With the founding of every establishment or institution, the transformation of a new idea into something tangible if not visible to be shared with the world to praise and criticise, to use or shun, there is always a feeling of doubt bellowing deep inside the belly of any founder or founders for that matter. That lonely feeling of doubt echoes more like a nagging question: will this work? In fact multiple questions of doubts, like a rain of bullets attack you from all directions, seeking to assert the old myth that dreams are for fools, but you still persevere. You remain stubborn, guarding your dreams jealously and ignoring the voices in your head and those of naysayers, the sounds of doom and failure, forever assuring yourself in the privacy of your thoughts that reality is the result of dreams, dreams that were once deemed impossible to be achieved.
Native Dialogues was birthed on this foundation of doubts and questions. These doubts and questions remain despite Native Dialogues now being more than a dream. It is now a step farther from the hatchings of the imagination of crazy founders. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, bagolo le bana, Native Dialogues is here. It is a reality – a living organism that is ready to take on the world.
Originally founded as a blog in 2013, I have been fortunate enough to have a loyal readership – all two of them – who have allowed me over the years to use them as my guinea pigs, permitting me to hone my craft and test my writing skills on them. In fact, they still allow me to treat them as guinea pigs to this day; and from the bottom of my heart, to each and every one of them, I would like to say thank you. Thank you very much for reading my work, for sticking with me and for promoting and sharing my work. That loyal support served as a necessary encouragement, propelling me to continue writing, and I hope with this new project nothing changes.
The decision to convert Native Dialogues from a one-man blog into a communal magazine – an online repository as the engineers from Lula Technologies prefer to call the platform – was informed by a lot of considerations, ideas and even negative events which with the benefit of hindsight I appreciate. From being told that my style is too radical, too salty and spicy for the sensitive tongue to appreciate, and to being informed by an editor from a certain national newspaper that my writing does not align with their ‘news agenda’. Some magazine editors, if not promising to come back to me, comfortably telling half-truths through emails, they bowdlerise my work until I can no longer hear my voice in my own writings. It has been quite a journey and I am happy to have partnered with a company that understands and shares my dreams to create Native Dialogues.
This magazine was created with a single goal in mind: to provide a digital platform whereby the children of this continent – Africa – can share their stories without fear of being censored, hence the motto: Africa Tell Your Stories. This platform has been specially built for any African child within or without the continent to freely express their voice, share their ideas with no sense of trepidation and write their own stories without fear of being gagged. African child, Native Dialogues was created with you in mind, it is yours – make use of it.
To the readers: Native Dialogues intends to offer you quality content, the sort of thought-provoking writing that you can relate to and make sense of. The success and growth of this magazine is as much reliant on writers as it is on you. It is my hope and that of my co-founders that Native Dialogues becomes a strong fabric of your being, a repository for fresh ideas and knowledge as well as a source of inspiration and empowerment.
As much as Native Dialogues was my idea, to help build the magazine credit is due to the founders of Lula Technologies. The Centurion based technology firm provided their technical skills to assist in making Native Dialogues a reality and for that I am sincerely grateful for their partnership and permanently indebted to them for believing in my silly dream. This partnership also brings forth a marriage of two disciplines that rarely interact: engineering and humanities. With the technical savvy of Lula Technologies, the aim is to create an aesthetic, innovative platform that brings readers and writers together.
You will note that, from an aesthetic point of view, Native Dialogues is still in beta mode. Plans are underway to develop the site further and turn the magazine into a powerhouse in the media and technology space. In the next few months the founders of Native Dialogues intend to conduct interviews to promote the magazine, get more upcoming writers, add more material and scale the platform. The purpose of these plans is to ensure that the primary stakeholders, you the readers, are constantly provided with quality writing and content. And as the readership grows and the platform becomes part of your daily lives, plans will be consistently shared with you on the direction Native Dialogues is taking as it matures, and your views, comments and advice on how to grow this dream together, are encouraged. For now, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome and enjoy Native Dialogues. Kgotsong!