23rd Oct2017

#NoBrokeMenAllowed

by admin

Dating as a young black girl is an extreme sport. This is mainly because men generally have very little to offer so your options are limited if you don’t want to date patriarchs, homophobes and all round problematic men. When you eventually pick a suitable partner, you have to compromise something, be it money, or height. I recently had to compromise and after that ordeal was over, I swore never to compromise again

I believe most women have a list of their ideal man, if it’s not written down, it is at least somewhere at the back of their heads.  My ideal man came was perfectly packaged, he was smart, conventionally attractive (but not the kind that comes with drama) but he didn’t have money. Now because he compensated for his lack of finances in other areas. Being from a middle class background I always told myself that I would never consider dating someone who is from a lower socio- economic background from me. This may sound a bit classist but my reasoning behind my views are, in my opinion, valid.

Firstly no matter how woke or how much of an ally your man is to feminism , there is always an element of patriarchy that is present and his masculinity will play a huge factor in the power dynamics of the relationship. My knight in shining armour was broke and a victim to toxic hyper-masculinity. Now because I had more money than him and he couldn’t provide for me the way I wanted him to, he always felt the need to show how powerful he was or how much I needed him.

Of course I wish I could name and shame him but I won’t. That experience validated for me why I never wanted to date a broke man in the first place and why I would never recommend anyone else to do it.

Broke Man

23rd Oct2017

Little Known Ways of Working on Your Personal Branding

by admin

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So the smell of summer is officially in the air and the holiday vibes are so close we can almost taste them. Before you get too excited, remember that exams are just around the corner too! It’s funny how every year, at this time; I dedicate myself to being more diligent, hard-working, studious, and just all-round better…the next year. Perhaps I am alone in this―but I don’t think that I am. However, this year I have come up with an idea, better than ever before; so good that I would like to share it with all of you! Perhaps this time, the “New Me” resolutions will finally come true.

In the 21st century, the internet plays a huge role in not only our personal, but also our professional, lives. Our every move is being digitally recorded, and that is inevitable. We keep hearing that it’s not a matter of whether our future boss will look us up on Facebook; it’s a question of when. So if our professional career is dependent on this, then why aren’t we being more proactive about it? At the end of the day, our digital identity may be just as important as completing our degree. The options are either that we choose to sit back and allow other people to carelessly determine our digital identity for us or we take control of how we are perceived on the World Wide Web and promote our best qualities instead.

Following this thought process I have done a lot of research on creating your own personal brand. Because at the end of the day, the way you represent yourself on the Internet will influence how people perceive you as a professional. In addition to simply keeping face online, brainstorming and creating your own personal brand may also assist you in evaluating your current efforts to become the person whom you aspire to be one day.

According to my research, evaluating your core values is a good place to start. But this is much easier said than done. One thing that I found helpful, was simply googling “list of values” and ticking off the ones that applied to me. Such values may include loyalty, work ethic, achievement, balance etc.

Now you have reached the point at which things get more exciting because it’s time to start planning your actual internet persona. The best advice I came across, was to just keep things real. Don’t try and be someone you’re not because this will just come across as fake. Decide which platforms will best serve your personal brand and be consistent across the platforms. Such platforms may include: writing a weekly blog, starting a professional Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat account or even creating your own website with a brief description of yourself and maybe even a copy of your CV. Decide on what you would like people to see when they first google your name, and create exactly that! Also note that it may be beneficial to keep your personal accounts private and limit your followers to only personal contacts. But all in all, just be you―whilst still keeping it professional. Choose colour combinations that appeal to you, promote your personal beliefs and ideals and represent yourself the way you would like people to view you as a person.

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In a world where digitalisation is inevitable and we can access all information with just the click of a button, we should make sure that people aren’t misinformed about us as human beings. I encourage you to do something useful this year and actually live up to the “New Me” resolutions from the past five years.

