The suicide of Caroline Flack was a tragedy. I empathise with her family. I lost my sister who committed suicide too.
In that sense, I can relate and empathise with her family and friends with the guilt, pain, their loss and their feelings of powerlessness.
These are natural feelings that the surviving family and friends have to contend with. However, calling for stricter laws to protect celebrities and people in the public eye is not going to protect anyone.
It is a kneejerk reaction to a situation that people who are vulnerable think will make a difference. It is not a well thought out reaction.
It is more emotional than anything else and I can understand and empathise with where they are coming from.
Normally when people are making reactionary petitions, they are not well thought out.
They are driven by other considerations such as grief; pain, loss, and guilt. Those mixed emotions are enough to cloud anyone’s reasoning.
They may think that they are doing something to protect someone else from going through the same things.
However, you cannot protect someone who is determined to kill themselves or self harm. They will do whatever it takes; that is the sad reality.
There is no law that can prevent someone from taking their own life when that time comes.
Instead, we risk getting flooded by over legislation. There is too much legislation in the world and we don’t need anymore.
So when I saw the following insert from an email from change.org, I knew what I was going to do.
“After the tragic passing of Caroline Flack over the weekend, her friends are calling for stricter laws to protect celebrities and people in the public eye. Over 222,000 people have signed the petition. Will you?”
I was not going to sign it. I have nothing against Caroline Flack or her family and friends. It is not personal.
I do not believe having laws to protect privileged people is an answer.
There are people who have to put up with more vitirol than Caroline had to put up with. Take the case of Meghan Markle.
The media has given her a lot more flack; she has been the subject of racist attacks by celebrities and people in the public eye.
The likes of Germaine Greer a so called feminist is a typical example of people who have consistently attacked Megan. Forget that they are both women which makes the attacks so much more insiduous. She is not alone.
The above illustrates the double standards of the media and the subtle racism that is insinuated in the subtle choices of a few poignant words.
Why should they be protected yet have the privilege of attacking people they don’t like for their own selfish reasons?
We don’t see the same kind of sustained attacks on Kate Middleton even for similar things they criticise in Meghan.
The media is always biased in reporting news. A black youth who commits the same crime as a white youth is demonised and depicted as evil and a devil.
At times, they don’t have to do anything bad at all. It can be good. But they will be demonised for being black. Their skin is their crime.
Image shows how the media depicts black people in racist stereotypes and demonises them even when they have done noting wrong but extols the virtue of white people for doing the same thing they lambast black people for.
Yet a white youth is humanised and referred to as a lad who made a mistake. He is not subjected to the racist stereotypes and vitirol directed at young black men or women are subjected to.
We should concentrate on treating people equally. We cannot have separate laws for different people.
Black people already have to deal with laws that are skewed against them. We have to deal with a judicial system that is biased against us and a media that only amplifies black stereotypes.
Nobody calls for laws to protect them from a racist media.
Having laws that protect celebrities only places other people right at the bottom rung of a multi tiered legal ladder.
Celebrities and people in the public eye have made choices to live in the glare of the limelight and paparazzi. They invite them into their lives.
They may manipulate the media to get column inches and use them to get what they want in the form of publicity and influencer deals.
Therefore, it makes it difficult to introduce laws that protect these people because of the nature of their fleeting relationship with the media.
It cannot be ok to be milking the media when it suits them and tell them to fuck off when it doesn’t.
If you don’t like the media then get out of the limelight.
If a moth plays near a candle, one day it’s life will be snuffed out and so it is with celebrities who live their life under the spotlight. It is the natural cycle of that life.
What we need is less legislation. We need common sense that Jesus and other wise sages througout time were trying to teach that, “you should treat people just as you would like them to treat you”.
That would do a lot more to protect our sanity and generate more goodwill than selective legislation can ever achieve.
What we need is more humaninty and less legislation.
In conclusion, I say give us equal rights and justice.
Sankara was written and directed by Ricky Dujany. Dujany claims the inspiration for the play, which is basically the rise and fall of an Africa hero, was Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar.
It is a timely reminder of the iconic African leader; his life, death, philosophy, principles and struggle against power, Western imperialism and international hypocrisy.
Sankara highlights the role of African leaders who come to power; do little to nothing to uplift their own people, protect Western interests at the expense of their own people and national interests; their role in the continual subjugation and exploitation of their own nations and people.
