Posts Tagged ‘african culture’

Iye Aenda!

Zimflag

Today every seasoned political commentator is giving an opinion regarding Zimbabwe, infact, everyone thinks they have a solid political view about Zimbabwe. Well, I am not too good at political commentary, nor am I seasoned for that matter. Even in my own country I shy away from political debates because honestly one can never know enough to swear by any formidable viewpoint. However, being a Pan Africanist at heart who keenly reads about the history of Africa, particular southern Africa, starting from the Bantu migration to colonization, liberation and to where we are today, I felt I should express my sentiments regarding today’s events.

It is really with a jubilant heart that I pen this piece. Seeing an African child freeing herself from the shackles inherited from colonial chains. One would say, Mugabe’s resignation today has nothing to do with colonialisation, when infact it has everything to do with it. It feels surreal to experience something like this in my lifetime. Africa still battles to free herself from the resolutions taken at the Berlin conference. Now I sort of get a glimpse of how it felt when independence was gained, Mandela coming out of prison or when heroes like Sankara, Samora, etc were vindicated. I was too young to comprehend some of them – what a time to be alive indeed!

The country is graduating from a post-colonial evolution (if such a term exists). When ZANU PF displaced Ian’s Smith government, it was through guerrilla warfare, and therefore, power was conceded to heroes of war essentially. Some chose to remain in the barracks while others exchanged their uniforms for suits in parliament. This is evident in the hand the military has played in managing the political affairs of the country. It does seem that their latest intervention in November 2017 was a far more progressive one since 1980. Zimbabwe has graduated from a stale-mate in governance, where the leaders of the liberation movement act like they own the country and it’s people due to their struggle efforts. In the process, imposing deeper struggles and scars for their own people. South Africa is yet to graduate from that class. 1994 saw liberation for South Africans, and the champions of that liberation have adopted an entitled stance to the country and resources. One would say former president Mugabe should have taken a page out of Nelson Mandela’s book and give the power back to the people. However Mandela never had much power to give back now, did he?

I digress. I should not make this about South Africa, and unfortunately we have a tendency to make everything about us. It is to be noted that our destinies with our neighbors are all intertwined, from the Mapungumbwe civilization, the effects of the Mfecane displacements in the region, to the establishment of areas like Bulawayo, Gaza (in Mozambique), Bechuanaland, up to present day boundaries. Our victories belong to Africa. Yesterday Kenya, fell into a deeper regression, and today Zimbabwe rises out of it.

The point of the article is to really celebrate her victory taking another step forward. Nobody really knows what the future holds, but one thing for sure is that Zimbabwe is on a path of finding out. I deeply celebrate this era mainly because there is so much that this country has accomplished compared to most African states. First of all, they have set the bar in the history of coups! Not a single bullet fired, then comes the most peaceful uprising I have ever heard of. On the 18 November 2017, not even a match stick was reported missing during the mass demonstration. Most importantly, Zimbabwe is the only country in Africa, which owns their land. It may be in the hands of few, but the African land is in the name of black Africans. We on the other hand, still need a name. The country has a literacy rate of over 90% and their means of production are owned internally. A lot of good, raw, material is in place for the construction of a masterpiece. Your children will reap what you will sow from this point on.

The game plan from now should be for greed to fall; learning who to trust and above all trusting yourselves as a nation to unite and rebuild. My plea is for everyone around you to allow you to forge your own solutions, SADC and the world at large. Can we just all continue minding our business as we have been doing for the past 37 years while Zimbabweans were working at their salvation. I will not comment on transition governments and democracy because I am not too learned on that. However I am very learned in HOPE. Hope never disappoints. You have stood for the longest time in hope that things will change someday and indeed that day has come. Even the pioneers of democracy are not getting it right, so don’t pressure yourself too much, it will take time. Seek out integrity; she will be your guide. Africa looks up to you. May God’s light continue to shine on you.

In the words of the esteemed Cde Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe: “iAfrika, Izwe Lethu”. ALUTA Contunia!

