Joan is a 24-year-old Cameroonian woman with a deep desire to leave a legacy on the African continent. She is a registered dietician, currently working towards her PHD in Dietetics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is also a part time lecturer, teaching a 1st year course at UKZN. Although she has a scientific based qualification, she loves to create content and write. She says she used to keep diaries since she was 8 years old and she started her first blog in 2011. When she is not doing academic work, Joan works with different brands as a content developer and puts different posts together for her blog as a Christian write. Joan was born in Bamenda, Cameroon and moved to South Africa a few years ago. Joan’s aspiration in life is to live a life that reflects the love of God and to be a source of transformation to all who God sends into her life.
How do you feel about everything happening in Cameroon?
“It’s heart breaking. I try not to think about it, because it’s painful to watch the streets you once played on become ghost lands. I wish I could blink and it’ll be all over. It’s a heavy burden I know I’m not the only one walking around with”
Joan’s dream was to be a medical doctor but when she did not get accepted due to documentation issues, she settled for her second choice which was Dietetics. She says she did not really enjoy the clinical dietetic practice, so she decided to venture into research and community based dietetics.
How do you balance everything going on in your life?
“To be honest it has not been easy keeping a balance especially because I stay alone. I sometimes miss the shared responsibilities of family. But adult we must! I spend a good amount of time scheduling every task I have to do 3 months in advance. That really helps to keep me organised and not miss deadlines. I use Google calendar, colour code each task according to themes and set reminders. Unfortunately, I do work very late hours and cannot always rest enough, but I listen to my body and take down time when I absolutely cannot keep up. Above all God is the one constant who keeps me standing daily. Every day I see the hand of God upon my life. Just leaving home and coming back safely is something to be thankful for. God has shown me so much favour which has made my life beautiful and without that I’d be out of balance for sure.”
Since Joan was a child, she struggled to express herself properly. She would stutter as she tried to explain herself in words and because of this she started writing her thoughts as young as 8 years old. She kept diaries for about 10 years, and she started her blog in 2011. She started a Christian blog, she wasn’t sure what she was doing at the time but she knew in her heart that she wanted to share her life and God’s word for the world. Fast forward to 2019, she launched her own self hosted site and carried over her subscribers from the past years which is about 7000 subscribers. Joan’s blog is called The Curly Christian Girl. With over 8 years in the blogosphere, Joan mastered her skills in content development and social media marketing. She loves anything to do with online creativity. She can also do a bit of graphic design and video editing. She is constantly learning and pushing herself to get better and better.
In 2016, Joan was crowned Miss Cameroon SA 2016. Joan says it was such a beautiful experience, but it was short lived because of several circumstances which were out of her control. After she was crowned in 2016, her home country started experiencing instabilities which also affected her capacity at the time, she is super grateful for the experience and the platform to show people who she is, an advocate for social cohesion. Joan’s everyday motto is to keep it simple, work smart and always trust God.
Joan’s tips as a dietician:
- Always book an appointment with a registered dietician or nutritionist, they will give you a personalised diet plan for your specific dietary needs
- Do not follow diet plans off the internet especially if you do not know the source
- Do not fall for the “lose 20kg in one week” diet plans going around social media
- Be wise and do the right thing
What does your day look like?
“On a typical busy day, I lecture a class at 8:40am. Next, I meet-up with my supervisor for a meeting to discuss the progress with my research at 11:15. Sometimes I have practical sessions with my class at 2pm until 5pm. Once I get back home, I make supper, shower and rest a little. Thereafter I update the various social media handles of my client and start the drafts for articles that need to go up on the client’s website. I head to sleep when I’m tired usually around 2/3am. I need to have better sleeping patterns that’s for sure. In between my day I often love listening to sermons from my favorite preachers, which keeps me fueled up and continually focused.”
Joan also enjoys cooking and eating. If she could try a new restaurant every day, she would be so happy! She loves travelling and seeing new places, even if it’s just a new mall down the street. Such things excite her.
What should we expect from you in the future?
“It has been difficult trying to juggle my double life of science with a creative edge, but I really do love the world of creating content. Bringing a vision to life excites me! So, I hope to grow as a content developer, collaborating with bigger brands. I also started a YouTube channel this year, so I’m hoping that will thrive as well. It’s all about my faith and life journey. Also expect some very nerdy creations! My PhD research is aimed at developing the First Infant Figure Rating Scale in South Africa, which is a tool we want to use to assess parental perceptions of their infants’ body sizes. This can help us to understand the root cause of the double burden of undernutrition and over nutrition in SA infants. I have also been stewing up an exciting business idea which could place my home nation on the map! So really you can expect A LOT God being my helper.”
DID YOU KNOW?
- Joan does not know how to whistle
- She has had natural hair for 7 years now
- She once wanted to join the modeling industry
- She loves walking in drizzling rain
- She was a TEDx Speaker at UKZNs first ever TEDx event in 2017
- She has never been to a spa
Follow Joan on social media:
Facebook: Joan Akob
YouTube: The Joan Project