Conference Shifted my Mindset on Social Media.

Photo courtesy: Natalie Sifuma

I’ve probably written or talked about my writing story more than I can count. And at the core of the story is a sentence. Every time I think about it, exhilaration sparks even if for a brief moment.

“if something is for you, you can’t run away from it”. That’s been the mantra.

And as the bus I took from Kisumu switched off its engine in Kampala, and I got out and took a Boda to the residence I’d booked, I knew those words.

Natalie Sifuma (Centre) during one of the sessions

On Thursday, 16th the discussion around social media changed my perspective. The need (and although many may deny) is always to have your phone in hand whether communicating or receiving. But then when there was emphasis to put our phones away and focus on our need to write, something shifted in my mind.

Gawaya Tegulle (far left),moderator of the panel comprising of Lulu Jemimah (left), Harriet Anena (centre) and Bernard Ewalu Olupot aka Beewol

The return home was a mixture of pleasant….. and otherwise. Though to be honest, I’d fallen in love with Uganda from the little I saw and tasted; and the joy it gave me. I’ve returned home with the same words I left with, but with an additional sentence.

“If something is for you, you can’t run away from it but you can put aside small distractions to focus on that thing that’s meant to be yours.”

So for now, being off social media to focus on writing seems like the need I’d like to go after. An occasional relationship with my pen and journal looks like something to make a habit, and reading – getting engrossed in those 5 shortlisted stories for the 2019 Caine Prize, or Jackie Kay’s memoir Red Dust Road –  seems like the new full (minus working hours) time thing to pursue.

Jackie Kay



Natalie Sifuma is a queer writer living in Nairobi. She has published short stories and essays that have appeared in Kalahari Review and Nipe Story podcast, and recently won the #SondekaAwards2019 prize under the short story category. Above this, Natalie is the head of content at Paukwa Stories-a Kenyan storytelling company that shares the unknown wonders of her country. She has recently completed a novella and is now conceptualizing a novel. Natalie avidly reads African literature and loves pasta, poetry and red wine.

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