Freedom Comes With Responsibility #NoToXenophobia

These statues, mounted at the National Heritage Project’s offices yesterday couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.

When our country is this volatile, it is important to reflect on where we come from…

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Cissie Gool and Abdullah Abdurrahman

Zainunnisa “Cissie” Gool was an anti-apartheid political and civil rights leader in South Africa. She was the daughter of prominent physician and politician Abdullah Abdurahman.

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According to the South African History Resource, Chief Langalibalele was “known as ‘Long Belly’ by Sir Garnet Wolesley, who could ‘never spell his infernal barbarian cognomen’. Langalibalele’s rebellion caused a crisis in Natal. It was described as ‘the most wonderful case of blunders for men past infancy to have made’ and strengthened Carnarvon’s case for confederation.”

Chief Langalibalele

Lest we forget what it took to attain our freedom; the liberties we enjoy today are indeed the culmination of collective efforts in and outside our national borders. Until we free ourselves from our mental chains and truly begin to see the world as a place that holds infinite possibilities through collaboration, then we will never be truly “free”.

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Dear Mageza

taxi

Having been a victim of an unprovoked verbal attack on my way to work this morning, I feel I need to say a few things.

I am not certain, however, that you will read any of this-seeing how things like reading are last on your list of priorities. Again, you say absurd things like “stelling” when you mean “steering wheel” but that’s none of my business since I know better than to ridicule anyone who doesn’t speak the Queen’s language properly.

It’s funny because you like things: You put up bumper stickers all over the place, about overweight people, people not being allowed to doze off in the front seat and lo and behold that people ought to shut up because they don’t have cars- we must see you, we must feel you. And who the hell told you that everyone who takes a taxi doesn’t have a car of their own??

Then again, your narrow-mindedness precedes you! You probably suffer an inadequacy complex, you can frog march people because it gives you some sort of power and that’s the thing-we let you get away with it.

This Mageza rained on yours truly this morning following a request to be dropped off where I get off each and every morning. He maintained that he had asked where everyone was going. “I speak Tswana”, I said- wait, is it a cardinal sin to not speak Zulu in Johannesburg? When did Zulu become our primary national language?It doesn’t end there, he continues his tirade by telling another that if he were to insult me-I would hear. Yes, I heard everything. I maintained a dignified silence. It could have been cowardice or perhaps the realization that no wise person in their right mind should argue with a moron.

Now, dear Mageza, you are uncouth and arrogant- the last word should always be yours. No matter what. You treat commuters like they owe you the world, as if your service is a favour. That’s what you do when you overload a taxi and expect everyone to pay the same price; when your seats are so in ruins one has to hold on for dear life to avoid falling over; when you risk the lives of passengers by skipping traffic lights.

You bask so well in the stereotypes attached to you that you ruin it for other taxi drivers who are decent and treat commuters with respect. I will not offer any remedies for your condition or try to school you- you are a lost cause, completely consumed by the little world you inhabit; complete in waking up and not impacting positively on the world around you. Unfortunately, half of this country depends on the taxi industry to bridge the gap between home and workplace-so you must be chuffed.

I’ll tell you though that customer service and courtesy is not some foreign exercise meant for the corporate world or as you would say “those who know too mush (much)”, they are everywhere you go. Respect is earned and not demanded.

Sincerely,

Gomo’

Quarter Life Musings and All

Miss Leefolt, she’d narrow her eyes at me like I done something wrong, unhitch that crying baby off my foot. I reckon that’s the risk you run, letting somebody raise you chilluns.

Aibileen: The Help by Katherine Sockett

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Where I come from, it takes a village to raise a child. This isn’t some made up fallacy belonging in African folklore. It’s an ethos that has prevailed for centuries. One could tell just by the liberty with which grownups in our era reprimanded the young.

A childhood friend’s mother gave us both a whipping after we went trotting around her street asking for vetkoek money in her name. What little crooks we thought we were; children never realise how transparent they are. My mother never went marching to ask why we were given a hiding…and I’m glad. We thoroughly deserved it.

Of course things have changed and parenting becoming a little complex in the face of advanced technology, social media and a range of not-so-newly acquired social freedoms. Just getting your own child to sit while having supper in this day and age is one hell of a task, never mind other people’s kids!

My generation has been branded a lot of names- from Gen D, hugely punted by Dion Chang, and more recently, Gen Y. I’m not certain whether the “Y” refers to “Youth” or otherwise. Perhaps Gen “W” would have been more appropriate since they reckon we are more prone to worrying a lot; about money, personal relationships, job security, and employment. Hell, we even worry about what the neighbours are having for supper! You want something or someone to worry about, come on over here; we sure can lend a hand!

Seriously though, this is not without basis. For some reason, there is a universal conspiracy that this particular generation ought to experience the kind of challenges it faces. Perhaps it boils down to crappy and near sighted leadership, I don’t know. Where does parenting come in?

