Going about Africa Day

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25 May is Africa day. In most African it is an actual public holiday as it should be in all African countries. It marks or rather celebrates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity which lay the foundation of the now African Union.

Back in high school, the importance of Africa day were emphasized year after year without fail and honestly most of us did not appreciate it nearly enough. I do not think you can ever appreciate routine until you start freelancing in the enormous adult world where you can actually forget your birthday, later on Africa day.

I am however grateful for forgetting Africa day a few times because it has made me sit down with my African self and carefully prioritize events I ought to celebrate and their meaning. I did some reading and honestly the magnitude of the forming of the OAU is downplayed a bit, because you have to understand the continent then, not all countries were free from colonial rule in 1963. And yet brave wise men and women saw the need to unite Africa, the free to assist those facing their former struggles, that is Pan African ideology at its best.

So what to do on Africa Day? I would advise you do the most African thing you can do, be yourself and celebrate this beautiful continent, that is if you aren’t like me who does it a little by the day. Better yet, some take this as an opportunity to highlight our current problems, which is commendable.

This year’s Africa Day theme is ‘harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth’. It may sound like a mouthful or political jargon but if you break it down further it is a solution to many of the problems my beautiful continent is facing. Fact is human resource is one of the best assets Africa has, propaganda usually paints it as over population, but a optimistic Demographer in the making as myself would say it is an untapped resource. If the youth are invested in primarily by educating them, providing jobs or the creative space to allow them to take Africa to the next level, whilst making the most of the bulge the youthful population might create.

Happy Africa day, whether you are dancing the day away, or reading up on your fellow brothers and sisters across the continent( I am reading Reality Bites by G.Esplund, J.Strudsholm, E. Miller) or taking the opportunity to highlight ways to take Africa ahead, have fun and thank you for recognizing the importance of this day.

Pan African Christian (pt 2)

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In my previous post I started out with a reflection on how I had recently gone for a Christian camp, and never really linked it to my questions on pan-africanism (if there ever was a word) and its relation to Christianity, well in my view.  The camp made me reflect on how far I have come as a young African female.

I started out predominantly a feminist, tomboy that I  am, being raised by a single educated, working mother fortified these  beliefs, especially in the face of close family who still do not believe in educating the girl child, But as the years went on and the most common form of feminism just then became violent abuse of the term and men feared us more as a liability as opposed to the fundamental belief that our founding mothers just wanted equality, I mean ratchet females who have abused this have made me distance myself a bit. By this I mean I am for equality of both sexes, because I am also aware that there are women who feed off these sympathies to find lazy ways to the lifestyles they want. A true feminist fights for equal opportunities to work for her dreams.

I stopped using my first name, not because it is not in my native language but with its every utterance it reminded me of the girl i had killed off when I became my own revolutionist in my own small world. It was a name given with much love and I will always appreciate that but when you are disillusioned in as much an intimate way as I have, from my understanding of my own colonial history to just how rigged the life game really is, you want nothing to do with the ignorant person you once were. Not just that but also the painful period of shedding the skin off your eyelids so you are forever seeing regardless of state of slumber or rest and the helplessness that comes with trying by all means not to be black tax to your older siblings and to as painlessly as possible emancipate yourself from the understanding of your mother who as much as who she is why you are so strong, it is also what you want to evolve from. With all that in mind, I chose another of my given name and people judge my decision in that it is disrespectful but I say it is my personal activism, and I have been blessed by some elders who respect the chain of activism.

With that I want to then bring up unfinished activism. I believe even Christianity was some of activism back when it started and as such over the years though not as much as we should have, it should be a movement of love, love shown to us by the saving Grace Jesus gave us by dying for us. So in that can we not find love for the queer, for the other beliefs and for the African who for centuries has been a minority in his homeland. I believe that following such a line of thought one can find themselves where I am, proudly a christian who believes that as Africans we need to love ourselves enough to know that as a continent we are more than enough to solve our problems, that by being proud of our diverse cultures we all come back to the spirit of Ubuntu which unites our struggles and should help us inspire each other. So comes some form answer to questions I raised in my previous post.

Like Angela Davis  explained how the legacies of the past are not static, but are there to help young activists to develop new strategies and give rise to new activism to help realize dreams that have not yet been fulfilled. I go about my day to day life finding new ways of activism that will get not just me but my continent to where we can be. So I will not apologize for not being the same African female I was when I initially emancipated myself.

 

 

Pan African Christian

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I recently went for a Christian camp get away over the Easter break, it was my first break in a while and I decided to do something I have never done, that is, go for a Christian Camp. Funny I should say that because I was born into Christianity but never had enough conviction to follow through camp plans. I always wanted to and my parents supported me just as much as when I decided it might not be for the best. It was a different reason every time, but it all came down to me becoming an adult and never have gone for one church camp. I never felt as though I was any less a Christian so, what the heck.

