Editor’s Note: A Year Of ActionBy Nnenna Kalu Makanjuola
Published: November 4, 2014
If years are like movie genres then 2014 is my Action year. It’s gone by too fast, demanding a fighting spirit but fraught with a roller coaster of emotions and nary a dull moment. There is plenty of evidence around me to suggest we are nearing the end of the year so I will now stop asking if it’s really November already. It just might be time to pause, as is often the case around this time of the year, and reflect on the road we have traveled thus far.
As I look back, I am simply overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude I cannot describe. I often joke that when God was handing out talent he skipped me and instructed me to stay in school. My job in life was not going to be based on any creative talent. For this reason alone, I can totally relate to Sarah’s snicker at the news she would bear a child in old age. That’s the sort of laughter I let out when the idea of a magazine came floating to me on a quiet, cold morning run. Yet, when I birth Radiant in April, you, the readers, came to visit. You invited your friends and you stuck around. Nearly 200,000 page downloads later, is it any wonder that I am utterly overcome with inexpressible gratitude to you?
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the many wonderful people who loved this baby to life from its conception to delivery and now in its rearing. Radiant is truly the result of a team effort of writers, designers, assistants, editors, illustrators, friends, family and many more. To all of you, I am ever thankful.
2014 is also the Action year that brought Nigeria notoriety of intense violence against our girls, of terrorism and of Ebola. Nigeria fought and won the Ebola battle but not without casualties and we cannot fully rejoice until our neighbors can claim the same victory. Our hearts are sore from aching anguish for all the girls who were kidnapped and continue to be taken from their families and subjected to unimaginable violence. How do we not get discouraged? How do we enter the festive season with such heaviness? Do we celebrate or mourn? Do we pretend it’s not happening? What can we do? Is there any hope for Nigeria? For Africa? What more can we do?
It may be easy to get discouraged until we remember the many men and women who give selflessly day in day out, without pay or recognition, amidst uncertainties and threats, to ensure a better life for friend and foe alike. It is to these selfless individuals that we dedicate this, our Giving Back issue.
RELATED: Read November/December Issue
Perhaps you find yourself overwhelmed by the hardships all around and despite the best of intentions to be part of the solution, life gets in the way or you just can’t seem to figure out where or how to start. We bring you inspiring stories of 12 women just like you and I who show us there’s room for everyone to play a part in changing the stories of our future. If you would like to get in on the giving back action (and I’m not just talking money here), we’ve gone the extra mile to bring you 12 ways you can use this season of giving to uplift others.
If I inadvertently managed to dampen your spirit, our cover feature on Somi is sure to lift it back up. Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Somi and also watch her perform. She’s as delightful and mesmerizingly beautiful in person as is her music. Somi was clearly intended to be on the receiving line of God’s artistic talent distribution. In fact, He heaped it on her and then topped it off with jara of beauty and brains. How else can you explain her latest album, The Lagos Music Salon, which was inspired by her 18-month stay in Nigeria? Your hips will sway at her soulful rendition of Love Nwantinti. You will certainly chuckle at The Story of Monkey and Four.One.Nine. Brown Round Things will haunt you like Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters Street. And if you aren’t moved to action yet, Four African Women and Two Dollar Day are sure to get you going.
Two Dollar Day reminds us of some of the painful realities of Nigerian life which begs the question again: should we be discouraged? I used to think so until I was recently reminded of just how many people it takes to make a difference:
One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start a prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what’s true
One life can make a difference
That difference starts with you.
~ Author Unknown.
May the rest of your 2014 be filled with indescribable joy. I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season. May we meet again in 2015!
P.S. We’re giving away The Lagos Music Salon to 5 lucky readers. Simply join our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss the giveaway announcement and details. Plus you get a free ebook when you sign up. It’s a win-win! Get your copy here.
* Somi Photo Credit: Glynis Carpenter
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