Six months ago I embarked on a journey of discovery. One where I had strong expectations about what I would learn that would help me grow as a Storyteller. As with all journeys, I came to understand that learning happens in the most unexpected of ways.
You see I learnt that the essence of being on a fellowship is in experiences that come from the shared journey. I did not know back then, that the people I met on a sunny day in October would become the first of my teachers, my mentors, my new bars of excellence, my new source of inspiration to become a better writer, a deeper storyteller. Yes we learnt together each week in our shared classroom, but more importantly we grew as we interrogated what it meant to tell an authentically African story, when we began to question whether such a thing exists because our interpretation and lived experience of Africanness was so very different, yet each was undoubtedly authentic and whole. We challenged notions of our Englishes, and questioned why our everyday Kenyan, Nigerian and Rwandan words shouldn't be part of that lexicon. Slowly, we came to be comfortable in the art of critique, as we offered our written or photographic vulnerabilities to each other for scrutiny and feedback.
Together we explored elements of story in unfamiliar mediums whether it was photographers learning to weave narrative or writers learning how colour is the foundation of emotion in film. I came to understand that for years I had been ignorant of how the storytellers wields power through colour, through film, through creation. How the minutiae of perspective, arrangement or rhythm had all been carefully crafted to hold me in the embrace of story.
Its been a journey called fellowship.
An unexpected journey of relationships, laughter, exasperation, frustration, discipline, inquiry and revelation. Through each month there has been growth and now standing at the precipice of the end, there is a poignancy that it is now over. There is surprise that six months could fly by so quickly. I find myself hoping that I will be able to do justice to all I have learnt, to honour those I have learnt with, to keep the quest of story alive each day, each week. Most of all though, I am thankful for finding a new layer in my voice, for finding permission to lean into its authenticity, and appreciating that indeed the reason it is here is to amplify my Africa.