A moment with: Ma-Musu Kugba Nyande
I was born in Nameima, Eastern Sierra Leone during the civil war. I am the daughter of people who’ve survived and thrived. I wear the stories of my ancestors with pride because it directs my path. I am currently based on Kaurna Country (Adelaide, South Australia). I’ve lived here since 2004 and it has become my home away from home.
On her work
I’m a project officer and I work within the community space here in Adelaide. My creative passions include storytelling—this can be through writing, photography, acting, fashion etc—and I also enjoy hosting events that celebrate women of colour.
I am currently working on a black girl’s mental health summit for mid-2020. Last year I went on a little mental health journey myself and through connecting with other women who are interested in the space I thought it would be a great opportunity to speak on a topic that is somewhat taboo in a lot of cultures and traditions.
I’m also in the process of writing my first book, due for release this September, by God’s grace.
On health and self-care
2019 was a year of unpacking for me: this meant also unpacking and removing anything that wasn’t feeding my soul, my heart and my skin. I moved away from toxic products and focused more on natural and locally sourced products for my skin and, following my endometriosis diagnosis, this also meant changing/unpacking my eating habits. I work out max three times a week, and I try to eat home cooked meals as often as possible but with the hormone medication I am currently on, the craving for restaurant food is at an all time high.
I unwind by going for long drives or listening to a podcast. Sometimes I’ll sit on my bed with a few candles and write in my journal.
My skincare routine is very simple. Since travelling home and being exposed to natural resources that are great and beneficial to the skin, I now only use three products in addition to sunscreen. I use shea butter to remove my makeup, I wash my face with African black soap, followed by moisturising with shea butter again and then I apply my favourite Nivea eye cream. In Australia, I opt to use sunscreen to moisturise.
On the beauty tips she swears by
Drinking water and not consuming fizzy drink is something I’ve stayed loyal to for over 10 years. Staying hydrated is essential for glowing internally and externally.
I avoid sleeping with makeup at all costs, but if it does happen I will do a hydration mask to compensate and apologise to my skin.
I’ve always loved my own space and spending time with myself but since embarking on solo travel I’ve realised how quickly the need to be alone creeps in. I find myself going for walks, or simply just walking away from groups of new friends because my spirit craves to be alone. Travelling has allowed me to become more in tune with my body and spirit.
I’ve been inspired so much by the people I’ve met and the stories they’ve shared. As much as my spirit loves her own space, she also loves listening to the stories people tell.
I love food and while I travel it’s no different. I love trying new things. While travelling to Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria I’ve enjoyed testing out the most popular and raved about dishes just to see what the hype is about. My verdict is Nigerian Jollof isn’t all that. Sierra Leone and Ghanaian Jollof all the way. One thing I will give Nigeria is their suya (BBQ meat). They make the best suya.
On her favourite books and podcasts
My all time favourite books are Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
When it comes to podcasts, I’ve been loving Hey Aunty! by Shantel Wetherall, Uncommon by Vanessa Woode, Passing Through by NnekaJ, Modern Love by WBUR for my commute to and from work, and Tea and Pepper soup by Moiyattu Banya-Keister.
On what music she’s listening to
I love Jessica Mauboy’s recent album Hilda and Emeli Sandé’s Long Live the Angels.
On who she follows
When it comes to my social media I try to follow people I know personally or who I’ve established a relationship or friendship with. My favourite accounts are the accounts by my girlfriends or women bosses I admire. I love:
On her top five places in the world
My parent village, Bunumbu Sierra Leone, because regardless of how far I may go, my heart will always be at home and this place is my home. We have the most beautiful mountains, food and culture.
Accra, Ghana. I spent most of my childhood in Ghana before migrating to Australia. The country and its people are beautiful, and if you’re looking to research the slave trade this is the perfect place to start.
Ivory Coast - such a mystical and beautiful country. From its culture to its traditional practices, it’s one of my favourite places in the world.If you speak French, you will fit right in.
Bali, Indonesia - Bali is one of my favourite last-minute travel spots. Tickets from Australia are often really cheap and the cost of accommodation, food and other expenses are far more affordable than what we’d pay in Australia.
Although I haven’t been, I’ve heard such great things about Cape Verde, its people and food, that I’ve added it to the list of countries I’d like to visit in 2020.
Where can we follow you?
You can follow me at @mamusu.nyande