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.

21st Aug2017

Fight the Power

by admin

Defend Equality Love Unites

Hi everyone,

I hope that you have had a great week. Our talented team has put together an amazing edition filled with plenty of reads for you to enjoy. Monde Nqeza has written an album review of Sudanese-American rapper Oddisee’s latest feat, The Iceberg. I’ve given the album a listen and I happily echo Monde’s praises for this album. Veli Mnisi implores all of us to give The Hamilton Mixtape a listen. With all of the star power that is featured on it, it sure looks like it is an album worth many listens. Sekhumbuzo Obvious Nomaele discusses the causes of internalised homophobia and the negative consequences it has for members of the LGBTIAQ++ community. In a short piece, Jabulile Mbatha implores men to reflect on how toxic masculinities result in men committing acts of gender-based violence against feminised bodies who do not adhere to patriarchal behavioural norms. Finally, Tsholanang Rapoo discusses the inherent contradictions of patriarchy; she challenges men to consider what, then makes them men?

Hope you enjoy these insightful reads.

Have a wonderful week,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

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”?

 

14th Aug2017

Sipping the Tea of Femininity with a bit of Milk and Honey

by admin

Milk and Honey

Consider this book the K47 of what it is to be a woman. Granted, the journey of womanhood cannot and will not be the same for all women. This book applies to all the different aspects of what it is to be women, good, bad, ugly and funny. Poem after poem the poet allows you into her thoughts, accompanied by simple sketches which relate in your mind, and later on life.

The poems are not long and overly romanticised, for those of us who don’t enjoy reading. Much like life they are fun, sexy and sometimes heart breaking. As clichéd as it may seem there is something in there for everyone whether it be a one liner to help you get your groove back or a short story to remind you to stay and fight for love, this book has it all and if you need it, a short poem for your women’s day selfie.

This book is a testament of the fact that a lot can be said in a few short pages. The poems are put there as a representation of life as a women and its stages. It is in these stages that we find ourselves. It is the K47 of femininity because it does not shy away from emotion, an aspect of womanhood that seems to be looked down upon; however it embraces it. It is through these feelings one finds strength as one rises above one’s demons.

It is in the beauty of life that one learns about oneself and then later teaches others about one. Scars, however big or small are indentations that remind us that we were hurt but we still survived. They are not ugly reminders of pain but light indications that wounds heal and we survive. Pain is hard to feel but only because we don’t want happiness to end. This book is for all people and serves as a how to manual on the fact that life is not always fun but it is indeed beautiful, especially as a women. Who else can brave the pains of this world, only to cure it with a little milk and honey?

Women of Colour

This a perfect read for women’s month because it is the tea about all fifty shades of womanhood. It is sweet, hot and good for the soul. It teaches one to learn, appreciate, respect, and be sure in womanhood. I encourage all to sit back and sip slowly as it is a quick read. On those cold and depressing days, boil water and make a spot of tea and sure to add some Milk and Honey.

16th Apr2017

Breaking Boundaries

by admin

Hi everyone,

I trust that you have all had a wonderful Easter weekend surrounded by loved ones. This week our talented team of writers have, yet again, written amazing articles for us to enjoy. Naledi Khumalo discusses why she does not believe that Roman Catholic priests can be married. Zinhle Maeko explores black conservative Christian parents’ disapproval of their children’s body modification. Sandiswa Tshabalala provides insight into the politics of black womxn’s hair. Molebogeng Mokoko explains why she does not approve of labels. Tsholonang Rapoo implores us to place greater value on same-sex relationships. Finally, Sandiswa Sondzaba reports on Edward Enninful’s recent appointment as the new editor of British Vogue magazine.

Hope that you have a wonderful week and that you enjoy this week’s edition of exPress imPress.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Breaking Boundaries

16th Apr2017

“I don’t Understand Heterosexual Relationship” “Neither do I”

by admin

Love

We are all taught from a young age that women are supposed to love men and men are supposed to care for women. This, we are told, is right and fair. Depending on your background, it appears that love has been legislated for us and we are merely expected just follow. This is a restricted realm which (in retrospect) should be easy to navigate, as patriarchy determines. The male and female gender roles have been outlined. Even though we may not choose or try hard to not ascribe to them, they are still there. This is why I don’t understand heterosexual relationships. Why are they so hard?

The heterosexual perspective on homosexual relationships however, has always stemmed from confusion. It seems like those who choose to explore these relationships want nothing more than to prove their incongruence to what they feel is “the law of nature”. Most see homosexual relationships as a taboo while I see them as having a freedom. All human beings are quick to say that we cannot choose who we fall in love with but are also quick to say which relationships one is allowed to choose. The argument that the homosexual relationship is one based on lust alone is one that I don’t understand and with the above statement, one I cannot explain. Saying “we can’t choose who we fall in love with” is a clear indication that we all share the common belief that love demands not to be legislated but still we choose to legislate it.

