24th Jul2016

Do All Lives Matter?

by admin

 

We all know about #BlackLivesMatter and the countless other hashtags calling for support and solidarity of the western and European countries crippled by terrorist attacks in the last few months. These hashtags, although well-meaning, overshadow what is happening in other African countries (#PrayForGhana). This problem is exacerbated by South African media’s lack of coverage of issues related to other African countries besides our own.

It has been claimed that violence has increased in America. Events which are characterised as being violent, involve a perpetrator who is oftentimes a person of colour. An event becomes framed as an act of terrorism when the perpetrator is suspected to have ties with insurgent organizations such as Isis. When the perpetrator is a white male, they get a slap on the wrist and are humanized as victims of mental illness. Instances of gun violence raise questions around gun control, racism, and homophobia. Many people have died and yet their lives become memorialized through a hashtag. In my opinion, it makes no sense that the US government has been probed for so long to reissue the federal assault weapon injunction yet nothing has happened. The trending hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has been circulating on the internet, alongside the protests and marches and calls from celebrities. People have the audacity to counterclaim that #AllLivesMatter. What needs to be understood is that America’s current prison-industrial complex has resulted in the deaths of many African-American and Latino people. It is insensitive to claim that #AllLivesMatter when not all lives are subjected to the same punishment under the American legal system.

I have gotten information on these recent events through the media, be it newspapers, television or social media. Social media have given me more of an unfiltered lens, as opposed to the traditional media outlets that are trusted by many South Africans. There are dominant stories which make the headlines whilst other stories are marginalised. As South Africans, we claim to value freedom of speech but we restrict our narratives on Africa. Until recently, I was ignorant on the relevance of #PrayForGhana. Through the transparency afforded by social media, I gained more knowledge on the floods which have negatively affected Ghana.

In a lot of African countries, freedom of speech is not valued. Investigative journalism is not cultivated because of the harsh penalties for those who do not adhere to politically-motivated guidelines for good journalism. Political figures are often uncomfortable on the prospect of having their dirty laundry aired. There is the belief that negative news will tarnish the images of their countries and chasing away potential investors. This results in journalists and other media-workers becoming the lapdogs of the authorities. In Nigeria, journalists working for the Al-Mizan newspaper were detained and threatened over investigative reports about Boko Haram insurgent group. In South African media there has been little to no coverage about what happens in African countries. News coverage largely follows African stories being picked up by the western press. This is problematic as the western press tend to portray Africa in a negative manner. I have recently learnt of the Akon electricity project in Africa. This is a positive story, yet there is very little media coverage on it.

I believe that the time has come for Africans to tell their stories from their own perspectives, to echo the sentiments of Thomas Bwire, news editor of Pamoja in Nairobi. The rest of the world has such narrow minded opinions about us and we are partly to blame for that. For, how long are we going to sit around and not take ownership of our countries, our stories, our art and our resources? Social media have become quite a powerful weapon to effect change and it is up to us to use it to our benefit.

Pray for Ghana

18th Jul2016

I See You See Black

by admin

The sun burns Wicked Bodies…

 

Day sees us dying in our smiles

And night waits for us – who we really are – alive.

 

I know you think I don’t, but I do;

I see you see black.

 

And I am here to tell you I am more than that;

Why are you amazed at my presence?

Why are you surprised

That I can have a mind?

 

I am More than an just Art piece, I am More than just a Number,

I am Nothing to watch in that Manner,

 

I have a Heart,

I am Together and I fall Apart,

I Bleed, I feel Rain,

I was bore by a Woman,

I can smell Roses,

 

I am More than the questions raised in ‘Philosophy’,

I am More than just a Dark part in ‘History’

 

Why did I ever need Science to tell me I am a human being?

Why does the colour of my skin have to make me something else?

 

 5_dark-and-lovely-10-x-14-acylic-on-canvas

 

 

 

 

Note: The above Poem is not racist and not intended to offend ANYBODY, but it is just a mere inspiration from the Block 3 First Year Philosophy topic, Philosophy of Race, and My pride in My ‘blackness’.

