15th May2017

What a Time to be Alive

by admin

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Racism is still alive and well doing what it does best. It is most certainly not a thing of the past (unlike what we were taught in many history classes) as it is the very thing that caused the death of Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu. The little black boy was allegedly killed by two white farmers Pieter Doorewoord and Phillip Schutte in Coligny in the North West. The reason behind his death is apparently because these two farmers had caught the boy “stealing” a sunflower, the very creation of God, on their farm. I argue that this is mere racism because this reason cannot be justified for his death matter-of-factly.  There can be no justification for the killing of a black child by white men especially in post-colonial, post-apartheid, constitutionally democratic South Africa. It is astonishing that in this day and age such brutality can be performed in broad daylight.

It is shocking that men who are supposedly sane can inflict such grotesque acts in the name of hate.  It is absolutely scary that black people should still live in fear of possible racial attacks. I would not be surprised if the accused denied the relation of racism against this charge. I would understand that, as brave as they were when killing this boy, they may be afraid of igniting the wrath of anti-racists if ever they admitted their act to have been solely based on racism. It is still hard for me to imagine what this little boy could have possibly done in order for them to have not merely verbally disciplined him, reported him to the police if he had broken the law, taken him to his parents to reprimand him themselves or even simply told him that what he did was wrong and shouldn’t be repeated in the future. The society at large should move towards a united South Africa that belongs to all. We need to steadfastly isolate racist elements within our communities and not infringe the rights our constitution has intrinsically granted us.

15th May2017

YouTube is the Future

by admin

YouTube

In our current age of millennials and freedom of speech where online resources are easily accessible and everyone is obsessed about documenting their lives online, it does not come as a shock that the next big thing that everyone is raving about after Snap Chat and Instagram is vlogging. Vlogging is the act of taking video blogs where creators upload content on YouTube about an array of topics including tutorials about literally anything under the sun, music video reactions, entertainment, lifestyle, politics, food, fashion and updates or short clips of their lives. In sum, vlogging includes basically anything that can have someone’s eyes glued to their laptop or phone screens for days. This act is quite popular and profitable for most creators giving rise to a space called the vlogosphere where all it takes is simply a camera and a burning topic you want to address or your simply enjoy taking pictures and videos. If you feel that you have a story to tell- the platform is yours.

I would not consider this as the latest trend because vlogging has been around for some time with many people slowly embracing it. Particularly in South Africa, it is considered relatively new in comparison to America or Europe. Vlogging has some benefits such as profitability and everyone can participate there are no rules, it is easy for everyone to be connected since YouTube is accessible worldwide. But the most interesting part is that one can make profit by just having a camera.      If you already enjoy recording yourself doing something interesting and getting a certain number of views and subscribers, Google Adsense or Adprogram (a special program by google that permits publishers and content creators to serve media texts or interactive advertisements along their channels and vlogs which are targeted to a certain audience) which allows vloggers to generate revenue. There it is guys, another way to be a millionaire without slaving away in university. It is not as easy it seems anyways most people have ridden this wave and are slowly getting onto the money train that is YouTube and creating content whilst working with brand advertisers and becoming the voices and faces for the issues directed to an array of audiences.

In South Africa, I have my own list of vloggers and their YouTube channels that are totally worth checking out, firstly Ich Bin Siv by Siv Greyson, she is in her second- year at the University of Cape Town. She is queer and vocal about the issues that affect queer people in spaces such as UCT. There is series of poems in her vlogs known as vloetry and I am absolutely in love with them. She is fun loving and documents her life as she artistically documents her daily experiences of what it means to be black and queer. I am constantly in awe of her creativity in terms aesthetic and the different elements that re visually pleasing on her vlogs.

Pennyroad Cruising

Next is Cynthia Gwebu with her self- titled channel. This lady specializes in make-up tutorials and I attribute my newfound make up face to her.  Her tutorials are always so informative and she has knowledge on the latest makeup tricks and buys that are affordable yet magical. I suggest you do yourself a favour and check her channel out as you will no longer be excused for walking around with bad eyebrows.

