type4girl Zarif Speaks


“Take up space sis!” – Toni Jones


“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde

Be it lyrics or literary arts, both women urge us to be responsible, respectable and make noise! Living unapologetically as we move forward with entrepreneurial and career goals has been the key to success for many.

It’s our responsibility to ourselves, our networks, business partners, children, nieces, neighbors and communities to not just be the example of success but the example of successful single women, successful married women, successful divorced women, successful mothers, sisters, aunts and pillars of the community.

I understand everyone wasn’t born with a silver spoon and/or hasn’t had doors to opportunities swing open because of surnames or associations. Some of us had to work extremely hard just to stay afloat all while making waves and defying the odds of society and stereotypes.

But it’s done – WE DID THAT!!! And We continue to do it e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y!


It’s not to neglect the roads travelled, but its imperative that in this space, as we remember triumphs we normalize not just remembrance but celebrating the present. Celebrating our presence and celebrating ourselves!

Working hard at creating and maintaining brands and businesses on a daily basis is hard work; and balancing family can be even more challenging as it demands we tap into every strength that we’ve developed along the way. Therefore we must acknowledge ourselves along the journey.

I often reflect on my life before I arrived where I am now. When my dreams were recurrent, my plans were written in a book that sat next to my bed and all I wanted was to have a convertible car, be able to pay my bills on time and move around in the proper social circles, #goals!

I worked hard to make my dreams come true but failed to celebrate the progress and processes therein. It’s only when I read my accomplishments on paper that I find myself nodding with approval because I missed opportunities to twerk with tenacity while showing off what I’ve achieved on local and international platforms! I was too busy being sophisticated and too busy focusing on what’s next that I missed real moments! I missed opportunities to pat myself on the back and congratulate ME. I weighed the recognition from others over my own. I wanted those who I thought mattered to notice what I’ve accomplished but not necessarily know what I’ve gone through. 

Now…. I celebrate everything! From positive phone calls, good networking connections, successful meetings and everything in between. It can be as simple as a scoop of ice cream or a Gucci handbag but I acknowledge myself!

I currently move around in the social and political circles that I didn’t know existed and others that I found myself dreaming of.

I encourage you to take up space sis – define yourself for yourself so that you’re not crushed into other people’s fantasies of you and eaten alive! 

Acknowledge yourself. Celebrate yourself and…

ALSO READ: Jowhari Trahan on living in SA and her resurrection

About Author

Jowhari Trahan is an artistic movement on two feet. She is an internationally recognized art curator, artistic director, writer and motivational speaker.

Her commentary column ZARIF SPEAKS focuses on women and offers fab insights on business, empowerment, family, dating, resilience and more!

📌 You can follow her on Instagram where she blogs from the account @zarifsoulye.