Andreatta Chuma is never the one to rest on her laurels.
Besides captivating audiences with her voice and her enchanting delivery of the spoken word, the celebrated poet was also pursuing a fulfilling Information Technology career away from the limelight.
“My parents never clipped my wings and I was encouraged to follow my dreams,” she said in a recent interview hence when she recently announced yet another feat of sailing through her studies whilst holding down a full time job, we too celebrated.
“I am a persistent dreamer and constant learner hence my life is a combination of many interests and passions,” said the 35 –year- old proud, hardworking lass.
Her interests are mainly in art, technology, design, policy and education.
With all the activities that Chuma is involved with, one understands why she confesses to never having a dull moment.
“I honestly don’t recall the last time I was bored.
I don’t believe in a life that is inward looking.
I believe in making the world a better place so I get involved in any way I can to make an impact.”
Of all her countless experiences and learnings, Chuma singles out her involvement with The Word Live.
“I curate a Christian arts festival event in Botswana every year. Despite the work, I am humbled by its growth. My Christian faith is the most important thing to me and guides all aspects of my life. Everything flows from pursuing God and my life would be meaningless if I step away from this truth.”
From a tender age, Chuma has valiantly gone where many fear.
As a 19- year- old on national service (Tirelo Sechaba) fellow when there was uncertainty of securing government scholarship to study further, Chuma took matters into her own hands.
“It was uncertain whether the government would sponsor most students abroad with the double intake.
I had internet access so I used my Tirelo Sechaba allowance and sat for the American SATs and I got an 80% scholarship at an American college.
Unfortunately the government could not meet me halfway but I did not despair.
Years later, it is from that same spirit that I didn’t think twice about applying for a job in Europe during the Euro crisis when immigration was tight.”
She did and as they say, the rest is history. Chuma has been living and working in Belgium since February 2012.
“The adjusting never stops especially in Belgium where the system is so complex even for other Europeans. But I love the fact that I live in a society where no one cares or asks about stuff you own. I find that liberating”.
Although she celebrates her latest acquisition of earning her stripes as a Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT) Chuma explains; “This is a designation I obtained from the International Association for Privacy Professionals. It is about securing data privacy at all stages of IT product and service lifecycles. I have been a privacy nerd for a while now so I decided to invest in the passion.”
Chuma’s passion and dedication has led to her turning her curiosity into a lifelong interest.
“In high school I had a love for astronomy then shifted to computers even though we didn’t have one at home and I wasn’t studying it. At school, I spent my lunch breaks at the computer lab playing a racing car game and that is when I also learnt how to type.”
Chuma went on to study IT and computer Science in South Africa.
She then worked at Deloitte locally before relocating to Europe as an IT auditor.
Chuma continues to challenge herself and continues to seek opportunities to further her studies and create growth for her performing ventures.
“It has certainly been a fulfilling journey. I have met incredible people along the way and some became friends who became family.”
Besides her IT acumen, Chuma also prides herself in her song writing capabilities which she nurtured since her teens before getting into writing a journal which morphed into poetry.
At the height of her journey, Chuma takes us down memory lane.
“I did 10 gigs in two months in Joburg when I started out in 2005. My first ever gig was with Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Mafikizolo. I had two memorable interviews on Yfm on Unathi and Rudeboy show. I Joined Exodus Live Poetry and went on a UK tour.”
She also draws from a moment in time; “creating my album back in 2009.I was in an incredibly inspired space. It still amazes me that at no point did I think about who would like it or a specific audience I was producing for. I was in my own world. I think it taught me how to live authentically.” It is against this backdrop that Chuma lives and advises that;
“Prayer is everything. Laughter is truly medicine. It’s okay to feel afraid just don’t make it a home, keep moving. Strong black woman is a trap not a compliment. My worth does not come from achievements, ambitions, what I own (or not) or who approves of me. It is my acceptance of me and what I choose to live by.”