Still on that ‘Be Inquisitive’ tip, one question has been continuously on my mind, more like an earworm of a societal tune that I got hooked on, but the funny thing is the lyrics were by yours truly. Does Christianity support Pan Africanism. To those new to Pan Africanism, it can be defined as the idea that people of African descent have common interests and should be unified. This is the most vague way I can put it because I believe everyone has their own take on Pan Africanism and infuse it in their daily lives differently. Some incorporate their traditional wear with their work clothes and so forth. Before I go into different ways to work towards our ‘unification’ , I wanted the question “Does Christianity support Pan Africanism?” to be answered first.

Whilst analysing the question I realised that first and foremost I was trying to put pan-Africanism into my Christian beliefs, so came the first fundamental question came to light, was  I to first identify myself as a Christian or as a pan Africanist? Or should it be rightfully the other way around. Well my search began to get me going round and round and well I am no closer to finding the answer but there is one thing that did come out time and time again: Love your neighbour as you love yourself. Love is I believe a fundamental concept to being a Christian. With that vague translation of my take on Christianity, I leave you, my awesome readers with this question: How might the command to love your neighbour as you love yourself  include the need to work for change when that change could indeed make life better and fairer for your neighbour, that is keeping in mind that Pan Africanism is considered a movement for black empowerment.

How not to give up on your personal blog

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Having a personal blog is one of the most excruciating thing out there. Mainly because you have to constantly remind yourself that the blog is for you by you and well usually about you too. The tide gets rough when you do not get as much traffic as you expected or wanted, which is the state my blog is in, and you start questioning your writing skills, purpose and reality. You are constantly torn between sharing too much and not saying out right.

This is when you need a support system, family and or friends who were most probably present at the start, to remind you of your original goals, there is a high chance that the cruel reality of the internet will hit you hard and leave you in a state of confusion. Whilst dazed and confused from the back hand of how little an impact you might be making with your blog, the likelihood of you giving up increases and hence the need for a functioning support system. There are some people I am close to but I do not really talk about my blog with them, sometimes the blog is a separate entity, one I cannot fully explain or want to talk about. But the ones I do talk to about it often keep me posting my random weird thoughts that are clearly not everyone’s cup of tea.

Second piece of advice, have clear set goals as to what your blog should be about. I have to confess when it comes to this part I lack consistency mainly because I only write when I have a thought that is nagging my everyday existence. Unfortunately this does not happen as often as I would like and it does not come in one form. Sometimes it is poetry or its like today’s post. Whatever you do, do what you feel is good, might as well make a blog that one  thing in life you do how you want, that is if everything else is minutely controlled by unforeseeable circumstances.

Do not compare your personal blog to other blogs, you will think at first that it is good to check how others are doing it, before long you are caught in the trap of not measuring up to the next guy. Honestly it is like comparing personalities or D.N.A, two will never be the same, familiar but not exact. Three years on, I am proud of my blog, it is my baby and I have no hesitation telling whoever wants to hear about it. I started my blog as a therapeutic way of me dealing with the various issues I deal with, as well as provide some insight for those curious about how some of live on this side of the world. Curious enough most of my readers are not on the African continent. But most importantly I started my blog to help someone out there who thinks they are alone in a similar struggle I am in.

Lastly, do not be afraid to evolve, indulge the change you have become, you can only stay the same before even your reflection is bored of you. Still on the inquisitive tip : Have I evolved to be what I wanted to be or what I was meant to be? Happy Blogging and for my non-bloggers, happy evolving.

Fish in a tree

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I guess if you really are determined you can definitely be that one outstanding fish in a tree, but at what cost? I am sure you have heard of the quote” Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I believe this is evidence of how deep rooted some societal issues really are. I do not know about your school but where I attended high school you could get away with virtually anything as long as your report card was impressive. I believe this is where most of life’s problems begin.I mean it is bad enough you are an average student( if you are lucky), and your guardian(s) chews you out about the potential you are not expanding,but from a young age they have already shown you how things will never swing your way because academics rule it all. In most cases we discover in college there is another pathway, arts and so forth, to making it in the world. By then it is far too late for most self esteems.

I believe the question any educator should ask a student they are willing to grow is “What is your genius”. I am sure we can all relate, unless of course you were blessed with such educators. Mind you I am not blaming the educators, rather the system in place, except for Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Finland (top performing  countries according to MBC Times). I mean in  such countries they hold their teachers in as much esteem as we do doctors and lawyers in the rest of the world, which makes tonnes of sense. Beyond the education system it would help having parents and guardians who would ask questions like “What else can my child excel in”, instead of the monotonous what can I do to make sure my fish can climb the tree you have subscribed.

