As you now know, Tribe Tesi proudly sponsored the 2022 Afrobloggers Award in the categories of The Expressive and The Blogger Of The Year. The Afrobloggers Awards celebrate creativity, dedication and responsible use of online spaces with the aim of inspiring more people to deliberately share their stories. The organisation believe these awards bring recognition, honour, credibility and status to the many Africans and few none Africans who have selflessly shared their time, stories and creativity with them over the years.
Congratulations to Denzel Machaka for his outstanding achievement as the runner-up in the Afrobloggers 2022 Awards! We are absolutely thrilled to feature him on our #MeetAtTribe interview series. Denzel’s achievement is a testament to his hard work, creativity, and unique voice within the blogging community.
Who is Denzel Machaka?
Denzel: Denzel is a hyper creative, Zimbabwean by birth and currently based in South Africa. I come from a writing-intensive background. One of my majors in my undergrad years was African Literature where college became interesting once I settled for it as my major.
Outside of my writing work, I have worked in corporate and academia. Right now, I am a freshly squeezed freelance digital marketer with a focus on social media marketing, copywriting, and content writing. I am using my communication and storytelling skills to help brands tell their stories online.
2. You were runner up in this year’s Afrobloggers awards – did that surprise?
Denzel: To be honest it didn’t surprise me, this expectation came from my peers who gave me a leading score in the peer-reviewed voting phase. I could have folded my arms after this, but I knew I would lose if I didn’t put in the work.
I worked very hard on my campaign. I put myself out there. This is something I am new to, and I told myself I didn’t want to be pretentious and nonchalant about my voting campaign. I wanted to win. I asked people to vote, I created campaign posters for my social media accounts, and I asked friends to vote as well. I put myself out there and was rewarded for it.
3. Why did you decide to take part in the competition?
Denzel: The timing was right, and I had an inkling I had a bigger shot this time. When I submitted my blog in the previous award season, I was just taking an undeserved chance. I had not created consistently, and I am learning that winning requires effort. For this blogging season, the timing was just right, I had created about 51 blog posts by December, with additional support from collaborations within the blogging community. I told myself I had earned the right to submit my blog for consideration.
What sets you apart from other bloggers?
Denzel: I guess you could say I’m fearless. I am not scared to be open up about certain things or be a little controversial and challenge conventional beliefs. I am not scared to experiment with different writing formats. Today might be a poem, tomorrow a long form blog post, and another day it could be a collaboration blog post. I am not afraid to experiment because fear kills creativity and I like to stay creatively sharp.
5. How important is blogging to you?
Denzel: It is an important part of my life. It led to so much self-discovery. Writing poems made mea self-aware and an emotionally intelligent person. Writing long form content developed my passion for content marketing which I am transitioning into as a freelancer. Blogging is now both a hobby and a career moment. Outside of this, blogging has allowed me to meet interesting creatives from across the world and some are developing into lifelong friendships, so blogging is a big part of my life.
Where did your love for poetry come from?
Denzel: I started writing songs in my teens and one day I wondered why I bothered with trying to come up with melodies when I can write words only? I listened to rap music as well which is literally rhythm and (poetry). I was fascinated by rhyme schemes made by rappers, and it fed my desire to write words that rhyme. Around that time, I was in my A -level taking English Literature classes. We used to read and analyse poems so my love for poetry also developed from there as well.
Do you get writers-block? And how do you overcome it?
Denzel: I get it a lot. I have serious dry spells that make me question my talent. I think it’s part of the journey as a writer. Something I discovered recently is that it can come from a mental health problem. It could be a depressive episode, or something related. My latest block was solved by dealing with an issue I was suppressing. After working through it, my creative juices started filling up again.
Name your top five role models?
Denzel: My grandmother is my biggest role model, she wakes up at 5am every day and goes to different plots of land to check her crops. She has been doing this for over 40 years. She is the epitome of work ethic and success to me. The rest would be my late grandfather, my mother, my uncle born after my mother and my former African Literature lecturer Dr Danai Mupotsa. They all exhibit traits that I look up to.
Name 3 lessons you have learnt in your blogging journey.
- If you care about what you do and show it unapologetically, people will return that love.
- Not everyone will like what you do and that’s okay. Focus on marketing to those who have a high chance of caring. Know your target audience and feed it religiously.
- Time is a precious resource, if someone engages with you it means your work is of value. Thank them for supporting you and never take it for granted.
If money was not a factor, where would you travel to and what would you do there?
I would travel across Asia with South Korea topping my list. I will eat street food, eat lots of ramen , learn martial arts, sit in hot springs and take a lot of pictures.