, pub-5475981771945671, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

How not to become insane working from home

How not to become insane working from home

I Have Been Working From Home…

Yes, I have been working from home for decades. And I have reasons not to worry about the lockdown.
That is to say, COVID-19 will not stop me from keeping my composure or my sanity.
We are entering the full circle of eight months in

lockdown next week.
It started in March, and we survived the toughest first few months without too much of a setback.

For years I worked from home reporting for the BBC Radio Network Africa.
The job was to interview people and to file reports or compile a cassette recorder packed with quotes.

They will be from interviews that I would send to the BBC Bush House in London.
I developed a system to survive the lack of competition and the isolation that comes with working from home as a stringer.

It was to have a solid mind control that could defeat these challenges.
The focus of this theory developed in my mind was to monitor the clock.

Remember the Village Of The Damned? The scene where Christopher Reeve keeps his thoughts on the clock.

Christopher Reeve and one of the children from the amazing Village of the Damned movie — Picture Credit – Highdefdigest

Well, I don’t have to fight the children, but I had to keep a balance between handling my nieces and nephews and delivering on the job at a certain given time.

It was fun having the kids running around or talking on the phone while I file my reports. But to keep my focus on my job, I had to force my mind to build a mechanism that became the round-the-clock focus for me. It helped me to achieve a few important things.

First, I became punctual in almost everything. From waking up to the start of the new day looking for the piece of news that would make money for me and accomplishing the daily tasks. They were all regulated and timed. Not to perfection, because I depended a lot on what was the agenda at home.

The situation at home can challenge my work time. It keeps changing at the whims and fancies of the members of the family.

The mind-control exercise led me to keep up with time by merely guessing what time it was.
I knew exactly how much time I needed to write my piece, scribbling on paper before I typed it in my Olivetti.


I was surely in an automated mood. What I mean is with this technique, there were very few things that could escape my attention.
The focus on events in Mauritius and around the globe made it possible for me to predict some of their outcomes.
For example, I was the only one who could predict the firing of a powerful minister of Information in Mauritius.
I wrote the article about his future firing months before it happened and when Africa Now published the story in February 1986; it was only days before his revocation.

Mr Harish Boodhoo was dismissed as a minister in Mauritius in 1986 —

I could not do these risky stories that could land me in bigger problems.
I was writing about the budget in Mauritius with such fluency that magazines like South published them, earning me big bucks.

These were insane moments in my career as a freelance journalist and a stringer for BBC Radio.
Nowadays, when I recall the precision with which I was writing, I ask myself whether it was really a mind in automation or the result of muscle memory?


Nevertheless, I can say with no doubt that luck plays a bigger role in your career when you are a freelancer.
For some, they will call it their guts to find the right story, always. But who could see such events coming that marked my life for good?

I was in Madagascar in the late 1980s when I met French President Francois Mitterrand.

Not only did I make the headlines of all the Madagascar newspapers the day before. I would again create a breaking story for local and foreign journalists.

The picture of Mr Mitterrand holding my arm and walking in the streets of a suburb in Antananarivo was all over the front pages of the local papers.

It was raining; I was the only journalist with a BBC Radio cap on my head, and I had an umbrella.
Mitterrand, speaking in French, asked me where I was from besides being a BBC reporter, as he points to the cap.

When he heard I was from Mauritius, he asked me if he could borrow the umbrella which I graciously agreed to.
He said no; I want you to hold the umbrella while we walk together along the road where a crowd of mostly Malagasy women were there to greet him.

His security detail was dumbfounded as we

strolled along the path laid for him under the heavy downpour.
While waving at the crown and stopping once or twice to shake a hand here and there, he kept talking to me.

He was the one asking questions about a lot of things regarding Mauritius in particular.
But what happened next was pure luck.

Didier Ratsiraka was the longest-serving President of Madagascar. Picture Credit:

The next day I was at the presser where Mr Mitterrand was sitting next to the Madagascar President Didier Ratsiraka.
I asked a question that sent Mr Ratsiraka in a fit of rage. He asked me to leave the tent where the event was taking place.

Before the security detail arrives to pull me out from the media section, Mr Mitterrand had stood up and asked who do you want to kick out of here?

I was still standing, and I saluted him. He said, “It’s Kazi, he is my friend, and he is not going

He asked his security detail to make sure I am not pulled out of the event and sat down, smiling.


Believe me, miracles happen, and it happens a lot of times if you keep a strong faith in what you are doing as a journalist in particular.

Had Mitterrand forgotten who I was, a day after his interaction with me, I would get kicked out of a presser by the President of a country. Not a minor feat, is it?

This incident got the local newspapers to publish the famous picture on their front page. I missed that solemn moment because I had to rush to the airport to head back to Mauritius early in the morning.

It is only after Mitterrand landed in Mauritius a day later that I was told by a French journalist from the AFP that the picture was a hit in Madagascar.

He did not think of bringing a copy because he thought I already had one.

They offered me a job at the AFP, rival to the BBC, but I squandered it. Maybe one day I can tell this story.
And yeah, these are the four things that keep me going and motivate me in my search for a wonderful story while in lockdown because of COVID-19!