Sankara has all the hallmarks of a Shakespearean tragedy. However, the greatest tragedy is that this story is a real story inspired by actual events that are interwoven into the narrative by using dramatic devices such as audiovisual footage from the archives of history projected onto screens in the theatre to echoes of Sankara’s speeches from books like Thomas Sankara Speaks being recited by characters in the play.
Sankara is truly an African tragedy. It is the tragedy of Africa’s lost potential. It is the tragedy of Africa’s arrested development.
It is the tragedy of how those who have the genuine human, moral and political will to uplift the lives of Africans are murdered by the powers that be whose sole objective is to see Africa remain underdeveloped and subject to white interests.
From the outset of the play, we are reminded that Sankara came to power through a military coup – popular though it was – but a coup nevertheless.
However, the similarities end there. The Zimbabwean coup lacks the moral backbone and the philosophical perspective of the Burkinabe Revolution. It was a reactionary move devoid of a sound political ideology.
Echoes of Sankara’s words in the play, “A soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal”, resonates with developments in Zimbabwe and the actions or omissions of the miltary that seized power to consolidate it’s own interests, and create a mililtary state under the guise of preserving the legacy of the liberation struggle and entrenching democractic ideals.
In the play, the role of the military is a world away from the role of the military in Zimbabwe. Whereas, in The Burkinabe Revolution, the military was actively involved in working hand in hand with the people to build roads, the first international railway and other projects that developed the communities; the opposite is true in Zimbabwe.
The military has awarded itself all the positions of power in goverment and the public sector, and has limited involvement in helping to make the living conditions for the masses better in Zimbabwe.
In addition, they have made themselves king makers, the ultimate arbitrator of who has the right to lead Zimbabwe through the ballot or other means.
Reliving Sankara through the play reinforced the principles that he enshrined and lived by. His wit, charisma, humour and powers of mind were brilliantly captured in this three hour long production.
However, it is Sankara’s attitude towards debt that is truly at odds with the Zimbabwean leadership.
“Debt is aimed at subjugating the growth of Africa through foreign rules. Thus each one of us become a financial slave, which is to say a true slave.”
In the play, this quote above is brilliantly captured in the speech that Sankara made at the OAU meeting addressing the question of debt and creating a club of Addis Ababa for African leaders to address these pertinent questions that many African leaders are reluctant to address to this day.
It is ironic that it is also in this speech that Sankara reminds the seated leaders at this meeting that he might not be there next year because of his speech and that was eerily so.
In the play, as Sankara speaks, the footage at that meeting is projected on the screens making the scene eerily realistic.
When Sankara returns to Burkina Faso, he is asked how did things go. He responds that he expects the other African leaders to come out in support of him. However, the irony is that we know it is not going to happen and they are going to betray him.
Three months after that speech at the Organisation of African Unity headqurters on the 29th of July 1987, Thomas Sankara was assassinated.
One can sense the same betrayal happening to the masses in Zimbabwe who are waiting for the military that removed Mugabe to change things, but are in the process of making them financial slaves as they go globetrotting seeking loans and indebting the nation, and seeking re-entry or reengagement with the clubs that Sankara despised for their hypocrisy and robbing the people of the fruits of their hard labour.
It is also ironic how in one scene Sankara receives an official from the IMF who is seeking to get contracts signed off that will undermine the interests of the people and Sankara refuses on points of principle.
This official from the IMF appears in the play in different guises as different characters. He is like a recurring motif that reminds you of the many facets imperialisms manifests itself like a pest that leeches off its host.
However, in the Zimbabwe situation, the new president declared Zimbabwe is open for business, and is actively seeking to engage investors who may not have the interests of the people at heart but their own.
What is eerily unnerving is that the president has no known stance on imperialism as Sankara did. His political philosophy is opaque. He lacks the political and moral gravitas of Sankara.
And it is this stance above, that partially made Sankara the African hero transcend his continental limitations to become a global icon, embraced across the world for speaking to power not only on behalf of his own people but all oppressed people all over the world. Women included. Sankara’s feminist stance is well known and also well entrenched in the play and some of his revolutionary comrades react to it in quite humourous ways.