18th Jul2016

I Sat Down with Myself and I Wondered what I Gotta Say

by admin

I sat down with myself and I wondered what I got to say

In a world where as women we are forced to dumb ourselves down and look pretty

Where society is constantly setting standards for us to live by

I was told to never conform, to never let a man claim he’s better than me

I’m a girl with big dreams and I would hate it if they aren’t realized coz our society still relies heavily on patriarchy

Feminism had me supporting a movement that seeks to correct the system and empower the women

And I am for it through and through

Till the days were women don’t feel the need to constantly prove their abilities

Or feel small when compared to their male counterparts

until a time where women don’t get abused or lashed at for how they express themselves whether in what they wear and how they talk or think

until the days were women don’t have to sit around and raise babies rather take part in decision making positions about their countries

I see a future where girls know their worth and don’t rely on men

Where a women’s opinion is just as valid

And any dream doesn’t seem too big enough

And all opportunities turn into in to prosperous ventures

I am a black African women and I’m proud of that #BlackGirlsRock

Black Girl

23rd May2016

What is Happiness: A Story Inspired by a Homeless Man

by admin

images (56)After a long steamy shower, I had my herbal tea prepared for a warm bed. It had been a long and cold autumn’s day. A loud sound pierced through the walls of an eighth story flat and reached my bedroom on the 3rd floor, which prompted me to look outside. There I saw him. A homeless man who dancing to the beat emanating from a vehicle which had plenty of life in it. He found himself gravitating to the life in the vehicle. Resembling a drug-filled craze, the beat ran through his vein like electricity and conjured such joyful movements. Seeing that, I began to ask myself the question, what is happiness? Is it elicited by material things? Through satisfying one’s constant need for self-actualization? Or is it a choice to dance in the rain despite the thunderstorms at hand? A thought raced through my mind concerning the barriers that existed between him and me. These barriers included access to basic goods such as shelter, warm or fresh food and clothes to cover the vulnerable mortal body of mankind. I had all these; these goods considered important for productivity and progression towards a happy life and fulfilment. However, at that moment I longed for that kind of joy, the ability to find movement in the midst of freezing toes and hands. A lot of times, we focus on the things that satisfy the need to achieve the ideal self. The things that really matter for the ability to keep going forward are tossed aside. At most times it is the ones with big houses, the houses with walls half way through heaven, who are in a semi-permanent state of darkness. We are in constant pursuit of happiness. That is a part of human nature. For instance, a thick curved girl may always compare her body to the “ideal” body of a female on magazines instead of embracing and working to build her body accordingly. What I’m pointing out is there are always storms we are dealing with, either brought by our society or our birth circumstances. But what is really important is to find the good in those bad situations. It is important to develop the ability to work with what we have in order to produce desired results. Because when we begin to focus on all things going wrong we begin to build walls that obscure the sunlight. But if we begin to focus on the positive, then we are able to learn from and adjust to change. We, then,In are able to learn to build a bridge for future storms. Through the trials and tribulations, learn to find happiness, change the people around you if you have to, channel your thoughts towards positivity and teach the people around you.

images (57)

23rd May2016

I Found the End in Friendship

by admin

IMG_4764

I found the end in friendship.

I mean I haven’t exactly been honest about it, how I really feel. Well
I’ve tried but sometimes my thoughts are clouded until I’m trying to
fall asleep.

These four walls have seen it all, and each night they force me to
recall all the memories we have.
Is it not bad enough that everyone keeps asking about you? Why do I
still have to come back to my “comfort zone” & be reminded of you?

We were sitting in this same spot that day we talked about betrayal,
it’s so funny I never thought I’d feel how you felt that day, well not
towards you anyway.

I’ve tried to avoid feeling it, I’ve tried to avoid thinking about it
but no one really understands the damage that has been done. See
you’ve left a scar on my heart & I get it, it was a lesson but did it
have to be so awful?

The scars keep reopening every time I think about it. It cut me open.
It hurt me.

I don’t know how to trust again, because when you did what you did it
took me back, made me rethink every single aspect of my life. You had
me questioning everything & everyone. You helped me rebuild my walls
so quickly, all the work I had been doing on myself had gone to waste.
I was alone.

