Speak Your Mind

Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.

I have realized that it takes one person to lead a discussion or conversation.

Where all you have to do is...


I had been utterly horrified of public speaking and talking in front of my classmates in primary school.  I recall an occasion when i was 5th grade, doing oral presentations on a given topic where i had to present to a magnitude of roughly 30 students who were from different backgrounds with vast personalities and characteristics.
We had class clowns (which are those that made fun of other pupils and when their turn came to present, they would ensure that they eye ball who ever laughs at them and usually they were the worst of presenters), Next were the superlative in public speaking, who delivered an oral presentation and even went through the trouble of formulating supporting material to show the entire class. These pupils were the individuals who started preparing from the day the teacher notified the class of the day of presentation (which would be 2 months prior the dead line) . Then were the individuals who were in-between - they did their best at times but in most cases thought they could pull anything off without preparation. Those were the individuals who got judged and picked on the most, often because one never knows when they will deliver their top performance. 

I was one of those pupils.

Now less than a decade later after primary school, I am faced with the vexing challenge of  articulating my message  in a manner that will be appealing to more than just the group of people I am surrounded by at that given moment. A message that has to be shared on local and international platforms for youthful engagement. Most times, I used to not say a single word when given the opportunity to speak due to fear of judgement as well as heading so deep in thought and thinking so much that I would ultimately start to having conversations with myself and debate whether the statement I were to address is of great relevance or not. 
Only to find out that the next person, seated next to me would; stand up, take the mike and boldly address the exact same question which I, personally and mentally, thought would have been a “stupid question”.
Counting back to the different platforms I have been exposed to where, when I eventually said something, the entire assembly would proudly support my statement and I remember at some particular events, where I mentioned phrases or raised questions of interest or concern, and  received massive applauds for, where later would be asked: "Zanele, why were you quiet the whole time?" and "That is the most thought provoking outlook that I have ever heard from a young person, through all my years of leadership training".
I must say, I was impressed that I managed to impress everyone, which was an outcome beyond my intent. 

This has made me become conscious of the number of chances I have had which I voluntarily let wander past me ...simply because I was "nervous" or "scared" or "not confident enough" to speak my mind due to "fear". Where I have learnt that: "Fear is a false impression appearing real."  Today, I intend to motivate other young people, to not worry about not having had public speaking training skills before embarking on a journey of content delivery and speech facilitation, but for them to feel free, even though its hard...and speak their minds, even if their voices shake!

Amongst a few, Maggie Kuhn - an activist and the founder of Grey Panthers is my ultimate inspiration for mental stimulation leading to personal and professional development, who once said: "Stand before people you fear, and speak your mind - even if your voice shakes!”.  she further on went to say, "When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say." Now that is a powerful message! 

This message has been written to inspire young people who are active members of organisations or societies who are given the platform to express themselves lead by their sentiments and opinions, but hold back due to fear of judgement, public speaking and being heard. We are fortunate enough to have rights such as freedom of speech and feedom of expression unlike other developed and developing countries around the world...exersize that right.
However, it takes ONE person to lead and that person should be YOU. No matter how faint your body becomes, how heated your palms get and how fast your heart beats... if you have something to say and you believe in it then: "Don't ever be afraid to say it. Remember, there is no right or wrong and your contribution will not only benefit you, but others that had the exact same response in mind, but chose to not speak." Zanele Mabaso

Take a pledge today and repeat: “I will stand before people I fear and I will speak my mind, even if my voice shakes!” 

Below is a video with some of Maggie Kuhn's quotes that i admire, to inspire you as they inspired me! Speak your mind!