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Moving to a different country takes guts. Especially when the destination has a difficult reputation. But have you ever noticed how the same geographical regions are adversely targeted by the news? Red meat for their base.
It’s against our natural bend to let our imaginations ruminate on the positive. Before our recent move to Switzerland, people would look at me with trepidation when I told them I lived in South Africa. When in reality, it was a cherished, overwhelmingly positive experience for my whole family.
I’ve also spoken to many expats who’ve moved to complicated countries, and they’ve said, “I’m so glad I went and didn’t let gossip influence my decision.” And sharing these favorable stories goes a long way to counterbalance toxic energy.
It’s my honor to have Kondwani Mwase join us to continue our Untold Stories Bean Pod. Kondwani is an entrepreneur, podcaster, and accomplished marketing professional. No stranger to life IN TRANSIT, Kondwani was born in Ethiopia, resides in Canada, and is a proud citizen of Malawi.
His heartfelt podcast, 54 Lights, showcases the culturally textured Africa that’s often negatively stereotyped and unfairly painted with broad strokes. The number 54 represents the continent’s different countries.
By introducing audiences to fresh perspectives, Kondwani offers an alternative to mainstream depictions of Africa and its people. Today, Kondwani shares what inspired him to bring these lesser-known narratives from dark to light, and his ambition to be a little bolder.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- The great global helium shortage
- Relief after deciding to do something courageous
- Vulnerability of dissolving the work/personal barrier
- Bringing your whole self into everything
- An identity that’s cobbled together
Listen to the Full Episode
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Featured on the Show:
Are you part of an organization whose 2023 goal is to transition from cross-cultural to intercultural? Let’s talk!
- Sundae’s Website
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae Bean – YouTube
- Wisdom Fusion Project
- 54 Lights Podcast
- Kondwani Mwase – LinkedIn
We’re delighted to be in the Top 5 of the global Best 30 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello, it is 12:00 pm in New York, 6:00 pm in Johannesburg, and 11:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean being recorded live from my childhood womb home in Williston, North Dakota. I am an intercultural strategist, transformation facilitator, and solution-oriented coach, and I am on a mission to help you adapt & succeed through ANY life transition.
The late great Maya Angelou made the following famous, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Today’s guest has created a platform in which we can hear the songs of others from the individuals themselves. It’s an opportunity to hear songs of strength, resilience, and inspiring journeys. So, before we dive into these stories, I’d like to welcome today’s guest Kondwani Mwase, welcome to IN TRANSIT, Kondwani.
Kondwani: Thank you so much for having me, Sundae, it’s a privilege to be here and I’m really excited to be on this platform of yours. And from your childhood home.
Sundae: Yes, I was saying before we went live that I had to hide the creepy monkey and Kermit the Frog and Cabbage Patch dolls so people wouldn’t be distracted from the episode. So for those who are watching the video live. But if this is on the podcast, you’ll have to go to the video and I have a look at the images in the background of my mother in a beauty pageant from like the 50’s or 60’s and our childhood farm from the late 1800s. That’s like a bonus of watching the video version.
So let me tell a little bit more about Kondwani before we dive in. Kondwani is an entrepreneur and accomplished marketing professional with over a decade of experience in the fields of engagement, loyalty, and communications. You can definitely see that in this podcast. He is a true believer in the power of standing in solidarity and is the man behind 54 Lights. This is the show that we will talk about in more detail today.
It is a wonderful podcast, a showcase for African accomplishments and engages in conversations to introduce audiences to other perspectives and sheds light on untold stories. And Kondwani is no stranger to life in transit. He was born in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, he resides in Toronto, Canada and he is a proud citizen of Malawi.
So Kondwani I am really excited to learn from you today and to share your story and others. But before we start I want to just say to my audience, one of the reasons I wanted Kondwani to be on here is because I just have podcast envy for his voice. So I was like, “Oh, he’s got a great podcast voice!” So it’s great our listeners get to enjoy that today.
Kondwani: I’m not too sure that’s true. But I really appreciate that. Hopefully, it’s the mic. It’s all about the mic.
Sundae: *laughter* So let me tell the audience a little bit about 54 lights. I love the vision, it offers an alternative to mainstream depictions of Africa and its people. It celebrates resilience, strength and extraordinary journeys of the guests. And what I’ve heard and learned from you is that it’s through these untold stories, it is your aim to change the stereotypical narrative that persists from dark to light. So, say more to our audience about the story behind the podcast, and what led you to the project.
