Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Dear Social Media Star, I have Every Right to Share My Life too.

 I want you to imagine a person who has everything that you are currently working towards in your life. Imagine that they have the dream house, the dream relationship, the dream job, the dream friends, the dream life and a perfect personal brand and reputation. Picture the kind of person that has over 5000 friends on Facebook and each time they post a simple selfie, within an hour they get over 300 likes and 100 comments .

Visualize a person who is always dressed impeccably, and speaks so eloquently, even when caught off guard in an office meeting. They are always seen at the hippest events, and let’s not forget to add the fact that they have  a feature column in the national newspaper to share their latest escapades.  Imagine this person is always posting pictures of themselves and ‘bae’ on some paradise island trip, while you are busy sunbathing at home in your garden reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book ‘ Eat Pray Love’.
They have told people that “bae” is amazing and fulfills all their dreams and expectations, so poor ‘bae’ joins the perfectionist bandwagon by focusing on making the kind of money that maintains their lifestyle. ‘Bae’ has no time to post perfect selfies. You are not jealous of this person, rather you admire their tenacity to  reach  their goals and really succeed  life.

Now let’s add a little twist to the story. Imagine discovering that the person is obsessed with your life.  This person would like to know every detail of your life, from the house you live in, to the friends you have, to the person that you are dating. Immediately upon befriending them online, this person went and studied every Facebook post you’d ever made and every tweet you’d sent out.  When you realized this, you  decided to alter your name on Instagram, because you were tired of the online trolling. All this time, you were quite content to share your simple life with your 150 Facebook friends, until this person, started making sly comments about how boring your life was.  Eventually, after while you find yourself questioning your mundane existence, and you stopped posting your life events and stuck to the regular bible and inspirational quotes.
One day after this person had thrown a full blown public tantrum in my face because I’d subtly blocked them on Facebook , I found some time to reflect on the way home about the kind life that would create such behavior. I wonder whether some Social Media Stars unknowingly set a claustrophobic trap for themselves by the life they create online.
They set the bar high and make it impossible for themselves to appear human and flawed.  I am a picture of flaws so I am not surprised when people point them out.  My experience in this particular case was that, anyone who didn’t bow in adoration was  bullied and manipulated to help the star maintain their status and reputation.
Although it makes me giggle, one has to admit it’s hard work taking the perfect selfie. You have to think of the background, the prefect angle for your face, all the while balancing the phone at the right height so that you can catch the right light! I feel sorry that some social media stars have made everyone believe they don’t make mistakes. That bad days don’t happen and, that acne breakouts consider their skin an inhabitable foreign planet.

 We have all been made authors and artists because of the way we can narrate our lives on social media.  I believe that we all have a right to share the good, the bad and the ugly of our story as we choose.   Is it too much to ask that anyone who wishes to part take in any social media discussion try and use some social media etiquette too? 

The writer of this article, Maria Juliet Rose Nabatanzi can be described as "A curious creative". Twitter @UgGirlMaria and on Instagram @UgGirlMaria


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Prologue...

I sat across the table rubbernecking at the couple that had strolled into the Cafe; to everyone who cared to watch, the lady was deep in love while the gentleman seemed just a knee in. He appeared not to pay attention to what she was saying but afforded an occasional laugh to keep her going. He had a lot on his mind and time was no longer his ally. The lady was elegantly dressed, a blue dress top; vogue they called it, black leggings and a cream sweater,and for the cold weather; the scarf sufficed. Temperatures were dropping by the hour and a few days later winter would be knocking at our doors. The ring on her finger was definitely aesthetic; to match her jewelry and the watch on her arm, it must have been bought for her as a gesture of his “love”.

Dressed in a white polo shirt tucked into white khaki pants with a white kangaroo cape and white moccasins; the young seemingly corporate and averagely tall gentleman strolled majestically with his lady, arm in arm, across the cafe. He had been playing golf in the earlier stretch of the day with his workmates from one of the top investment firms in the country, something many young men would die to have at such an early age. His ‘3-40’ 4 wheel drive auto transmission range rover evoque parked across the street complemented his guise and probably any lies he had told the lady. The lies were however coming to an end and it was time to have him complete the task he had been tasked to do.