“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are days where decades happen”- unknown

 

 

#Ayashis’Mateki

old sIt is really fascinating how in life so much emphasis is placed on things. What car one drives, the house you live in, the clothes you wear, even what kind of food we eat and yet so little focus is placed on people!

A herd of lions will not walk past a lost cub, they would take it in and look after it because even though they don’t know the cub’s parents it is still one of their own. It therefore fascinates me how we walk past abandoned kids on the streets and not even give the smallest care.  As Innerheights, we believe it’s time to start caring for these children because we don’t know their stories hence it is not our place to judge, but to love.

AyashisaMateki is the first of many projects aimed at making “street life” better for these kids, with the ultimate goal being to get them off the streets as much as is possible.  Young girls and boys are getting lost (and used) on the daily, something needs to be done. But first, we start with the basics: SHOES!

mateki

A lot of children that live on the street have probably owned one pair of shoes their whole life. Some don’t even have shoes at all and those that do; the pairs are WORN OUT and DIRTY and some DON’T even FIT anymore!

Please join us in a quest to collect 100 pairs of shoes (and socks) to alleviate this problem. Winter is upon us and such a gesture will go a very long way. This is initiative is in partnership with Standard bank CIB graduates so all collection points will be based around Simmonds street.

Here are 3 simple steps on how you can help:

  • Donate 100 towards the purchase of shoes
  • Donate a pair of old sneakers (in decent condition)
  • Drop off donations at collection points

We have met with the children and managed to obtain most of their shoe sizes. We anticipate distributing the shoes on the 29th and 30th June. Our key areas of focus are kids (between the age of 8 and 18) that live in:

  • Braaamfontein (by the Mandela Bridge, Pick n Pay)
  • Joubert Park
  • Small Street near Shoprite
  • Yoevile and
  • Hilbrow

If you would like to participate in the project in any way or would like to assist on the day of distribution, please send me an e-mail: noluthando@innerheights.co.za

Keep watch for our weekly barometer that will track progress on how many shoes we’ve collected so far!

Thanks a million :):):)

Innerheights Foundation

Unemployment Free Youth Day

Unemployment has become a very sobering reality in many young people’s lives in South Africa today. In Soweto we call it Loxion Management. Before you leave school you already know that this profession is one of the options waiting for you out there. Unfortunately “employment” is the only option we think there is out there. As young people, the thought of starting something by ourselves is challenging or dreadful even. I mean where would I find someone to invest in my business idea??

Well, funding is the least of our problems if we submit to our limited thinking that being employed is the only way to success. Entrepreneurship needs to be attractive to young people because honestly it is the way to ultimate success and true freedom. Even in our new South Africa, opportunities are laid out in front of young people and yet they fail to grab them all because of false paradigms. The biggest barrier that is preventing young people from pursuing entrepreneurship is this paradigm that has been instilled in their mindsets; that you need to be employed in order to be successful. Trust me, not all employed people are successful people.

In many instances you will find young people venturing into business purely because they could not find work. They start their business as an option of last resort and in most cases they flourish with success. Their unemployment becomes a blessing in disguise.

For a long time our society (especially black South Africans), has revolved around: Go to school- come of age- find employment. Even the pursuit for education is driven by the ideology of getting better job opportunities. Even I can attest that for some people it didn’t matter what degree they obtained, as long as it guaranteed that they will find a good job, it was on. So growing up knowing you needed to find work in order to survive doesn’t make entrepreneurship attractive or even viable. I mean who wants to run a spaza-shop/tavern/taxi business instead of going to the city and find a job. However what we fail to realize is that, whoever we will be working for is actually running their business and they are growing their business through our hardwork. The failure to realize that we are all born with the same amount of potential (and mental capabilities) renders young people with the false ideology that they can never be the employer, but the employed.EduAfr

 

My solution to this false paradigm is rather “out of the box” but I believe it will make a difference. We need to teach young people about African history. Knowing where you come from has a strong bearing on where you are going. Knowing where we come from as a nation will make young people understand how things have become what they are today, why is Africa the least developed continent, what our leaders believed in. Asking these type of questions will make African youth realize that they are equally capable of achieving anything, this will unlock the mental chains that have bound African minds for the longest time. Knowing what happened to Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa etc for it to be the country it is today will help shaping future leaders in reclaiming the wealth through their own hard work and doing it for themselves. We can no longer wait for someone else to give us bread, we must bake our own.