Kondwani: Yeah, and thanks for this platform again, Sundae and I think you captured it in that in that intro, is that I’ve always had a bit of a mixed identity, if you will, or cobbled-together identity. Born in Ethiopia as mentioned before, my mom is actually from Zimbabwe and my dad is from Malawi. And even like a lot of Malawians, he was born in Zambia. So, it’s this sort of like hyphenated existence that I have. And I made my home in Canada right now. So there’s no question that I have this Canadian flavor to who I am as a person. I can’t reject that nor do I want to. But what I found, really, really interesting in talking to people throughout my life was people would talk about, “Hey, I’m going to Europe, I’m going to France, I’m going to Germany, I’m going to Paris. I’m going to London,” and they would talk very specifically about places that they were going. And in contrast, in stark contrast, when they said I’m going to Africa, they would literally say, “I’m going to Africa.”
And I just remember for myself, I’m like, Africa it’s the largest continent on Earth, there are so many different countries. There’s so many different peoples there, so many different, and even within those people’s, there’s so much fragmentation there, right? And not in a bad way, but in a beautiful way. And so I just got really enthroned with this idea of telling those stories telling that side of the African experience even though I’m sort of like lumping it all into one, what I’m trying to do is being very specific and intentional about telling each different countries story. And within that I also acknowledge and know that I’m not doing that because I’m just telling one person’s story, but it is really this collection of different stories that come together that I think make a beautiful and relatable narrative for people who are from Africa, but who are also not from Africa. Because there’s just so much richness in just all of those stories.
So that’s why I kind of named it 54 lights because it’s about 54 different countries. So at least 54 different perspectives, but it’s this idea of turning on the lights and illuminating and introducing people to other people from a cultural perspective.
I hope that answers your question.
Sundae: Yeah, I love this idea of turning on the lights. And my background, I have to share again, people get to watch the video version of this. Here’s the coffee cup that I had this morning. It says, “Have no fear the Norwegian is here.” There’s a lot like going on with that. I am originally from North Dakota and there’s the Scandinavian heritage, right? And the identity from Scandinavia, but there’s actually beyond Lefse, Lutefisk and Christmas, there isn’t other like tangible cultural practices, from Norway and people tend to lump things together. And when you don’t have knowledge, it’s dark, like you said, you need to turn the lights on, or you fill it in with the most available piece of information. And I’m kind of being playful here with a coffee cup because you can understand where I was born and raised, there was not a lot to draw from. And in fact, think about what there was to draw from, being born and raised in Williston, North Dakota, myths, stereotypes, exotic films, right?
And what I’m hearing you do is saying, if there is dark of not knowing and you want to turn lights on. Turn on lights with everyday lived experience with real people’s lives, with their successes, right? I think that’s an important one.
Kondwani: Yeah, 100%. And I think that you’ve caught another really important thread that I’m trying to have flow through the podcast, which is this idea of under-told stories. And it’s this idea that on the whole, your perception of a place or a country, or people’s can be painted through a rather generalist brush because of the one person who maybe has made it to fame or of these different peaks if you will. But culture is so rich. It’s so textured, it’s so layered and it’s my commitment to tell as many under-told stories. And I think that’s the – if you will – the tagline of it. Because it’s in those softer, softer stories that are a little bit under the surface where true culture lives and is born and thrives actually. That’s what gives texture to a people, a country, a place. So it’s really, you know, that that’s the important or another important angle that I propose and then that, I hope, flows through my platform. But also through this one, as well.
Sundae: And it also gives access, one way that a lot of the people in my community, we call “globally mobile” get to live in multiple places and get those stories through their relationships and their lived experience but not everybody gets to do that, and this is a way for you to bring that story and that experience to people’s to their home. So I’m curious from you, why now? Why is this conversation important now?
Kondwani: Yeah, wow, that’s a fantastic question. I think now more than ever, right? So, I, you know, just, you know, again, not to not to be so egoist but it’s self-reflective. I did start this journey a few years ago, and it was much more of a personal journey. Something that I just wanted to get out there was a passion project, right? That’s the common term. So, it was a passion project of mine and I love talking to people so I was sort of like, hey let me just marry my – it’s not a gift but maybe my curse of wanting to challenge people and this aspiration of mine.
