Your name and
what do you do?
My name is
Shufaa Yakut. I create content online. Communication, social media management
etc. I am a writer, I write creative nonfiction and short stories.
I serve the
community full time. Currently the senior administrator and communication
director at swahilipot hub.
I manage all
social media for Jaffery
I am a web
development/web design student of Pwani Teknowgalz, recently
completed my first project of redesigning swahilipot hub website. You can check
it out, swahilipothub.co.ke
I vlog for
YouTube sometimes. Currently been a bit active in Ramadhan, check out https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNadGvM19HZZHqC3hq27K9A
Tell us about shufaayakut.com
is a website that has stories and articles which mostly favour the female young
adult -soon to introduce kid’s stories too. It matured from
shufaayakut.wordpress.com two years ago. Blogging was inspired by my lawyer
friend, in around 2014-2015 who (sadly) no longer writes. I used to publish
long notes and poems in Facebook until Carole started sharing links to me from
her WordPress account. I thought it was a great idea and decided to download
the WordPress App. From there, I met very many writers via Facebook, Instagram
found out that I write for young adults. I put myself in a teenager’s shoes and
I feature her. We rarely read stories that these young adults in high school
can relate to except for movies, which most contain controversial issues that
other parents find offensive. Most teenagers read novels that are not of their
age. I have realized there are no stories about the real things happening to the
current teenage kids. These people read, they are always online so in as much I
want it to look real, I try to make it cool for them.
I put myself
in a lady attending a boring meeting so I write something for her too. A lady
can multitask. The lady stuck in a traffic jam or you who can’t listen to a
podcast, you are welcome.
What do you love
the most about writing?
interesting. A writer has to be able to think like both a man and a woman, both
a kid and an old person, both a sane and a mad person to achieve the message
they want to communicate. This makes me research a lot and in the journey,
learn a lot too. I find new strength in writing, especially being open about
controversial topics. The prophet said there’s no shame in learning, that is
why i am finding it now easy to call a spade a spade when I write. Initially I
would hide words till I learnt the power of description. I haven’t fully gotten
it but I am not where I used to be.
Do you prefer
fictional writing or non-fictional?
preferred non fiction because that was all that made sense to me. I did not
believe in what does not exist. Recently I read BINTI, a science fiction book
and found it interesting. It makes a reader more creative by imagining things
and struggling it to make sense in the eyes of a reader. Being able to give
life to a story and creating characters is becoming very interesting lately.
How many African
writers book have you read? And what makes you keep on reading?
Quite a few,
Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nnedi Okorafor, Ngugi wa Thiong’o,
Elnathan Jones I think and a few more.
I have also
read local writers from the country and from Mombasa e.g. Jj Lanji Ouko, Lubnah
Abdulhalim, Nadia Naddy etc. It feels good reading the works of a person you
have met or a person you can relate to.
reading inspires me to learn the different writers’ brains/thoughts.
How do you get
inspired to write?
reading. Whenever I read, I get an idea to either write something similar or
totally opposite. It jogs my mind and challenges my abilities. Sometimes movies
and people’s stories. I have a lot of people’s stories to publish in my
website, just watch what you say to me. (laughing). Very few times, I go look
for inspiration from places where many people gather, like market places or
Salon. Other times even in public transports. When you hear someone say “hii
Kenya yetu Hii…” know there’s a story following and 60% of the people in the
matatu will contribute.
Women in Mombasa
are slowly emerging in different sectors, how can we use writing to tell the
always come up with a page in a site to celebrate the success of women in
in Mombasa, we need to take a woman’s success as our own individually. Applaud
them even if it’s in a collective article. I believe in team work especially
for victory. In one blog I.e life in Mombasa, every writer can contribute a
sentence or two talking about one specific person’s success every month. This
way, all of us will have a share in it and share it widely. We can introduce
feature stories and interviews for the same too.
What are your
future plans for your blog and writing journey?
it’s every writer’s dream to publish a book one day. Those who have already
published now wish to have their own publishing sites and maybe a library.
Apart from wanting to publish my own story, I hope to publish a setbook in
future. This will be read by generations to come, both book lovers and non-readers.
Everyone will talk about it and teachers will use my work as examples. My works
will not be easily forgotten. I want to capture people’s thoughts from when
they are in school.
In the near
future, I’m planning to introduce a kid’s section where I’ll be writing stories
for kids and find a way to get them published in the local newspapers. I will
be updating my website quite often and adding every new feature I learn, now
that I have web development knowledge. I am also planning to create a subdomain
for blogs about social media and content creation after Ramadhan in shaa Allah.
I hope it works out as I have planned. Maybe, just maybe, I will add a shop
page. I will be selling thrifted clothes when the need grows because people
have been asking me where I get dressed, during events. 90% of the clothes are
thrifted. So I’ll help a sister out.
would you advice the youth to use to grow their passion, be it writing, acting,
singing and or any skill they have?
The main one
is using youth centers and safe spaces like Swahilipot hub and MTY impact hub.
Here, they will meet people from all corners of life and grow in thoughts.
attend events. Especially art related events for the talent lovers. Here you
get exposed to people and the world.
their voices especially in events, talk to people more and build networks.
YouTube university. Do more research and allow yourself to make mistakes then
If I could, I would advise my younger self to not be
afraid of taking risks, not be afraid of the results and not be afraid of what
the society will say. I would start the moment I thought about an idea.
Dare to do more than what you think you can.
Nobody is born wise. Let us read as much as we can and
keep on learning. Prophet Mohammed (SAW) said, “Indeed, knowledge only comes by