Blogging has become a key component of today’s information system, for some it’s how they get their news, updates on fashion trends, best beauty products, travel spots and insight on what their peers around the world are up to. It’s our version of pen pal letters and cultural exchange programs. The concept of blogging is picking up steam in Africa. With a simple click the views, the thoughts and the experiences of individuals in every small corner of the world are seen and heard, stories usually only shared at the dinner table; stories that capture the beauty and pain of our world.
We had the pleasure of coming across a blog by the name of Imigani, and we had to know more. Brilliant and relatable, sisters Joan and Angela are your modern day African millennials. They’re women who are educated, worldly, cultured and poised to reshape the world views of our beautiful continent, but specifically, their home countries of Uganda and Rwanda. Their Imigani’s (short tales) capture their unique experiences and thoughts, experiences that will change the way we travel across regions, buy and sell homemade products, and force companies to examine how they do business with the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent.
We asked them to share their story.
1. How did Imigani come about? What made you want to share your experiences with the world?
Imigani is a Rwandese word that can be loosely translated as Short Stories. In early 2015, Joan and I were having evening tea together at home, and we both blurted out that we would like to start a blog. As sisters, we are similar in many ways but also quite different. Angela is a pharmacist, social entrepreneur, and health and fitness nut. On the other hand, Joan comes from the world of P.R, marketing and branding. After some convincing, Angela made a strong argument that we should have a blog together focusing on our common passions like travel, photography, food and culture. It took some time, but we are finding a way to incorporate our different voices through our writing.
It has been easy to write about Uganda, it is our home and has shaped who we are and how we feel. I think it has been even easier to write about Rwanda. Our mother’s family left during the 1959 civil war. We have always wanted to understand her influences and her world so naturally, we were drawn to the culture. The rest of our stories revolve around the places we visit, and the impressions they form on us as well as, how they change our mindsets and shape our future.
2. How have your Ugandan and Rwandese communities received Imigani?
We would say both cultures have received Imigani very well (in very different ways). We spend most of our time in Uganda, and therefore, talk about this culture more often. As a result, our Ugandan audience is more interactive. Our Rwanda audience is growing, and even though they are not as vocal, we hope to be able to spend more time there and discover and appreciate our mothers land a little more.
3. As Ugandan and Rwandese, what influence does your culture have on you, and how you share your experiences and thoughts on the blog?
Both of our cultures have a great influence on the way we lead our personal lives, as well as how we express ourselves on the blog. From referencing quotes in both languages, to including ornaments through style and design in the things we showcase on the blog from both the Kiganda and Rwandan cultures, you can say our culture’s influence us even more than we are aware of.
4. What is one thing you wish you had known before starting Imigani?
Angela: I would say I personally underestimated the amount of time that goes into putting up a great post, and continually doing so, in order to develop your brand name as a solid one. That said, I probably wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Joan: Like Angela said, there is a good amount of work and dedication that goes into creating and keeping an interesting blog. Also, what I find more and more is the need to be creative in my writing, in my photography and in my visions before I get into the blog post that I plan to write for the week.
5. What advice would you give other women hoping to start a blog?
Ask yourself- what do I like? What do I care about? And then begin. There are probably more unglamorous times than all the lights, camera and action moments. If that is why you are doing it, it is probably the wrong motivation. Persistence, good content and the ability to work well with other people will get you far.
6. How would you like to see your business/blog evolve in the next five years?
We are an ambitious duo. In five years we hope to be running a full blown blog with the ability to easily reach the whole of Africa. Our aim is to be bookmarked in people’s online spaces as the go to blog for people to access information about our key topics: Lifestyle, Fashion, Travel, Beauty, Health and Fitness.
7. Best moment of your Imigani journey so far?
Recognition is always amazing. There was a story in a local newspaper called Daily Monitor recently that profiled and really portrayed our essence as a blog and as individuals, this made us really happy. We also love to hear back from clients that we have worked with, that tell us about positive effects on their business: Gaucho Grill on Entebbe Road in Uganda is one of them.
The OSOW Fast Three!
1. What are your favorite AfroBeat songs?
Both: Easy! Azonto
2. If you could have lunch with any person, who would it be and why?
Angela: Diane Von Furstenberg. I find her intriguing. You never know what is going to come out of her month next and I find her widely successful.
Joan: Oprah. She epitomizes success and building herself from nothing to one of the most successful people in the world: for her work ethic.
3. What’s your overarching vision for Africa?
We look forward to seeing an Africa that is self sustained. One where the people on this continent find things that they are passionate and great at, and work really hard to make them a true success. We look forward to being at par with everyone in the world in terms of what comes out of our continent.