I think what has happened over the past few years and I think now more than ever feels like a more important time for us to realize and introduce ourselves and respect and understand different cultures because we’re at a time where it’s a global society. And for good, or for bad the people across the street, across the pond, across the river, they’re important to our growth. They’re important to our fulfillment, whether it be, basic human needs all the way to aspirational needs or ones that are a little bit more about self-fulfillment.
So we are more connected than ever I suppose. So it feels like now is a great time to be having this broader discussion about how we as people can kind of connect and meet each other and talk to each other and understand each other.
Sundae: I had this interesting sort of AHA moment. Depending on what spiritual practice or religious practice, it might be easy to take in this idea of, “We’re all connected,” but for me, it’s like, “Yeah, we’re all connected. But no, we’re REALLY connected.” You know what I mean? And this example came here. It was like, you know, I get that kind of in theory, but when I was listening to the news and It was a helium shortage in two or three of the primary helium producing countries and it was creating a global shortage at birthday parties, right? But also in hospitals and with weather reporting systems. And it was that simple example of, “No, we really are interconnected.” And we see that because a birthday party is pretty universal. I know that not everybody celebrates birthdays with balloons, but it just felt like you could see it creep into every corner of the world. Hospitals need helium for certain equipment.
Sundae: And it and that was definitely connected.
Kondwani: It’s something we take for granted.
Sundae: Absolutely, it’s so invisible in our everyday lives, you know? And when I’m in my move, we are moving from South Africa to Switzerland and the containers are delayed, but they’re also impacted by a rainstorm that happened in South Africa because now the harbors are shut down. This is where this is all getting really messy and interconnected. And I think that’s good for us. When we grow up with these ideas of national boundaries and other boxes and we put people in, it’s so healthy for us as a species to go, “Oh, wait a minute. We are connected and this is meaningful.” When I do put a pebble in that pond it has a ripple effect to others. So I think that’s exciting.
Kondwani: 100%, at first when I think about what you’re saying sometimes you feel a little bit daunted, a bit scared, a bit like, “Oh my God.” There’s a quote unquote consequence to that, right? But at the other end of it and somebody told me – this is very fantastic doctor, she was telling me, “Your imagination doesn’t have to always go to the negative. Think of the positive.” Think of that positive ripple effect that you can make on other people’s lives through your voice, through your platform, through your video, through a simple act of kindness.
So it is one of those things, we are connected, but we have the power to really inspire a different outcome. We can inspire that ripple effect in a way that will be beyond us. But we might not even see it, the outcome of it but it might be change for good. And I know that sounds a little hokey but you know sometimes it’s nice, it’s good to be hokey. And sometimes it’s important to realize that that is the power that each individual has.
Sundae: I think we need a little hokey. I think we need that kind of hope, right? We do need to hold on to that because that’s the coaching side. That is as true or truer than this thought of, “Oh my gosh. We could have a negative impact.” It’s as true or truer that we can have a transformative, positive impact. And if we as individuals all focus on that: What can we do to have a positive transformative impact? That does literally have a ripple effect. And I think right now people just need to focus on that hope when things are hard. I also think we have access to so much with social media. And so much is negative, because that’s what sells news. It’s so important to have those positive stories out there to counterbalance the toxic energy that we’re getting on other fronts.
Kondwani: Yeah, 100%. And I think we do need that to keep balance.
Sundae: I’m curious about the impact of your podcast, obviously has an impact on your listeners, inspiring them and even probably the guests to be able to tell their story. I’m curious about the impact it’s had on you.
Kondwani: Wooh. Yeah. It’s been profound. It’s been profound. I can’t express to you how and actually, one of my guests actually put it in this way that, I’ll try and paraphrase, but he expressed to me, “Hey, this is really interesting. You’re somebody halfway across the world who I’ve never met before is reaching out to me and wants to do this interview and talk about all of the art that I’m doing and celebrate and elevate it. But I don’t know you. I listen to a couple of your podcasts. They seemed like they were on the right track,” so that’s why he reciprocated with a, “Yes, I’ll do the interview.” And the preamble of our conversation before the interview, he just kind of explained it to me and he unpacked that journey how he had faith in somebody else and it took him to have faith in somebody else to sort of say, “Hey!”
