Zhana in the UK breeds success. She writes about it and she provides services that help other people achieve it.
Zhana: I was inspired to write Black Success Stories while I was working on Success Strategies for Black People. I thought, why not profile some Black people who have already achieved significant goals in their lives and work?
I was also inspired by the tradition of Black women writers, storytellers and historians in the West. I have done a great deal of research about Black women writers from slavery to the present day. Somehow, we have always managed to tell our stories. I feel I am joining a proud tradition.
I found I was continually inspired by working on Black Success Stories. Every person in the book has made a significant contribution to the Black community and to UK society as a whole.
BWIE: Tell me about one Black woman you have profiled in Black Success Stories Volume 1.
Zhana: An obvious choice for inclusion in the book was Diane Abbott MP, the first-ever woman of African heritage to be elected to Parliament in the UK. It was such a great achievement. And she does a lot of work to support Black parents and children, and to help Black children gain access to high-quality education in Britain.
BWIE: Tell me about the work that you do to help Black women in the UK.
Zhana: Many Black women are single parents, trying to protect their children from inner-city violence, deprivation and lack of opportunity. So my work focuses on achieving our goals, on improving our lives, and on strengthening relationships and communication within the family.
A lot of my work focuses on building self-love, self-esteem and self-respect. Part of the legacy of slavery is that we have been taught to hate ourselves and anybody who looks like us. Often, we hate the colour of our skin and the natural texture of our hair.
I find that, in my work with women of different backgrounds, women tend to be more willing than men to admit we need help and support. But with Black women, that is often not the case. We are afraid and ashamed to show any vulnerability, weakness or fear, or to ask for help. Again, this is part of the legacy of slavery.
So we need to relearn these skills. We need to be real, be authentic, with ourselves and each other. We need to learn how to care for ourselves and nurture ourselves again. And we need to learn to listen to our inner voice, and trust our inner wisdom. These are some of the things we explore in my workshops and courses.
Pick up a copy of Black Success Stories Volume 1.
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