Sunday, January 31, 2016

Militancy, Magic and Melanin!

I have spent this weekend in awe of black women! It started with my hair dresser who somehow always does right by my hair! Then I discovered an American based reality show called #BlackLove which follows 5 black women on their quest for love in New York. All the women are accomplished in their own rights- professional and educated, as well as extremely attractive but they can't seem to land 'the one'. It got me wondering about the challenges black, educated women in their 30's have in finding a man in Johannesburg. Hmmmm...

However today was all about my South Africa black girls, because local is lekker.

Today was the tomorrow Sarafina proclaimed.
And boy were the girls ready 'ziright zigirls' is an understatement! The fashion was on fleek, the song and dance got everyone in the same frame of mind and there a resounding, unspoken air of resilience as we all shared a scared moment in the Womens Jail. Unlike our predecessors we have the privilege of political freedom, its the other unwritten laws that we are jointly revolting against.

True to form I was late, very late. The poster said the event started at 12pm..I arrived at 5pm. I was betting on my melanin because I knew the event did not start at 12pm and would not end at 6pm. I was too late for the speeches, but just in time for the festivities and to connect with other girls who are black like me.This is not an endorsement for Herman Mashaba.

I walked around asking women what the big lesson and take away was for them, at first I was trying to catch up on the speeches I missed, but as I spoke to more girls it was to capture what brought them out of their homes in 30 degree weather in all black ensembles. I spoke to Noni who came structured her trip from Rhodes to coincide with the event, to Chloe who has come from Durban to find the fleeting fortunes of Johannesburg. I also met Raina who is also from Tongaat, like Chloe and it was pure magic to watch them form a bond which will hopefully turn into a friendship.

 "The energy in this environment feels like we are not going to fight because there is no difference in us.." Chloe

I hustled my way onto the stage and met the very sweet natured Maneo who was one of the organisers and fanned out with my fellow melaninaire Panashe Chigumadzi. I admire these women for coming together to bring pieces of the missing middle together for us to build the safe space we shared today. The presence of women of different age groups was a pleasant surprise- clearly 'kugug'othandayo', you are as young as you feel. 

A lot of the girls I spoke to said they could not hear what was being said as the sound was not entirely great, but they stayed and lingered a little longer because of the atmosphere. I could also see the way the girls became bold and fiery when I asked them their opinion on the day, it made me very happy to see this. We need to create more opportunities for black girls to give their opinion on things that matter to them.

 I believe women need them to be unapologetic, confident, and rebel through self hood. 

See you in 3 months...

Update, the footage I took at at the gathering was shared on the international news platform Newzulu, click here to view! Also upvote it after you look at it!

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Unsolicited Series on Generations and Uzalo (Part 1)

There is no better way to describe this week than the quote above. I am a fascist on free education opportunities so when the Gordon School of Business Science advertised that they were running a Business Bootcamp for businesses in the ICT sector; I jumped at the opportunity.

Yes, blogging is part of ICT

What I never espered   expected was the gruelling schedule which runs from 8:30 am to 5pm from Monday to Thursday. You know how 8:30 am usually means 9 am, and 5 pm means 4 pm- not at GIBS! This has resulted in me setting meetings from 6pm- yet somehow they start at 7pm! Ultimately resulting in being too late for Generations and Uzalo!

I grew up on Generations. I wanted to be Queen when I was about 9 years old, but as I grew older that changed dah-liing. Karabo has always been and continues to be a conundrum for me, she is like Marlena from Days.Her drug habit to the blind stint (remember when Marlena was demon possessed?) to the many men vying for her attention while she is unable to make a decision. Pick 1 dammit! It was out of nostalgia that I watched this programme with my uncle, now I am following with many reservations - which I will share!

Uzalo was not even on my radar, my uncle watches it as a gap filler between Generations and Muvhango. All due respect to the Muvhango cast and the nation of Venda, but I cannot with that show. Its like skinning  a cat, where do you begin? If PETA doesn’t catch you first.. I tried to watch it for 1 week and I gave up; same thing happened with High Rollers on SABC 3 and Power- an American TV series. Its like Orange is the New Black, there are certain award winning shows I can’t watch because I do not have the capacity for them.

