If it is true that we become like the people we spend our time with, then I want to surround myself with entrepreneurial women. For the past 5 years I have done just that, finding and supporting start-up industries that have a fresh, driven, bad-ass lady at the wheel. In searching for my own ‘empire’ to build, I have enjoyed spending time with and soaking up the passions and habits of these women.

They have taken ‘Damn-the-Man’ to a whole new level, creating their own businesses from nothing and taking on every challenge with purpose.

I decided that because I admire these particular 4 so much, I would do a series dedicated to them, showcasing their businesses and digging a little deeper into the psyche that got them to where they are today.

1000_wordsPART 2 – An Interview with Sim Sibanda

I had the opportunity to meet this feisty lady just before the launch of her debut novel ‘The Angel From My Nightmare’. Attending her book launch struck a chord in me that has been ringing ever since, and I have been desperate to make a little music with that lingering tone. This series was the perfect opportunity to speak to her about it all again and put her vision into words.

Sim talks about finding value in herself regardless of what anyone else is saying, about writing as a Passion Project, and that her deep sense of belief in both the project and herself helped her succeed. She is set to “just live her dream, aware of the fact that the sky has never been the limit.”

 

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pink_shoePami: You wrote a book called ‘The Angel From My Nightmare’. Wow! Big commitment! What made you take that on?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: When I was a child I loved to read, a characteristic that was encouraged in my home growing up.  I to this day believe that the encouragement given was the direct catalyst to my persevering nature when it came to the intake of literature. Though ultimately the reason I went on to decide to start writing my own books seems deeply rooted in my love for the empowering nature of art in the form of writing. I loved that even if you felt like your reality was somewhat inadequate in comparison to the perceived standards set by the world, in those moments, as you found yourself lost in the pages of a whole new world, you could become powerful and in some way experience a sense of self worth that otherwise may have been lost to you. At the time that I had begun writing my book I had experienced things in my life as only I will ever experience them and I had learnt a lot about the importance of finding value in yourself regardless of what anyone else is telling you. I learnt how difficult that can be when you feel like the general message is that you are not worth that value, ever more difficult when the loudest voice screaming, is your own. These lessons had helped me find peace in a war zone of my own making. They had led me to my literary voice – a voice that ultimately led me to the other end of my first novel.

 

pink_shoePami: Tell me about the writing and editing process.

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: It definitely required a lot of discipline, which was hard to achieve at the time as I was juggling university, an au pairing job and a job in a night club. That paired with my love for red wine and friendship procrastination sessions really put me to the test.  It was honestly my passion for the work that had me writing everyday for at least two hours.  Any two hours I could find in that day I was writing or researching, trying to critically map out the narrative I had envisioned in my head. The research part of the writing process probably saw me obsessively reading about innovation specifically, as my book is based in the future, for about three months, and I continued to write every day for a year. Editing took place during the actually writing of the novel and after the fact. I was very fortunate as my friend Sakhisizwe Gcina happened to have a rich understanding of literature from numerous scopes and was very proactive within the structural editing of the book, a skill which he naturally excelled in. Upon completion of the book it saw 3 different cycles of re-edits between myself and the publishing house each time I read through the entire book about 4 times, so it’s a commitment to say the least. Lol.

 

pink_shoePami: Indeed! Editing has been my biggest challenge. I somehow never feel that my book is ready to go out there. Congratulations for getting there! How and when did you decide your work was ready for the world?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: After the completion of the first four chapters, which is what one would need to send to a traditional publishing house, I had toyed with the idea of sending the novel off and going the traditional route. I had done the research, read up about each house, even corresponded with a few of them, however I couldn’t bring myself too take the final step and send my work out. Purely based on the fact that my novel was a passion project and that ultimately at that point I knew exactly where I wanted to go with it. I didn’t want to relinquish my artistic vision in the name of tradition. I decided to self-publish.

 

pink_shoePami: Self-publishing is still a touchy subject – so many stereotypes attached. What made you decide to self publish?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: I was critically aware of the stigma attached to the self-publishing route but I think in my case and in the case of what ultimately led to the novel being written, I had a deep sense of belief in both the project and myself. Ultimately for me the deciding factor regardless of the stigma attached, was me wanting to live the reality I am ultimately trying to promote within the book.

 SimBookLaunch

 

pink_shoePami: It’s so great to hear you say that. Many of my writing friends (myself included) suffer from sometimes crippling self-doubt. We have all these words in us that we want to put out there, but when we do we are the first to shoot it down. One of the biggest reasons I admire you and why I asked you to be a part of this series is that I saw how much self-belief you have. If only we could all emulate you and try a little of that self-belief for ourselves, imagine how much we could do!

 Your passion and confidence was evident at your book launch too. I went and was blown away. I particularly loved the shoes of course… Tell me about it? How you put it all together – what the vision was – how you felt about how it turned out.

