Sunday, April 14, 2019

Open Book | Berry Dakara


We've turned to a new chapter of our #OpenBook series, and this time we visit a blogger I have followed for years! Berry Dakara has captured my heart and my attention for a long time, primarily due to her transparency and great storytelling. 

What I didn't know prior to embarking on this project, is that Berry's name is actually Anita (we'll learn where the blog name came from later.) Berry will be 37 this May. She tells me she 'can’t believe she's this close to 40'. 

Berry is Nigerian but has lived in the US since she was a teenager, bar a five-year stint back in her country of birth in her early thirties. She has a daughter, who she calls Cocoa. 'She's my absolute joy', Berry tells me.

It's time to find out more about Berry Dakara!

Hello Berry. Tell me a bit about your blog.
I have a lifestyle and personal blog, the Berry Dakara blog. The name is a play on two of my Nigerian names – Eberechi and Baridakara. I wanted my blog to represent the tribes I come from (Igbo and Ogoni). You can find it at www.berrydakara.com and I share my life experiences on various topics like motherhood, travel, natural Hair, money and more.

Why did you get into blogging?
My first foray into blogging was because I wanted to share the NYSC (Nigerian Youth Service Corps) process with my family, friends and others who would be interested in going through the NYSC program. You can find that old blog post at The Aje-Butter’s Guide to NYSC.* After my NYSC year was up, I decided to continue blogging and sharing my life on my current blog.

How long have you been blogging for?
I started blogging in December 2011, but I have been blogging for 6 years on my current blog.

What is your favourite blog post to date?
I have a lot of posts on my blog that I like, but one of my favourites was my April Fool/Pregnancy Announcement in 2017. You see, the previous year, I went public with how my husband and I had been struggling to conceive for over a year. We even had a medical procedure done but it failed. I was ecstatic and eager to share the joyful news with my readers when I reached the 6-month mark in my pregnancy. I tell Cocoa all the time that she has e-aunties, e-uncles and e-godparents all over the world who prayed for her to come.

What do you love and dislike most about blogging?
I really enjoy sharing and reading about other people’s experiences. I get inspired by others in the blogging community – especially African women like me. I must confess that I get bitten by envy sometimes, especially since traffic and engagement have slowed down on my blog. But that doesn’t stop me from still supporting others when I can. I still leave comments and retweet others posts when I come across them. I do like that a lot of bloggers have each other’s backs. The truth is there is space for everyone, and even though blogging is VERY saturated right now, we all have our unique voices. I can’t tell a story the same way you would, and vice versa. We all bring uniqueness to what we offer.

Tell me about the most significant moment in your blogging journey so far.
My most significant moment in blogging might be when my blog reached 1 million views. That’s a pretty high milestone. Unfortunately these days, it does not seem to go for much, as social media (especially Instagram) is king. But nobody can ever take away that something I created has been viewed almost 1.5 million times (creeping slowly towards that number).

What's the best piece of blogging advice you've ever received? 
The best blogging advice I have gotten is to take a break when I need to. I think even the best writers get into creative slumps, and it is necessary to take a step back in those instances. It’s even better if you have pre-scheduled posts to cover any breaks.

What is next for your blog? 
I think I’m still in the process of rebranding my blog. I took a break for a while, due to personal struggles. I kind of lost myself, and obviously was not in a place to share. I’m getting my groove back but need clarity on what exactly I want to do blog-wise. 

Otherwise, I have a couple of things I’m passively working on, which I need to ramp up to ACTIVELY working on, because they really consume my thoughts a lot. I’ll be happy to share once I have them up and running.

Thank you for speaking to me Berry. Other than the blog, where else can we find you?
You can find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as @BerryDakara. I also co-host a weekly talk show on Instagram and Facebook on Sundays at 4pm EST @TeaWithCubes.



Well, that's it! That's another instalment of #OpenBook wrapped up. It really does not get any 'realer' than Berry. I suggest you go and read some of her life updates on the blog - they will really resonate. And when you get the chance, go and follow her on Instagram. Her Insta-stories alone will give you a candid view of her life.

I really enjoy sharing other people's stories with you because I believe it is our stories which bring us closer together. If you're black and blogging, in your thirties and would like to feature in #OpenBook, please hit me up at contact@madelinewilsonojo.com.

*'Aje-Butter' is a Nigerian term to describe someone who is overly sheltered and/or spoilt. Not street smart. What Ghanaians may refer to as 'dada ba'. 

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19 comments

  1. 1 million views.. wow thats amazing.

    Keep the stories coming Madeline!

    Happy new week! Xo

    http://www.glitsxgrace.com/2019/04/16/career-advice-for-the-fresh-graduate/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1 million views is a huge milestone! Thanks Nicole. I will try to keep going with this series. I just need more candidates!

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  2. This is truly inspiring. Loved reading this post.

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  3. Thanks for the feature Madeline. I really enjoyed the questions and it gave me a chance to reflect on my blogging journey so far. Well done to highlighting Black Bloggers over 30.

    Berry Dakara Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're most welcome Berry. You've given me a chance to reflect on my own journey!

      Delete
  4. Great interview here sis. I don't know her so thanks for the introduction. Gotta check her out.

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    ReplyDelete
  5. Awww, love me some Berry Dakara. Her honesty has always been my favourite thing about her.
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Bubu, you and I both! I love your blog just as much. ButBubu's honesty is so refreshing in a world where most of us are always trying to put our best foot forward.

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  6. Great post. I enjoyed reading it. I really like what Berry said about the blog world being saturated. I feel like that's the same in life and we all matter and we all need to share our experiences and voices as it is different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Betty. Glad you did. Thank you for your constant support of madelinewilsonojo.com. Yes, sharing is important!

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  7. I love Berry's Ogoni name. What does it mean?

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  8. Geesh, what an ego on this one. Sure hope he and those other Founding Fathers can put in a few clauses about women’s independence in all those documents they’re fighting about because being unable to own property or vote, and precluded by sex from 98 percent of jobs in the Colonies is really slowing down my game. I’d dump this jerk in a heartbeat if I had more options.
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