Bad Boujee Tutorial

The next vlogger is a creative in the truest sense of the word. With a graphic design background and an eye for visual aesthetic, he has a series of vlogs on his channel which feature a group of his friends called “broke niggaz”, “confessions of my Instagram”, and the most recent and quite successful in terms of viewership, “microwave boys” which, to be honest, is my favourite. It features Vuzu entertainment presenter Larryngitis, radio DJ Sipho and event MC and host Sphaka who tackle trending weekly stories from social media and give them a fun twist filled with laughs, shade and just random boy foolery nice after a hectic long day on campus.

Microwave Boys

Sibu Mpanza is a vlogger who has been trending quite recently on twitter after being involved in a public spat with another South African vlogger Renaldo Gouws. Gouws accused Sibu Mpanza of being a fraud and fake but that did not seem to knock Mpanza down. After announcing that he dropped out of UCT to pursue his YouTube career and build his channel as a fulltime job, Sibu Mpanza serves as a reminder of how passionate and determined one needs to be in pursuing the things they love. I enjoy watching Sibu’s vlogs as he is vocal about social injustice, racism etc. He, much like Siv, has been actively taking a firm stance on issues that continuously affect the youth of South Africa post- apartheid. And trust me nothing is more interesting than a serving of shade and sarcasm occasionally, so I suggest that you grab a chair and let this brother teach you on how to generate revenue from YouTube.

Sibu Mpanza

This last group of vloggers is one of my all-time favourites. They are the true embodiment of black girl magic and it is pleasing to see young, black females taking a stance on a myriad of issues affecting girls all over. These three are such a chatty bunch, bubbly, and forever silly with well thought-out and laid out vlogs that are stimulating and force someone to take a stand on something. Recently, they have managed to go on a “ride along” with one of this country’s talented musician Thandiswa Mazwai and they have been able to showcase a side of celebrities that only a few television shows have been able to depict. These girls are going places. Watch this space.

Black girl magic

These are among a few of the vloggers and channels I keep up with. There are plenty more and it would be an absolute pleasure if more people were to create their own content and happily share it like these vloggers are successfully doing. Vlogging does not many have requirements and rules; it is all about passion and having fun, and hopefully the South African vlogosphere grows in leaps and bounds.

Vlogging is Lit Fam

 

08th May2017

LGBTIAQ+

by admin

One Community One Love

Being ignorant can leave you confused once you wake up and realise what is going on around you. Ignorance can make you resist change and you end up being aggressive. What makes me say these words is because I feel that a lot of people in the heterosexual community are being ignorant about the LBTIAQ+ community. This leads to gay bashing, so called ‘corrective rape’ and all of the discriminative actions that is against the members of the homosexual community.

The words gay and lesbian have both been misused and misinterpreted. Whenever a ‘straight’ person tries to identify a homosexual person, the words come up and I sometimes wonder if the person using the words understands what they mean, what kind of power is linked to them, and how the wrong use of the words can lead to a lot of bad consequences. Looking at the title of this article one would ask ‘ him’ or ‘herself’ what each letter stand for and why there is an addition sign at the end but what is important is what each letter means . My aim is not to try and explain what a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexual, Asexual, Queer and other sexual orientations and gender are but to give you an overview of what one can expect when encountering a member who identifies as such. My hope is that once I have given you this overview you will go out and do your own research because my overview is not enough for one to depend on.