A decade ago, Donald had graduated top of his class at The Academy. Having aced all the modules to set the third best record ever at the CMD Academy, no obstacle stood in his way. Given he was an outstanding performer in the field, he had been handpicked by the head of covert operations to watch over the daughter of the President, an opportunity he had turned down. He had opted to get rid of the threat rather than play nanny to the P.D. The term “nanny to the P.D” had been coined by an agent who felt he was being unappreciated by offering him that role forty four years ago, he was long gone but the phrase had caught on.

Klein had on the other hand been adopted at early age and trained by her “father” a rogue assassin. Her unprecedented record 13 head shots were exceptional, 1 bullet, 1 body was the code she lived by,and she had never missed. She had trained with various academies, been contracted by different companies and her price was highest of all assassins to have lived. Her next assignment was the president’s daughter.  She was to pull the trigger, Kund, a former war lord and now a criminal master mind was to call the shot. The resources she had at her disposal were unlimited; all she awaited was the instruction. Donald was to see to it that he got to her before she did get to the president’s daughter. However, he still had a lot of information to gather before executing his mission. “Keep your enemies closer” was the approach he was using and now he was in bed with the villain.

Having affirmed the table where the couple was seated and a thorough survey of the restaurant for any other potential members of the criminal gang turning out negative, I resumed reading my newspapers. The article about the speaker of parliament who had pardoned himself and a few other ministers of corruption charges while standing in for a traveling president did capture my attention. I missed the dictatorial days, none of this nonsense would be happening, systems were in place and they worked, the continued out cry for human rights by organizations and humanitarians was root of such deeds. The papers were characterized by a lot of baloney, a waste of any ones time if you asked me.

My job here was to remind Donald that he had a task to complete and the time was now, he had to take out Klein and failure to do so would necessitate me taking both of them out. I for one knew how the system worked, if he failed and I failed, there was someone assigned to make all happen. If there was a person best placed to deliver the final task, Dave (also known as the ghost) would be around watching our every move. We called him the ghost because of the stealth with which he executed his missions, we had never seen him and yet his reputations preceded him. Having slit a man’s throne in the presence of 11 agents and no one realizing this till the man had fallen to the floor dead without saying a word or making a gesture, he had made his mark. This was seventeen years ago, and the scene was still clear in my mind. Our best chance at life was therefore wiping Klein off the face of the earth. Dave had the best record at The Academy, I had the second, and Donald had the third, I had learnt this a few weeks ago because of the nature of the task I was being assigned, messing up this wasn’t part of my plans.

The writer of this article prefers to remain anonymous.

Monday, 26 October 2015

So I fall in love...

“So I fall in love,
With the ones that run me through,
When all along all I need is you.”
“Poets that rhyme together
Stay together”
At least that should be in the rule book
But the book has no specifics
No special instructions based on
Vocation, location or temperament.
It even says nothing about disease
Or disability.

She is no poet
And I’m no rock star;
I love the quiet getaways
Where the waters crush on the rocks
And the silence that speaks with my soul
She loves the wild water
Where birds make noise in a flock
Where her voice must get to the top.

I’m in love with her sunshine
She’s in love with my rain
And it doesn’t cause rainbows
Just cats whose spots won’t change;
I want more for the cold
She wants more for the heat
There’s not yet been a place
Where we travel at peace.

And the book has no specifics
No special instructions,
Doesn’t care for exceptional languages
Or self-immolation
There is a man that must die
And one that must live
If you’re reading right
Love’s the man that lives.

The writer of this article, Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa is a blogger. He loves literature, African literature, and is reading more of it lately even participating in the Africa Reading Challenge. He has experience in Social Media, Content Management, and graphics ….He writes about his experience with see(k)ing God, creative fictional prose and poetry,  and on numerous topical issues at