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: Thank you so much Pami <3 The concept for my book launch was basically trying to recreate different scenes from ‘The Angel From My Nightmare’, so all the people there could feel as if they where living in the book. The reason it was a black tie event is because I was trying to highlight how the novels essences finds its promotion in the ideology of African excellence, all of us united, moving towards a better global future. As a result of the book being based in the future I was really looking for innovative ways to entice a younger market into perhaps regaining interest in literature and for a platform for my peers and myself to work together and create something beautiful in the name of art. So I shot a trailer with and absolutely phenomenal videographer named Thembalethu Mfebe. My sister, Sane, starred in it with me and saw its premier the night of my launch. Many people were involved in making the night happen:

The incredible Miss Nikita Wright agreed to show her shoe line Irregular Choice, which I myself and all my models wore. (Pami: I absolutely adored the shoes!)

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You and Imke Meyer agreed to take photos, I was wearing a dress that was a gift to me from my friend and model for the night Selina, Nalane. Erryn, Teagan Gracey rocked the music joining Kagiso Magabe on vocals. As Ben and Tom Westermann helped me open the dance floor. Jon Firth and Richard Milne Todd where the most amazing hosts and caterers ever at Imperial on long street.

My parents looked so happy and all my friends came out to support. The night was perfect and rang totally true to the essence of the nature of the book, which was everything I had hoped for and more.

 

pink_shoePami: Haha – its clear that you believe in sending props where props are due. Bringing such an event together definitely required a lot of help and you ring-mastered the whole thing beautifully. It’s also nice to see that you appreciated each and every person involved. Perhaps that’s also part of your magic – the ability to see value in not only yourself but in others too. You empowered many people to get involved and help create something truly special. Well done!

Do you think you will write another book one day? Anything in the pipeline?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: I think I may definitely write another book, though I think it will be sometime before that happens. Its a great undertaking, writing a book and at the moment I have found myself exploring different aspects of my artistic voice with the same depth I had applied to what I discovered within specifically the literary aspect of my art..

 

pink_shoePami: As a female author in SA, you are part of a small group of women with a voice and it is so important for that voice to be heard. Do you feel that you are an entrepreneur at heart?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: I feel that I am an activist first and entrepreneur second. I often find that the driving force behind the creation of my art is my obsession with trying to find a way to reach a sociological equilibrium across the board. I guess this obsession is what ultimately led me to my steadfast prescription of feminist ideologies – ideologies that in many ways have contributed to my continued determination for achieving greater entrepreneurial success. The fact is I am a black feminist author from Africa and as tradition stands today, my voice and voices like mine are almost holistically excluded, regardless of the fact that the more diverse the voices are at the literary table, the deeper the sociological understanding of the societies faults and achievements, lending said society to be better equipped to deal with their sociological ills and find a better way to move forward. It is in this belief system that I view the importance of my entrepreneurial success. it is in this belief that I view the importance of my voice at the table.

 

pink_shoePami: If only more people saw this! It’s so true that in order for us to move forward as a nation in the spirit of growth, equality, reconciliation and diversity – all voices need to be heard equally. Your voice is definitely being heard – and I am hoping to spread that voice a little more through my humble blog. I want to celebrate it! Your passion is enviable, but your work ethic, drive and commitment to feminism is a vital example to us all. But more on that another day J

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to write a book/self publish?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: Believe in yourself, believe in your work and focus on putting together the best piece of art that you can. Focus on being part of the voices that prove the self-publishing stigma wrong. Persevere and ensure your voice gets a seat at the table, every single voice is of paramount importance including yours, never lose sight of this truth when you feel the other responsibilities brought from life beginning to anchor you.

 

pink_shoePami: You are in California right now. What are you doing there?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: Well I am currently dreaming with my eyes open as I record my first EP. I have released one single on sound cloud called ‘Playhouse’, and am gearing up to release my single ‘Give Yourself The Night’.  Both songs explore the different elements of what it means to be an empowered woman in what has traditionally been painted as spaces where women are freely relinquishing power and looking externally for guidance. Please do check it out :)

 

pink_shoePami: Voicing your feminist message in music – I love it! Never miss an opportunity 😉

Will you be coming back home?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: I am hoping to, but at this point I am not sure when that will be. I saw an opportunity in terms of female music with regards to resources and a general interest in, and dedication to the arts in California, which I may not have found as easily back home. For now, I am here, fully here, giving it my all. But South Africa will always be my home.

  

pink_shoePami: What’s next?

51dMmo1IgDL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Sim: Well I hope to finish my EP, and start promoting my album and basically just live my dream, aware of the fact that the sky has never been the limit………..don’t believe me ask Yuiri Gagarin

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1000_words

Watch this space for more amazing things! In the mean time, if you want to find out more about Sim, you can follow her on twitter, show her book some love on Amazon, and have a listen to her music here:

The Angel From My Nightmare

Twitter

Playhouse

 

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