What #Resilience means to me


What #Resilience means to me

Many of you may have noticed that lately, I have been ending my social media posts with the hashtag, #Resilience, and you may be wondering why. At the beginning of the year I began to meditate upon themes that would resonate with us as a community of friends, for 2017 and the word “resilience” stuck with me.

Resilience can be defined as the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change and keep going in the face of adversity.

As many of you know, one of my greatest sources of inspiration is the continent of Africa and the diverse and vast numbers of people that call Africa home. Africans have endured a brutal history: slavery, conquest and colonisation were a horrific blow to our indigenous communities and to our way of life, yet our spirits were not crushed and led to movements for the abolition of slavery and the wave of liberation movements that characterised the 20th century. Our people were resilient in the face of great adversity and refused to give up until freedom and democracy were realised.

Africans must also be honoured for the resilience we display in our everyday lives. From the people who work the land to provide nourishment for their families, with limited resources in rural areas, to city-dwellers who choose a trade to earn a living, there is a resilience required to face the challenges that inevitably come up in one’s life. Yet Africans show an ingenuity in the face of struggles and we embody the spirit of “ubuntu” when we rally together as families and communities to keep going, to keep moving, to keep striving, dreaming and believing in a better tomorrow.

Africa for so long has been called the dark continent and we as Africans have proved this to be false. Through all the challenges that our continent has faced our people have remained hopeful and we believe in a brighter future for the generations to come.

Collectively as communities on the continent of Africa we have proved go be resilient, but what are the characteristics that produce resilience in an individual? How can one cultivate resilience?  A scholarly article by Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, MD. and Jennifer M. Covino, MPA called, “Stress and Resilience: Implications for Depression and Anxiety” identifies the following traits as being necessary to produce resilience.

  • Optimism. Those who are extremely optimistic tend to show greater resilience, which has implications for any activity that increases a person’s  positive view of his or her options, thereby increasing optimism.
  • Altruism. Those who are resilient often find that helping others is one way to handle extreme stress.
  • Having a moral compass or set of beliefs that cannot be shattered is crucial to building resilience.
  • Faith and spirituality. For some, prayer is a daily ritual through which people obtain emotional strength.
  • Humour. Humour allows us to reframe situations and experiences. Be able to laugh at yourself!
  • Having a role model. Many people with role models draw strength from this by observing and learning from the challenges that someone they look up to has overcome.
  • Social supports. Having contact with others who can be trusted, either family or friends and with whom one can share their most difficult thoughts is necessary to remain resilient
  • Facing fear (or leaving one’s comfort zone) frees us from the limitations in our minds.
  • Having a mission or meaning in life gives us a goal to press on towards.

So my friends, when you see me share the hashtag #Resilience, I hope to inspire you to press on towards the dreams and goals that you have and to not be discouraged and give up. Over the next few months I hope to hear from you about your own stories of resilience and how you have overcome adversity. I will share some of your stories so that we can encourage, inspire and uplift one another.Feel free to inbox me on Facebook with your story of resilience and keep an eye on the page where you can be featured!

#Resilience – no stopping us now!



  • Washington Mapfumo

    A true observation Dr.Makamba,especially for me as a Zimbabwean.We have gone through trials and tribulations but we keep on keeping on(too resilient) on some things other nationals from other countries can’t put up with..Thanks for such an observation

  • Innocent Mwariwangu

    Lovely piece there Dr. James. Thank you. No matter the adversity, we are still standing. #Resilience!

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