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02nd Oct2017

Are We There Yet?

by admin

As most students would attest to, varsity is not easy. I am not only referring to the ever-increasing demands of academia but also to the very ‘privilege’ of being accepted into these institutions. A few months in, perhaps even extending to a few years, one learns to adjust to life on campus. It somehow brings a sense of “making it”, having an ace up one’s sleeve upon graduation. What this article aims to do is not to discuss the current crisis of unemployed graduates in this country, but rather to unpack the social standards of individual success.

While the ordinary of us maintain a schedule of coming to campus, attending classes and returning to our respective residences at the end of the day, others are going above and beyond, exploring every opportunity presented to them. From leadership positions to employment opportunities, these students are seemingly killing two birds with one stone: getting an education while gaining experience at the same time. But who makes the rules, and why are those that choose to take things one step at a time judged so harshly? Social constructions of a normality, require us to matriculate at 18, graduate by 21, work by 25, and be ready for settling down by at least 28.

You Don't Have to Go Fast

What these standards fail to consider are aspects of freedom of choice, and individuality. It is again, these exact standards that come up with concepts of ‘late-achievers’ to describe those whose success came later than the known social expectations. Shouldn’t we rather celebrate achievements nonetheless, irrespective of when they came? Personally, it always concerns me when people try to do too much too soon. On the contrary, there’s nothing wrong with having a hunger for success, or a drive to see things through, only if the reasons behind it are based on satisfying the individual and not the masses.

Social degrees of comparison put unnecessary pressure on people, and are likely to yield burnt out adults who suffer from childhood amnesia, not because they skipped that stage, but because they were so focused on the future that they failed to acknowledge the present.

Being born poor is not a choice, but dying poor is.

Even with the above argument, individuals should not use different paces of development as an excuse for sitting down, and waiting for miracles to fall from above. Drawing from the wise saying ‘the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg’, it is conclusive to argue that nothing is more encouraging than seeing people deny the acceptance of a ‘permanent victim’ status. While the aim may be success for all of us, how we get there will not be the same for all of us. Life should not be a race to get to the finish line, because doing so deprives us of meaningful moments that would otherwise contribute to our happiness. And finally, varsity should be as much about hard-work as it is about following your passion.

25th Sep2017

Beware of the Last Days

by admin

                                                                                Liberal Christians Perspective

The Bible warns us in Luke 21:11, “There will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” It is proven, we have recently heard of the massive earthquake in Mexico this past week, killing more than 150 people and left many injured and homeless. This is not the first of its kind which are now predominantly occurring, and more earthquakes are still predicted to occur in the future globally.

This article focuses on the coming true of the prophecies of the Bible, specifically focusing on the churches. One could account for all the disasters happening in the world that align with these prophesies, and in times like this the church should be the place where people find hope and  protection from these disasters. Instead the churches have also been influenced by the changes in the world. The Bible had predicted in Mathew 24:10-11 “And another many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”

Churches today have turned into commodities and lucrative businesses. The organisations and pastors who often appear as prophets are idolised and praised, not remembering that the gifts that they were given are from God and that he deserves the praise not them. An example of this is seen with the newly turned prophet, the herbalist Bhaka Nzama. He says that he is the King just like Jesus, and his new ministry is named after him. This sort of thing directs focus to it being about him not God. Secondly, these ministers often scare people into Christianity. They tell people that if you are not saved you are going to hell. As people are still questioning life and what comes after life, one is more likely to get into Christianity because of the fear of going to hell. It truly takes away from the beauty of Christianity, and thus people disingenuously praising God hence the drama seen in some of these churches people falling, making noise role playing things that are not happening.

They focus on shunning down other organisations to promote theirs. People should be left with the choice to freely go to the organisation they want which should be a truthful one for that matter. The main emphasis in a lot of these charlatan churches is offerings and tithes. They will often say: You will not get your miracle money or blessings if you do not offer. And now because people want to be like them- shiny suits, cars, jets and all- they give and reality is that people become more broke. The pastors become rich consequently.

