What does being a powerful woman mean to you? For Upile Chisala, a powerful woman is one who has flaws. She may fall short and cry at the kitchen sink from time to time, but she is dynamic and complex, strong and soft. Her strength lies in the fact that she is many things all at once.
The Malawian storyteller’s work is an expression of these multilayered women (she prefers the use of “womxn”) in their many forms, particularly African women. Barely 23, Chilasa’s ultimate goal is to continue telling black women’s stories for the rest of her life. She is currently writing a collection of poems tentatively called Homeward.
Chilasa also launched Khaya Means Home, a craft making company specializing in the gifting experience. She hopes to start an organization that addresses women’s health issues—particularly women of color—a topic she is extremely passionate about.
Where does Chilasa’s drive come from?
Her passion was stirred through the wisdom and mentorship of her older sister and human rights lawyer, Sarai, and consistent encouragement in her partner, Sakhe, who ensured she stayed on the path of purpose. For a long time, Chisala thought the best way she could repay her parents’ sacrifices and contributions to her education was by becoming a lawyer or a doctor. However, as she veered further away from those career paths, her parents supported her decision, explaining that they worked so hard her whole life so that she could have the freedom to pursue her creative goals. That is a freedom Chisala is evidently not taking for granted.
Culled from OkayAfrica