And in the end, we had a great conversation. We remain friends. So a lot of the people that I interview, we check in on each other. We just say, “Hello, how is it going? How’s the family? How’s work?” And stuff like that. And so I guess what it’s taught me about myself is:
- I’m a little bit of an extrovert, even though I sort of kind of knew that, but I’m like, I’m an extrovert. I kind of say, “Hey, let’s go out there.” Just step into the pool, step into the arena, whatever the term you want to use. So it’s taught me that I’ve got a little bit more of that in me than I thought I did maybe five years ago.
- And the other thing it’s taught me really is how much I really like people and how much I think people there’s a lot of good people out there with a lot of interesting, deep perspectives. And when you ask a question and when you just listen to me there’s something really uplifting about that. Something that I find to be really fulfilling but I love how that would translate to my audience. So I guess it’s a roundabout way. I’ve learned a lot about my ability to sort of leap into it but I’ve also learned how even though I’m not listening today, how much listening to other people is also in a way therapeutic for me.
Sundae: Yeah, when you listen to someone else’s story, you can find your shared humanity. Or you find a level of depth of humanity that you hadn’t yet considered.
So through my platform, very selfishly, it allows me to sort of tease back and open the onion and say, “Okay sure. I see the endpoint. I see the thing you’ve built, I see the thing you designed, I see the thing that you’re working on now, but tell me about the journey to get up there. Tell me about how you put that together.” And sometimes the journey is the thing, and that’s what I find to be immensely important.
Sundae: And I think when people peel back their journey, we also can have a little bit more grace for our own. Because when you’re in your journey and it’s hard or it’s not working or it’s not going as fast as you want it to, it feels really good to look at someone who’s successful and go, “Oh, they had experienced too,” right?
Kondwani: Yeah, 100%.
Sundae: That’s so good. So I’m really curious. I’m not going to put you on the spot but I’m going to put you on the spot. This isn’t rehearsed. So I’m going to ask you a couple of questions about your story. We’ve been talking about other people’s stories. I would love to hear a little bit more about your stories and just for context, something that I share often on the podcast is about Ambitious Transformation in Transition and we always start at the end. And that means, in transition, that could be a global transition, professional transition, health transition, relationship transition, all of those things could be happening at the same time. I’d love to hear what are the transitions that you’re feeling right now?
Kondwani: Wow, okay. Yeah, I’m feeling a lot of them, to be honest with you and on all of those different fronts. So on a professional front, I’ve got a kind of like a new day job which introduces me to a bunch of different artists, a bunch of different people who support the Arts in Canada specifically but they reach out to a global world as well. And so I’m in transition there because I’m understanding a new, a new job, a new ecosystem. And I’m also learning how to sort of like, I guess to kind of like commit my whole self to work in a way that I typically put walls and say, “Well, this is my work personality and I don’t want to show this, and this is my personal,” and I am very intentional about dividing it. So I’m in transition to sort of try and bring my whole self to every part of what I do. So not just the podcast. But in this case, my professional world.
Sundae: Can I go a little bit deeper with that? I’m sorry, but you’re not gonna get away with this one. *laughter*
Sundae: So I know I resonate with that because here’s why I want to go deeper because I have been on that journey too, probably because of so much corporate experience in Switzerland. There was a personal and professional separation, there’s private life and then there’s professional life and that felt safe. And as I’ve had my own company and the work that I’ve done, whether I chose it or not, I don’t know, I decided or it started happening that I brought more of my personal, my whole self into my work. And for me, that felt vulnerable. I’m curious how it feels for you to bring your whole self into your professional context?
Kondwani: Yeah, I’m gonna jump on a word that you just used which is that vulnerability, right? I have and I realized that part of the reason why I did that in my previous roles and in years past was to be safe. Was to just to not. Because I always felt like, if you open yourself up, if you expose too much of personality or if you expose too much about your personal life, your family life, there was just this element of vulnerability, you’re exposed. And I suppose, to be honest, a lot of fear in doing so. And maybe a lack of trust. I’m not too sure, I’m still teasing that knot out.