About a week ago I came home from work to find-to my absolute horror- (LOL!) my daughter’s head being shaved. At boiling point, I enquired why I had not been consulted about this since I had plans for that hair. Frankly, through our common understanding the little one had really made peace with being combed. Naturally, I felt I had been stripped of my authority (over the child) and my motherhood status merely reduced to that of hapless spectator: A deaf and mute one. Before you go on and call me petty, this is just one of many power struggles.

Coincidentally, a friend of mine, who is a nurse, also expressed her frustration at having next to no say in the upbringing of her seven year old. She bemoaned the fact that she has been reduced to a sister figure, with little say. She, like me, is twenty-six years old and still living under her parents’ roof.

I reckon Aibileen from Kathryn Sockett’s book would probably say, “That’s what you be getting for living under somebody else’s roof when you be so darn old!” Well, the truth is, just because you have now become someone’s mother doesn’t mean you can mother everyone else.

The world has turned on its head, and this paradigm shift forcing the current generation to raise children in family structures that possibly belong in the sixties. President Zuma proposed a Green Paper on Families late last year, a topic that got us talking for some time before it waned. Perhaps the question ought to be, what happens beyond the systematic analysis of family structures? What then? What about the issues shaping the family structure in this age?

Gen Y has reason to worry because unemployment (or lack of stable work opportunities) has far reaching consequences. Yes, your personal relationships are affected because you are a (single) parent trying to balance your role as a child vis á vis your full-fledged adult mentality. Yes, power struggles and issues of control will come to the fore. Of course one will feel as if they are being kept in virtual captivity because job losses have forced many people to sell their houses to go and squat at their folks abodes. Talk about a quarter of a life crisis, phew!

Unfortunately I am not patenting any solutions to the dilemma for now. I am certain that my cohorts have approached the thought of having someone mothering them at this age, -and having to raise their own children- with much reluctance. Saying “no” is probably the hardest thing to do; however, it’s probably the most liberating. Perhaps we also need to be grateful that the “village” still exists to cushion the blow of the economic environment and for its love and support. So, aluta continua; tolerance and firm boundaries will have to do. After all motho o kgonwa ke sa gagwe.

Piece Offering: Some Common Sense for the ANCYL…And A Word On Sponsorship & Branding

Funny I didn’t hear the ANC Youth League’s complaints about corporate sponsorships bestowed on many of our black celebrities. The Bonang Mathebas, Liras, Minnie Dlaminis, HHPs of this world-the list is endless. Frankly I would have a fit if they attempted to do that.

I was mildly shocked when a weekend newspaper reported that one of the most pressing issues on the ANCYL’s agenda in the past week was Oscar Pistorius’ obvious wealth. They questioned why he, a white male, received so much sponsorship from big corporations while the rest of the athletes with just as much ability are being overlooked. No, in fact, rephrase: The burning question was how Pistorius could be swimming in all his millions while black athletes are wallowing somewhere praying for sponsorship manna from heaven.

I’m just grateful that the ANCYL does not speak for me. No, thank you I can speak for myself. I certainly will not let a bunch of novices claim to speak on behalf of myself nor any other self-respecting youth about things they know nothing about. My initial reaction to the report was one of surprise at the utter misuse and abuse of race politics in South Africa. When a group of “youth” is not sure how they fit into the grand scheme of things in the country and, in particular, what their responsibility is towards the youth in general- it is easy for them to assume that muttering nonsense is the way to go.

Some of us clever blacks ala Jacob Zuma were clearly misinformed that the era of empty vessels ended with Julius Malema’s demise! So evidently I’m still not sure why the League does not lambast the countless opportunities afforded to our notable schlebs. Is the term “youth” mutually exclusive in our midst?

Now, let’s explore why some people don’t even have to canvass corporate for sponsorship. The first thing that came to mind was the word INFLUENCE; that is, how a particular person could use their social standing to increase awareness about a certain brand. This naturally equates to increased market share for the latter. At this point, this is just common senses rushing in-nothing has been researched yet- but we can attempt to draft something that the ANCYL may, in the basic terms understand.

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Secondly, to the best of my knowledge sponsors need to identify an individual who fits into the brand’s vision and goals. It is much easier for a corporate to sponsor someone who embodies that and can carry it through without much effort; as if it is second nature. Qualities such as competitiveness, presence, determination, resilience, strength and positivity are but some of the reasons why some individuals continue to reap the rewards of sponsorship heaven. In essence, it is a give and take-you scratch my back, I scratch yours- relationship where both parties benefit.

Corporate sponsorship “is an effective means of advertising for many organizations, because it promotes goodwill. Companies are more likely to spend large amounts of money sponsoring highly publicized events [and people] due to the amount of publicity that can be generated and the opportunity to be affiliated with a good cause or popular event”- Angela Stringfellow-

Therefore in all likelihood when one does not command the necessary presence (read: attention), sponsors won’t bite. There you go ANCYL! Now what do you make of that? Yet again the League has missed another important lesson (not just for failing to indicate their stance on the deteriorating state of education) in remembering that everything comes at a price. They certainly ignored the fact that Pistorius’ relationship with his sponsors came to a grand halt pending the outcome of his court case. Even then the relationship may not continue. Dear ANCYL, I have a dream…A dream that one day a school will open to cater for those with lack of…:-)