I’ve used the word hate when I describe how I feel about you & maybe
that’s not so true anymore, maybe I’m just angry.

I don’t think you realise what you actually did and the magnitude of
it, I don’t think you ever will.
You cut me open. You hurt me.

We’ll never have those 2am talks about what we want our future to look
like. We’ll never get the chance to see each other grow old. Here I am
going on about you as if you were my first love, but I guess our
friendship meant that much to me.

I will never understand what I did to deserve what you did to me, it
will never make sense to me. What I do know is I need to stop hurting,
I need to stop beating myself up about it as if I was the perpetrator.

They called us twins, “inseparable”. I see it now. You were the black
swan all along.

I hope you hear from me soon, because as much as I hate to admit it, I
think I miss you.

16th May2016

A Place Called Home

by admin

You spew vulgar as a greeting. The young, especially, are drawn to your poetic poison. At first glance it is inviting. Smiling at you as if it worships you just to find out you’re a pawn. Once is all it needs from you. That first time is ecstasy.

 

Then you’re on your own. Everyone is hustling to get that first time back. The second is almost as good. The third less so. The next time there is no high. Only the memory haunts you to your death. Then you must do it again.

 

Your eyes wide open as Adam and Eve. Seeing beyond what you should and it scares you. No go backs. You do not want to.

 

See these streets lure you with words of adoration and affection. Not for a while, only if you’re lucky, but long enough for it to draw your last breath. One that you are willing to give because from the first to the last everything is blurry. They do not know why they did not stop on the second or third sniff. But if anyone is to blame it’s those whose hearts ache for you not the street. It has no heart.

 

It owns everyone with venom called Tik because pot is tame. Everyone bends to its will without struggle but seduction. No one gets spared unless you stay invisible to it. Almost impossible but possible. You’re lucky if you make it out with so much as all your limbs intact.

 

A corpse of a young female girl violated and burnt alive left to decompose is expected. She only tried to flee after being exposed to you. The claws of the street could not let her go. Her vessel is sustenance to the cycle in the street.

 

Oh Ennerdale, I miss the days I could walk to the shop and not fear for my life. Not fear being reduced to an object of desire or conquest. A time when I knew your pawns. Their identities not constructed by you. You allowed everyone freedom enough to be happy. Parties every Saturday that would vibrate windows. If anyone wanted to join in the feast, they could with welcome.

 

Now you’re grey and quiet on a Saturday night. As if waiting to strike your last and final blow.

 

What made you turn on us? Was it the dirt on you that made you sick enough to make us stop laughing and start crying?  Or was is that we grew up and stopped spending time with you. That instead of playing cricket and cartwheels along the street, we embraced the concrete walls and shut you out. Choosing television games and movies over you.

 

I miss you but fear you more.

ennerdale image1

16th May2016

The Ordinary Boy

by admin

They say I’m just an ordinary boy who doesn’t even belong; yet, but they don’t know me and they will never know me because they don’t even try. They see me wearing all I’ve got. That amounts to a single item of what they wear. Immediately from that they categorise me as uncool because I’m disadvantaged. They say these English words fluently and hold the latest devices. I don’t, I’m immediately seen as being backward in my dressing, in my thinking, in my fluency in the language and in my doings. Let me tell you though- they don’t know me because they don’t even care.

All they see is the worn out cover of the book that I am. They judge it too quickly; they don’t even consider finding out what’s written on the first page. Let me tell you I am an individual too; I am equal to and as worthy as the next.  Perhaps I am not as privileged, but I too comprise of hopes, dreams and aspirations. I too have faith in my beliefs which my actions may contradict. We won’t all take the same paths because we all don’t desire the same destinations.

I lost all that I had when I was only six years old.  My mother is all that I have. I still look up to her and she is the reason I keep going, even when I don’t know where I am. At the age of six, you lose all that you had and the world expects you to be alright and do as they do, even, when you don’t have what the world has. Personally, I find that expectation way too high for my reach. All that I want is the chance to do what I can through my own will and within the confines of what I find possible. Circumstances led me to thirteen different households the following years. I had biological connections to the members of those households. Yet, they always spoke of how “one extra child was too much of a burden to carry” or “we are unable to fund an unplanned child”. Such words scar you for the rest of your life and, as you grow older, you realize that those continuous utterings meant that you were unwanted.

