Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rolihlala (1918 - 2013)

There really are few words to add to the many tributes that have poured in from the mouths of children, journalists, citizens of South Africa and the world.

The humilility, grace and wisdom with which Nelson Mandela conducted his life in its personal and public, social and political realms are so great an inspiration. The ease with which he forgave, the frankness of his spirit and the way he worked so hard to prove time and time again the importance of a leadership that does not strive for dominion but rather compassion and unity. All of these are reasons to mourn a loss of immense proportions.

Indeed, he was mere human bearing the iniquity we all possess and there it is incorrect to speak of him in a godlike manner (one you would imagine he would despise being so modest) but his unbelievable ability to push beyond the instict to become embittered, maddened and in need of vengeance prove to us that we mere mortals can too work against the darkness in our hearts, imagine a future that appears impossible in the moment and persist in all our might to change this world for the absolute better of all people.

Viva Madiba viva.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Hollywood Disaster!

I am devastated in a very deep way about the fact that Zoe Saldana is going to play Nina Simone. How dare these white-washing fools running Hollywood, take the image of this beautiful black woman, a legend with a voice that shook and moved people and attempt to paint a nice thick white coat of Hollywood bullshit onto it. What a shame! This disgusts me to my core! I want to burn down that set, those scripts and every bit of preparation that has gone into this sham of a movie.

Cynthia Mort you may proceed to hell. You know absolutely nothing about the complexity of skin tone in the Black community and how disruptive casting a light-skinned woman, who is not even fully black for this role is. It is bad enough Hollywood does not write roles for our kind, now the one opportunity a black woman would have to portray a fellow dark-skinned lady is jacked right out of her hands in preference for a woman that looks NOTHING like the character she is attempting to portray. Your movie will flop like nobody's business, get ready for it because the only following you would have of Nina Simone have joined arms to boycott your piece of trash. Have a nice day.

Who is this nonsense white woman, ruining things?

PS. Where the heck is ravishing Viola Davis when you need her and by the way Zoe, you were brilliant in Columbiana and your body is off the chain but no, sorry...I refuse to see you do this to your career.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Defining Womanhood

The latest from our beloved president, Mr Jacob Zuma on the role of a woman in society. In light of his daughter, Duduzile Zuma's marriage, he says:
"I was also happy because I wouldn't want to stay with daughters who are not getting married. Because that in itself is a problem in society. I know that people today think being single is nice. It's actually not right. That's a distortion. You've got to have kids. Kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother."
Now, I won't go on and reiterate what many feminist women have already said. That's not necessary. They're all out there speaking intense wisdom, the kind that makes you want to say "Lawd! Preach Woman!"
As Morna pointed out, equating womanhood with motherhood is an incredibly narrow view. "Yes many women are mothers and delight in that role – I am one of them – but that doesn't mean if you don't have children and you are single you are any lesser a being."
This reminded me of a Congolese (DRC) woman I know, who like many stay at home mothers, delights herself in raising children and being the kind of woman whose entire existence revolves around ensuring that her children are well taken care of and her husband's needs are met. She does not work, her role is strictly domestic and while I see nothing wrong with that at all - after all, she has a right to choose her own direction as she sees fit - I found it problematic when she chastised me over the fact that I do not seem to know how to cook. Her statements veered along the lines of implying that there is something wrong with the fact that I apparently, in her eyes, cannot cook because one day I would be a mother and wife (her words) and it would be somewhat shameful if I could not carry out this role I suppose I should assume because I am female.
The narrow-minded, singular nature of this view is made clear in the fact that she totally discounted the fact that, a) I may not be interested in having children, b) I may not even be straight, c) education and building a career may be more important to me than raising a family, and d) we're not living in the dark ages anymore. But this is just the way that people try to ascribe their own values onto others without realizing that everyone obviously cannot share your mindset, that is just impossible, and that is the very attitude that our sincerely undiplomatic president has. I'm going to say what I believe, criticize you accordingly, and not give a damn whether you antagonize or not, bish, deal with it!
Lisa Vetten, one of the country's foremost researchers and analysts on gender and violence, took issue with the implications of Zuma's sentiment that there was something wrong with a woman if she was single. "From our experience of counselling women, it increases the likelihood that those women feel pressure to get into relationships and stay in it no matter how abusive, unsatisfying and unfulfilling it may be, because they are well aware of the social stigma attached to those who are single."
My thoughts were immediately directed to street harassment and the nature of it when I heard about what Zuma had said in his interview. I understand that some men catcall, holler and verbally degrade women on the street only when they are alone. This kind of behaviour does not go down when a woman is walking the street with a male companion whether he be a friend, brother, father, uncle, cousin, workmate, schoolmate, boyfriend or husband and I can only conclude from this that the harassment is a direct response to a woman's going about her life alone, single, solitary, by herself. In their eyes, it is wrong wrong wrong, independence is wrong, a little ambition-driven selfishness is wrong because these are all behaviours acceptable for men but absolutely intolerant for women. Street harassment is less about, "I find you attractive and want to talk to you" and more about "How dare you walk this pavement without a man to chaperone you woman, I'll show you" via lewd, disgusting, degrading remarks.

