Words are my solitary defence against impending doom, old age and iniquity.
While reading for a degree in languages and literature, I was fascinated by the science of language, its inner workings and how it related to the people we are and so my foray into postgraduate studies was in sociolinguisitics- A branch of linguistics that seeks to explain why people speak the way they do.
While reading towards my postgraduate degree, I had grand plan to save the world by joining the United Nations’ Young Professionals Programme in Paris. Of course they hadn’t banned burqas back then.
I began blogging on a lonely night in December 2007, publishing a couple of posts fully believing Google, like the internet deiety it is, would send adulatory readers my way and when Google failed to deliver, I lost heart with blogging.
Some months later a friend of mine would start blogging and ask why I didn’t have a blog of my own. I was forced to confess that I did indeed have one and in a quirk of fate that I never fail to marvel at, a couple of hours after that confession I received an email from a journalist in Uganda expressing his admiration for the two posts I had published and wondering why I had not continued blogging.
It was sign from above enough.
I began blogging with gusto.
I soon fell into a blogosphere where I met some of the finest young, South Africa writers who, like me, were there to blog for blogging’s sake. And yet, three of the writers I met in that blogging circle are now published authors. My UN dreams soon fell to the wayside. One of my earliest ambitions was to be a journalist and through blogging I began writing more and more. I established Makutano Publications, intent on facilitating dialogue between Africans. I wanted desparately for us as run-of-the-mill Africans to have more opportunities to speak to each other about our lives and our world, I wanted to create a space to share experiences and forge a sense of Africaness.
Soon thereafter, I also took over the reigns of Al Huda magazine, a Muslim community publication that had a reputation for being the thinkier of our community publications. With Al Huda I sought firstly to create a space for young creatives to gain experience. I wanted Al Huda to be a publication with a reputation good enough to give you a leg up into the mainstream. My second motive with Al Huda was to get South African Muslims, all sorts of South African Muslims, to speak to each other, to realise that we are more alike than we are different.
After two years steering Al Huda where I could, gaining experience, grey hair and a love for publishing in the process it was time to give over the reigns of the magazine back to its founder.
Forward-wind a few months on and I’m now a “journalist” with The Daily Maverick.
The Daily Maverick is a unique blend of news, information, analysis and opinion with a decidedly South African flavour but also a global relevance. I write about international relations, human rights and politics, with a shifting focus from South Africa to Africa, to the rest of the world. My work for the Daily Maverick is also regularly syndicated in the Asia Times, The Guardian (UK) and Independent Newspapers (South Africa). I have also been published by a number of other South African titles including magazines like Elle (South Africa) and Marie Claire (South Africa). When I can spare the time I contribute to The Guardian’s Comment is Free and the Brics post.
I have been recognised as one of South Africa top young people (2011) by the Mail and Guardian and I am a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers in Johannesburg. In 2011 I was one among 76 African women chosen to participate in the Young African Women Leader’s Forum with US First Lady Michelle Obama.