When evangelists are sent to go out the first word that they say is, “Can I invite you to My Church,” and if you say no their immediate response is “You’re going to Hell.” First and foremost who are you to condemn me to hell, because the only being capable of doing that God, the creator. Where have you learned how to create the universe? Secondly, the organisation that you are inviting me to is not the only place where I can find God. When Jesus died for us, the veil was torn. The veil where only high priests could go to, but God has availed himself to each and every one of us and even in our homes. He is everywhere and everyone with or without money can receive him. He never said pay anything to receive him and that is why these charlatan pastors are incredibly problematic.

Church Service

28th Aug2017

Step in the Name of Love

by admin

For one to step outside of privilege to help any and all people who are underprivileged is a concept that most may not be ready to participate in. First, one has to recognise one’s own privilege and for most people struggling to navigate through their own lives it makes one feel complacent. Problems are problems and in the mist of any emotional struggle, it is very hard to pull you out of it and remind yourself, it could get worse.

Step in the Name of Love

Darkness is the same for everyone and it takes a little bit of light to remind you which way is up or even momentarily brighten up what feels like a life time of struggle. When you see that you are the light, it hurts. Your privilege becomes evident and your complacency drowns you in guilt. You do not want this for yourself so how could you be expected to want this, let alone see this for anyone else. It always seems like a bore when you realise how hard people work to support themselves and their families, until you immerse yourself in people’s lives and you see for yourself that sometimes that hard work is still not enough.

There are different ways to handle this which brings us to the second point of stepping outside of your privilege. The most logical step is to lend a helping hand, which is always easy to do in retrospect. However, not so much for others. Remember, life is not the same for all people and bringing yourself out of privilege is opening yourself up to that fact at any given point in time. I could be worse, you have no reason to complain, your problems are nothing compared to this. This then leads to paralysis in guilt. How could I be so complacent, how do they do this, how could I be so selfish etc? This paralysis can lead to anger, disappointment and sadly, sometimes this stops most from helping.

It amazes me how the process of lending a helping hand is governed by your own life experiences. The ability to pull yourself out of privilege and in turn step in the name of love seems to be driven by knowing what it feels like not to be loved. Simply, if you have been there and understand the struggle it seems easier to help.

This brings to mind why we pay the infamous black tax. From this perspective, it no longer seems like nonsense but rather a way to help ourselves as black people. An individual who pays black tax is one who remembers where they have come from and wants to help out those who helped them get to where they are today. Black people are always preaching about solidarity and forget the consequences of not paying black tax which is leaving the ones you love behind. Basically the moral of this story is that we must help ourselves which is why grandma becomes SARS and reminds you to pay black tax, even if it is one small donation at a time.

28th Aug2017

Beggars are NOT Choosers

by admin

Over the weekend the Sithlengiwe Foundation hosted a market for the homeless in Braamfontein. The idea behind the market was to grant the homeless an opportunity to shop at no cost, and to allow them to choose what they wanted. It is not every day that they get to experience that kind of agency, since they often have to accept hand me down which are not always in the best condition.

As residents of the Braamfontein region, one knows that they cannot walk out of a shop without a homeless person claiming that you are either their sister, brother or friend. Don’t we ever take into account of the fact that they were denied the opportunity to have a family? These people have suffered very traumatic experiences, and living in the street is a very traumatic experience on its own.

Due to the fact that many homeless people live in open spaces, they are exposed to a lot of diseases. Starting from the basic oral infections to mental disorders like schizophrenia due to the lack of access to proper treatment facilities and a proper housing environment. One homeless man at the market asked if I had painkillers. My automatic assumption was that he was that he uses pills as a form of drugs until he opened his mouth to show me his mouth ulcers and decaying teeth. My thought after that was that he might take them to numb the pain and that pain is metaphorical of the pain and trauma he has already experienced. He may over-dose to numb his experience.