Therefore, I think that homosexual relationships are one of the purest examples of romance. It interests me more than anything how someone can love someone unconditionally despite their own personal struggles against society. The purity in the emotional connections shared between is beautiful in my opinion. They love, not because they are told to but, despite being told not to. Think about it, lust is lust and needs no explaining, however people spend time and time again fighting for their right to love. What is more romantic than that? There is patriarchy in everything, however people choose, despite the struggles involved, to love.

In a heterosexual relationship, who pays the bill on the first date, opens the door, cooks at home, and is supposed to make more money? What have you been told the answer should be? In a homosexual relationship, what then becomes the answer? Where some might find confusion, I find intrigue. It’s the simple things that say I love you and more so when they are by choice. The feeling of love is not legislated. No feeling ever is. It is innate and real, and with all the struggles homosexual people must fight against, who would choose love like that?

20th Mar2017

Wanderlust

by admin

Hi everyone,

We have another great edition this week with many stories from our talented team. Thabisile Miya discusses the nationwide students’ accommodation which has culminated in the rise of movements such as #Shackville and #SouthPointFeesSoRidiculous. Lindokuhle Kolanisi questions whether the post-apartheid political order could be more inclusive of gender and sexuality. Tsholanang Rapoo explains why she believes the recent feud between Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj is not anti-feminist. Molebogeng Mokoka explores the continuous devaluation of the BA degree; is it really worth nothing? Veli Mnisi gives us an in-depth look into how thrift shopping has, culturally and economically, transformed itself. He also gives us an insider’s perspective of Braamfontein’s newest thrift shop- haunt, The Thrift Vintage Shop (T V Shop). We’re also featuring Sandiswa Tshabalala’s poem, titled Black Girl Magic. Finally, Charissa Govender gives us the ultimate traveller’s guide for exploring New York City.

Hope you enjoy what we have to offer. Have a wonderful Human Rights’ Day tomorrow.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Wanderlust

20th Mar2017

Chicken or Beef: Nicki and Remy

by admin

Does my womanhood take away my right not to like you?

Remy Ma Nicki Minaj

Following the flurry of commentary around this beef and how Remy was wrong for ‘slut shaming’ Nicki Minaj and vice versa, I am left with one question: Does the fact that I am a feminist strip me of my right not to like you because you are also a black woman? Yes, we are all women and yes, we need to uplift each other and reconstruct the patriarchy thrusted upon us. However, some things should be taken at face value. Nicki and Remy, have got nothing to do with me and my struggles as a black woman.

Remy’s personal and professional views on Nicki Minaj have nothing to do with women in general. The idea that all feminists, or all women for that matter, ought to get along is one that I find highly ironic considering that all of us know people, men and women, we don’t like. We might share the same values but if I don’t like your behaviour and I feel like you need to get checked, why not? This is hip hop; tracks and whatever is said on them ought to be viewed in that context. The patriarchy that we are trying to prevent is the patriarchy that you are perpetuating by not allowing these women to openly challenge, and destroy their direct line of competition. The release of ShEther, is a play on one of the most famous beefs in hip hop- between the New York giants, Nas and Jay-Z who later settled their difference after many fights, war of words, and the release of Ether by Nas. It is with this in mind, I feel people should listen to Nicki and Remy, the battle between two New York giants, going at it. In my opinion, their gender has no bearing in their lyricism. It is fun and it is what hip hop is all about.

I know some might be thinking that if this is a pure hip hop battle, why post it on social media, and why the release of intimate information by both parties.  Well in response to that I say that all is fair in Love and Hip Hop. It is a battle and it is not going to be pretty, something must get beaten, besides their make-up. Dirt was dug and mud was slung from both sides, some more than others, but that is the nature of the game. Only the best will survive: it is eat or be eaten, killed or be Nicki’d. For every punch that was thrown in ShEther, there was a comeback in No Frauds. Where Remy referred to Nicki’s surgery, Nicki did the same. When Remy came for Nicki’s brother, Nicki came for Remy’s children. It was blow for blow, grimy and ruthless on both sides and this brings me to my point; Remy does not like Nicki, Nicki doesn’t care, and the audience is entertained.

This is all that there is to it. To assume that empowering females in all spaces relinquishes my right not to like you is not only patriarchal but it’s a bit naive. As feminists, we are not in the position to judge every situation based on gender under the assumption that all females who believe in a free, equal and non-sexist world need to love and support each other at all times. It is in cases like these where I think that we should truly consider what feminism means not only as a movement but for all women; Black, White, Asian, Indian, Mexican, Latin, and all other shades of womanhood. If these two rappers weren’t female, would there be so much fuss about what was said and how they said it, and would we even be discussing how objectified and disrespected the females in their lives must be feeling. Equality and justice are not the same things and as feminists we need to ask ourselves as to whether we are fighting for equality or Justice? These are all important questions that we need to address however, in a hip hop battle, I find it more helpful to ask: Who won? Who came out on top? In this case, who was the better rapper?

 

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