But it was definitely driven by fear, driven by a need to not be vulnerable and not so exposed because I thought that that could manifest in negative ways. And I think where I’m at now in my career and in my life, so this whole “showing up,” is what I’m trying to do as much as possible throughout my life is not to lead with fear and not to lead my life with fear, but to lead, maybe with hope to lead with light, to go back to my podcast to lead with light, then dark would connote. And if I lead with light and I lead with hope rather than fear, I think that I contribute better to my ecosystem. And when I say “my ecosystem,” I mean the one that I am in at the time. That I’m actually contributing and I’m helping uplift other people and that is helping other people bring their them show up as well. And if we both show up or if we all show up then the output will be better. Just everything will be better.
So what we’re doing, the projects we’re doing, the goals we’re setting, all of that and the impact we’re having on the world will be better. But if I go in and I lead with fear and I’m like, okay, I’m scared, somebody’s going to take this idea or somebody’s going to take this and use it against me or, you know, for whatever reason. Some of it logical and some of it is illogical, it’s not going to help in the outcome.
Sundae: Right? Totally, I think that makes me think about a moment I had where it was so simple, so silly in hindsight but it felt so big to me at the moment and it was totally coming from a fear place. I do this project through Wisdom Fusion and that’s actually how you and I are connected, we have a common friend through my Wisdom Fusion Project, and I had a photo of me that was sensual. It wasn’t corporate, it wasn’t sexual, but it was definitely feminine and it was a little bit different from what I normally share. But it was important for me to share a softer side. And my assistant, she was like, “Hey, let’s share this photo and talk about Wisdom Fusion,” and I was like *gasp* I just like froze. I’m like, “I don’t know if I could do that.” And it was like nothing was risque about this photo. Not at all. But it showed a feminine, maybe vulnerability. And I was like, “I can’t make this decision right now.” This is about a flipping social media photo. I can’t believe how much energy I put into it.
I went for a run. I called a friend. And I think what it was is I was protecting myself from other people saying, “Well, what is she doing?” Or, “That’s not professional.” or she, whatever it was like, this fantasy story had my mind. And then I realized If I don’t do this, I don’t break the boundaries that other women are holding up for themselves. I have to walk the talk, I have to do that. And it’s now in hindsight, it’s silly but that’s how real the fear can feel.
Kondwani: What a tremendous story, but it’s kind of like what you just said there is, the impact that that has on other people. That one post, as you say for you, it’s like, okay, it was one post, but it was a whole lot that went into it, in terms of you thinking about it. But the freedom that might give somebody else or the allowance that that might give somebody else or the perspective it might give somebody else, and it just might be one person, right? It might be somebody you’ll never meet, just somebody and they might not even quote like it on social media. They might not even react to it, but just seeing it might have a huge impact. So well I’m glad you made that choice, but it’s exactly that.
Sundae: So do you, can you think of any examples where you have had to battle through that fear and do something that felt courageous, even though maybe on the outside, it was something small?
Kondwani: Yeah, it is one of those, you know, there’s been like the COVID has been a very difficult time for me. And this is one of those moments where I’ve spoken really openly or this being what I’m about to say, really openly about my family went through quite a bit of devastation at the beginning of COVID. So I lost my sister unexpectedly due to ovarian cancer, all the women out there who are dealing with that, my heart goes out to you, and those who are not, please get yourself checked. It just had this traumatic impact. And my previous self would have never shared that and I don’t share it for pity or for any sort of like – I share it because it’s a part of my life and it’s a part of who I am now. And it sort of is also a part of who I’m like motivated by.
And I had the opportunity I guess to share this with a recent co-worker in a recent interaction and what ended up happening is we just had this conversation about, she was dealing with a tough time. We had just a really heartfelt, warm conversation about loss, about life, about what’s next about finding meaning in what you’re doing, and not sweating the small stuff. And it was really an important moment for me because it was sort of like, one of those moments where it’s sort of like, I allowed myself permission to talk about it and in doing so, it just opened up this conversation. And this connection that I ended up having with this colleague of mine, which wasn’t in the grand scheme of things didn’t change the world, it was just one of those things. It was a moment. I stepped through the moment. I felt vulnerable doing it as I feel vulnerable doing that now. But what happened afterwards and the connection that I have with her now is really, really strong. And it just allows us to be that much closer, that much connected. And, like I said, sometimes, it’s not a big thing like that. That was a relatively big thing in my life, obviously, the biggest thing actually in the past two years to be frank. But the previous me would have never shared that, ever.
