Interview with a Kenyan Scientist blogger who writes in 4 languages
Our interview series is an attempt to limelight African bloggers from different regions through sharing about their blog, tips, challenges, and thought processes. In this article we share an interview we had with Kenyan Yvonne Wabai, a scientist who blogs on Randomly Creative .
Share some information about yourself and your path to becoming a blogger?
I am a scientist and a writer. I hold a BSc. degree in Forensic Science. Currently I am studying for my MSc. degree which is in Medical Biochemistry. I have always loved science,it comes as no surprise that I went into STEM.
I started blogging in 2014 after I finished high school just so that I could keep myself busy. I also wanted an avenue to share my work. 5 years on,my blog has grown so much and I am so proud of what it has become.
Your blog has four versions or languages Korean, English, Kiswahili and French, share with us why you found this necessary and how it works?
Like many people in my country, I am multilingual, I speak Kikuyu, Kiswahili, French, Korean, and,of course, English. Kiswahili is one of our official languages and it is our national language. This is why there is a Kiswahili page on my blog .Did you know that several African countries speak Kiswahili other than Kenya and that there is a push to make Kiswahili the official language of all Africa?
For Korean and French, I wanted to improve my mastery of those languages. There is also a Korean wave,that has seen many people get interested in Korean language and culture. I share Korean culture in English because most fans of Korean culture do not necessarily speak Korean.
Ask yourself what blogging is to you. Is it a hobby? Is it a career? Answering these questions will help you determine how much time you allocate to your blogYvonne Wabai
Share with us 3 bloggers who inspire you and why?
- Mbaire Wangui– I watched her build her brand from the ground up and she such. I also went to primary school with her.
- Ruth of the Rolling Twenties- She blogs about living with disability. I met her on the internet and we hit it off.
- Carelle- She is an exchange student in Kenya from Rwanda. She moved to Kenya all by herself, without knowing English or Kiswahili (our two official languages) .She not only learnt both languages, but she undertakes her studies in English as well! I know first hand how hard that is. She blogs about her experience as an exchange student.
Describe your blogging process, from concept to publishing.
I conceptualize, then get to writing. After that, I edit, make and add some graphics, then I save. I do proof read again, later with fresh eyes before I publish.
What has been the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
The biggest challenge is that female bloggers are put in a box. We have to be fashion or make-up bloggers, full stop. Should we feel so brave as to stray from that, we should go no further than food,lifestyle, or travel blogging. What I do does not fit neatly into any of these categories. In fact, it is in neither category. I sometimes say it is lifestyle to make it easier to explain to people but it is not really there either.
When you’re a female blogger and you don’t fit into those categories, people just don’t know what to do with you. I struggled with this a lot when I started blogging, as is evident from my earliest posts. Being from a STEM background, I know how it feels to be in unwanted in certain spaces. STEM spaces are almost exclusively male areas, they don’t really like it when you just “show up” in “their” space. Female scientists have to deal with this all the time.
A similar thing is happening in blogging where X niches have been relegated to female bloggers and Y niches to male bloggers and I just hate it because it just complicates things unnecessarily. But then again, the online world is just as real as the offline world, and the online world mirrors the offline world.
What tips can you share on what makes a good blog post?
i)Make it just as short or as long as it needs to be. Not more, not less.
ii)Use images where appropriate.
Pan-Africanism is the solution to Africa’s problems,but there’s no Pan-Africanism without feminism”Aya Chebbi -African Youth Envoy on Yvonne Wabai Meet Series
Any 3 things you wish established bloggers could stop doing?
ii)Releasing their own merchandise too soon.
iii)Not declaring ads, sponsorship or partnerships.
You are a scientist who blogs,your words of advice to wannabe bloggers who feel overwhelmed with their careers.
Ask yourself what blogging is to you. Is it a hobby? Is it a career? Answering these questions will help you determine how much time you allocate to your blog. Planning is key. You need to plan yourself well to avoid getting overwhelmed . Don’t be afraid to take a break.
You have an influencer category on your site, what have you learnt from featuring these people on your site.
I interview influential girls and women in society for the Meet Series. I started the Meet Series because girls and women are underrepresented, underappreciated, and undervalued in society. I wanted to show the challenges that girls and women go through as well as the fact that to be female is not to have an in ability.
My most recent interview was with Aya Chebbi, the first ever African Union youth envoy, and I learnt so much from her. There’ something she said that stuck with me. She said, : “Pan-Africanism is the solution to Africa’s problems,but there’s no Pan-Africanism without feminism”
What can you say has been the most rewarding thing to come from your blogging?
Connecting with people. I have met so many different people through my blog.
What has been the most popular of your post? What do you think made it so great?
The Fresher’s Guide to University is one of the most popular posts. People identified with the post and liked the advice I gave.