A Lesbian is a woman who is sexually attracted to women. Please note that not all Lesbian people dress, walk or talk like boys. There are different people who identify as Lesbian but do not embody a masculine persona in public.  A Gay person is a man who is sexually attracted to other men. Not all Gay people are loud and flamboyant. Not all Gay people speak, dress or walk like girls. There are different people who identify as Gay but do not embody a girly appearance. A Bisexual person is someone who is sexually attracted to both men and women. People who identify as Bisexual are not greedy; they are just attracted to both sexes. They do not demonstrate any stereotypes whatsoever and are just like any ‘straight’ person in appearance. A Transgender person is a person whose gender identity, expression or behaviour is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. I know this sounds confusing but do not panic, that is how it is. Transgender people can wear anyway they decide to and date any gender they desire. In appearance they can look confusing but as I said do not panic just act normal, they are also HUMAN! The following I am just going to try and explain what they mean because there is much that goes along with them and I would not want to say things which might mislead some people. An Intersexual person is a person who is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit with the typical female or male definitions. An Asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction. A Queer person is a person who wishes to not categorise their sex, sexuality or gender.

I hope, after reading this article, some people develop a sense of understanding of the different people who live in our communities. I hope my words did not offend anyone or give a wrong notion of any group of members in the LGBTIAQ+ community. I was simply trying to explain to the ‘straight’ community and those that are ignorant about what is going on within their different communities. For more information I suggest that you should do your own research by looking up on the internet or approaching people of the community.

Remember, THIS IS SOUTH AFRICA!!!

 

30th Apr2017

Speaking Truth to Power

by admin

Hi everyone,

In this edition, a few of our writers have written pieces for you to enjoy. In Happiness is a Four Letter Word, Naledi Khumalo writes a beautiful tribute to her best friend, fellow writer Obvious Nomaele. Zinhle Khumalo addresses colourism in South Africa’s black community. Finally, Sandiswa Tshabalala shares her poem #TriggerWarning which critically addresses South Africa’s normative violent rape culture. Although few in number, these articles are thought-provoking and truly speak truth to power.

Until the next edition,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Speak Truth to Power

30th Apr2017

#TriggerWarning

by admin

As a South African woman,
I know my place
Last in opinion,
But first appetizer,
on the course that feeds men’s sordid desires
You were not designed to be my ally,
none of us were,
for we all know that the wheels that move our
‘great country’
drive the patriarchy
Fragile creatures,
we are taught early to restrain the parasites,
Clamorous men
We are taught early to restrain ourselves,
For our small, candid bodies grow into
playgrounds
for preying eyes and eager fingertips
The history of our country is one filled with
struggle
where our fathers and theirs
fought for the right to be within one’s skin
Today we fight a different war.
A war for the right to be within our bodies as
women.
A war to be something other than passive
receivers of aggressive sexual attention.
The war against rape –
A gutless coward,
hiding itself in the makeup of our country’s
shame
We allow young men to continuously make
punching bags of women;
watching the weight of their insides fall
greedily from inside of them
feeding the soils that grow your ignorance
This is no war fought using ammunition,
but fought using power
And half our soldiers will have to fight
for the right to keep their power in a single
lifetime
some before they even know they have
anything to fight for
The nail in the coffin is that us
the non-militants contribute to this endless
plague.
We sit in our comfortable glass houses
Throwing stones of judgement and blame

The words slut, whore, tramp, spewing in the
air like hand grenades in combat
We hide in our fortresses until judgement day
But what redemption do we seek to receive
When our general – the president of our
country is an acquitted rapist
The plague covers our land in its venomous
grip,
taking our soldiers in its many forms
Staining virginal rights, claiming to cleanse our
AIDS ridden men.
Gripping onto the innocence of our infants –
men, who are meant to protect them,
using them for sexual gratification
This country is a ticking time bomb,
Ticking to the day I feel safe walking on the
street
Ticking to the day I don’t feel the need to be as
inconspicuous as possible in front of a group
of men
Ticking to the day I am proud to be a woman,
comfortable in my skin
So as we turn down the lights,
And bolt up the doors
We know that we are waiting for this war
A war that no one can prepare us for…

30th Apr2017

Colourism Country

by admin

 