Sundae: Well and thank you for sharing that. I think what I’m hearing in that is you were willing to be authentic, it was just what was true for you and you risked being authentic. And what I hear from that story is it created an intimacy or a connection that wouldn’t be there had you kept your cards close to your chest.
Sundae: And I think when we do that, right? When we do that, even professionally, in a professional scope, but still authentically, we give permission to other people to feel safe, to do that too.
Kondwani: Yeah, yeah, 100%, 100%. And it’s one of those things in a professional settings and in any setting, right? This is kind of an interesting one as well, is we can both win. Ultimately again in my previous world, it would be like, “Oh my gosh, Sundae’s got a podcast, I’ve got a podcast that’s a competitor.” Right? Instead of like, “No, there’s space and oxygen for us both and I want your podcast to succeed.” I’m actually recent though but a listener of it and I love the way you do Sundae.
So sometimes just putting down some of those walls. You never know what magic can happen.
Sundae: Right. Yeah, yeah, I love that you said, “Putting down the walls,” I feel like for me I had to put my guard down, I don’t know what I was protecting and then I guess through those moments every moment, big and small, you learn that you’re actually safe. And the irony is actually safer because you create connection and community with people on a much realer level. So what feels risky, could be safe. Interesting.
So thank you for sharing that; I think that’s so important. And for me, it’s important to ask those questions because when we share where we really are in transition and they see someone successful like you, we assume that you’ve got it like gold, it’s all easy, right? And it’s so important to hear what’s in the back room that people are also holding as they are moving forward in the world so I appreciate that. Can you tell us a little bit about– part of the work is around; Transformation, whether it’s internal or external or something that’s performance led. Are you feeling more driven by something internal, external, or performance based right now?
Kondwani: Yeah, I think right now, it’s the I’m being driven at this moment in my life where this bigger moment, not this second in my life to accomplish what I set out to do a few years ago with this, in relation to this podcast, which was really to march through the continent, to walk through it and take my listeners on this beautiful journey to meet all of these interesting stories, big or small from the great continent and just to turn up those lights, right? And so I did a couple seasons where I did the best I could and have had such amazing guests, which have given me the inspiration and the fortitude to say, “No, there’s something here. Let me push through that line.” So I’m really driven, it’s not really performance, but I kind of want to be driven by that desire to accomplish that goal and actually have that manifest and become real. So I think that’s part of the journey I’m on now and I’m just on this, you know, so it’s not really about performance necessarily. But rather about saying, “Hey. I can. I want to. It seems to have a good impact on people.” There’s nothing in this that – it’s hard work for sure but it’s rewarding work and I think I really want to just accomplish this in honor of the people that I’ve spoken to and that I continue to speak to and then and the audience is well, who’s told me like that they really enjoy it.
Sundae: And that’s while you are working while you’re a father, while you’re a partner, while you’re a friend, while you’re doing that and all those other things. That’s amazing. And that makes me think of the last part which is; Ambitious. I always say it has to be defined external to others’ ideas of scope and scale. We have to define our own ambitious. And for me ambitious is doing less – that’s my ambitious goal. This summer was to do less so I could be with my family more and in different ways. So, I’m curious, what is ambitious look like for you right now?
Kondwani: Yeah, I think for me, that’s funny. I love the way you talked about doing less, right? I’m also in a bit of a way, I’m trying to be my ambition is to be a little bit bolder with the podcast. With the podcast and then life as well, to be a little bit bolder. Like I said, to sort of leave my fear and apprehension is about like, “Oh, this won’t be good. Oh, this…” The self-doubt in the self, all of that stuff. And not to say that I don’t have that and that I ignore spidey senses of things that maybe aren’t going wrong and not listen to my intuition. But it’s more about; Be bold. Trust in yourself. Trust in and have faith in the people that are around you. And so that to me is part of that ambition.