Reverting from the latter question would save young people around the world a whole lot stress. I am sure there would be less instances of students cheating and yes even suicides among teens. Yes I did just go that far,because not all of us knew there was more to life than grades. So imagine your whole life crumbling around you  test after test, the worst part being that you studied so hard, but you still cannot climb that tree. Even if you are surrounded by the world’s best cheerleaders, the system has made you your own worst critic and you cannot stop until you strangle every part of you on that tree. Or you just reach adulthood thoroughly convinced you are stupid, I mean it was proved to you and the world time and again. Let me not get started on the wolves waiting to exploit your low self esteem in adulthood.

Life already has enough hurdles to make you scream and shout without an education system to make you feel stupid. Well speaking from experience, it leaves scars that seldom heal, you try to forget all those years of second guessing your existence. But once in a while the nightmares find you and how you wish someone had asked you, “What is your genius?”.

Still on that inquisitive tip hey, lets find our own path to being a genius and help those around us. From a fish happily swimming about: Happy Friday the 13th.

Bhudhi Simba!!!

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If you have been following my blog then you have  hopefully read my poem Sisi P.Well where there is a Sisi P, there is a bhudhi Simba. True story hey, my mum and dad raised me to never call my elder siblings by their first name, its a sign of great disrespect, there always has to be a Sisi (if it is your elder sister) before their name, or a bhudhi(if it is your elder brother). Now that you have learnt of some African culture you are welcome.

I love my brother! Twenty one year old version of myself can say that, not sure about previous years. For as long as I could remember my brother was this looming presence that I shared a mother, sister and home with. I did not care much about his life until he left for boarding school and I was the television queen again.I do remember Pokemon and marble games here and there but his dark presence out weighs those, as far as my childhood is concerned.img-20151222-wa0029

The last day before the school term was to end, whenever I would make a left turn into our home street, I would be greeted by loud DMX or Eminem music, a symbolic sign of his return. No more cartoons, would be the first thought, but that was not the worst part of it.I could never do anything right, cleaning, preparing breakfast, I mean he even criticized the way I talked. Most may dismiss it as classic sibling interaction, whatever it was, it caused me to deeply loathe him. Almost every day of the school holidays I was assured i would cry, if not this then that. To be frank I hated him and never understood why he was such a miserable man.

In my second year of high school my brother left for University. Before he did he took the time to visit me in boarding school, which was out of anyone’s way. I knew it was by his own will because you can never get him to do something he does not want, ever. I was astonished and did not know what to say or do. It was an awkward interaction to say the least and the whole time I thought I liked it better when he belittled me, because that I was used to.

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Looking back now I think that was the ice breaker, we talked more after that. His repulsive comments turned  more into constructive criticism, a building block for my creativity. Fast forward to now, I can confidently say he is the best brother ever, I always feel that he is the one person who will listen to my melodramatic rants no prejudice. I sometimes forget there was a time I could not bump into him later on hug or embrace him without serious consequence. My brother is a very significant part of my life and he brings with him insight and genuine concern among other contributions.

Why the rant? Well his birthday is around the corner, so I am easing into the best sister of the year vibes, lol. To be honest, it is that time when people actually put in some effort at trying to be better people, new year new me kind of stuff. Maybe my little story will inspire you to reconcile or try harder to connect with your family. Family is very important and you might find it is what you have been missing to make you worlds better than your 2016 self. Happy new year and happy birthday Big Bro.

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Bhudhi Simba, Sis P and I.

Active Poetry

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“Active Poetry”is what I call activism through poetry. It is when you go beyond performing poetry at a poetry night with a cosy and intimate audience, it’s taking to the streets and letting it roar as loud as possible. I have only been to two of them but I assure you there are many more to come. The last we had here in Windhoek was to commemorate 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence, which is a real problem in this country to say the least. It was organised by Township productions in collaboration with Grassroot Slam poetry, two active organisations in their own right. I just happen to love poetry and a budding activist.

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After all protocol was observed, we took chalk and “chalked ” out our thoughts on Gender Based Violence on the pavement on the space allowed. We encouraged members of the public to be involved, grab a chalk or ask questions, young and old were all invited and I am sure that there is one more person who knows a bit more about Gender Based Violence after our little poetry day out. Though I am not as active on my beloved blog as I would like to, the poetry never stops flowing, neither does the activist in me die. Rebel movement over and out.

