A few years ago, I was at the peak of my career in the broadcasting sector as Legal and Corporate Services Director of the Broadcasting Regulator in my country. At the time, I did not realize the power and potential that was in me until I was thrown out of my comfort zone of holding my breath, waiting for someone to give me permission to be the best version of myself. When my contract was not renewed, which I did not immediately foresee, I was left with two choices: sink or swim.
My first reaction was to fight… HARD. The kind of fight fought by a woman desperate to reject the rejection, determined to hold on to something that was being unfairly and prematurely tugged from her, focused on proving her worth! My situation reminded me of the movie “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and I experienced a lot of emotions such as anger, disbelief, sadness and even depression.
I felt like the dejected, ditched wife who had invested so much in an imperfect relationship yet still held on to the belief that things will change only to be told NO! You’ve got to go. You’re not good enough. You are replaceable.
One thing that kept me going was my love for technology. I had started exploring doing a Masters in Telecommunications, Cyber and Space Laws and delving into the world of technology reignited something in me that I did not realize I was still holding on to since my childhood. Through the dark moments, I read on these areas and my passion grew and grew.
I also immediately resolved to use my knowledge, passion and experience to impact the younger generation positively and gradually founded DigitalAgeConversations, a platform for discussing responsible and legal online practices particularly for children and young adults.
In between my incessant yet unyielding job hunting, I also did a lot of reading on goal setting, success, leadership, starting a business, positivity and most importantly for me, spirituality and a deeper walk with God. I also volunteered for and participated in anything that contributed to female empowerment and positive impact on future generations. Surprisingly, most of these activities kept leading me back to the tech space.
So when I decided to try my hand at practicing the law again, I made a deliberate decision to approach a law firm that supported the tech industry in my country. I found this in an Intellectual Property Law practice where I had more amazing encounters and discovered that I had a lot to offer the Zimbabwean tech space. In the same breath, I also learnt that that I had so much to learn.
With time and upon the realization that I had more to offer in another space, I made the not so easy decision to leave the firm and venture into a training and consultancy business whose main thrust was inspiring and empowering women and young people. It was not without its challenges, but I had greater peace and so much more clarity.
Meanwhile, my passion to make a positive impact on future generations, particularly those born into the tech space, continued to grow. I continued speaking to children in primary schools about using the internet safely and responsibly and then extended that training to the teachers and parents as well upon their request. I would be surprised by people approaching me with questions on which age was appropriate to allow their children to have personal devices. To me, that was such a personal decision to be made by parents similar to when to let your newborn baby out of the house or what to feed your child.
I, however, soon realized that while a lot of people (parents and educators in particular) have the access to technologies, a lot of them lack confidence in navigating their devices. They do not know much about being good digital citizens and do not realize or undervalue the role and impact of their online actions on their offline lives. Basically, there is a need for more information sharing and problem solving in this space. I also realized that most parents were not aware of their children’s online activities or the threats that their children were exposed to and which they posed to others online.
As far as businesses were concerned, my interactions revealed that there were fears associated with online vulnerability of trade secrets, clients’ data, personal and professional information invasions and possible lawsuits for negligence, among other things. It was at that moment that I made the decision to increase my reach and impact as far as DigitalAgeConversations was concerned. I accepted that this was my gifting and purpose to educate, inform and inspire other people on being responsible digital citizens.
With time, more connections were made, more lessons learnt and most importantly, the movement has been positively transforming lives one step at a time. It is my hope and vision that these DigitalAgeConversations will not only stop at informing and inspiring but will eventually lead to tangible and productive behavioural and entrepreneurial changes.
It is also my belief that because God has given me this vision and sent me so many strong women of faith and wisdom, His will shall also be done in cyberspace as well as offline. May the Lord our God continue to guide our emotions and actions as we explore the digital world where we are free to be whoever or whatever we want, say whatever we feel like and view whatever we choose. Let us remember to always do that which is pleasing to Him who sees all and knows all.
Happy and blessed cyber surfing!