No wonder so many young women find themselves pursuing relationships with men, and continue do so even after abuse has ensued, and why I see so many young women (in their twenties) with babies on their backs or little toddlers holding their hands, by their sides (no father in sight). And these are not middle-income women I'm talking about. These are women struggling to make enough for themselves but because they have not thought critically about the pressure society puts on us to bear children as a rite of passage, they have been tricked into having a baby in order to elevate themselves out of the nothingness of singlehood. The nothingness that their mothers warned them about, and never wanted them to have.

Even in my own family, I have a mother whose major interest in the future of my life is my man, the wedding and the children. Hardly ever do we have a serious conversation about my career and what I will do with my education. I do not blamer her for this, she grew up in an age where that was all a woman was, a mother and wife. That's the most she knows. Second-wave feminism came later and though I am privileged to have come of age in an era where women are more career-driven, many of my older wiser sisters have not and pity them for their subservience but instead try to understand that it was a whole different ball game when they were my age. If a man hit you, you just had to weather the storm, if you were raped, it's just something you had to deal with. These traditionalist patriarchal views are the reason why so many women put up with crap from men and do not attempt to speak out against it. They choose to suffer in silence instead because there is apparently nothing worse than being single. This expectation is so far-reaching, even in my own relationships I have had boys who have expected me to put up with their disrespectful treatment. It's as if crying out to be respected is asking too much. You're just meant to take shit and deal with it as a woman, that's what is expected of you.

I mean I even recall my dad telling me that until I get married I belong to my family. As if marriage is a transaction whereby the father of a household hands over his daughter to some younger male suitor with whom she will begin a family. I have no problem with marriage but the notion of being owned by another human being because I am a woman repulses me so much I would rather be single.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

bell hooks quote on racism and sexism intersecting

Random dudes. This may not apply here. Just dudes. It's relevant to the quote.

"Sexism has always been a political stance mediating racial domination, enabling white men and black men to share a common sensibility about sex roles and the importance of male domination. Clearly both groups have equated freedom with manhood, and manhood with the right of men to have indiscriminate access to the bodies of women."
Could this be any more true? This homie-cliquing observed between men of different races may appear subversive on racial terms but only reinforces conservative notions on gender.
Like Public Enemy said, "Can Truss It".

