Mama Africa – Nicole Amani Magabo

I love this girl for 101 reasons. I will not list all of them because I sorta want to keep her to myself. She’s one of the first people I go to when I need someone to dream with, when I am writing something important, when I need to feel inspired. She has such positive energy (thank you Kardashians for that phrase) and, her opinion matters to me. I made a decision a long time ago that I will always be her biggest fan, and cheerleader and I am very proud of the human that she was, has become and will become.

My dear friends, meet my Nicole aka Nicolette. She dreams Africa, and as far as am concerned she’s the greatest Pan-Africanist of our generation. (I am also totally biased that’s why I am a blogger not a journalist).

She’s created a platform called Imported from Africa, that enables Africans to share our stories. I highly recommend that you check this out if you know what’s good for you.

Interview

1. Describe yourself in 5 words
Dogged, cheeky, observer, enthusiastic, and curious.
2. What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Say hi to God.
3. You studied journalism, right? Why did you choose that field?

 I did indeed study Journalism. Since I was 8, I had always wanted to be a lawyer. However, the US doesn’t have law school for undergraduates, so my Mum and I sat down in our flat in Buganda Rd and threw around options of what I could do for my first degree. We assessed my strengths and weaknesses. She brought up Accounting, Computing and I shut that ish down very quickly. A mother can hope. Then we talked about my writing, my intense curiosity for people and life and my interest in documenting things. We looked into Investigative Journalism and it sounded really cool as a legitimate area to get advanced skills that could relate to law and life in general. When I got back to school, my university counselor told me about this great university up in Chicago called Northwestern that had a really good Journalism school called Medill. I applied, I got in and during my first year, I was captivated by the school’s focus on storytelling in general. I fell hard and I’ve not looked back since. Storytelling helps us put bookmarks in life and think about what’s going on around us. Storytelling is the currency of life.

4. What kind of stories would you like to cover?

Studying and living in Chicago, I gravitated towards stories that were about Africans in the city, Africans in the US and Africans around the world. Basically, people like me. I was desperate to understand my changing self and the range of feelings I was experiencing, that I wanted to see myself in other people. I thought, maybe I can find answers in how other people do this thing called life. As I grew older, I started getting fascinated about Africans in Africa. Globalization and its effects were sipping into our daily lives and it has had a massive impact on the way we self-identify, the way we live and most importantly, the way we dream. Today, I want to tell stories of young Africans and how our lives unfold through the lens of sociocultural issues like community, love, family, friends and the value we place on ourselves and others.

5. Imported from Africa, what inspired that idea?

Imported From Africa didn’t start out as Imported From Africa. Both Gloria and I had nursed a version of it for years. We’d both done separate academic research related to young Africans in the diaspora. In my last year of school, I was obsessed with how Africans around the world and at home were starting to incorporate multiple identities due to globalization. This was a delicate issue for me because I was struggling to understand myself and how living in America and Costa Rica had moulded me into a different kind of woman my family had pictured. I had piercings, I had tattoos, and I had a very liberal view of life because I had been on a multicultural and colourful observation train of the world for the last 7 years. Gloria had done research on what it’s like for Africans applying to international schools and how that process was evolving and affecting individuals and their experience when they finally did study and potentially return home. During the summer of 2015, she visited me in Colorado and we put our ideas and thoughts together. I should insert a little disclaimer in here and say Gloria and I are longtime family friends. We both grew up in Bukoto White Flats. Through IFA, we want to create a platform where those who identify as Africans can share what it’s like living in a world that has exposed them to a myriad of different ways to live – whether you lived or studied abroad or are contemplating doing so, there’s a story for you to identify with and learn from. That’s our hope. This is just the beginning of how we can collectively share experiences no matter where in the world you ended up.

6. What do you want to achieve with imported from Africa aka what’s the vision?

Our vision is two-fold; to provide a platform where Africans living/studying or who lived/studied abroad can share their experiences and to use this documentation as valuable information that people considering a similar fate can peek into what that life is, no matter where in the world you go.

7. According to you, what is;
a: the benefit of social media
The benefit of social media is to bring the world closer through accessibility of valuable and useless information. That last bit is really for comedic relief. Laughter is so important.
b: the disadvantage of social media
The disadvantage of social media is that it is easy to get really comfortable with how we communicate digitally that we neglect to flex our real-life communicating muscles.
8. Do you have a life mantra?

I have many life mantras but one of them is to ask myself and others “What’s the worst that could happen?” if the answer to that question is not life-threatening, I do what I’m afraid of doing and say what I’m afraid of saying. In practicality, it is a lot easier to think it and very hard to practice.

9. What advice do you have for people who want to get into journalism?

If you want to go into journalism, be confident in the way you see and interpret the world for others to understand. A journalist is essentially a storyteller. So, whether you’re going to be a photojournalist, a videographer, a writer, or a radio presenter, know that what you choose to say and how you say it is an opinion that will influence the way others also see the world. Guard that responsibility with care.

10. What do you want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as a kind and brilliant daughter, friend, mum, wife and employer.

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