Colourism is not something that is unique to South Africa. It is prevalent amongst people of colour across the globe. In our country, discrimination based on skin colour or preference for light skin affects a large number of dark skinned women. In short, being light skinned in the black community, is social capital, and being dark is equivalent to a curse. We live in a society that ridicules dark skin and praises light skin, which is why I find trouble understanding the uproar about on social media regarding South African media personality Khanyi Mbau’s skin lightening process. Mbau has had 10 sessions of IV infusions   for the treatment of skin pigmentation, which have left her noticeably lighter since her debut in the entertainment industry. The change in her skin colour, which has people asking, can the real Khanyi Mbau please stand up, is a reflection of a how hypocritical colourism is. Not only does it shame women for being dark and then for bleaching, but it doesn’t shame dark skinned men for their complexion.

Mbau recently posted a picture on twitter and internet trolls took every opportunity to exclaim at how pink her skin is. My frustration is not with Khanyi lightening her skin, but with South Africans who continually shame dark skinned women then proceed to get angry at them for choosing to lighten their skin. Colourism is normalised in the black community, but those who have never been on the receiving end of negative comments their skin colour will never understand what it feels like to have your complexion affect your social life, dating life and even the chances of getting hired. This makes it easy for me to empathise with Mshoza, Lil Kim and other black women who have resorted to skin lighthing for social acceptance or other personal reasons.

On the other end of the conversation about colourism is the alleged suffering light skinned women face as well. Actress and TV presenter Pearl Thusi took to Instagram to voice the struggle she faced as a young light skin girl. According to Pearl, she was bullied because of her complexion as a young girl, which left her wishing she was born darker. There is nothing wrong with Pearl voicing her lived experience. The problem with her Instagram post was that by painting half of her face and neck darker she resorted to performing black face to express her pain. Another light skinned South African actress, Enhle Mbali also posted a picture of herself in blackface , which according to her was a way of showing people that beauty is only skin deep. This is not an attempt to take away from either Pearl’s trauma or Enhle’s agency, but dark skin is not a costume that can be put on and off to perform pain. It is something dark skinned people have to live with and it affects every aspect of their lives. If South Africans want women to stop bleaching or for dark skinned women to stop complaining about how difficult it is to be a dark skinned women, then they should consider treating them better.

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10th Apr2017

Disruption Ahead

by admin

Pins

Hi everyone,

I trust that you have all had a restful break. This week our talented group of writers have given us great pieces to read and (perhaps) mull over. Last week proved to be a crazy one for South Africa; with that in mind, Stephanie Schaffrath’s challenges us to appreciate the small blessings we are afforded in our daily lives. Lilitha Mankuntsu reflects on the recent SA Fashion Week (now in its 20th year) and she hopes that SAFW is onto bigger and better things. Charissa Govender gives us a sneak peak into the IPL and the exciting cricket the current season promises us. Zinhle Maeko (in disagreement with Tsholanang Rapoo’s view) argues that Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma’s feud is not exempt from feminist critique.  Naledi Khumalo writes a piece that aims to motivate womxn facing significant challenges. Thabisile Miya reflects on the feelings of vulnerability that accompanied her visit to a gender neutral bathroom. Finally, Veli Mnisi critiques mainstream hip-hop’s hyper-masculine whilst finding solace in artists such as Frank Ocean and Gyre who are quietly dismantling hip-hop’s homophobia and misogyny.

Hope you have a wonderful Easter break.

Enjoy,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

10th Apr2017

The Rise of SA Fashion

by admin

From the 28th of March to the 1st of April, all of South Africa’s elite members and those who identify themselves as fashion connoisseurs came out to support our local and guest designers at the 20th SAFW (SA Fashion Week).

Without a doubt this event has gained momentum and more prestige as the years have gone by. It has also been instrumental in putting young South African designers on the international map. SAFW has also become more exclusive in terms of the designers that get to showcase their work; at the same time it has become more accessible as relatively affordable ticket prices mean that ordinary fashionistas can also go watch the shows. Not to mention their incredible partnership with Woolworths South Africa means that more people can buy items that are from the runway.