From right to left: Yonka Awoni in green beret [Henry Zongo], Ike Chuks in red beret [Thomas Sankara], Chris Machari in blue beret [Blaise Compaore], Clovis Kasanda [Jean Lingani/ Charles Taylor]. Image belongs to Gova Media [https://www.govamedia.com/2018/04/04/theater-the-rise-fall-of-an-african-hero-play-written-directed-rickydujany/]
It is apparent that the Zimbabwe situation is devoid of a young, charismatic leader like Sankara who had the political will to carry out fundamental change as echoed in the play, “You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness”.
The late Thomas Sankara was instrumental in changing the mentality of his country, promoting work for everyone to build the nation’s first internatinal railway, refusing aid and debt, and coining the famous slogan “he who feeds you controls you”.
There are scenes that are brilliantly captured in the play that show there was an urgency in the way Sankara implemeted reforms such as nationalisation of land, empowerment of women, building houses, addressing hunger and solving the environmental crisis, education and vaccination programmes.
This urgency is absent in the Zimbabwean situation. That lack of urgency reinforces that Zimbabwe is most likely than not headed for gloom.
There will be no revolutionary programmes coming from the encumbent government because it is a government of reactionaries and a privileged elite who are similar to the ones Sankara and others unseated in the hope of liberating Burkina Faso.
It is this urgency above that allowed Sankara to make Burkina Faso self reliant within four years while other nations have failed to achieve a fraction of what he did in over three and a half decades plus more.
The greatest question many will have is does the play teach us anything new about Thomas Sankara. The answer is in the affirmative.
I will not spoil that by revealing all, but I can say that I have read a lot of books on Thomas Sankara, watched numerous documentaries and written a fair bit about him and still learnt something new that I did not know from the above.
Sankara also raises questions about the agency of Captain Blaise Compaoré. I am not sure if it is a question of Ricky Dujany employing poetic licence or he is aware of something that a lot of people are ignorant of. It is a strong possibility considering that he did his research for writing the play.
However, whether the wife of Captain Blaise Compaoré really did influence him to assassinate Sankara or not is questionable, but in my opinion it doesn’t absolve him from the ultimate act of betrayal as it appears to do in the play or undermine his own agency.
In conclusion, Sankara is a timely and honourable production. It is honest, brutal, well executed and sensitively handled. The players rose to the occassion and did such a historical narrative justice, bringing the play to a new audience who may not have known or heard anything about Sankara.
I was happy to see some parents bringing their children to watch this play because it is important that our children grow up knowing our history, and where we are coming from, and those Africans who gave their lives to liberating the continent.
I was not impressed by the accents in the play. There were times when you could hardly hear what the actors were saying because of the funny and inconsistent accents. They were not necessary especially when you have actors using English when we know that the real life characters communicated in French and local languages in Burkina Faso.
That is a minor criticism of the play. My disappointment is mainly reserved for those who did not turn out to support.
I watched over the past weeks as Black Panther trended on social media and it appeared like every black person went out to watch the movie yet those same people who became honorary Wakandaians were nowhere in sight.
It appears that our people are more in love with the hype of Hollywood and fictious heroes and seductive white naaratives about Africa than they are about the real thing, and they remain ignorant and oblivious of African history and embracing our own African heroes and narratives.
The ultimate question though is how will the Zimbabwean coup that wasn’t a coup end. Sankara reminds us that coups rarely end well. As a Zimbabwean, I wish that we are an exception to the rule though this may go against what I know or have observed through our history. There are exceptions to the rule. And maybe our coup that wasn’t might not end up in the same way as Sankara and be one of the most notable exceptions.
What does writing poetry and African presidency have in common? None. Unless you are Agostinho Neto. He was an acclaimed poet and the first African President of Angola.
I knew a bit about Neto and his role in the decolonisation of Africa. He was quite an exceptional leader in many ways. Not only did he become the first president of Angola in 1975, but he was also a medical doctor who specialised in gynaecology.
To be published among such names speaks volumes about the nature of one’s work and the quality of it. You don’t get published among legends like that unless you are made of the same stuff.
It is probably little known that Neto was a poet because his work was not so easily accessible to those of us who cannot read or write Portuguese. But it is also not so well known that Neto, to this day, is one of Angola’s most acclaimed poet and writer. That is no easy feat.
