The Chronicles of a Southern Girl's Adventures of Living, Loving, Learning, and Traveling in Africa
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One of the main reasons I moved here (outside of the hubby) was because South Africa in many ways is unchartered territory. It’s the 2012 version of the Wild, Wild West. So many things from a business and entrepreneurial perspective have not been done here. South Africa was a closed country up until 1994 due to apartheid since many countries had economic sanctions against the country. Even though Johannesburg is a 1st world city, South Africa is still a 3rd world country and an emerging market. In the U.S. and other 1st world countries, it is hard to find something that hasn’t already been done ten times over and it’s much harder to break into established markets. Also, there is a talent shortage in South Africa so if you’re educated and willing to work hard, you’ll be able to truly capitalize on career opportunities like never before. I’ll give you a very concrete example of what I mean.
When I first arrived here, I had drinks with a friend from graduate school and during the course of the conversation I expressed my passion for black hair care and my concern about the lack of black hair care knowledge in South Africa. Unbeknownst to me, an editor friend of hers was about to start Shimmer, South Africa’s 1st black hair care magazine. My friend introduced me via email to the editor and we arranged to meet. We had to reschedule the meeting a few times due to the editor’s busy schedule but I was determined to meet her. There’s about 5 black hair care magazines in the U.S. that I can think of so the idea that this is the 1st black hair care magazine was very intriguing and shocking to me. There’s 38 million black people in South Africa so I was really surprised that this was the 1st black hair care magazine.
I arrived at the magazine’s headquarters for the meeting and to my delight, the editor invited some other key members of the editorial team to our meeting. The editor of the magazine is a very well known celebrity in South Africa and she serves as the managing editor for Destiny Magazine, South Africa’s high end business and lifestyle magazine for women (think Essence Magazine). My goal for the meeting was twofold: 1) share my passion for hair and 2) express my interest in working with the magazine. I actually prepared a short presentation to communicate my key beliefs and some common myths about black hair. I believe I was successful because fast forward 3 weeks later and the editor offered me a part-time contributor role to write about black hair from the girl-next-door perspective. Of course, I happily accepted. I write monthly columns for Shimmer and Destiny magazines and a weekly blog entry for Destiny’s website. My first article appeared in last month’s inaugural edition of Shimmer and my first article in Destiny Magazine appeared this month. I’ve also been writing my weekly blog for about 2 months.
I am really excited to be involved with such a respected South African brand and to be writing about something that I truly care deeply about. I’m anxious to see what other opportunities are in store for me here in South Africa. This move has definitely has shown me what can happen when you step out on faith and share your passion with the right people. Now I can’t end this blog post without doing a bit of shameless plugging – If you’re in South Africa, please pick up a copy of Destiny and Shimmer and check out my weekly blog on http://www.destinyconnect.com.
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Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share this blog with your friends and family. I want to share my amazing experience in Africa with as many people as I possibly can!
Congrats on all your success!! You are an inspiration!
Thanks sissy! Right back at ya. You’re the original risk-taker.
Congrats on the new assignment! I’m so happy for you. How exciting to be where you are at this time in your life. God has big plans for you, my dear! Let me know if I can support you in any way.
Thanks Aunt Debra! It definitely is a great time. Thanks for your support too!
You go girl!!! Congrats I’m so proud of you!! I will share you accomplishment with the ladies at FCBOE. We are still working our “natural.”
Thanks Charlette!!! Glad y’all are staying true to the “natural.” 🙂