From heartache to frustration to hate, that realization made me feel those emotions which resulted in my undertaking numerous actions… my attempted suicide being the last. First, I rebelled- became extremely disobedient, arrogant to say the least- this in all honesty I knew that my rebellion would have elicited some attention.

Second, I caused disruption wherever I went. I wanted my name to be known and well known at that. I wanted people to fear me. Because of this desire of being feared, I got expelled from eight different schools in eight different regions.

Third, I joined several gangs. Finally I belonged. Being a part of something greater than myself, gave me the satisfaction of knowing that I was not only known but also wanted. I wanted a bigger audience- I wanted more people to know who I was and what I was capable of.  It started off small, stealing at local stores until I no longer got any satisfaction from that. I moved onto armed robberies, hijackings, arson, and assault. Just like that, I got myself a criminal record. This is what led to the fourth stage now I had been smoking cigarettes since the ripe old age of nine. I needed to feel more, especially during the days of frustration or unsuccessful robberies. Weed was too common; its high went down too quick. I became immune to its effect- at least that’s what I thought. I upgraded myself to using Cat, Tik, Ecstasy, and Crack for all different kinds of reasons; the high, the hype, the energy or the satisfaction, but mostly it was to numb the pain. I still felt the pain- I had lost my world, I had lost my hopes, and too often I was looked down upon.  I was rejected, I did badly at school, and I was treated as less than. I used those painful moments to justify my addiction. I needed to numb the pain. I hated where I stayed and I know they hated me being there. I thought of getting away but that meant starting over. That meant a different city, different people, different crimes, and new people trying to stop me. I dismissed the idea- it takes a long time to be feared and respected. I had marked my territory, built a name for myself, and lived hopelessly. Well, at least that’s what they thought, but remember they don’t know me. They take one look at my worn-out self and decide to keep looking elsewhere. Let me tell you something; I still had hopes, dreams and aspirations. I still wanted to pursue them.

Last and final stage: attempted suicide. I don’t recall what was going through my mind at that stage. Damn! No I had had enough! I felt so worthless and nobody really cared for me. I had done far too much wrong to ever be forgiven. I was unsuccessful in pursuing an academic career. I had nothing to my name. After taking at least 60 pills I swear I saw my momma’s face and touched her soft tender hands. That was just before I passed out. When I woke up that last vision was still vivid in my mind. It then hit me; I just might have let her down and so she came to lift me back up. I wanted to redeem myself- that faith in my beliefs was what got me through.

imagesBOKCPLIK

16th May2016

The Poem That Is So African

by admin

4 Africa-map-on-faceWhy is it we need a day, a week, a month

To say we are proud of being us

And glad to be each other’s sisters and brothers?

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To be proud black people, and darker?

We were born into this –

The melodies,

The dances,

The greenest mountains,

The whole of our families,

The clothing,

The crying,

The blood dripping,

The dying,

The hoping

The waking,

The celebrating,

The coming together,

The darkness,

Our dark skin colours…

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To look back on where we come from?

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To paint pictures and tell stories of our freedom?

Each day is a reminder of where we come from,

Each day is a song of our freedom.

Our names and mirrors reveal us,

There is no hiding the Africanness.

We are naked before the world,

Never to be known as nothing else – but Africans;

African Americans, African Asians,

Everywhere we go the history follows,

And it follows each day.

You are my brother and my sister every day,

Do you hear me, African human?

We do not need Africa Month, Africa Day

To remind ourselves that we are proud of who we are.

We should be proud of it, celebrate it,

Dance to the drum beats,

Dark Skin,

This fire within,

Attires made of animal skin,

Our souls cut open

To be released into some Heaven,

Blood coming from our noses,

The smiles of our many children

Covering the pain that is there

That just will not leave,

The air that we breathe,

The sun setting,

The magic in our every story’s setting…

 

Each day we are African, not only in May.