 

As we celebrate Youth day, the people that are at the greatest risk right now are our youth.  But ultimately, everyone’s freedom from poverty/unemployment is in their own hands, look around, see what you can start. Don’t wait for things to happen, there is no politician that will deliver a job at your door, not in a million years. The longer you sit and wait for a miracle there are other vultures (drugs, alcohol, Aids) roaming around looking to devour your youth, so you better keep busy. Just think, I’m sure you will come up with something and start your own enterprise, you are smart enough!

NgesiZulu kuthiwa: Vuk’uzenzele!

“The worst evil of all committed by colonization has been the wishful intent to discourage individual initiative to venture, discover, make attempts and to fabricate. The outcome is the current dependency status”-Unknown

When is the Perfect time to introduce Her to your Parents?!?

In life we sometimes have to go through a few partners before we find the perfect one. However by trying to simplify things, we complicate them by introducing our girlfriends/boyfriends to our parents before we are ready to commit to them.

In our African culture, it is taboo for a guy to just bring a girl over at home if there are no intentions expressed to marry that girl. The couple should meet far away, by the river somewhere; parents were kept out of it until the man was ready to formalize the relationship. The families (even though they may respectively know about the relationship), would not engage as one unit until they are formally introduced through lobola negotiations. Well times have changed and some of these boundaries have been relaxed so much that by a 3 month relationship a woman is treated like a makoti and attends all family functions.

There’s nothing wrong about it, don’t get me wrong. It’s actually encouraging to see that your partner takes you seriously enough to introduce you to his parents. But for what really?  if the guy not yet sure if he is ready to make you his wife, then what why are you doing things as if you were married. Yes you might be heading towards it, but you are not there yet. I personally don’t favor this modern way of doing things, your parents can only meet mine only if we are ready to commit not for socializing. Ukujola is different to umshado, that’s why they have different rules. They can create sticky situations if not treated as 2 separate institutions. Take time to know her, decide what you want to do with her, and then only take her home. Don’t rush into things, speed does kill.

Meeting the parents too soon can somewhat put strain on the relationship and limits both parties from making liberal decisions about their relationship. The first person you fall in love with might not be the last one you will end up with, but if you take her home too soon, she might just end up being the first and last. Parents delight in seeing their children committing to one person and will sometimes gladly help in making the partnership work, more especially if they like your partner and think he/she is ideal for you. This creates friction when you feel like you want to get out of the relationship (of which you have every right to because it’s not a marriage), where now you have to explain your decision to the families. Gees such admin from dating? You can’t just send the person a “please call: it’s over” without considering the after effects.

Should your families now stop attending each other’s functions just because you decided you want something different from this “unofficial” spouse you have?  Obviously someone will help convince you to stay and look on the bright side. Especially us ladies, we just look at the long term picture; that this guys is going to eventually marry you anyways coz his family loves you so much. I am talking from experience by the way. The mother in law will even go to the extent of telling you that they could never accept any other woman besides you because you are perfect for his child.

Another negative that comes from this is that, when there’s a problem in the relationship, us ladies then go to the “mother in law” to tell her of how much her son is not appreciating you and in most cases the mothers stick with the favorite “makoti’s “ rather than their sons. But I don’t get how a parent would mediate on a “dating basis”, really. White people do this all the time and it works for them, don’t ask me how, but in most cases they do. Maybe it’s because the families understand when the couple breaks up and they are more than happy to meet your next love interest. With us, it’s different, once we meet that one girl, she is the only one we want to ever see “we don’t want to see different girls all the time, you introduced us to this one and please stick to her”.