Friday, June 22, 2012

What a Wynberg Taxi Showed me About Racial Disparity in South Africa

Now, here in Cape Town there the public transport system relies on minibuses, the Metro railway and Golden Arrow bus transit the latter of which are corporations run that operate on an ordered system which may or may not be run by the government. The former of the two are the private-owned minibuses colloquially-termed taxis that, because they are not corporately-owned and any old person with a minibus can drive a taxi and earn money doing so, do not obey any ordered stopping system as the buses do and have a particular way of attempting to get customers into a taxi. A young male, preferably someone with a loud voice and a little charisma is assigned the task of getting out of the taxi at a predetermined stop along the taxi route and yelling the destination of the taxi while asking pedestrians if they are traveling their in between call-outs. The problem is, the majority of those asked are not in fact going to or planning to take a taxi in the said destination and walking then becomes a task of avoiding call-out boys. Why should one have to even respond. If I were going I would tell you yes, or better yet, just hop into the taxi. But today, I was in no mood and ignoring one of these people led to a slight altercation and nasty exchange of signals and words (not from me) as I went along with my day (still happily of course). Reaching supermarket at a shopping center along Main Road, I was asked if I was going to Wynberg for the second maybe third time along my walk and did not respond, I was in no mood. The result was unexpected. This young man who I identified as short, Coloured and sincerely unattractive called me something I swear I have not heard someone call me since I was in primary school - "Black Mamba". Dafuq? Are you for real. Uninterested yet somewhat slighted, I silently flipped a bird and walked through the automatic sliding doors wondering why on Earth that set of words. Then I began to recall how some Coloureds in Cape Town have been successfully trained to think that their apartheid-defined racial status provides them with an opportunity to take a step above the Black population whom they consider inferior. Yet the irony is in the fact that the entire Coloured population in the Western Cape claim ancestors of African origin. Their existence owes itself to the African woman's womb but with apartheid having left its imprint, it would be impossible to convince the ignorant and brain-dead about how ironic it is for them to despise she from which they came. I think if I had been a non-black woman, the reaction to my ignoring this individual would not have been one of insult because I am a Black woman or a "sister" as they like to call it, someone he believes is inferior to him on the basis of my race and gender, he felt a need to put me in my supposed place and make mockery of my dark-skinned nature (which does not even make the slightest sense in my mind, since dark-skin is undeniably gorgeous) as a means of elevating himself. On a personal level, it was a case of a hurt person attempting to hurt another; racially, it served as a reminder to me of how scarred South Africa really still is in this post-apartheid era.

This isn't the guy. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I be on that Black Girl Tip

Her black girl power is exactly what I've been needing in my life and I love it. So what she's sporting horns (we all know what that means). The song is still awesome and she's the freshest artist to emerge in a very long time. Seems June 14th 2012 has served me up a delicious double-treat of talented black women in the form of Issa and Azealia. Love them both. I'm joyful okay but still waiting for the first episode of Awkward Black Girl which is also due today.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tips on Escaping the Clutches of a Madman

”THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES” (PLS TAKE TIME TO READ THIS. it may save a life.) Reblog this! It seems that alot of attackers use some tactic to get away with violence. Not many people know how to take care of themselves when faced with such a situation. Everyone should read this especially each n every girl in this world. THOUGHT THIS WAS GOOD INFO TO PASS ALONG… FYI - Through a rapist’s eyes! A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts: 1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets. 2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing. 3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered. 4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots. 5] Number two is office parking lots/garages. 6] Number three is public restrooms. 7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught. 8] If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming. 9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas,or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands. 10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it. ———————————————————————————————————————————- POINTS THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER: 1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter. Now that you’ve seen their faces and could identify them in a line- up, you lose appeal as a target. 2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target. 3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent. 4] If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh - HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts. 5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he’s out of there. 6] When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly. 7] Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble. ——————————————————————————————————————————- FINALLY, PLEASE REMEMBER THESE AS WELL …. I know you are smart enough to know these pointers but there will be some, where you will go “hmm I must remember that” After reading forward it to someone you care about, never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in. 1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do it. 2. Learned this from a tourist guide to New Orleans : if a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you…. chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION! 3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives. 4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping,eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side,put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CLOSE the DOORS , LEAVE. 5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: a. Be aware: look around your car as someone may be hiding at the passenger side , peek into your car, inside the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. ( DO THIS TOO BEFORE RIDING A TAXI CAB) . b. If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars. c. Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.) 6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot). 7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN! 8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim. Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it’s better safe than sorry. If u have a heart or compassion reblog this post. ‘Helping hands are better than Praying Lips’ – give us your helping hand. REBLOG THIS AND LET EVERY GIRL KNOW ATLEAST PEOPLES WILL KNOW WATS GOIN IN THIS WORLD. So please reblog this….Your one reblog can Help to spread this information. I hope you all will Reblog. Lets See how many of you really care for this. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT NOT REBLOGGING THIS! IT COULD ACTUALLY SAVE A LIFE. Read this, please