In Conversation with: Colleen Chifamba
I am a disability blogger who is passionate about disability rights and educating people on ableism. I love blogging because it is my spaceto write whatever I want without anyone dictating to me how I should feel.
What made want to start blogging?
I started blogging back in July 2013 out of frustration that there was no-one in my world who could truly understand my experiences as a disabled black woman. Every time I tried to talk to my family and friends about these frustrations, I would end up being more frustrated. I longed to have a space where I could honestly share what was on my mind and heart with regards to my disability so one winter evening I started blogging and I have never looked back.
Why did you choose to blog about disability?
I wanted my blog to be different and unique. I wanted readers to read something on my blog that they could not find anywhere else. The subtitle of my blog Changing the Perception of Disability One Reader at A Time says it all. LOL. Again, it goes back to the reason why I started my blog, having my own space to share my truths about my disability. My desire to positively influence and change people's perception of disability was one of the main reasons I chose to make my disability the focus of the blog. I could have chosen other topics but that would have never worked for me, I needed to blog about something that was close to my heart without putting too much of myself out there. Also, I found that there was a gap in the Zimbabwean blogging space for female disability bloggers.
What do you hope people will take away from reading your blog?
I really do hope people's perception of people with disabilities is not only challenged but also changed. When someone comes across my blog, I hope it makes them more aware of the difficulties that people with disabilities face without feeling pity for them. I also hope they see a positive perception of people with disabilities away from the inspirational porn that they are usually exposed to. I want people to read my blog and begin to ask themselves how can I make life easier and better for people with disabilities in my city?
Describe your blogging routine.
I never used to have a routine per say but at the start of the year I wrote down some topics I want to write about this year. So, at the start of each month, I pick four topics from the list and write on those. I aim to post once a week between Monday and Wednesday. Some weeks it never goes according to plan and I end up not posting anything at all. When I do post, it is always two posts, one devotional and one disability related.
What would you say to someone new to blogging or considering blogging?
Go for it, don't hold back, just start the blog and the rest will take care of itself. Be uniquely you, don't try to imitate any bloggers, just write from your heart. Be clear on why you want to start a blog. Reach out to other bloggers for advice and blogging tips. (Drop me a message on my blog if you need a blogging coach).
Do you have bloggers that you follow, if so who and why?
I follow so many bloggers and I feel it would be unfair for me to pick any favourites because I follow them all for different reasons. I mostly follow fellow people with disabilities, Christian bloggers, lifestyles bloggers and other bloggers.
Would you say there are downsides to blogging, if so what are they?
Hmm that's a very interesting question. I guess it depends on what you blog about. The only downside I can think of for me has been not knowing how my family and friends would react to some of my posts and being questioned about certain posts when I might not necessarily want to discuss them. Apart from that I can't say there has been any downside to my blogging.
From your experience, what have been the best memories of being a blogger?
Oh, gosh so so many memories. Firstly in 2015 when a fashion designer read one of my posts on fashion and disability and asked me to be in her next fashion show and I have been modelling for her ever since. Last year receiving an email from an editor of a magazine asking me to be featured in their first issue. Being nominated for ZIWA blogger of the year, being interviewed on BBC radio and OzAfrican TV and of course winning the AfroShine Award for Excellence in Community (Disability) Advocacy. All these opportunities came about as a result of my blogging.
What/who do you treasure the most in life?
That's easy my relationship with God and my family. Take away those two and I am nothing.
If you need a blogging coach or just need advice on anything to do with blogging, Colleen is available to help. Get in touch with her via her contact me section on her blog or her social media.