Beautiful man, terrible show!

1)  (In) Fidelity

When I started watching these shows for a second I thought it was norm for people to accept playing second fiddle to another man or woman. Seriously, what is normal? Fidelity or infidelity?

Karabo, Tau and Zola! Can she just pick puppy she wants to take home already! Well, Simphiwe and Smanga faded! Mazwi and Nolwazi  get me thinking, so can you turn your side chic into your main chic? 

If you are a side chic, you dreams are NOT valid!

I feel we need to make that point very clear!

Onto Uzalo, that Nombuso was a freaky farm girl, the atypical church choir girl! Married to a pastor and  banging a thug! While at the same time, the man of the cloth wasn't so clean himself - sleeping with the sister of the thug that is smashing his wife. This comes off as incestuous.

Even across the shores President Grant and Olivia Pope are caught in a knickers knot, remember when Mary Jane was in that mess too?

 It clearly doesn't matter what tax bracket or geographical location you are in, keeping pants on is a universal challenge! With all we see on TV, is it too much to expect a monogamous relationship?

2) Suicide

In both shows, there are characters that have committed suicide Uzalo’s Amandla and Generations’ Simphiwe. One did it out of rejection and the other was dejected. Suicide is a very fragile topic especially among youth, according to a report published last year 10% of youth deaths are caused by suicide. South Africa also has the 8th highest suicide rate in the world, therefore this is clearly a subject that has to be approached delicately.

Simphiwe was caught up in some GTFOHWTBS BDSM and felt guilty for cheating on her husband- which culminated in her slitting her wrists on her wedding day, dying dramatically in church in her gown. Whereas young Amandla was born as the result of an affair to an opportunistic mother and egocentric father who rejected her, leading her to overdose on whoonga- I am not entirely sure what that is. Please do enlighten if you have more information.

I think Generations may have handled the theme slightly better because they showed a 1 second blurb on where people suffering from depression or feeling suicidal can get help. Uzalo kinda left it to the viewers to figure out so here, we figured it out:

Do not be ashamed for needing help, life is hard! Support, compassion and even a cup of tea you didnt pour for yourself can go a long way! For more info, click here.

3)  Repentant Gangsters

Kumkani came out of jail a completely different man! Who would have thought he would ever want to do the right thing thus turning Tshidi into a villain- so much for brotherly love! Even Cosmo had a lapse of common sense when dealing with that leach Esther. Does Lucy have a heart though? Who would steal from her poor pensioner mother? And keep the money in the freezer? That's cold!! (Pun totally intended)

Mastermind on the other hand- the strained relationship between Amandla and Xulu got him to reconsider where his loyalties really lie. When drugs were ruining Amandla's life, the community was there to support him in the form of Ayanda's family- while the people responsible for her sorrow were in their ivory tower... or in this case their workshop!

I kinda hate it when a bad guy goes soft, it takes the edge the away from him! I love how Justin Beiber has reformed his life though, keep it up! However I think its important to show that behaviours have consequences- especially considering the poor role models we have in society.  We need to show kids better values to aspire to, there are so many good stories and hopefully you do can share yours with someone that needs to hear it! 

What other themes have you identified in the shows that you want to point out?

Stay tuned because next week I  will bring the rest of my unsolicited opinion!

Monday, January 18, 2016

The New New

Lets make things clear
Happy New Year to you all from me and my hives! Yes, I have hives according to me and Dr Google and our 0 combined years at medical school. I have a rash, a nasty, hot and itchy kind that successfully turned my beautiful brown skin into a red rocky road.

My first line of action was to visit the pharmacist, most Africans  people only have hospital plans, so seeing a GP is at your own cost. Plus, pharmacists have some type of medical qualification so I kinda trust them- this really pisses off doctors. I was told to take 1 pill a day and rub some ointment on. Now, for a hypochondriac taking 1 pill a day is like telling someone with a migraine to drink water and go to bed. I decided to source my own expertise from my number 1 free doctor, Google! I am still currently busy with all types of home remedies to stop a rash, cure a rash , stop itchiness, looking at pictures of rashes, I am becoming irrational (hee hee, see what I did there :)). I am borderline obsessed with rubbing something new on my arms every hour. I no longer know if I am helping or hurting.

