Mwanabibi is one of the amazing women trail blazing natural hair care in Zambia. What has the gears turning underneath all those gorgeous curls?
What do you celebrate about being a woman?
I love how multifaceted women are. We can be strong and vulnerable, nurturing yet uplifting. Our innate intuition allows us to excel through building relationships. I feel that this unique trait means that as women we are able not only to progress as individuals but to enable those around us to do the same. I celebrate women’s ability to create and nurture a sense of community.
What do you wish other women knew?
I wish other women knew the strength they posses. That they would not try to compete with men but to understand that our strength is in being women. I think this is something that has come with age but I think the more confident I’ve become in my own skin as a woman the better I have been at understanding and pursuing my goals. Strength isn’t about power; it’s about being able to make the best of your qualities and skills as an individual.
How do you express yourself creatively?
I am relentlessly creative and I express myself in so many ways. I love to write, I would be lost without it. I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. I used to write “books”; mystery and romance stories on stapled together computer paper. I imagined that I was Enid Blyton. It might seem counter intuitive because if I love to read and write then I must be stimulated by intellectual pursuits but I love to dress up and this is one of the main ways that I express myself. I choose clothes and hairstyles according to mood and adore handmade clothes and accessories that are individualistic.
How are you making a difference in the world?
Well, I’m not sure that it’s for me to say but I think that I try to make a difference by telling stories. The more we understand the world and how we all fit into it the better able we are to make a difference. I write about what I see around me; things that I find surprising, funny, sad or inspirational. Writing about these things not only helps shape my views about them, it allows others to see the world through a particular prism, to find the things that connect us and hopefully to realise that if we are able to relate to a woman living in adverse conditions in a compound somewhere then we are all ultimately equal.
What do you believe is your calling and what are you doing about it?
I don’t know what my calling is. I do what comes naturally. I tell people about my experiences and have been told that I am quite intuitive, the ultimate Libra if you are partial to star signs. If you want a creative way to take advantage of a seemingly adverse situation I’ll brainstorm with you. Does that make me a teacher of sorts? I’m not sure. I just know that I seek out the best in people and situations; I try to relate on a human level and never allow anyone to believe that they are innately incapable of achieving their goals in life. What do I do about this? I tell stories, stories about myself and those around me. I seek knowledge through writing and hope that others learn as they read or listen to my stories.
How do you celebrate where you come from?
At the moment I would say that I celebrate Zambia and Africa through my work with ZedHair. ZedHair is all about providing information, tools and products for women with natural hair. We use indigenous knowledge and products. We celebrate our continent by reviving old methods of hair and skin care.
What do you consider to be the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
I think the biggest obstacle for me has been myself. Self doubt. I am constantly plagued by it. I suppose this could be one reason that I write, to have my thoughts and opinions validated by others. When I was in secondary school, I was asked what I wanted to do with my life, my answer, “I don’t know, but I do know that I want to make a difference”. I’ve always known what I wanted to do but I didn’t know how I would do it. Every time I set a goal for myself I wonder if I’m mad to attempt it and am just a little afraid of my own audacity.