Leaving behind a legacy

I recently attended an event to pay tribute to an incredible fashion writer who passed on a year ago. Lydia Keturah was a writer and editor of a fashion magazine in Uganda. The memorial event was organised by her friends and colleagues not only to celebrate her life, but to also launch a fund in her name to support needy girls by paying their tuition fees. The deceased was charitable and extremely passionate about education and had worked closely with an organisation that rehabilitates young girls, many of whom were former prostitutes.

The people present shared such wonderful memories about Lydia. Her friends reminisced on all the crazy and mischievous stuff they had done together. They told of how she would analyse their other friends and lovers and cause some to get out of toxic relationships. Of her colleagues, the juniors said how she was of great support, always gave them assignments and critiqued them into being good writers. Her peers and superiors spoke well of her too.

When my turn came to say something, I started by saying that I met Lydia almost 10 years ago when she sent a reporter to interview me for a small feature in the magazine. In what was a surprise move, instead of using their main interview for the cover, Keturah recommended me for the cover and so I had to go through the hair and makeup process for the photoshoot. It is during the photoshoot that I introduced myself to her officially. She was amiable. The magazine was a big deal, it being in the early years of my time on a radio breakfast show, it helped a lot with marketing my brand. I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity she gave me.

Unfortunately, I did not have the privilege of spending a lot of time with Lydia but always read her articles and knew a lot about her from what my friend Kiza said about her. This brought me to the stark realisation that people know our friends through the things we say about them. At one point or another we have probably found ourselves in situations where our friends or acquaintances speak ill of people we have not met, such that when we finally meet them, we are unable to see their good side because we are blinded by what we heard. It is important to realise that when you speak well of your relative, friend or colleague that is how the people you’re speaking to will know them; the reverse is also true.

Towards the end of the event, one of the speakers challenged us to think of the legacy we want to leave when our time on earth is no more. By the time people yearn to continue work that someone had started it can only be because it was a genuine cause and a true testament of their lives. When all is said and done, we will be remembered for the things that occupied us, to some it is dancing, others charity, others helping family, and to others it is their love for supporting strangers and people they never expect anything from. It is the season for giving; I hope you have plans to touch a life in one way or the other and I hope that the impact of whatever you do will outlive you.

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