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.

IMG-20170819-WA0022

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

images

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

07th Aug2017

Connections

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week, our talented writers have written great pieces for you to enjoy. Leah has written a piece about how our subjective experiences affect our ability to connect with others. Stephanie Schaffrath ponders whether social media is worth the loss of privacy that comes with it. Finally, Veli Mnisi writes about all of the great shows on offer that have come with the current Golden Age of Television.

Have a fantastic week and a Happy Womxn’s Day to all of the strong womxn in your lives.

Enjoy!

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Technologies and Connections

07th Aug2017

What Makes It Right for You to Think It is Right?

by admin

Subjective

Simply to hear and to be sure to be loud enough for them not to resist your roaring sound. One thing that cannot be debated is that we all have our own ideas around life, love, happiness, and our beliefs regarding what should and should not be. For a moment too long you find yourself in a deep interaction with a ‘stranger’; you share a lot in common, or at least you think you do. There is also that vibe that you thought you had forgotten about since your mind has made most of your past emotions and connections you shared disappear. You then begin to feel that the air has become so thin that it cannot even be shared between two people.

 

Your instinct, or your gut feel if you prefer to call it that, tells you that it’s okay and that it’s fine to open up and be free. It’s very easy to find yourself liking a person but yet so , it can be very easy to also dislike and doubt the actions they present to you. So now tell me; what makes you think I want more from you?  That you can make your move quicker. If it all needs to be clear then let it be seen and shown across all of the spectrums. Or simply to hear and to be sure to be loud enough for them not to resist your roaring sound. One thing that cannot be debated is that we all have our own ideas around life, love, happiness, and our beliefs regarding what should and should not be. For a moment too long you find yourself in a deep interaction with a ‘stranger’; you share a lot in common, or at least you think you do. There is also that vibe that you thought you had forgotten about since your mind has made most of your past emotions and connections you shared disappear. You then begin to feel that the air has become so thin that it cannot even be shared between two people.Your instinct, or your gut feel if you prefer to call it that, tells you that it’s okay and that it’s fine to open up and be free. It’s very easy to find yourself liking a person but yet so, it can be very easy to also dislike and doubt the actions they present to you. So now tell me…

31st Jul2017

We’re Back

by admin

We're Back

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to second semester of the academic year. In our first edition back, our talented team has put together a light-hearted and poignant edition for you to enjoy. First, Sandiswa Sondzaba profiles the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion journalist, Robin Givhan, who has successfully used fashion as the lens through which she may provide social commentary. Sekhumbuzo Obvious Nomaele welcomes us back to the second semester by directing our trends that have dominated on social media in the past few weeks. Finally, we end off on a poignant note with Sandiswa Tshabalala’s poem which was inspired the recent incidences of gender based violence that have dominated the Johannesburg public imagination.

Hope you enjoy this edition.

Until next time,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

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