 

 

 

16th May2016

Leadership

by admin

Nelson Mandela Rivonia TrialWhat is leadership? Is being a leader, a quality that we are born with or is it a skill that can be cultivated? What qualities should a leader have? What role and impact does leadership have on society? I am certain that perhaps you have heard these questions being asked at media briefings, conferences and seminars. Perhaps, you have asked yourself these questions. The first thing that springs to mind when we think of a leader is authority and power; thus, we think of politicians. Last year, the ANC women’s leagues put forward the proposal of having a female president and to see gender transformation taking place in roles of leadership both in government and corporations. I fairly thought it was a bold step and it is something we should consider as a country.

Despite these strides being made, I believe that our society does not seem to understand leadership. Until we understand what leadership entails, we are not in the position to discuss the issue of gender in leadership. And when I say “society” I am referring to citizens and institutions- government, business, religious organizations, civil organizations and communities. After spending my time studying leaders that have emerged in various fields, I have come up with my own definition of leadership. I have come to the conclusion that being a leader comes from within. Mohandas K. Gandhi was instrumental in establishing India as an independent state, despite never having held an elected or an appointed office. To put it simply, he had no formal authority to lead people. In my opinion, Gandhi is a great example of a leader without title which Robin Sharma sums it up beautifully in his book, ‘The Leader with no Title’. Another example that we are all familiar with is Mother Teresa, who had dedicated her life to fighting poverty and to servicing the poor. We also have Mr. Nelson Mandela, who was the greatest leader to have ever lived in our country. I would like to quote him in his Rivonia Trial Speech (add link). In my opinion, this was greatest speech of all time as Nelson Mandela said,” During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”. Another great individual from our generation that I admire is Malala Yousafzai who, at age seventeen was named the youngest Nobel Prize winner. She has dedicated her life to fighting against societal beliefs that prevent girls from getting an co. She has gone on to start The Malala Fund, which aims to provide girls with the opportunity to receive quality education and to build schools in Pakistan.
What do all of these leaders share in common? Using them as examples, are you now able to define what a leader is? I have come to the conclusion that a leader is someone who is inspired a cause greater than him- or herself.  A leader lets nothing on the face of the earth stop him/her from bringing that vision into reality. Leaders feel that it is their life’s mission and purpose to fulfil that objective. They use whatever talents, skills and resources (including human resources) to make their vision happen. The questions we should be asking ourselves include what are the causes we want to dedicate our lives to and what contribution do we want to make in the world? As Dr. John Dermatini once said,” You will get more out of a cause than you will without”. Following that line of thinking, write down where you want to lead. It may be in business, career, sports, education, physical well-being, entertainment etc. Life is about going out there and serving people. It is also about making a contribution to making the world better. It is about valuing yourself and knowing that you are worthy of greatness. You are not a mistake. You are a powerful genius destined for greatness. Let us set goals for ourselves, our families, communities, cities, province, country, continent, and finally the world and beyond.

09th May2016

No More

by admin

No More.

I can’t take this anymore.
Can’t breathe no more.
Robbed of happiness, like it was a thing of some sort.
Can hear my heart shouting for no more.
As if it’s a clock with batteries but not of energy, so it’s asking for more.
Can hear defeat from distance waiting on me 6 feet down the floor.
So, I put that picture on the wall.
Because never will come the day I will forget that war.
Sparked by episodes painted on his mind- an empty hall.
I put those scares and pains and seal them on that jar.
Cause they move with me like a wrecking ball.

Every time I close my eyes, I fell his fist on my body, so rather I fall.
Cause he forced himself on me, build a road where there was no way.
So fuck him I say.
How dare him? But I’ll find him and slay.
“Give it time” they said.
They said everything heals with time.
But I know, I’ll never let him get away.
So with him, he has a part of me that was not built with clay.

Now I know, that the past is a king somewhere.
I swear it has authority of some sort.
Now I am its slave, I am poor.
I have to go down and beg for some more.
Cause only this anger can hold of a soul, so roar.
I used to think the sky was not the limit, cause I was more.
And that I was fly, and strong.

Damn, now I have to fly back to the shore.
To grow the roots of my heart, and make sure.
Sure that even though it’s sore, I will endure so more.
Ask for nothing no more.

No More Image

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