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Never live your life to please another human being. Live your life to the full, without being apologetic about who you are. You have only one life to live and no second chances. Spread your wings, fly as high as you can.

Constance van Niekerk is a South-African- based Zimbabwean-born, free lance music critic, poet, photographer, educator, creative writer and blogger par excellence. Constance is a graduate of the prestigious Mkoba Teachers’ College in Gweru, the capital city of Zimbabwe’s Midlands Province, where she majored in Physical Education. She is currently based in Vereeniging, Gauteng where she is a Foundation Phase Physical Education teacher and soccer coach.
Constance has written for The Southern Times Newspaper of Namibia as well as Zimbabwe’s foremost daily, The Herald. She has been blogging on Up Close and Personal with Zim Artists since 2012. Early in 2014 Constance rebranded the blog to L’Afrique Beat to reflect the interests of all of Africa and create a continental flavour. L’ Afrique Beat features well-researched and informative articles on Africa’s musical icons, on entertainment as well as on the lifestyle issues of Africa. Site address: http://www.afriquebeat.wordpress.com. As a music journalist, she has had the privilege of interviewing some of Zimbabwe’s top musicians who include the Sunguraguru Mitchell Jambo, ace music producer BothwellNyamhondera, the mbira maestro Tendayi Gahamadze, ThembaNdlovu, upcoming rapper Jazzel, Roy Gomo, Que Montana, MaizoniTazvitya, King Isaac and many more.She  also had interviewed Gregory Isaacs son, Kevin Isaacs and Nigerian music producer and artist.

Q. What is your greatest life, artistic, academic and creative Achievements?

A. I believe that I am still to attain the pinnacle of artistic, academic and creative achievements in my life, but so far, I have been blessed with good health, a career, a loving family and supportive friends and colleagues.

Q. What roles are you playing in transforming your communities?

A. I am a teacher at the only primary school in my community. As a teacher, I have the privilege of working with young minds, nurturing their talent and shaping their future. Sometimes a teacher is the only adult in a child’s life who listens and who the child can confide in. It’s a privilege being that adult in many children’s lives. I founded a writing club, The Wonder Ones Writing Club that has a membership of about eight girls, aged 10-11 years old. I edit their poems and short stories and publish them on my blog, The Chronicles of Constance under the category of The Wonder Ones Writing Club. So far, there are three poems from the girls.One of the poems, Africa Oh Africa was recited in the school hall during the school Africa Day celebrations. I have also coached the school under 8 soccer team since 2012. I have written poems and stories that have inspired abused women not only in my community but in the region. A lot of abused women do not want to openly admit they are being abused, but after reading some of my stories and poems, some women feel empowered and strengthened.

Q. What are your future prospects in your career and your life?

A. I hope that my blog, Afrique Beat becomes bigger and better, and maybe one day write a book or two.

Q. What is your parting shot to fellow women and girls?

A.Never live your life to please another human being. Live your life to the full, without being apologetic about who you are. You have only one life to live and no second chances. Spread your wings, fly as high as you can.

by Mbizo Chirasha

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