 

Vague Shadows

DSCF8705I see you every where

Living memories staring me in the eye

I never have the courage to look back

Because I am terrified to accept that my reality is built around past memories

And I continuously rub shoulders with people I have not seen in years

Maybe this is my call back home, to where my mother buried my ruguvhute

She mentioned it the other day, as I explained I would not be home for the third year in a role

The uproar her heart felt echoed through the wavelengths

I was tired and I am afraid to be tired when I go back

Because I was tired of pausing my dreams to make way for aristocracies and dictactorship

Like so many before me, who till today are just vague shadows of who they were meant to be

But I am also tired of this work-away

They do not speak to me in a language I understand

And I have lost the right to correct them

The moment I crossed the border

I am fatigued by constant thoughts that run down the conscious version of myself

I am weary of who I have allowed them to reduce me to be

Just another girl in need of refugee from a country that cannot aid her

But has molded the art you see in her

I am drained by the corporation that I slave for with no recognition

Knowing with my next mistake I lose financial stability

Recognition is not the word of the day, Appreciation is

To master an art in which you suffer in silence as they degrade you to just a cleaner

Me: an Undergraduate student tied down by an education I cannot afford to have or lose

Such are the thoughts that run me down and feed my yearning to go home

And cure my mind left unappreciated and thorned

 

Nothing but looking up to the heavens

It got me doing some intense research, the need to have my words heard. Not only heard but for them to inspire if not a revolution or rebellion then to just be comfort to those in the dark. Book after book I was told poetry does not go very far, its just something personal, not a money making industry hence very little investment opportunities. So no money means I will not be heard,next question, “Where are you?………Africa…….honestly we cannot help.”

So for a few days I kicked every pebble  on every pathway I took, angry at the world because it did not have the time and money for what I had to say, its a sickening feeling you know, to feel as if no one’s listening. Feels like you are screaming in a bubble floating far off into space where no one is. You either get tired or your voice runs out, yes even your body and mind can give up on you, no words, as if to say they have caught on to what your heart and spirit have not.

And then I go back to my normal routine and try to forget childhood dreams of life before twenty, but it is still my waking thought and the reason I am blind to any other achievements, because the child in me will not be forgotten. So that is the endless cycle I find myself in, a battle of the war, and whatever happens may I always find my way to my words and courage to stand for them. And this is my message in a bottle, to the ocean of bottles. That the right person finds this, but then again they say I should make my own place in this world, I cannot be constrained to just throwing message bottles now can I? My mother works too damn hard for me not to be great, why does the path seem forever foggy though. Such that

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when I do find time to dwell upon  this cursed world we all seem to badly want to belong to, I find myself looking towards the heavens for enlightenment, for what else is there to do when you run out of the yellow brick road to follow.

When the hounds become your neighbors

20150510_142557Before they took out their machetes and started slashing away; I wish they would ask why. Why I packed everything to my name in a back-pack and trekked down south. Why I left everything I knew to venture into the big unknown, unpredictable world knowing that the certainty was uncertainty. I speak for that girl who was barely of age, who had to say goodbye to life as she knew it, putting faith in humanity and the rosary she held onto for dear life. It does not dawn on you until you are called off the pick-up truck, in the middle of nowhere, in the darkest hour of the night. Barely a swimmer herself her feet froze on contact with the limpopo, fear clouded whether or not the water was as cold as it felt. The strangers held hands, brothers in arms , brought together by the desperate need to escape. When the water reached her waistline, she knew there was no going back, if the infamous crocodiles did not get her, the tsotsis across the border might, worst case scenario, she would get arrested meaning safer transport to her seeking asylum. But at the back of her mind she felt like these were just the last kicks of a dying horse.

If they had only thought for a moment before they broke down her door, invading not only her personal space but destroying everything she had honestly earned through hard work and diligence. She escaped with just only the clothes on her back and memories of the sweet taste of what hope was as adrenaline had her rationally run and  not fight the armed men. When she did find safety she looked through the window to witness flames burn everything she owned, everything she was. Her asylum papers, groceries she had meant to send back home the next day . Her clothes, bank cards, furniture , her identity. The flames just got higher and higher and mercilessly devoured the hope and fruits of hard work she had painfully gathered along the years. Pain incapacitated her body, she did not cry, she smiled instead. She laughed hysterically, who would have known that it was not crocodiles in the Limpopo or the police she should have feared. It was the people; her fellow  Africans, the people who hired her, the ones who processed her to be a legal refuge, her neighbors, her church-mates. Her knees grew weak with laughter, she huddled herself into a little ball on the cement floor, giggling. She could not help but remember how she was homeless the first few months after she crossed over. She moved from shelter to shelter until her first paycheck came into effect. She remembered how happy she was the day they granted her asylum, that was the key to the life she had always wanted, to be able to dream and knew that if she worked hard enough, she could achieve anything. That was her lifeline and also the only thing the situation back home cold not engulf; HOPE. Now it was just smoke and ashes. Honesty and hard work proved to be inadequate to have the machete-men show her mercy.

Not a single tear rolled down her cheek, she laughed herself to sleep that fateful night. She thought,”I could have been killed or raped”, but that offered little consolation. She lay there feeling dead inside, all she wanted was to be able to dream,to have hope, especially in mankind. The very thing that delivered her from hopelessness was what destroyed her.