Email: info@nvmckenzie.co.za | Twitter: @NVMcKenzie

Perfect Moments

From the age of 24/25 I have kept a Gratitude Journal where I, in daily reflections, write the things that I am thankful for on that day. It calls me to actively look out for the silver lining in every situation, every single day. Even on the roughest of days, I have to (and I have learnt to) find something to be appreciative of. Finding a parking spot easily, making it on time for an appointment, having a good workout; all things to be grateful for. Some days there are many small things to be grateful for. On other days there are few, major things to grateful for. Sometimes I don’t write in my gratitude journal for a week, forcing myself into reflection; looking at the week in appreciation.

I had the opportunity to interview Barbara Lawrence-Strydom, author of  ‘The AfriCAN Journal of the Tembo Jike Leader’ who passionately advocated for appreciating what she calls the “perfect moments in an imperfect life”.

Since the conversation with Barbara, I have started to, in addition, actively look perfect moments in the day. No matter how fleeting, in their perfection.

A perfect moment where I lay in a room with bright, warm sunlight and I was in such peace and serenity that found myself dozing off. I woke up 20 minutes later feeling so refreshed and it was a perfect moment of rest.

A perfect moment of being hugged and assured of love.

A perfect moment of savouring a delicious meal.

The little things, easy to overlook, easy to take for granted; those are the everyday things that tie together to make our lives.

Life comes at us like a head-on collision at times; often leaving us feeling overwhelmed and with our mental, physical and emotional resources stretched. Life is far from perfect in many regards; yet there are things, moments, to be grateful for. The perfect moments in an imperfect life.

Listen to the interview with Barbara Strydom here

Your Story

Am I telling my story? My stories of navigating life; as a woman, as a mother, as a friend, as a partner, as a human being?

The conversation I had with Barbara Strydom left me so deeply moved and so introspective about how I am owning the narrative of my life, how the people in my life know me and experience me through my story where every day, as I live and as I move, sentences and paragraphs are added, enriching my book of life. When I am no longer able to express myself, how will those in my life know me or know of me if my journey is not written or shared? How will my narrative be told if I don’t tell it myself. What will my life be when it is told; a true reflection of who I am or an interpretation of how another has been moved (or unmoved) by my existence.
We live through so many experiences; do we stop to catch up with ourselves and spend time with the reality of that which was in our life and how it shaped who we are? Do we stop to share the stories of our journeys for others to take on theirs? As we chatted more, Barbara shared that she lost her husband and as a widow she teared up about how there are no widow stories for her to read and to learn from. A story from another, helping another to heal and live life in another reality with some reflective guidance. Inasmuch as our stories are the pages of our individual book of life that people can  experience us from, they can also be the illumination another needs for their journey, the much needed validation they get when they view themselves through the lens of doubt and inspiration when they despair.
But our stories are also our retrospective journeys into ourselves, into those perfect moments in an imperfect life that is simultaneously our perfect story.
What is your story? Are you telling it?

Listen to the interview with Barbara Strydom here.

The Creative Couch

The Creative Couch was born on 27 April 2020 and boy WAS IT A BIRTH.

We opened with Mbuso Khoza of the African Heritage Ensemble when we sat down to talk about how we capture history in this day and age. Now, Mbuso Khoza is an incredible font of knowledge and listening to him, you truly are baptised in new revelations and information on history, culture and music. I loved how he captured the storage of cultural knowledge as the freezing of moments in time and ascribing value to lived cultures.

Towards the end of the interview he said something so poignant about how we gather knowledge from those who have lived the cultures we want to know more about; ‘uma uyofuna ulwazi awuyi njengomuntu owaziyo, uya njengomuntu oyokwethekela’. Now I took that into the daily living of our lives; how we should enter any space with a desire to learn and the mind a black slate.

One thing I learnt very early in my radio career was to enter an interview with no judgement whatsoever. Enter with no presumption or assumption regardless of who you are interviewing. I have been inside prisons with convicted murderers and crawled into their experiences, I’ve had interviews with CEOs, sat across internationally acclaimed musicians, moderated panels with national ministers, given talks to rural women and sat down with young girls from all walks of life. In every situation, I enter every interview with no preconceived notion of who the person is and what their story is because every time we sit down across a person, there is a lot that we do not know about their heart, their mind, their life experience. I’ve always termed it ‘entering with no judgement’ but in giving power to how little I know about the person or topic, relative to how much the guest knows, and therefore how much I stand to learn by opening my heart, mind and spirit; I enter all conversations ngiyokwethekela.

May we all greet each other with openness, non-judgement and a true desire to learn from each other.

Click here to watch an episode of the Creative Couch

Rewarding Experiences

Participating in the MTN Business Digital Masterclass was really amazing. Being part of an initiative that really empowers small business owners with practical and useful information to help them achieve their goals using technology was such a rewarding experience.

Well done to MTN!

Watch the video here.

 

Ogogo are People Too

One of the many wonderful things about my work is how much I get to experience with different people.

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, way before we go into studio to actually broadcast the show.

Besides the research aspect of the preparation, some segments and inserts are pre recorded or sourced, edited and prepared for the show. Some of the content requires that we actually have to go out to various places to capture the content and at times participate in whatever story we are covering on the show.

I came across an article on Mam’Myeni’s project on her son’s Facebook page and immediately thought that this was something that we needed to share with our listeners. (Click here to read the article)
We will be chatting to Mam’Cwengi Myeni on the show soon; about her story and about her project that encourages grannies to get active.

So in preparation for that we spent two hours with oGogo from KwaNyuswa chatting to them and participating in their activities.
These are oGogo that are part a project driven and supported by Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The project coordinates Gogo support groups for these senior citizens to share their challenges, generate income through sewing and craft projects as well as keep themselves active by participating in team sporting activities.

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One of the ladies reminded us of something so important; being 87 (yes there was an 87-year-old granny there and she plays soccer) doesn’t mean a Gogo should fade into nothingness or just be seen as the home caretaker or someone who looks after the grandchildren or great grandchildren.
It’s important to remember that rural grannies are also people with interests and hobbies. We need to treat them with respect and kindness but also uphold their humanity as well as their individuality.

 

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