Agostinho Neto was born in 1922 at Icola e Bengo in Angola. He studied medicine in Lisbon and Coimbra in Portugal and returned to practice in Angola.
He joined a movement for the discovery of indigenous Angolan culture. In 1960, was elected president of the MPLA [Movimento Popular da Libertação de Angola – People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola] which was a militant anti-colonial organisation. That year he was arrested and taken to jail in Portugal but escaped two years later.
After a protracted guerrilla struggle, he helped to establish the independence of Angola. He became it’s first president but died in 1980.
He published poetry in several Portuguese and Angolan publications and a volume entitled A Sagrada Esperanca (Sacred Hope).
There was little in Neto’s earlier life that indicated the direction of his later life. He was born in a Methodist family. His father was a Methodist pastor. We can interpret through the trajectories of what is known about him that his conception of serving his people was strongly influenced by his father and his exposure to the teachings of Christianity.
It was only when he was in Lisbon [Portugal] that his political activism became marked. He became friends with other future political and iconic figures such as Amilcar Cabral who I have written about and would leave a lasting legacy in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. This also included Marcelino dos Santos from Mozambique.
Dos Santos and Neto seemed to have more than politics in common. Dos Santos was also a poet and a revolutionary. After Neto was arrested and his friend Eduardo Mondlane also from Mozambique and a fellow comrade from FRELIMO moved to the United States, dos Santos moved to Paris where lived with other artists and writers and became associated with the literary magazine Présence Africaine.
Their friendship seemed to be destiny because they had so much in common and as leading intellectuals of their time, it was inevitable. What we don’t know is what role they had in each other’s poetry and if they read and critiqued each other’s work.
Somehow, Neto managed to juggle both his academic life and covert political activities. However, he was soon to learn that mixing politics and medicine had its consequences.
That came in 1960 when he was arrested for campaigning against the colonial administration of Portugal in Angola. When his family, friends, patients, supporters and empathisers and others marched to protest his arrest, the police fired at them. Consequently, thirty people were killed and about two hundred others were injured.
He was later exiled to Cape Verde where he wrote his second poetry publication. It is not clear if he was able to link up with the likes of Cabral in Cape Verde. It is always a possibility and it is also possible that he learned firsthand about their struggle and used it to forward his own political development.
Like Lumumba and Cabral, he sought assistance from the Americans but as usual, the Americans let him down and he enlisted the help of the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Unfortunately, Neto’s rule was not marked by peace. It was riddled by a civil war that was sponsored by foreign agents that were sponsoring sectarian violence and trying to destabilise the country.
His country was flanked by hostile territories. On one side was the FNLA supported by the dictator, Belgian and American puppet Mobutu Sese Seko who got into power through assassinating Patrice Lumumba and given free reign to terrorise his own people.
On the other side was Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA movement which was supported by the racist Apartheid government of South Africa that had no wish in seeing a thriving majority ruled African country because this would make the Africans at home want the same.
One of Neto’s lasting legacies to Angola was his invitation to westerners to invest in the oil industry. To this day, it happens to be one of Angola’s largest export and brings in the largest revenues. However, as in most African countries, the proceeds or these great repositories of wealth rarely filter to the people. They are monopolised by the leadership who enjoy the wealth and treat it as their own.
I guess you can do more research and fill the holes in the life of this remarkable leader. I set out to share this little bit of knowledge about him and his accomplishments.
I will leave you with a poem he wrote in 1954 and entitled Bamako. You can interpret it for yourself, not that it needs it.
Bamako! Where the truth dropping on the leaf’s sheen unites with the freshness of men like strong roots under the warm surface of the soil and where grow love and future fertilised in the generosity of the Niger shaded by the immensity of the Congo to the shim of the African breeze of hearts
Bamako! there life is born and grows and develops in us important fires of goodness
Bamako! there are our arms there sound our voices there the shining hope in our eyes transformed into an irreproachable force of friendship dry the tears shed over the centuries in the slave Africa of other days vivified the nourishing juice of fruit the aroma of the earth of which the sun discovers gigantic kilimanjaros under the blue sky of peace.
Bamako! living fruit of the Africa of the future germinating in the living arteries of Africa There hope has become tree and river and beast and land there hope wins friendship in the elegance of the palm and the black skin of men
Bamalko! there we vanquish death and the future grows – grows in us in the irresistible force of nature and life with us alive in Bamako.
