April 15, 2024


Standing irresolute and staring at myself with disdain in front of the half-broken mirror hanging on the cracked, rain-washed green wall of my room, I read my words of affirmation stuck to the mirror, “Amina, this world is your canvas!”

With a feeling of hopelessness, I continued, “My dreams are uncaged,
“I possess the grit and passion,
“I am silent yet loud,
“I am fantastic with the lens,
“I shatter the glass ceilings…” I sighed and couldn’t continue as a dissentient voice echoed in my mind.

After all, at 25, I should have it all figured out. I put in the work, time and energy needed to grow and excel as a freelance photojournalist. My portfolio is incredible. Yet my life feels like a mirage. I am still living with my ageing mother in a rented “face me, I face you” apartment in the suburbs, living from paycheck to paycheck.

With plans to cover the popular heritage day in town for a local newspaper, I held onto my sanguine Camera stock together by multicoloured rubber bands hanging on my neck, and said to myself “Just this last time”.

While on the job, the clicks I made that day were more than I had ever made with that Camera. Despite its grisly look, it never died on me. I poured my heart into every shot, knowing it could be my last outing.

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Alas! As the event was rounding off, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Looking back, standing was the phenomenal “hat” lady photographer – Tolani Ali. I stood in awe seeing a role model I admire and followed closely on social media. In her distinctive husky voice, she said, “Well done! Keep at it, it pays off”, before turning and disappearing into the crowd.

I stood there utterly dumbfounded as I watched her made her way into the mammoth crowd and until her hat faded into the crowd.

Later that night, while in bed, I played the moment in my head severally and said to myself; “Amina! It’s too late to give up, I AM DAUNTLESS!”.

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