Ever noticed how when you are sick or broke, or hurting, it feels like that is all you have ever known. I have had this rash for 3 days, yet I seem to forget the other 362 days I was living without it. I feel like I have been itching for 28 years. Another funny thing is you feel like this what your whole life is going to be like. I googled hives, they don’t kill- but they can last up to 6 weeks! I should call Kenny Latimore and ask to borrow a turtle neck.

The thing is, I know I am going to get better. I know without a doubt that my skin will be restored and I will be applying lotion on my legs with a smile! I don’t know when its going to happen and that is killing me. Hence the hourly frantic routine. I decided to break this cycle- well I am actually waiting to see if the baking soda application worked, and asked myself “what would I do if I was 100% healthy ?” 

Its similar to the question “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?. There are so many distractions out there, from hives to empty bank accounts to toxic relationships. Inasmuch as they are reality, we need to gear ourselves up for a new reality by breaking the pattern and reaching forward into the future we desire. I want to earn money from my blogging this year, the kind of money that can pay my bills.

In a few weeks time, I will be 100% better and still have this goal, depending on how I used this time – I will be closer or further from the goal. I could decide to wait till I am better to start working on it, or use this time right now to sow into the harvest I want to reap. While you are busy with the ‘ifs and whens’ life is happening and time, oh time is flying by I precious second at a time.

In 2016 lets us eliminate the ‘if and when’ and be ‘now-ists’, not just futurists. The future is literally the next breath you take, your next step and its up to you where you place them.

After writing this article I went to visit GP and got medication. The hives were clear in 3 days after that :) Dr Google can't write a script for the strong medicine!

I would also like to announce that the format of the blog is going to change a little! We are moving Trep Tuesday to a new platform that focuses solely on entrepreneurship called Trep Talk! The link will be shared soon. I am introducing a new feature called the Unsolicited Series where I give my opinion on matters that no one invited me to! 

Looking forward to hearing from you in this year, your views are all solicited!

What would you like to see more of?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Black Girl Did You Know?

I was hoping that my first post of 2016 would be something flowery, light and pink. Then Penny happened. And Chris. And Nicole.

Oh, so that's what you really feel

2016 started off LIT! The collective voices of black twitter and other social media came together and said :

Then in some distant land (America) came the sweet sound of Amandla Stenberg- as well as her face on the cover of Teen Vogue. While I was busy waiting for the winds of change to 'kumbaya", I didn't see that the clouds of the revolution forming on the ground.

There is a spirit of urgency to get the gospel of Black Girl Magic/Black Girls Rock/ Melanin Queens off the screens and into the streets.

Julee Wilson, the Senior Fashion Editor at the Huffington Post sprinkled some light and confetti on the definition of Black Girl Magic, because this stuff is too good to keep to yourself! Everyone is trying to jack appropriate it.  You can see more of that here.

Still, I needed, and clearly we needed something of our own. You know, to make it uhuru!

Then this happened!
A much needed and unapologetic gathering of beautiful brown dolls! There is a sense of being pressed in the air, and all women know that feeling! We cannot wait to GO!! Don't believe me? Check out  #FBGO on Twitter. Of course we have pissed off lots of people, but thats part of the Black Girl Magic, your existence causes a stir.

If you know whats good for you, ignore the topic if it doesn't directly involve you or you have nothing positive to contribute.. Otherwise be prepared to be checked..

               Clap back queens ready like..

This serves as a public service announcement, if you didn't know. Now you know!
Black  girl, did you know that apart from having magic, you ARE magic! I highly encourage full attendance of this event so that you can bask in the glory of the sun you radiate and absorb.

 We will light Joburg up without placing a strain on Eskom:)

Of course Brenda Fassie will provide the theme music, because istraight lendaba!

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