When I started writing my very first post, Yeah, I Think A Lot About Shit, I had no idea anyone would ever read my blog. Nevertheless, I persevered and continued to write without any expectations but simply as an outlet for my thoughts and as a means to sharpen my writing skills.
Seven thousand five hundred plus visitors and over ten thousand views later, I am pleasantly surprised by the traffic to my blog. I know these figures are a grain of sand in the desert to other accomplished bloggers.
However, considering my innocuous start, I find these figures are encouraging because I had no idea I would reach this milestone. Thank You For Reading Thegatvolblogger
Therefore, I would like to thank you personally for taking the time to visit my humble blog and view the articles I write. You make it worthwhile and I would be ungrateful if I didn’t show my appreciation for your kindness.
I am not a prolific blogger. I am not disciplined. I may go for months without writing or sharing anything, but there is never a day when you do not visit and read my posts, including the stuff I wrote when I first started.
An artists rendering of the late Captain Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso who came to power through a popular coup and within four years made the country self reliant. The image is taken from the book Thomas Sankara Speaks.
I kind of have a good idea what you like now. It never ceases to surprise me that you appreciate the work that I have done otherwise you would not be reading these posts. I have come to realise that the articles I have written have a very long shelf life beyond the time I wrote them. They remain relevant to new readers and visitors.
Lessons Learnt From Blogging
Firstly, never underestimate what you have to write, say, think or share. There are people who appreciate what you have to say. Your voice matters. Your perspective adds something that is missing in the mainstream media.
Secondly, have faith in whatever task you undertake. And when you commit yourself to any activity, do your best.
Thirdly, when you devote yourself to an activity, you build an expertise on that field and develop your competency in that field. I started off as an amateur and now I also blog professionally for other institutions and sites. It is why I am not always able to write and post as much I would like. Without the experience I gained from here, I would never have had the competency to blog professionally. Opportunities like these, open up doors to others.
Follow your heart
Fourthly, if you do something you love, you are more likely to be successful doing what you love. You will find it rewarding and you are more likely to be fulfilled it by it. My advice, therefore, is follow your heart and live the dream. Even if you don’t become wealthy pursuing your passions, you will be rich in satisfaction. An you will be happy. You can’t put a price on that.
Fifthly, gimmicks like SEO and the likes can only do so much. I don’t understand them very much, I have the faintest idea therefore I never use them, but I know that sincerity, passion and love can achieve much more than SEO; especially, if you value organic growth, slowly and steadily to learn as you grow.
In addition, it takes time to do something properly and see the growth. You have to learn a lot along the way as the video below illustrates. As they say, Rome was not built in a day. If you have any endeavour you wish to pursue, take the time to build your dream but don’t expect instant results. There are few overnight successes. What you see, is often the results of years, if not decades, of hard work before the “overnight success”.
I can go on and on but maybe that is the substance for another article or post. Right now, I just want to thank you for your support and love. I am grateful to you for having my back. Your visits and investing your precious time to read my posts is the greatest encouragement you could have ever offered me. I am eternally grateful for your support.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in 2014 and helping to take this blog to the next level. Much love to you for taking the time to read the content, comment, like, share and recommend thegatvolblogger.
I am overwhelmed by your support and love. It has been a labour of love and you have made every moment worth it. I could not have done it without you. Without you, I would have given up but you have given me the strength, encouragement and motivation to do even better in 2015.
I would like to give a special shout out to
You were my most active commenters and supported and shared my work. Nuff respect to you. You can check out the report below to see your contributions to make this blog a success.
My goal this year is to take this blog to the next level and I feel indebted to you. Keep your eye on this blog for better content, more posts and better quality.
I hope all your dreams, desires, hopes and goals become a reality in 2015. Have a Happy New Year. You rock you have made my year and I am starting on a high because of you.
All the best and One Love.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
I started blogging late in life and like Cato [Censorius] the Censor I am learning in my old age. I have picked up a few things, 13 to be precise, and I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience with you. The order below is random.
1] Write What You Know: It is the golden rule every student of creative writing is taught from day one. It applies to blogging as well. Writing what you know makes it easier to write about that subject.
