In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey introduces the concept of private and public victory. Katy Whitton writes a summarised review of the book; “The book begins with talking about the private victories before introducing the public victories. The public phase is one where we move from our newly formed independent selves into ‘interdependent’ people; we learn to trust and rely on people, build relationships, and become trustworthy and reliable ourselves.”
Siima Sabiti’s voice graced the radio waves for eight years. It was one place that got her to her feet both in terms of work and passion. “I love talking and I love music. And here I was being paid to have fun.” To her it was not just any of the traditional radios, Vision Voice (which later rebranded to XFM) was not your usual kind of radio. It was a place filled with life all the time. That was the very time that Siima joined, first as a free-lance who would be standing in for an absent presenter to being at its headship when he was transferred to head the Flair Magazine also run by the same Vision Group.
Siima explains this to me in a random and playful tone, very familiar of her on radio. As we speak, she keeps adjusting her Malcom X leopard-spot framed glasses.
Because she is known more for her public life which is mainly limited to the being a radio presenter and her active presence on twitter, she considers herself to be a private person.
“The Siima you hear on radio is the same Siima you will meet in person,” she discloses to me.
One thing that comes to the mind to many a social media especially twitter user, is Siima’s everyday reminder to the world to keep hydrated and mind their business. What began as a reminder to self has grown to become a daily guide to many people who follow her on twitter. This daily motivation not only does it mean a lot for her but it helps many carry through the day.
“There’s a time I didn’t tweet for about two days. My DMs were full. ‘Is there a problem?’ many asked.”
“At first I did not take it as serious but later it occurred to me that not many of us get a chance to have someone speak positively to us every other day. In a world full of negativity, it is important for one to be reminded to keep positive.”
As she speaks, you cannot fail but notice the glow on her face and the twinkle in her eyes to tell that she is so passionate about other people’s well being. It is one thing that has been at the centre of her work, waking up every day to celebrate people using the platforms at her disposal.
“A lot of negative things are said about twitter which I understand but there’s so much positive and it is incredible how people you’ve never met, total strangers, you only know them by their handles can do uplifting things.”
It feels good to know you can say something that makes someone have a good day. And you do not know who you are reaching out to. I am so grateful that I can do that.”
Last year Lulu Jemima was in the news. She had wedded herself in a bid to raise tuition for her master’s degree at Oxford University. The story was in the news but not attracting as much attention until Winnie Byanyima tweeted about it. Siima jokingly replied “We could do something” which was then seconded by a one Bernard Mukasa. Another Miss Nerima suggested that a wedding between Bernard and Siima famously known by her twitter handle as Kanyindo, would not be a bad idea. This is how the idea of the #Kabernz wedding came up. In one weekend, thousands of people had jumped on the idea and a twedding was happening. From this fake wedding, UGX Seven million was raised for the cause.
Siima attributes the success of this event to the kindness that inherently resides in all of us. With that one act of kindness, Lulu’s tuition burden was lessened.
This idea of keeping positive and being intentional about it was concretised at a workshop conducted by Susan Nsibirwa. “Sue asked us to find something positive to do every day to help you carry through the day. Something that can become a habit. She based her talk on Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A book that changed her outlook to life.”
“Carry your weather. Find a way to motivate yourself to carry through the day no matter what you are going through. I would tweet ‘happy Monday’. Normally people hate Monday. I hate Mondays too but I would tweet, ‘I’m gonna be positive’. ‘I am gonna drink water and mind my business.’ All these tweets that have become a thing are things I wished someone would tell me. It is something I did every single day and it became a habit.
Whenever Siima would tweet, she would only do so to motivate herself. There are times she struggled with the motivation to carry on through the day, through these words, she find the means to carry through.
“Recently I was going through a rough time. I was not motivated even for a tweet. I did not want to be at work or home. I felt so hollow. Someone sent me a DM asking me, ‘are you okay?’ and I broke down. Someone asking that meant a lot.”
Today, what many look at as a public victory, is a private victory to her. It is a habit she has formed overtime. It is a daily reminder to self to know that she has all the power within her to remain positive and to be the kind of person she wants to be. In her private life, Siima loves to hang out with her dogs, listen to classical audio books (especially if they are read by Stephen Fry) or play the flute.
In case you have not heard from Siima today, be reminded to drink your water and mind your business.
“You don’t have to have an opinion on everything. You don’t have to comment on everything. Sometimes you just read and move on. There’re some things I look at and I am like did you have to say that?”