I don’t exactly remember when my passion for photography started, but I was a young adult. And boy!… Did all my friends and acquaintances suffer. I took photos of anything I came across, and anything that dared to cross my path; even the trees, flowers, shrubs, butterflies, sky, birds, and animals. Afterwards, I would sit down and look through the pictures, drinking them in, enjoying the various scenes and poses, and looking at all the beautiful people I had captured. I have often been accused that “we never see Mansa’s photos.” – it wasn’t deliberate. My challenge was how to get all the million photos in the hands of the people whose photos I had taken.
Over the years, I developed another love. Printing. I have been involved in printing at all levels, but in the last couple of years, I have helped to print my church’s harvest magazine, which I was involved in from beginning to end.
In 2020, my dad was approaching eighty, there I was goofing around, asking him to do a photoshoot. I am sure he was thinking, “like really? This crazy daughter of mine wants me to do a photoshoot at eighty, with all my creaky bones?” But my dad being my dad, he was a good sport about it. He had his family and friends around. The idea really, was to capture my father’s life in print, to showcase his life story by chronicling his life in a magazine. That was really how I came up with the concept of ‘The Birthday Journal.’ As we did the magazine, we recreated parts of my dad’s life that we weren’t sure about.
“The Birthday Journal, is therefore a good avenue for letting people know that they are loved, that they are celebrated. It brings people into a limelight, that actually propels them for more wins for the future.”
Making the magazine was a really fulfilling and interesting experience for me, because I got to sit with my dad, as we went through the various decades of his life. It is amazing how you can live with someone for a long time but not know some of the basic details of their lives, because, one, it may never have come up and two, you may also have never asked.
On the day we celebrated his eightieth birthday, I was able to come out with multiple copies of a beautiful magazine of my dad, which we handed out as souvenirs to the invited guests. The reaction to the magazine was amazing, and I was surprised at how quickly they were grabbed up. People were like, “why do we have to wait for people to die before celebrating them? It would be nice to celebrate them while they are alive.”
My dad was truly, truly touched with his magazine. He had known that I was up to something but he had no idea it was going to be a magazine, so he was very happy about it.
By gauging the reactions to the magazine, I noticed that its real purpose was to celebrate ourselves by telling our life stories. The norm is to showcase the lives of celebrities, but I believe that regular people can be and should also be given the chance to shine in print. When people see themselves in print, they tend to appreciate themselves more. Also, other people get to know their stories and admire them for who they are, what they have overcome, and what they have achieved.
The Birthday Journal, is therefore a good avenue for letting people know that they are loved, that they are celebrated. It brings people into a limelight, that actually propels them for more wins for the future. It is a vehicle to help undiscovered ‘superstars’ to celebrate their milestone birthdays by writing and publishing their amazing stories.
Interestingly, the magazine has contributed to my own self development. In the past few years, I had been pursuing a career in Events and Administration, however it felt like I was going nowhere. It was as if I had stagnated. I felt no real fulfilment. Little did I know that my past passions of photography and printing were preparing me, were just waiting for the opportunity, to push me to where I actually belonged. Through The Birthday Journal, I have found practical ways to be a better version of myself and to encourage others to do the same.