It will flow better. Your authority and and knowledge will shine. Your passion will tell and your readers will feel it. You will succeed at it because you are doing something that you love and you are passionate about.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write about what you don’t know. If you do, do your research before you write. Bloggers like journalists can do their research or interview experts and can become instant authorities on subjects they know little of prior to taking it on.
2] Content Rules: Never publish sub-standard content. It must be well written, researched, structured, entertaining or engaging. Good content keeps readers coming back for more. Good content makes the audience share. Good content makes readers appreciate the effort you put in.
It makes them trust you. An article riddled with poor spelling or grammar looks bad. It is amateurish and if you can’t get the small details right, people won’t trust you with the bigger details such as facts or trust your opinion.
3] Be You: Alternatively, keep it real. Don’t try to be what you are not. Readers are intelligent and they can smell a fake. If you are true to yourself, your writing will come pouring out of you. Your voice will speak for itself.
I have heard of writers worrying or struggling to find their voice. They struggle because they are trying to be what they are not. Write as you speak and your personality will shine. Your voice will sound distinct and authentic.
4] Trust Yourself: I started blogging late because I wasn’t confident anyone would read what I wrote. My creative writing teacher encouraged me to blog but I couldn’t do it.
I was very conscious of my self and didn’ want people psychoanalysing me. I talked about these concerns in my very first post Yeah, I think a lot about shit.
Throwing myself into blogging excorsised my demons. I didn’t exactly know what I was going to write about but I shouldn’t have worried. The ideas and inspiration found me.
Other opportunities came from people who read my blog. Some articles are inspired. You wake up and they are just on your mind and they basically write themselves.
So, never doubt your talent or yourself. Trust yourself. Be confident. Once you get going, things happen as if they were ordained to, and the pieces come together like a jigsaw puzzle when you need them.
It reminds me of that quote often attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and endless plans. That the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
5] Know Your audience: When I write fiction, I find it hard to picture my readers. I struggle in this respect.
However, the opposite is true when I write nonfiction for newspapers or online publications. I know who the reader is which makes it easier.
Overtime, I have evolved a sense of who my readers are on my blog. I can see their gravatars or pictures. I read their comments. and feedback. I communicate with them. This is helpful. Slowly but surely, I am getting to know their tastes.
In addition, I also know that there are different audiences for different articles. There are posts that mainly appeal to other bloggers, poets or lovers of writing or books because they deal with writing. These are totally different to what other readers like who love political cum historical articles.
Some leave niche subjects. No two readers are the same.
You need to understand what your audience loves to read. The stats provided by the blog host will help you in that respect as illustrated below and show you what readers want.
Find topics that appeal to them and give them what they want. Don’t confine them to your own interests. Keep your eye on the stats!
Breakdown of views per post or tags.
6] Love of Research and Writing: Blogging has reaffirmed that I love writing and researching. It gives me the freedom to broaden my horizons and an opportunity to indulge in what I love most.
It is rewarding. It is fun.
As much as I write about what I know, I back it up with research to cover any doubts and to doublecheck facts. I guess its a habit that comes from my background writing for newspapers and other online mediums.
My blogging has rejuvenated my fiction work and I am back to finishing my historical fiction novel. The two mutually feed off each other.
You can spring surprises on your readers and introduce them to something they might not know such as introducing new or rising stars on the arts scene as illustrated on the front cover of this magazine I stumbled on in my local library introducing, NoViolet Bulawayo, one of the hottest literary talents to come out of Zimbabwe.
NoViolet Bulawayo, one of Zimbabwe’s best intellectual exports, a rising star on the literature scene. I stumbled upon this magazine in my local library.
7] Continous Learning and Self Improvement: The internet is never stationary. It is always evolving. Blogging is always evolving too and it provides the opportunity for continous learning and self improvement.
The more you write and research, the wider and rounded your learning experience becomes. Research often opens up avenues and doors that you could never have imagined.
Apart from discovering interesting facts, this is a mine-full of inspiration and ideas to blog about or write a full fiction or nonfiction account.
I am learning more about HTML and WordPress and the functions and features I can add to my blogs to make them more interactive. There are still a host of features I am learning about and haven’t got round to utilising them yet.
Maybe if you are a tech whiz, give me a shout out. Let me know how you think I can improve my blog.
Working with WordPress has also improved my knowledge of content management systems and all this experience is and will come in handy in other areas of my personal or professional career.
