23rd Oct2017

Goodbye

by admin

Hi everyone,

This is our last edition for the year and our team has put together an amazing final edition for you to enjoy. Stephanie Schaffrath advises us on how to develop, and capitalise on, our personal brands. Sandiswa Sondzaba explores how Lupita Nyong’o’s recent revelations of being sexually harassed by the once-invincible film producer Harvey Weinstein, highlights the deep-seated rot of toxic masculinity. Zinhle Maeko shares her recent misadventures with an ex-partner who was less financially comfortable than her. Finally, Sandiswa Tshabalala personally reflects on how the #IBelieveYou and #MeToo hashtags on social media have forced her to validate her own experiences of being sexually harassed.

Thank you for being an amazing audience. Our team has grown in leaps and bounds this year and we are so grateful that you have been a part of our journey.

Until next year,

Sandiswa the exPress imPress team of 2017

Goodbye for Now

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

Claim Your Place

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week’s edition of the blog focuses on how we must all claim our place in the world- no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Molebogeng Mokoka starts off by encouraging all of us to remain true to ourselves and to resist the urge to compare our life paths with other. Sandiswa Sondzaba discusses Redi Tlhabi’s latest book: Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo which reclaims the late Fezekile’s dignity and name.

We hope that you are encouraged to claim your place in the world.

Have a wonderful week.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Claim Your Place

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

Speak Out

by admin

Hi everyone,

We trust that you have had a wonderful long weekend. Our team has put together a small edition for you to enjoy. Realeboga Petlele gives us a liberal Christians’ perspective on the End Days and the problem of charlatan pastors using the Church to enrich themselves. Veli Mnisi discusses the problematic nature of America’s current political scene. He also delves into the hypocritical reaction to Kathy Griffin’s photo that featured her holding Donald Trump’s severed head. Our two writers call for us to speak out against various injustices and we should all heed their call.

Hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Speak Out

28th Aug2017

Make A Difference

by admin

Make A Difference

Hi everyone,

In this week’s edition of the blog, our writers have given two reflective pieces that implore us to make a difference to the world- in whatever small way we can. Realeboga Petlele reflects on how a day spent working with the Sithlengiwe Foundation in Braamfontein made her more compassionate towards Braamfontein’s (and more broadly, South Africa’s) homeless population. She ends off by calling on all of us to do whatever we can to assist homeless people. Tsholanang Rapoo discusses the difficult process of acknowledging one’s privilege and the importance of using one’s privilege to improve the lives of others. These pieces call on all of us to recognize that, individually, we are all responsible for effecting positive changes in the world.

Hope that this edition inspires you.

Until next week,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

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”?

 

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