And what I’m trying to do now, as well is to, as I mentioned before, it’s to another ambitious thing that I’m trying to do, if you will, for myself is to tear down walls like internally. So my son and my daughter are actually really amazing little humans. And I want to be the best father as possible but one of the things that’s really kind of interesting is they ask me like, “What are you working on? What is this?” And they have creative bones in their little bodies. So I kind of said, “Listen, if you guys want to, let’s make an afternoon out of this.” 2-3 hours is an afternoon for kids of this age and let’s design. Something together that will fall into the podcast. Let’s let’s like you do you, do you have a nav you know, a post and I do a post and then we’ll put them together. And I promised them, I said, I promise I will use one of each one of your creations, but we have to work through it and it’ll be like a fun project for us to do together. I know people will be like, “We have child labor laws,” but it really was a fun project. To answer your question, part of my ambition is to show up and to make sure that I’m not excluding people that I care about a long journey, which I find to be super important.
As I want to say, “Hey, this is important to me. It’s important to my fulfillment and this is part of how I show up. So in your way, can you and I do something together with this. And it doesn’t have to be big and doesn’t have to be bold. It doesn’t have to be more than 15 minutes. But are you okay that this becomes part of our shared space?”
and you know, that’s a bit ambitious, a little bit like with kids or with family, it’s kind of like, well that’s your thing but it’s like, no, like if you love me and I love you and this is what it may be. Can be partially our family, you know. So there’s a, it’s a tricky and I hope I’m making sense in that in my reply, but that’s part of my ambition is to do be more effective about and making the right choices, right?
So there’s a lot of things that I’m doing. But can I, you know, can I make the right choices about what I’m doing when I’m not doing and then the things that I choose to do? How do I optimize as my marketing hat coming on, but how do I optimize that in a way that weaves in my family where it’s possible or weaves in my friends, where it’s possible? right? Or weaves in my beautiful? You know, like are there sinner beautiful,
Sundae: Right. And I hear that like, in terms of the collective like how can I integrate more of the collective rather than just the individual and that sounds like it’s weaving it even more deeply into your life.
Kondwani: Yeah. Yeah, 100%.
Sundae: Yeah, it’s beautiful. It’s so beautiful. So before we round up here, I want to know, I will put your stuff in the show notes so everybody knows how to get a hold of you, definitely your podcast. What is next for you? What are you working on that our listeners should know about?
Kondwani: Yeah, well, kind of like I said, this next season which is going to be coming up probably in the next couple of weeks now. So I’m going to try and debut it in in early. July late June, early July and really just go on this slow and steady burn of this march through the continent so that’s like that’s been my focus. It’s been my energy. It’s been my source of inspiration. And I’m actually really just enthralled with that in terms of what’s next and just getting to know my guests a bit better and have connections with them. And then possibly maybe, possibly down the road look at the concept for 54 Lights, but look at that as a concept for other parts of the world. Because ultimately what I’m trying to do here is to talk about texture and as much as this is an African story, it’s kind of not an African story. It’s a human story, right? It’s about the Norwegian, the Norwegian decoding, you know what I mean? To me like it’s about that.
So I’m toying with the idea of like, “Hey, maybe there’s another iteration of this,” and putting it out in the universe. I wouldn’t have done that five years ago, I’d be like, “Oh, don’t do that buddy.” But now I’m okay to do that or I’m comfortable doing that. And I invite anybody who’s interested in talking about it, working on that with me, or just simply following and listening, invite them all to just do whatever they want to do there. But I welcome co-collaborators, co-conspires as well.
Sundae: That’s beautiful. Thank you. I can’t wait to see what’s next. So I’m going to just share quickly what I think I’m taking away from this. I knew in advance,
I wanted to focus on untold stories because that’s what you do in your podcast. But then something shifted in me when we started talking about our untold stories, right? I started this with kind of a bigger picture concept about others, but then once we started sharing our untold stories, it shifted something in me.
And it reinforces this idea of how important it is when you feel safe and are willing to stretch, to say the untold. To those who will hold it. To those who will honor it. And that I think is really beautiful. So I hope our listeners today can find a moment where someone they know is worthy of holding that untold in a safe way and giving each other space to stretch. I think it’s really beautiful. So thank you for what you’re doing and the big picture level of that and thank you for showing up so fully today. It’s really beautiful. So-
Kondwani: Thank you, Sundae and I see your show fits really well with in transit, right? Because that’s what it’s about. It’s what it’s about.
Sundae: We started in one place at the beginning of the podcast and now we’re somewhere else. So thank you for being here. And thank you to everybody who has been listening. This is IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean. I appreciate you being here. I started this episode with Maya Angelou and so it is fitting that I also finished with her. She says: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
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