You see, with our culture if a guy brings a girl home it means something and we won’t just easily move on after the break. This creates a hostile environment on your partner because now because they don’t want to seem like a player in front of their parents and will respect them enough to make the relationship work as much as they can (which, could be a good thing also).

There are times also where the woman feels that they want get out of the relationship for whatever reason. And then the “mother in law” will encourage her to be strong and bekezela (hold on), it will pass. But isn’t “bekezeling” for marriage where leaving the relationship is the last option? Now in this relationship where they haven’t even paid lobola with even 3 chickens they are telling you to tolerate absurd behavior so it could work. I know that every relationship is hard work, there are tough times that do require resilience, but a decision of whether to stay or not should come entirely from you and not influenced by family.  Maybe your friends might help give advice, but not your boyfriend’s family, sorry. Perhaps I’m being old fashioned about this but I really don’t believe it’s any of their business until I am formally part of their family.

Another thing that pushes men away even from a perfect spouse is the lack of privacy that would then exist. If he cheated on you and you tell his mother, how can he face his mom when he sees her?  And what if he’s doing it for the 3rd, 4th time, can you imagine what it does to their relationship? It may then lead to them resent you for not hiding their faults (not that I’m encouraging that you should stick around after being cheated on more than once).

So we have this big fight with my partner and I tell our families about it and everyone agrees that the guy was wrong and is infuriated by his actions. 2 days later I have forgiven you and we are all lovey-dovey again, but my family won’t feel the same way about you. I will forget it, but they never will. You will always be “that silly boy who did this and that…” even if you are a changed man now. In marriage there are avenues in the family unit where such issues are resolved and the families can restore the union. I just don’t see this process being necessary while people are still dating; it is actually disrespectful in my eyes.

So let’s say things get so bad that you decide to break up and stick with that decision. So does this mean that I have to delete your mother’s number and break up with everyone else? I mean I also had built a relationship with them and this clearly isn’t fair. But if I sustain these relationships how fair will it be on your next partner? They will always judge her against me and she could never be good enough coz they are just not me! I mean it would be horrific for me if I dated a guy and he wants to marry me, only to find that the ex girlfriend is still buddy-buddy with the mother in law. How am I supposed to build a relationship with the woman who will soon be my “official” mother in law if history is still in the picture? Again, this can be tolerable in a marriage but from a dating platform such is unnecessary.

Ladies, I know we put pressure on our men to introduce us to their family to prove that they are serious about us. But, honestly, that isn’t a sign of commitment; it’s just no indication of where you are headed with the guy if you forced him to introduce you. In as much as you will be invited to some gatherings where you have to go together, please learn to keep to yourself. You may be friends with cousin’s/siblings but his parents are his, not yours. Until the day you are accepted as a member of the family they will remain his alone.

 Respect these boundaries, for your sake and for his as well. Don’t be mean or anti social but nje if umamezala uyaphapha uzenza umngani wakho, be as polite as you can. Your focus is to nurture your relationship with your man, not his family because at the end of the day your will marry him, not them. If you compromise to please them, remember that you will be sleeping next to that person for the rest of your life not them.

Understand who you are, and who your partner is and only commit only if you know for sure that you are satisfied with all they are willing to offer and overlook that which they cannot. Be realistic and don’t measure the love his family gives you to be the love you will get from him in your marriage.

In conclusion; yes our African customs might seem so boring and outdated but they are there for a reason and we should respect that. If I came home in KZN to introduce my boyfriend to my dad, I would get the biggest, hottest klap of my life. Before he declares anything he is not even allowed to set foot in our yard.

Maybe my experiences embedded a negative perspective to this “meeting the parents” concept. Obviously I might be generalizing a bit and such doesn’t always end in a bad way. Do you have a different view from mine? Do share them, so I could also be enlightened and maybe buy into it again.

Relationships are a very dynamic thing. But always remember that love is more of decision than it is an emotion.

“Introducing western solutions to African problems has never proved successful”- N. Khanyile

 

 

This article was first published on Intellect Magazine (Dec ember 2011)