My personal experience in YALI Cohort 3 - May 2016

by - 17:48

I always felt weak even though my name means strength "Lunga"...Throughout my whole life I have been depressed and lost... I have been through all kinds of emotionally instability and it took me twenty three years to get to know myself and be ok. When I arrived in South Africa for the YALI Regional Leadership Training Programme, the Yali representative that picked us from the airport told me that in IsiZulu the name Lunga means "Being well, content, happy and OK" so I guess its time for me to embrace it and be ok.

I can say that today I am a happy person and I am living the life I always dreamt of. I am full-time writer, I just finished my second book and I am in the process of forming an organisation that advocates for anti-bullying in Angola. For me bullying is all types of discrimination and judging other people's decisions according to one's own standards and perceptions. I have always felt alone and discriminated against because I have different dreams. My friends tell me "Why do you want this?" Cant you just be normal?" So according to my friend's standards and perceptions I am not normal and my career as a writer is meaningless. I am commonly encouraged to pursue a career in accounting or engineering , as such careers are generally associated with being successful and economically stable in Angola.


The thing is when I came here I met people who understood me and who pursue their dreams despite of their respective circumstances. I met people who are following their artistic and humanitarian passions such fashion designers, volunteers, drama instructors, women's right activist, community development practitioners, etc.


The first day of classes I was homesick and I felt like I could not fit in because everyone seemed so knowledgable and committed; with their strong ideas and opinions about life. I couldn't compete with them...As time went by I started to engage more and see people as they truly are. It wasn't about what they have done anymore but what they are. There are beautiful souls here...I remember before I came here someone told me "You'll fall in love" and in my mind I didn't understand because I wasn't thinking about being romantically involved with anyone. I came here because I intended to deepen  and broaden my knowledge about Civic Leadership. But I did fall in love, with every single person here....I fell in love with my fellow participants' dreams, passion and commitment to their various initiatives.

When you have that much passion for life it makes you vulnerable and sensitive to the needs of others. I learned that everyone has their own issues and struggles... I met a woman who was abused by her own parents and still found strength to forgive them... I met another who was saving her weekly allowance to buy clothes for her baby...and yet another girl who is so ambitious and secure of herself but broken inside...And I saw myself in every single one of them. We are all connected in a crazy way and their resilience gave me light.

YALI is my home...It taught me a lot about Africa and how to be proud of my land. I want to learn an African dialect. It was powerful to see people from Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa all understanding each other. I was familiarised with Mandela's legacy and his honest leadership where he admits he has flaws like any other human being.

This was an amazing experience and I am fortunate to have met the humblest and kindest people from different backgrounds with a common goal, to see our continent find peace.

 I hope we will see each other eventually.


Unkhululnkulu usilethi lana seni sizathu, masijabula lom'zuzu







6th June 2016
Lunga Izata
Angola


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3 comments

  1. Beautiful reflections. You will meet people again. in isiXhosa it is said, "Abake babonana bophinde babonane". loosely translated, "Those who have met will yet meet again". You are talented and show quite leadership. It begins with self. You are a great observer.

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  2. Beautiful reflections. You will meet people again. in isiXhosa it is said, "Abake babonana bophinde babonane". loosely translated, "Those who have met will yet meet again". You are talented and show quite leadership. It begins with self. You are a great observer.

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  3. Uaau, que agradável, desde a primeira linha até a ultima não consegui desviar a atenção por momentos senti-me a "teletransportar" para o YALI. Tenho vontade de ler o teu livro hehehe. Obrigada por partilhares tua experiência <3

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