Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

My first encounter with the novel Things Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe was in 2005. I can undoubtedly say it is one of my favourite novels, both in how its written and how well it tells the tale of the “falling apart” of indigenous cultures through colonisation.

As I write this, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. I believe 2020 is a year that will be imprinted in our hearts for a very long time. Similar to the story of European’s arriving in Africa many centuries ago, unannounced, changing the course of African history and the falling apart of our indigenous ecosystems. I view COVID-19 also as “coloniser”, arriving in our generation, unannounced and contributing to the “falling apart” of what we know as normal and challenging everything we hold dear.

So, what does purpose have to do with all this? In my humble opinion, everything!

As a “purpose evangelist”, I would like to add that to survive and thrive despite the “coloniser” we have to build our lives on a meaningful foundation. How do we do that? Well the answer will differ for individuals, but I swear by these three things:

  1. The sun always rises (i.e. things eventually get better);
  2. Knowledge never goes out of fashion (i.e. read, live curious, draw from great thinkers);
  3. Enjoy every part of your life (my favourite :-)).

This month’s purpose thought is- Things fall apart, but your purpose doesn’t. One of life’s pleasure’s is to discover, accept and appreciate your contribution in an ever-changing world. In TD Jakes words, “Purpose will always outwrestle pain”.


Pen The Vision | Bongeka Mhlongo | 2020May

Image from:

Viewing purpose through the lens of Taxi Drivers

As content creators we can make the world better by influencing conversations around social topics. This video essay aims to tell people’s stories in their own words, by driving the message that taxi drivers are people too, with Real Stories, Real Journeys and Real Purpose!




No one is coming to save us!

No one is coming to save us!

The title of Stephanie Powell Watts book “No one is coming to save us” captured my attention. I believe it grabbed my attention because it made me understand that as a humanity, we thrive on the concept of having a ‘saviour’. Whether that saviour comes through a spiritual redemption or a political revolution or economic and technological advancement, in our humanity we often acknowledge our limitations and the idea of having a saviour, gives us hope. A sense of hope is one of the greatest miracles of life.

One of the lessons I continue to learn is that, people who allow their purpose to emerge and live meaningful lives, apply a common principle, i.e. they know that nobody owes them a purpose! As a “purpose evangelist”, I believe that most of the things we need to help us live meaningful lives are already locked up inside of us. Of course, we need some ingenuity, labour and divine guidance to bring them forth and we do that by choosing each day to ask of life, “what is my purpose?”. Receiving the answer is only the first step towards fulfilling your purpose. The answer to that question will have many iterations throughout our lives, because we are always evolving to different versions of ourselves, and that’s the magic of our humanity.

This month’s purpose thought is- no one is coming to save us! and to be more specific, no one is coming to save you because salvation has already come. Inside of you there is purpose and the lifelong calling of our humanity is to pay attention to our lives and be deliberate about becoming that which we already are.

Pen The Vision | Bongeka Mhlongo | 2020 April


Welcome to Pen The Vision 2.0!

Welcome to Pen The Vision 2.0!

Hello friends

Welcome to Pen The Vision 2.0!

It has taken us over a year to connect again with our Pen The Vision community. I would like to say, thank you to the people who kept asking us to bring back Pen The Vision. Your constant requests were a great source of encouragement and a beautiful revelation that the work we do, doesn’t go unnoticed.

This new Pen The Vision promises to deliver more than just a website. To those who may not be familiar with our journey, let me share some context. Pen The Vision started as a weekly blog in 2016, sharing thoughts on everyday wisdom, but now we have evolved into a content creation organization.

At the core of our message is that purpose comes through movement. At Pen The Vision our story is that purpose is a key ingredient in making the world better.

We will continue to share written blogs on the different faces of purpose on a monthly basis. We also have new things to offer, like video essays, our community dialogue events (“Bhoboka Sikhona”) and our products.

I invite you to explore this new platform and join us as we reach for the goal of making the world better!

Lots of love!

Bongeka Mhlongo
Founder & Content Creator


Different valid forms of work- they all have a right to co-exist…

Different valid forms of work- they all have a right to co-exist…

My friend and I have been engaging in dialogue about redefining work and creating a meaningful life in today’s world. We are both independent consultants with very different lives from our peers who work a 9-5 in corporations. More so, we are quite selective about the kind of projects that we choose to get involved in because we think differently about our quality of life. Work is not just about paying bills, but about choosing projects that we believe in and being in spaces where we feel we are able to make meaningful contributions. But even more importantly, it’s about getting projects that create room for flexibility so that we manage our time in a way that allows us to pursue our God given dreams and enjoy a fuller life.

As we explore projects that will fit well with our lives, most of our days look like this: We choose what time we wake up and go to bed; we choose where we have breakfast and where to work from. We plan our week according to our hearts desires and always slot in things we enjoy doing, such as going to book launches, doing research, reading and getting our nails done – This is the life right! 🙂

It is definitely going against the grain and as a result our way of life comes with scrutiny and confusion from people in our lives. When people know you don’t have a project, work a 9 to 5, or run a business, they struggle to understand what you do with your life. When I tell people I am working, I always get the confused response of ‘doing what?’, since I don’t fall in the normal parameters of what is considered ‘working’ or ‘having a job’. People would say to me  “You must have a lot of time in your hands, right?”  insinuating that I am less productive and don’t know what to do with my time. Sometimes they would even say, “wow, you probably have lots of money then.” Both of these assumptions are not a true reflection of my life. I can understand why people think this way because when I was in corporate I also thought in that same way. Our socialisation has taught us that ‘valid’ work is having a long-term job in a particular institution. Part of the reason I am writing this article is to challenge narrow perceptions of what productivity is and should look like. Often the assumption is that, you have a ‘proper’ job or are more productive if you wake up early, go to an institution and receive income end of the month. Whilst this is great, I challenge that it cannot be the only true voice in a society that is comprised with different kinds of people with various lifestyles.

I believe that we are moving into an era where more and more people are wanting to really do work that fulfills their divine purpose. My friend and I are not trying to go against the norm just because we can, no. Actually, this is a very divine journey for us because despite the opposition we face daily, we remain peaceful knowing that we are grounded spiritually. This journey has made us think differently about work, productivity and money. I say this because the things we do, don’t have immediate tangible pay off benefits. But we have a peace about that because we recognise that what we invest in today will pay out gigantically in future 🙂

I want to end with this note- friends, it’s okay for our lives to look different. We need to be more understanding of other valid forms of working and just appreciate that there are multiple views of what productivity is and should look like and guess what, they all have a right to co-exist!