Sat, 24 Feb 2018 09:47:39 +0000

ONE of Africa’s leading journalists is a lady called Methil Renuka. Methil was recently appointed managing editor of Forbes Africa magazine taking over from Chris Bishop.

She previously worked at the same group under Forbes Woman Africa magazine. In her first editor’s note, she wrote something that I found to be very interesting.

She recounted her days studying as a journalism student in the mid-90s; she was one of four women in a class of twenty.

She recounted the words of her lecturer, “You girls will get married and cut chicken in the kitchen; that’s all you’ll eventually end up doing,” he added, “Are you sure you want to take the plunge?”

The fact that she remembers like it was yesterday shows how troubling the sexist remarks were to her and probably the other three females.

Methil writes, “Something in us changed that instant, a feat of mental re-engineering driven by a seething desire to grab this threat and chisel it into opportunity come what may.”

Interestingly, the four ladies went on to top the master’s program. Today Methil has had a career with more highlights than she cares to remember.

She goes on, “the high points are so many I have lost count – among them, meeting some of the most powerful billionaires on earth by the Hudson river at a Forbes summit in New York; being told one morning that ‘Oprah Winfrey will give an exclusive hour-long interview to Forbes Woman Africa’; hanging out in the 100-acre tropical garden at State House in Mauritius to meet Africa’s only female President; going up a 450-meter mountain in Cape Town to Wendy Appelbaum’s chateau to talk wine and baroque music…..”

There is something in her writing that I found very interesting. She said her belief is that in journalism, like in life, you start with nothing but a blank sheet of paper – it is always awaiting a story.

She ended her column with these words, “I wouldn’t trade this profession for anything else in this world. Give me a blank sheet of paper any day.”

Don’t you just love to hear such stories? She dreamed of being a journalist in her college days.

She encountered some of the stereotype unfortunately still very much common in our world today – the feeling that women don’t have what it takes to cut it in certain professions.

Yet, she has risen to high heights in her profession and her star continues to shine bright. If she had it to do over, she would commence in a heartbeat.

How many of us would choose the same path if we had it to do over? How many of us secretly feel we made a wrong career choice and somehow wish that we knew what we know now a lot earlier?

Many of us given a blank sheet of paper would probably write a different story of our lives.

A blank sheet of paper. I loved that part where she wrote that in journalism like in life, you start with a blank sheet of paper waiting to write your story.

Many of our young people in Zambia today hold this blank sheet of paper in their hands.

They have a long ride ahead of them. What story will they choose to write for themselves? How many of them will realise that they actually hold their destiny in their hands?

A lot of motivational and encouraging sayings have become a part of our everyday lives. We tell our children or our beaten down friends that they can be whatever they want in this life.

Yet, sometimes I wonder, how many of us actually mean it? How many of us have gone the extra mile to instill that into those that are close to us so deeply that they become obsessed with the belief that they are the masters of their own destiny?

Last week I wrote an article entitled choose your direction because change is inevitable.

What I was basically saying is that the blank sheet of paper that we all start our lives with will not automatically write your life story.

If you choose to be indifferent to taking the bull by the horns and riding this life to your desired destination, then life itself will write your story.

Yes, I said it, if you don’t shape your future, life will shape it for you. Let it also be known that this life can be a very cruel bully.

I have never known life to write a special story for anyone. In the end, you may be defined by the poverty and backwardness the characterized the times we lived in.

You will simply be another statistic in the eyes of posterity to indicate that there once was a time that Zambia lacked so much that makes a developed and highly civilized society.

The choice is yours really. Why not be remembered as one of the greats by history?

Why not have a progeny that goes from strength to strength? Again I say the choice is yours.

When you hear people complain all the time about how tough things are, about how they are not paid enough to make ends meet, about how they miss people who offered them support in the past, just know that life is bullying them, writing their story.

Know that the systems which allow the world at large, and society in general to function are running an individual, they are working him like a slave-owner. However, this should not be so, you must write your own story.

You see dear reader, when you read the system of society, when you play it, beating it for your own benefit, ultimately leading to having very few challenges that will vex you about living in your society, then, you can say that you have done your part.

You will have risen to the occasion, taken the bull by its horns and succeeded. You will have successfully written your story on your blank sheet of paper and shaped your destiny.

Make up your mind dear readers, particularly the youth in Zambia. You have a blank sheet of paper waiting to write your story – what will it be?

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