think that we could even do such a thing? We better be damn sure that we will deliver on all the promises that we’ve made to raise the capital in the first place. Add some guilt, shame and negative money mindset with the frantic, crazy energy of money and we have a perfect recipe for disaster.

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