It is important to carefully deal with the homeless because they know you might say you do not have loose change but that you are still going home to your comfortable bed and meal. I am not saying that you must sacrifice your entire life. At least sacrifice some of your time to talk to a homeless person because sometimes that is all they need. Someone to listen to, donate a piece of clothing or assist them with trying to find a psychologist to try and get them to live under the circumstances they have found themselves in. We spend so much time of our time and money on worthless materialistic things in a bid to try and find our purpose. What if our purpose in life, though, is to try and help find a purpose in life? I think that would be the greatest achievement of my life. If I can achieve this I can die, not after seeing my favourite celebrity which most people say after experiencing that.

During the event, there were homeless people that highly appreciated the initiative, and those that were complaining that some clothes were too big and alleged that we gave all the best clothes to the first lot. It was pleasing to see those that appreciated the items with smiles on their faces, but the others in the latter group were the ones that sparked real sadness. Not because the volunteers felt like they were not grateful, but because they are the ones that expressed real pain and suffering from their situation. They found it difficult to choose what they wanted as a result of the others that had come before them and just like their current situation, they could not choose what they wanted.

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21st Aug2017

Who’s The Man?

by admin

Masculinity is a fragile concept. There seems to be an unshakeable expectation to be ‘a man’, which cannot in essence be explained; however it is mandatory that you stick to the rules. What rules exactly? In order to be a man, you need to have some of the following traits: disrespect, alcoholism, disregard for women, anger and temperament issues, emotional detachment and so on. This basically translates to #Trash however that is a conversation for another day.

Patriarchy

Have you ever considered as a ‘man’ why you wouldn’t let your children, mother, girlfriend (platonic or otherwise) walk alone at night or meet up with strangers at night or feel uncomfortable at the thought of a stranger sliding in her DMs? Is it because, it has been taught to you that a man takes what he wants and if he cannot, he is a failure? Therefore, other human beings including those you love very dearly become public property and thus can be obtained by anyone who deems it fit to be their possessions.

Why can’t men cry? See, we have also been taught not to cry at any stupid or insignificant thing and as women it seems like if we do not shatter immediately at your disappointment then we have somehow challenged your whole being. Now she has become a man and you, not so much. If it is in your nature why not be emotional. This is what causes unnecessary aggression or as I like to call in “emotional constipation” which leads to many things such as alcoholism, disrespectful behaviour etc. Wait, I think I get it. Is all of this because of emotional constipation?

‘Manhood’ is so easy to challenge which is why you ‘educated brothers’ think every female in your class is a feminist. Which might be true depending on your module however, asking the simple question; why can’t I be given the opportunity to try, seems to cause way too much fear and last time we checked that was unmanly. Allow human beings to try. Gender is the result of the luck of the draw and the XX chromosome is all up in your DNA, but I digress.

Men's Fragrances

Men’s Fragrances

Patriarchy has given you everything and nothing at all. To advance outside the social sphere is a breeze that needs to be corrected but still enjoyable for anyone who is considered to be ‘a man’ which by virtue of other standards (known and unknown) doesn’t seem to rely on the XY chromosome. However, in the social sphere, you are #trash. You teach women to navigate around the trashy behaviour that other males might exhibit however you do not have these attributes. Are you still a man? A question posed to any male who does not drink in excess, disrespect women, take whatever he wants, treat all people as equal, has the audacity to exhibit emotion… Are you a man? How about the question of “are you human”?

 

21st Aug2017

Crisis of Masculinity?

by admin

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I strongly believe that we as women are in no position to be telling men to stop abusing us. They should know this, in fact I do not think there is anything men do not know about how they should be treating women. It is those who are dealing with a crisis of masculinity who are finding it hard to refrain from abusing others; they feel the strong need to prove to others and perhaps even themselves that they are, as the social construct goes, “manly men”. It is those who are so comfortable in their patriarchal positions who feel that women who dare to challenge their authority should be reprimanded and the only way they know how to reprimand these women is by abusing them. In my thinking, societies need to deconstruct the current dominant ideologies of masculinity in order to prevent men from resorting to violence.  Although that is not the only solution, these abusive men should look within themselves and find their own solutions to stop being violent towards women.