8] Do What Works For You: Writing regular articles is not easy. Well, let me speak for myself. I can go through anything between 6 – 20 drafts or revisions before I am happy to post.
I am not one of those prolific people who writes a blog a day or several a week or month. I write when I feel I like it. Right now, I am on a roll and blogging regularly.
However, there was a time when I was away for almost half a year or more and I missed blogging because of other commitments. I believe you shouldn’t just post anything because you feel pressured to.
Rather do it, when it is irrestibale and you have a burning urge to write and post. I can write a post in a day but it takes me hours especially if there are plenty of hyperlinks to add.
At times it can take me days because I go through numerous drafts or write in short bursts. That is what works for me. Everybody is different.
Writing and thinking are hard work; so, I understand people who can’t do it regularly. Consistency even if it is irregular consistency is good too.
I have massive respect for bloggers who blog every day or week. It takes great discipline and focus. Massive respect prolific bloggers!
Blogging is not a competition but a medium for self exppression. Therefore, never feel the urge to compete with anyone. Do what works for you. Simples!
9] Content Creation and Intellectual Property: Blogging in a nutshell is content creation and intellectual property. There is an industry dedicated to content creation.
I do this as an aside. But I don’t own the intellectual property or copyright of the stuff I create because the person who commissions and pays for me to write owns it.
However, when you are blogging, you hold the copyright [intellectual property]. The great thing about it is that you write about things that you are passionate about and love.
I have written plenty of content for clients and some of it made me miserable. I felt like I was prostituting my talent. It restricted my style and voice. But here, I write what I like, how I want to without worrying about what the client will say.
There is so much freedom when you blog and create your own content and intellectual property. You don’t have to sound like a journalist and you can personalise your articles as much as you like. If your readers are happy then that is good for you.
10] Distribution: Distributing or getting people to know about your blog is a nightmare if you are not good at marketing or asking for help.
Authors who self publish understand early on in their careers that they will have to do a lot of marketing, publicity, advertising and distrubution of their books to sell anything.
The same applies to blogging. If you are serious, you can’t ignore the power of social media. With a social media presence, you can raise the profile of your blog, attract visitors and generate a buzz about your posts and encourage discussions.
The brilliant aspect of social media is that you can track down people who are interested in what you write about and share dierctly with them or online forums dedicated to your subject[s].
If you are social media savvy and have already built a community, your audience will do a lot of promoting for you by sharing, recommending, retweeting, and liking your content. Social media is a valuable asset in the distribution link.
Furthermore, it is free. I currently use Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. I love using Facebook because it is popular and easier to distribute material.
Twitter follows next. I have had an account for a while but recently started using it more regularly to grow my presence on that platform. I am still trying to get to grips with it but I can see its potential.
I am not brilliant with Tumblr and Pinterest but I still use them. Hopefully, I will learn more and use them effectively.
LinkedIn is brilliant if you are doing anything that is business related. There are plenty of other platforms I haven’t touched on but there is no limit to the means available to you.
11] Learn From Other Bloggers: Read other blogs and learn from them. Be inspired by them. Ask questions and they will be happy to help you.
Note what they do right whether that is in the structuring or formatting of their blogs. You can learn a lot from other bloggers who have been doing this for ages.
12] Never Forget Context: Never assume your readers know everything you are talking about. Contextualise what you are saying and give them a point or points of reference.
I have noted that my readers are spread all over the world. Therefore, I find that as I write I constantly have to think of the context and frame it within the article. There are other times where I can’t always provide all the information I can.
An illustration of the distribution of people who view thegatvolblogger.
If there are things that you can’t explain within the article, do the hard work for the readers, and provide them with hyperlinks to a reliable source[s] that provide additional information.
13] Reward or Surprise the Reader: Provide readers with content thoughtfully put together that tells them something new or teaches them something that they didn’t already know.
I tend to provide videos/ films or doccies that they can watch online or links to materials they can access online that adds to what they are engaging with on my blog.
On average, I find a viewer can spend an hour engaging with some of my posts and a reader should feel that is an hour well spent.
These are some of the things that I have learnt as a blogger. I am still learning and hope to learn more and improve the quality of my content.
Please feel free to share your experiences, feedback or any advice relating to the issues I touched above. I hope you enjoyed this article. One love!