1. What's your real government name?
Wasn't expecting this question at all, but I'm not living any double mysterious life. It's simply Tamanda Kanjaye
2. How are you really?
The past few months have felt like a daze. I have been exhausted for the most part. I've watched the days colliding into each other and experienced my mental state morph into a big blob of blergh.
3. Are there ever moments of peace when you're alone by yourself?
I find being in such moments to be both parts calm and chaos. Chaos 'cause being alone with the dark side of my thoughts can be terrible. But also calm because I don't wear a mask and I can truly be who I am.
4. How do you handle being a public figure?
I wouldn't necessarily call myself a public... anything. But I guess in certain situations I can be considered quite "known." Still, it's not that big a deal that I need to "handle."
5. What did you want to be growing up?
I've wanted to be a lot of things, from a housewife with seven kids to a scientist who would cure cancer to a nun. But the very first thing I ever wanted to become was a pilot (before I figured out I had a deathly fear of heights). What a whole different trajectory I've taken since then.
6. Who is your favourite person in the world?
The lead singer of Imagine Dragons, Dan Reynolds. But since he's a straight white man which is against my Marxist- feminist hoo-ha (and also because the chances of personally meeting him are close to none), by process of elimination, my favourite person becomes my mother.
7. Who is your favourite poet?
But also, Kae Tempest.
8. Biggest insecurity?
I honestly hate how loud my voice can get sometimes, but also, in the same vein, I hate that sometimes I can't seem to control myself from talking too much. I wish I could just shut up more often than not.
9. A Malawian creative you admire and why?
Akulu Lipenga because his art style is so distinct that you can tell his artwork from a mile away. Also, he has mad work ethic that I wish I could emulate.
10. What's your utmost unconventional opinion?
It’s a tie between my belief that some people just aren't meant to be happy in the grand scheme of the human experience (e.g me), and that the Sharknado Franchise is better than the Fast and Furious one.
11. Who was your utmost favourite pet?
I had pet rabbit named Speedy for two years when I was a child and he filled me with endless joy.
12. What do you want to achieve in your full life cycle?
To be honest I don't have any grand aspirations and dreams, just small things I am trying to get done. But I guess in the long run I want to forever make my mom proud and at my very end, I just want to know that in this life I was the best I could be.
13. Do you have any pop stars you look up to?
The mother monster herself, Lady Gaga. Without her I doubt I would allow myself to be as expressive (read: weird) as I am now.
14. If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?
I used to think I'd choose invisibility but right now I think I'd like to be able to stop time just so I can catch my breath before I go on with the day to day of my life.
15. If you could work with any writer on a project, who would it be and why??
Has to be Akwaeke Emezi. I find almost all their writing so ethereal. I also feel that even though their skill is miles better than mine and that they're a literal deity, I'd like to think we have a lot of similarities especially in the way we both think and write.
16. What makes you happy?
My mother and by extension the people I love.
17. If a tree falls in a forest and nobody’s around to hear it, does it really make a sound?
18. What have been your challenges in life?
Probably my biggest challenge to date has been dealing with PTSD, depression and everything that come with them.
19. How do you deal with your emotions when you're feeling down?
I cry a lot. I sleep a lot. I talk to someone who might understand
20. What’s your favourite smell?
It’s a tie between the smell of the earth after it rains and petrol.
21. A common misconception about you that might as well be true at this point?
Until today, I cannot fathom why anyone would believe that I am confident, or that I have high self-esteem.
22. How would you describe your work-life balance?
How do you describe something that doesn’t exist- because trust me calling it a balance is an overstatement. I am coming to terms that I am a workaholic that uses work as some sort of distraction from other aspects of my life.
23. What is your favourite book?
Forever and for always, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.