2017 SAFW was even more amazing with the partnership between Berlin fashion week and SAFW, which combined the showcasing various Nigerian designers with big-names such as Anja Gockel. This goes to show that African designers are capable of competing with international designers too.  For the very first time a resort collection (known for catering to more high-end customers) was showcased by 5 high profile designers at SAFW.

With this being the 20th anniversary, one has to see how far South African fashion has come. SA fashion is taken more seriously not only by those who participate in it but also the international fashion community at large. One hurdle that still needs to be overcome is getting our designers into the big commercial clothing spaces so that they can actually make a stable living off their creations.

Our fashion industry is on the rise and like our country we have a lot of work to do. The industry needs to also realise that it has a large role to play in assisting with social issues and that SAFW can be used as the platform to address those issues. Gert Johan Coetzee has done so before by using fashion to raise awareness on albinism. People also need to realise that SAFW isn’t just for the elites. Tickets are available for people to buy and go watch, we all wear clothes after all; that’s the one thing we have in common in modern society. Hopefully just because SAFW has reached 20 years, this isn’t the pinnacle of the show but, rather, will continue to reach greater heights.

SA Fashion Week

10th Apr2017

Cheers to the Finer Things In Life

by admin

Following recent occurrences in South Africa, I think it is safe to say that our nation is in a state of turmoil. In times like these it is easy to forget what a beautiful country we actually live in because we get so caught up in the negativity of the situation. In times of crisis we often isolate ourselves from others, under false pretenses that others will not understand the complexity of the problems we are facing. Although the state of the economy is causing considerable strain on everyone, the truth of the matter is that we cannot spend every waking hour fighting for a cause. It is also important for us to take a breather and appreciate our many blessings. We need to take time to laugh with each other, kiss the ones we love and chat to our best friends over a glass of wine, rather than wasting all of our free time in isolation staring at and tapping on screens.

white wine

As far as I am concerned, eating a meal with my family and friends is one of the greatest joys of life. What more could you ask for but to spend Sunday afternoons gathered around a table with the ones you love, eating delicious food that just melts in your mouth? When I think of the many Sundays I have sent with my family and friends, one in particular comes to mind. I thought I would share this memory with you today and perhaps it will inspire you to reflect on your own memories. Maybe you also have one memory (of time spent with the ones you love) that stands out over all the others.

 

The day that I remember so clearly, started off at eight o’clock on a Sunday morning when my family and I made our way to the market. Whenever people refer to retail therapy, the farmer’s market is what comes to my mind. It is a place where you can find all of the lovely things that you never even knew you needed. The first stand we stopped at was that of the “Pasta Man”, as we called him. On your arrival you can specify which type of pasta you would like to purchase and he will quickly filter it through his pasta machine for you. Besides the freshest pasta in Johannesburg; on that particular morning, he also had freshly picked wild mushrooms on offer. We passed stalls selling fresh bread, beautifully sweet preserves, aromatic spices and every kind of tea you could ever imagine. Dare I say, the baked goods at the patisserie stand were the cherry on top—excuse the pun! They did look really inviting.

 

Two hours later we left the market with a great selection of delicious goods and excitement brewing in the pits of our stomachs. Once at home, the family chefs started preparing a feast. The smell that hung in the air was simply irresistible. It is no surprise that the rest of the family and our guests were sitting around the kitchen table, all ready to eat an entire hour before the food was even ready.

