Carefree Black Girl: The Afrikan Edition with Linda Iriza

Happy Black Panther Eve for those who live in the U.S. because everyone else seems to have already watched it- karma for spoiling Get Out for everyone when we watched it first. Anyway, the real reason we back to this blog again is for today’s session of Carefree Afrikan.

As an Afrikan, one of the most disheartening things I have seen more often than not, is how young people put their creative passions on the side because society has managed to tell us so many times that this is not for us. Many times, I have also met young Afrikans who are challenging this. While taking on twice the amount of work, they have found a way to live within their passions and grow. Rwandan, Linda Iriza is an impulsive 19 year old living in Lonely Perth, Australia. She is currently in her third year of her double degree in Marketing and Economics. In 2016, she also co-founded an online store, Elci Threads. And today, we get the opportunity to learn about her journey to being carefree. 

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Hi Linda! Thank you for doing this interview. Before we start, can you tell us briefly about Elci Threads?

Even as a college student, I would say the thing that I truly enjoy the most in life is running Elci Threads. Doing this has pushed me out of my comfort zone, more importantly it has allowed me to grow along other creatives. It has allowed me to be more mature and helped me learn on a daily how to stay calm and be patient in situations that I usually end up loosing my self-control- which to me is one of my biggest challenges. Lastly, I’m able to visually translate what carefree-ness feels like to me, through every Elci Threads event, shoot and other things alike.

What does being carefree mean to you and where do you locate it in Afrikan culture?

To me being carefree means; “being yourself without searching for approval or acceptance from those around you and society itself”. Carefree-ness brings absolute joy, comfort with one-self, self-worth and so much more.

Being carefree as an Afrikan young woman is vital! Society tends to rob us of everything that we truly care about. Funny enough by doing so it pushes us to be even more carefree. I also think it is natural for Afrikan women to be carefree. Even when you look at our mothers’ lives, despite them facing complete different social issues, they always had major moments of carefree-ness.

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That is amazing. That you are able to see the carefree-ness of the generation of women before us and let it empower you. In what ways do you practice being carefree? 

I practice being carefree by sharing my thoughts, experiences and ideas on topics/issues that I am passionate about. I practise it by following the ideas and visions that I have for myself. I practice it by speaking up, for example, whenever sexist comments are brought up at Church or during family gatherings. I practice it by constantly questioning why I do things or react to certain triggers differently. I practice it by having conversations with myself. I practice it by making time for myself.

I practice it by surrounding myself with incredible women, whom I learn from everyday. I practice it by accepting my past and respecting my own special journey.

I believe respecting your journey is such a powerful act of self-love. So tell us a little about the journey that brought you into the carefree woman you are right now.

I never used to talk much when I was younger. I was very shy but that allowed me to observe and listen more. A very pivotal moment in my life was when I moved to Australia, around the age of 11. Our family went through a drastic change and for the first time I saw fear and uncertainty in my mother’s eyes. From that day forward, I did everything in my very limited power to be my mother’s rock. Due to the language barrier, it took my mum a while to get used to things, which heightened my sense of maturity at the age of 12. By this age, I knew how to apply for high school, fill medical forms, welfare forms, write up resumes for my mum and pay off utility bills using my mum’s bank card.  Therefore, being exposed to such responsibilities and independence at a young age, I could easily identify the things that truly mattered in life from the things that didn’t.
Being carefree is all about having the ability of differentiating what really matters in this world, and placing your energy into the areas that matter the most.

More recently, I realised that life is what you make it, we were created to literally do whatever makes us happy.

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Thank you for sharing that piece of yourself with us. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my 16 year old self to stop being so insecure, it’s just hormones and it’s really not that deep. I would tell myself to speak up more and  to question why I thought when the white boys at school messaged me (never dared to tell me in person) that I was “pretty for an African girl” I took that as the most amazing compliment in the world. I would tell myself to stop holding grudges and instead learn how to remain calm and forgive. I would tell her to stop crying about a boy because carrying all that sadness and bitterness would soon lead her to being cruel to genuinely nice people.

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Not only are you the co-founder of Elci Threads but you also breath personality into your style. Can you tell us about this and how it translates into your carefree-ness?

My personal style changes every year. I guess that might reflect the fact that I’m constantly evolving as an individual. In high school I was a broke hypebeast girl who tried so hard to dress like every girl I saw on Tumblr who had ‘300+ notes’.
 Thank goodness that today, I now wear what I personally think looks good on me, rather than what I think other people will be wearing or what they liked. Also carefree black magicness can be expressed by wearing clothes made “by us for us”, or buying second hand (Salvation Army Stores are the ultimate plug).
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Featured video for today’s session of Carefree Black Girl: Inna Modja – Tombouctou 
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