Social Entrepreneur, Tatum Strauss, is completing her Masters in Leadership and Change Management and has impressive aspirations of creatively bridging Namibia’s socio-economic divide through volunteerism and civic engagement. Here Tatum shares her learnings and lessons from the past year, her self examination from Africa… her Afrospection.
Q: How would you describe your 2017?
A: 2017 was a year of disillusionment. While that may seem negative, having our ideas of people, places and things shaken and sometimes destroyed, we are confronted with the often false narratives we have put in place. This confrontation of what is true and what we perceive to be true is necessary on our journey of self-discovery.
Q: What was something good that came out of 2017?
A: Watching people rally around important causes. With all the political turmoil all across the globe, people are coming together to make their voices heard on matters of corruption, despotism and oppression.
This is truly heartening to see and be a part of because there is a sense of many of us waking up from our slumber of comfort. There is a genuine sense of people wanting to get involved in uplifting their communities. When this happens, the entire nation benefits.
Q: What challenged you in 2017 and how did you overcome this challenge?
A: My mental health proved to be a challenge for me in 2017. With the assistance of a therapist, I was able to start to process recent negative experiences in my career and personal relationships. That became the doorway to my understanding of suppressed experiences that too need to be addressed.
While initially this experience seems very daunting, it is of utmost importance when it comes to taking responsibility for one’s mental well-being. I understand how privileged I am to be in the position to be able to see a therapist and I hope that as a nation we can start to prioritise our mental health and well-being for all.
Reaching out to someone we trust and expressing our vulnerabilities, fears and short-comings is one of the first steps to taking charge of our mental health; I sincerely hope that people have such a person in their lives in whatever capacity, and that they are courageous enough to share their thoughts and feelings and ask for help. No man is an island.
Q: What was your favourite Art in 2017? Theatre, music, movie, artist or art collection…
A: Lila Swanepoel’s music video for TONETiC’s ‘Relapse’
Q: What was your biggest health and wellness learning of 2017?
A: As elaborated on above, I think the most important health and wellness learning has been to learn to ask for help, express one’s fears and shortcomings and allow oneself to be vulnerable. This is the bedrock of starting to take responsibility for one’s mental health.
Q: What was your biggest personal development learning of 2017?
A: Through all the difficult learnings I experienced on the relationship and career front in 2017, my personal development was two fold. Firstly, the responsibility of my growth and happiness lies solely with me. If I continue to blame others or circumstance for failure of any kind, I miss a true opportunity to learn and grow in life.
Secondly, I have learnt to trust myself. My gut, my intuition, that little voice that whispers. Pay attention to it… I trust that I am enough, that my intentions are good and that I will do the right thing.
As for the Holidays..
Q: What is your favourite food in December?
A: Sjoe, all of it! Looking forward to an incredible family Christmas lunch with turkey, roast lamb and mint jelly, glazed gammon… And my favorite roast butternut, rocket, pecan nut and feta salad! (My mouth is actually watering now!)
Q: What is your favourite Namibian destination?
A: I really enjoy the desert, especially in and around the Swakop River area. Ooh, and Spitzkoppe. I also find the South very peaceful and love how green Tsumeb and surrounds gets…Sorry, I don’t have one favourite destination!
Q: What book should we all be reading?
A: I’m wrapping up Justice Malala’s ‘We Have Now Begun Our Descent’ and will follow up with Jacques Pauw’s ‘The President’s Keeper’.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration?
A: In nature, my family and friends and sitting and people watching Namibians in general, I guess. We are a very blessed nation with lots to overcome, yes, but a helluva lot to be grateful for!
Q: What is your mantra for life?
It is relatively new and not worn in properly yet, lol.
“I am kind.
I am strong.
I am clever.
I am enough.”
Q: What is your wish for the world for 2018?
A: That second or two of breath or contemplation before we react… Where is this feeling inside me coming from? What is this person or situation showing me about myself?
Q: What is your wish for Namibia for 2018?
A: I wish that we roll up our sleeves and get involved in the upliftment of our communities. We have all felt the rise in crime. This is due to a myriad of things including very high unemployment rates.
As civil society we should give our biggest resource, our time, to bridging the massive socio-economic divide we have in Namibia instead of point fingers at Government. Yes, hold them accountable but let us not retreat behind our electric fenced walls and build them even higher. Those high walls will eventually collapse back on us…Volunteer. Get involved.
Q: What is your wellness goal for 2018?
A: I would like to continue to focus on my mental health by instilling new, healthy habits into my day to day life including swimming twice a week and dancing again!