21st Aug2017

Internalised Homophobia

by admin

internalised homophobia picture

Being ‘different’ in a hegemonic kind of society and navigating your way around that is hard. One has to deal with binaries which exclude and limit certain ways of identifying oneself. Internalised homophobia is occupying a dominant position in every space. It is mostly the influence of society, family, friends, church community and even the spaces which we live in. It is very active and hard to identify because it is innocuous. It exists within a person who is gay. “Man you cannot do this”, “ forget about that” , “faggot”, “homo” are just some of the comments , words uttered to and around a person who might be on the verge of coming out . These are some of the causes of the fear, dislikes or hatred against oneself caused by one’s homosexuality.

This internalised homophobia causes a lot of people to remain in the ‘closet’. Yes, ‘closet’ is the name ‘it’ is given. It is known as that imaginary space that someone who is homosexual creates for him-/herself in order to be different in a safe space. Away from all the hateful comments, teasing, bullying, anti-gay jokes and negative attitudes towards those who are not heterosexual. Speaking of this makes me remember how a lot of homosexual people always raise the issue that Christians are always shoving the Bible down their throats. This is one other reason why one would have internalised homophobia. For example, one grows up in a family of Christians, learning and reading about the Sodom and Gomorrah and how it was burnt because of homosexual practices amongst other reasons. Once that particular self ‘finds’ that they have feelings to the person of the same sex they suppress these feelings by justifying their reasons for doing so by reverting back to the Bible and what society says. People who have internalised homophobia make the lives of other homosexual people hard. They hide behind what society says and use that to reduce others as a way of making them share their pain. Internalised homophobia is a very sensitive topic thus a lot of people in the LGBTIAQ++  community do not like talking about it because it is serious and requires one to put themselves in that situation. It is a social stigma and can be experienced by any non-heterosexual, including bisexuals.  Furthermore it can lead to mental illness such as substance use or an eating disorder. It is believed through psychological research that lesbians have the least internalised homophobia followed by homosexual men, then bisexual women. Bisexual men showed the greatest amount of internalised homophobia.

There are many ways of identifying internalised homophobia and that is through accepting that you have self-hate which is influenced by the heterosexist society which we live in. And remember that this is a result of cultural programming that espouses negative views around homosexuality. The best way to overcome internalised homophobia is by recognising its existence. If you think you have this particular phobia seek counselling or speak to a trusted family member who you feel comfortable speaking to. This will allow you to take the first step of coming out and living your life.

Always remember that being a homosexual is genetic- is absolutely not an illness; you didn’t ask to be this way and you can’t control your sexuality any more than you can control the colour of your eyes.

 

14th Aug2017

Invisible Tears of the Woman

by admin

Eyes swollen from crying countless tears

The nameless pain from within tears the chambers

Of bruised and pierced heart

She cried bitterly till the wells and streams

Within her ran dry

Until what she can excrete was only mud

The mud of blood that stains your hands

Her face painted with blood

That her vision is blurred

And what she could see is the shade of death

A heartfelt solemn prayer is what she breathed

At her last breath

Your cruelty mongers her soul

When she tries hardly to grasp

Her life with her fingertips

But it slips through her fingers

Like the cloud passing through the yellow fingers of the sun

And disappears at the glimpse of an eye

Now that she is no more

She was not merely flesh and bones

But she was made for something more

That you terminated before it even began

And what is left is just bunch of flesh and bones

You show no remorse by dissecting her into pieces

Taking what you consider to be valuable organs

Purchasing them to evil companies

Like stolen goods without conscience

Just to create wealth

You burn the rest

Like a dragon that breathes fire

Her remnants is just ashes

But her mom never bore firewood

Never carried a stick during gestation

She conceived a child, a woman,

But you want her to burry ashes

What happened to your heart?

That it corroded like steal exposed to moist

I know for a fact that regret hits where it hurts the most

Repent and sin no more

Because you cannot undo the done

Women's Tears

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