 

Whilst they sat there in anticipation, playing board games and discussing sport, at the kitchen counter, we made ourselves busy by preparing a baked camembert with rosemary and garlic, along with figs wrapped in Parma ham and baked in a homemade blue cheese sauce. This we later ate with very thinly sliced toast, which we used to scrape up every last little bit of the sauce that remained on our plates. The combination of flavours and textures was like a rainbow in my mouth. The crunchiness of the toast with the oozing texture of the camembert cheese were all part of the sensual experience. When I popped one of those little figs in my mouth an explosion of flavours occurred. The sweetness of the fig contrasted beautifully with the saltiness of the Parma ham. The meal was finished off with a pleasant taste of blue cheese that lingered on the tongue and went down very well with a glass of white wine. Needless to say, after all of that, we were one big, fat, and very happy family surrounded by our dearest friends.

cheese wine and figs

Often I have to wonder why life cannot be like that every day. After all, isn’t that what life is about: Sitting around a big table with people you love, enjoying the finer things in life? I don’t know about you, but often memories like that linger far longer than the memory of the last twenty photos I double tapped on Instagram…

melted camembert

20th Mar2017

Gender and Sexuality Issues Under the Political Lens

by admin

Gender inequality and discrimination based on sexuality have always been issues that have brought with them pertinent discussions and debates. A lot of “important people” debate and deliver speeches about issues on social media platforms; however, the truth is we have never really seen any of these problems being practically addressed. We live in a country where equality and fairness are always encouraged; the representation of all people is something that is highly emphasised. However, this does not reflect the reality for most people. Please note that this article is based on my own personal views and opinions and I do stand to be corrected.

For years we have been about feminism this and feminism that. And I say “we” because I, myself have been a part of those who have considered themselves a feminist without really taking into account the conditions under which feminism exists in this country. After attending the Feminism Indibano organised by SASCO Wits (credit ought to be given to the speakers) I have come to believe that feminism is not only about our social stance; it is also about how our political institutions have a bigger role in reinforcing what the social institutions preach. The social hierarchy pyramid places us black women at the very bottom, with black men right above us. This means that black women have three privileged groups “oppressing” them. For years, non-feminist have not understood the fuss around being “equal” has been about; and have went on complaining about how black women want to be “equal” to men. The truth is that WE DON’T AND HAVE NEVER WANTED TO BE THE SAME AS, AND EQUAL TO, these other groups. Why be equal to a black man who is oppressed on the basis of his race? Why be equal to a white woman, when her gender disadvantages her? And why be equal to a white man who has the ultimate power over our lives and could oppress us at any given time? However, this is a story for another day.

The main issue at hand is, how are our political institutions addressing sexuality inequality and discrimination? As much as we have a women’s league in South Africa, what has its role been in ensuring that women are well represented in state government? Of all the premiers in the current cabinet only one is female. This brings forth the question about what the state is saying about its faith in women leadership and its stance on the patriarchs who constantly take feminist movements two steps back. The political field as a whole is held by men and is also driven by them. And as long as such issues are not reinforced in the one “field” that practically runs everything issues of such importance will never be adequately addressed.

Coming to the representation of sexuality in our country, well, this has been a dismal fail. This is despite there being a youth league that is supposed to be representing the young people as well as ensuring the problems the youth are encountering are addressed by the national government. We are facing a difficult time of being discriminated against on the grounds of our sexuality. We are facing high rates of unemployment. And as students, we are faced with the challenge of high university fees whilst we are making the call for free decolonised education. How is our youth league attempting to address such? We ought to have a division in the youth league which will be mainly run by people who know the struggles which come with being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (part of the LGBT community). We may all be young people; however, we do not all face the same daily challenges. It is for this reason that I believe that political institutions should be inclusive and regularly address issues related to those of genders/sexuality regardless of economic status. And as much as we would like to mostly focus on women, we cannot ignore the fact that there are “men” who identify as women and “women” who identify as men. Thus, we have to consider the discrimination that comes with that identification. Politics practically run this world, and if issues of such importance cannot be addressed using politics, then clearly equality will never exist.

Please do excuse the lack of academic language in this article, but I do hope it provokes thoughts and questions about what role the political arena is, and should, be playing in creating a gender/sexuality inclusive environment in the country.

Gender

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