The storyteller

She knows no boredom as her plate is always full and when she does something she give it her all.

Refilwe Loewen or Fify as she is affectionately known is a multifaceted artist known to many for the beautiful stories and milestones she captures through her lens.

She tells of other people’s joy, success, hopes, dreams and accomplishments.

“I’m a self-taught portrait photographer, but have a Degree in Media Studies from the University of Botswana,” she reveals adding “I am crazy about my husband but my main anchor is my relationship with God. It is a relationship far from perfect but it has seen me through the years, and I strive to do everything excellently, so that people can see Him through me.

In addition to the stunning pictures the 29 –year- old mother of two boys also chronicles life’s experiences relatable to many in her blog; Le Magnifique.

One reads of a not so perfect but magical love, motherhood journeys, chronicles of the ever elusive perfect and healthy hair with focus on the natural.

Her splendor and eloquence as she writes about her experiences and of those she has worked leaves one in awe.

“ I know I’m still young, but my life experiences have taught me that people, especially women, forget their beauty and value. This may be due to various circumstances that life throws at us. And when someone does not recognize their value, it’s tough for them to be passionate and therefore impact those around them to fulfil their purpose. My main passion is to show people, especially women, just how beautiful they are, how beautiful their families are so that they can work harder at following their dreams. This manifests in me talking health, business, purpose, even natural hair, with everyone I meet,” she says with a smile.

The storyteller
One of the many families Fify photographed

Loewen says she believes that every woman should be photographed beautifully.

Although there have been many topics covered in her blog Loewen says her latest offering; the Journey to Motherhood series has been amazing for her.

“I felt it addressed a forgotten and a not-to-be spoken-about topic in our society. I also learnt a lot about infertility and reproductive health in the process.”

The series includes talks on Dreams, 6Miscarriages And keeping Marriage Strong, How Much Do You Know About ‘Birth Grief and blog entries such as; Botswana, Africa Love Story, A Beautiful Love Story and early entries such as I’m a dreamer.

“I started my blog in 2011 and I’ve learnt some lessons along the way. I started it to write my clients’ stories and have a point of contact for them. I realized that there were very few avenues locally for showcasing how Batswana look like and I wanted to fill that gap. Of course that’s not the case anymore, more people are writing and putting up pictures, so that’s awesome.”

I push Loewen to share how she manages to include so much in a 24hr day and with a sparkle in her eye shares; “I don’t think one can ever really strike a balance, one aspect will be neglected in one season and that’s okay. I’ve learnt to be intentional with everything – when at home with my kids I’m really present with them, when working, I give it my all. I also try not to rush through stuff, because that way you miss important moments.

Long before many took on the challenge of following their passions as opposed to committing to 8 to 5 jobs as employees, Loewen was well on her way, steadily building on her passion.

“I’ve stuck to photography because I feel I’m onto something, a calling bigger than myself. And it is a viable business because there is a market for quality photographs and great customer service, which I strive to provide. I’m an all or nothing kind of person, so if I’m taking part in a project, doing a shoot or something you know it’s going to be done well because I give it full attention.

Keeping in line with her conviction to do good, Loewen continues to share insightful stories through the projects she undertakes.

She admits to being somewhat of a social activist as she strives to share her unique experiences with a wider audience and not just her clients.

“ From a young age I always stood up for someone, especially the marginalized. I stood up to the bullies in school (then cry afterwards), I used to volunteer with UNICEF; facilitating child workshops, and when at university I would spend semester breaks touring the country with my church and counselling young people on issues affecting them.”

As a sought after story teller in her own right, Loewen says she has worked with equally impressive local photographers.

“I definitely love the work that I see around, however my sisters have a great eye too so they are the ones who will capture my life with the camera.”

Reflecting on the future Loewen says ; “I hope when my kids and other generations to come look at my footprints they’ll say hey, she had the courage to live her life fully and unapologetically, because it’s when we live courageous lives that we inspire others to do the same.

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