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At the TIA launch, Meeting Siba Mtongana – Staying Passionate and Positive

There’s never a dull moment in Nairobi’s social life. And a couple of weeks ago the Radisson Blu was the place to be for the launch of This is Africa (TIA) – a website, which in the words of its Operations Director Nancy Onyango will be “a celebration of Africanism, freedom of expression and the quintessential elements that make Africa what it is: a continent of opportunity, growth, and innovation.”

me and my friend and makeup artist Debby
My friend and makeup artist Debby

The evening was a chance for me to learn more about this great platform, connect with industry professionals, put faces behind names and also do a few impromptu TV interviews.

press photoshoots
Press photoshoots
interviews
Interview for DSTV
Radio Presenters Anita Nderu and Mandi Sarro
With Radio Presenter Anita Nderu and Food Vlogger Mandi Sarro
Fashion Blogger Joy Kendi
With Fashion Blogger Joy Kendi

The dress code was ‘afro chic’ so I pulled out my agbada from a Nigerian brand called ‘The Fia Factory’ – The agbada, traditionally worn by men, is fast becoming popular with women in Nigeria and in tune with TIA’s vision of celebrating African culture, I was pleased to bring a bit of the West to the East.

The Fia Factory agbada (1)

Esmerizeaccessories

esmerize_accessories_kenya

Radison_blu_Nairobi

Silvia_Njoki_TIA_launch

 

Scott the violinist
Scott the violinist

The highlight of the evening was the speech by popular South African celebrity chef Siba Mtongana, host of the TV show Siba’s Table, who I have admired and loved for years to the point of cooking some of her recipes in my own kitchen – my favorite being her no-cook cheesecake (which has fast risen to be one of my daughters favorite desserts)
Through her very personal presentation to the gathering about her career path, I got to know her as a warm and charismatic person stepping out of her persona as a celebrity TV cook, and came to appreciate so much better who she is and where she has come from – and especially how she has become who she is today.

TIA_launch_Siba-Mtongana

She grew up in the UK but eventually traveled to her home country South Africa and obtained her degree in Food and Consumer Science. She however failed to find a suitable job in this field months after graduating until, urged by her professor to look at alternative options, she landed the job of Assistant Food Editor at Drum Magazine, subsequently becoming its Food Editor 2 years later. Her column was such a success that it eventually lead her to her present series ‘Siba’s Table’ on The Food Network.

Silvia_Njoki_TIA_launch_Siba-Mtongana-

Her story struck a cord with me. It shows how a combination of a strong will, competence, hard work and a bit of good luck can make your career snowball. Listening to her amazing life story and meeting her in person was such an emotional moment, since I could relate to her developmental path in various ways.

After university, driven by passion, we both ended up following our dreams in non-traditional careers, albeit without much initial support from our families and discovering happiness and success at the end of the rainbow.
I must admit, as much as I love her show, I had never really paid much attention to her life story, but after this remarkable night, I now consider her not only a gastronomical queen but an inspirational icon as well.

Photography by Charles Ngomo

Makeup by Debby

Agbada by The Fia Factory Nigeria

Rings and Bangles – Esmerise Accessories

Clutch – Gifted

Choker – As seen here, See how I DIY my chokers here

Shoes – Backyard shoes

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14 comments

  1. This outfit is literally fire. love your style

    1. Asante

  2. love love your outfit and all the great things happening in kenya #unity. Cannot wait to move back. xoxo
    http://www.lovekept.co.uk

    1. Oh you will love it!!

  3. I loooooove this outfit..so unique, so pretty..you just slayed!
    What lippie is that if you don’t mind me asking?!Looks really good
    Lovely weekend ahead.

    http://www.lindasworldofstyle.com

    1. kat von d vampira liquid lipstick.
      Thanks dear 😊

  4. such an inspiration and your outfit is great. love it

    1. Thanks for the love 😊

  5. Your style is so unique, that outfit is so cool i can’t stop looking

    1. Awwww they did a good job at FIA with this one

  6. I live for your outfit posts, this is total slayage you killed it, more outfit posts please, I really love your style, you inspire me to dress better and get out of my boring comfort zone

    1. I will definitely share more fashion and lifestyle articles 🙂

  7. Silvia so extra extra 🔥
    Slay!

  8. Your sense of style is just a breath of fresh air !!! Keep slaying, you look gorgeous

    https://snyambura.wordpress.com/