Posts Tagged ‘Growth’

10 things I wish I knew when I was 20

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This is an actual blackboard hanging in my house. I have written these 5 points over a period of 24 months, one point at a time as I unwrapped the lessons. I must admit they came during the most difficult trials in my life and maybe that’s why the lessons have stuck so well. I always look forward to my birthday, but also dreaded getting old. I no longer resent old age though, as I have since realized that the older I grow, the more I fall in love with the woman I am becoming. A lot of people have not made it this far, which means I have survived everything life has thrown at me up to this point. Below are the 10 things I would tell to my 20-year old self, being a day away from 30, I needed to reflect and take stock at what life has offered me.

  1. Thank God

I have learnt that in my life I have a lot to be thankful for. No matter how dire my situation may have been, I can bet my life that someone is going through far worse and his or her situation is not about change anytime soon. Counting your blessings one by one each day, brings a sense of hope in one’s soul. Gratitude invites more blessing and being alive is one.

  1. The time is NOW

The best time to start or stop doing something is NOW! The present is the best opportunity to live, to grow and be true to your convictions. Procrastinating on progressive decisions is such an injustice to your destiny. Time and chance may not present themselves as they have today. Seize the moment, the opportunity may never come again.

  1. Honor your decisions

Had I stuck to my resolutions when I made them, I would be living my best life right now. But again, putting things off for another day and basking in the comfort of dysfunction is counter-revolutionary to your growth. So you have figured out that a particular activity/relationship is holding you back. Off all the things that are detrimental to you life, you have narrowed it down to that is “one” thing and you are making a decision to change it. Please stick to that resolution daily. It will not be easy, you will forget sometimes, but as soon as you remember your decision, promise yourself once more. This way you learn to trust yourself and build up your self-esteem.

  1. Speak your Truth

A healthy self-esteem is also built up through the ability of speaking your truth. For the longest time I have been unable to express my true feelings with the fear that it might offend the next person or they might appreciate me less. The result was that I would overly commit myself and let the very same people down, including myself. Speaking your truth is also necessary when you speak to yourself and most importantly to God through your prayers. The Lord delights when we are vulnerable and honest to him, because he already knows whats in our hearts anyway. Communication is the most important ingredient in any relationship, be it professional or personal. Being honest with yourself yields the best reward of all. There is nothing more sad than seeing someone believing their own lies. Stay true!

  1. Learn to say No without explaining yourself

If you can’t do something, you can’t, end of story. You don’t need to be rude or apologetic about it. I am one of those people that wanted to please all and sundry and felt the need to explain my decisions all the time, as though people invested some of the years of their lives in mine and I owe them a time account. It is good to be polite and commit wherever possible, but it should never be at your detriment. I have since discovered that whatever I tried to explain to others, I was trying to justify in my own mind. Which means I’m not sure about the choice that I just made. Those who care about you will understand when you cannot show up because they know of the many times you did. You character is not defined by the ability to please, but the level of integrity you abide by.

  1. The world owes you nothing

Not needing to explain myself helped me learn that I actually do not owe anyone anything. Everything I do or say needs to be meaningful and come from my heart. Anything you do with ingenuity is an inconvenience to yourself and a nuisance to others. Likewise nobody owes you loyalty, love, attention or politeness. All these things are done because people want to, and you need to appreciate every single good deed, because you are not entitled to it. Even God himself owes you absolutely nothing, all you have is by Grace. Receive it as such. Life does not owe you success no matter how good you have been. Yes you reap what you sow, but you don’t do good as an investment, you do it because you want to and only then will it come back to you. Expectations lead to disappointments, have none (or as little as possible).

  1. Low self-esteem is not humility

There’s nothing as dis empowering as fake-humility. I have done that a great deal in my life. Treating myself as an option just to appear humble to people who don’t even need my sacrifice. I mistook thinking lowly of myself as the ultimate expression of humility and little did I know that was exactly how the world would perceive me. Humility continues to be the greatest virtue I aspire to, but I bring self-love along. Pride is not attractive on any basis, in fact its like poisoning your own soul and living in delusion. We are on earth and are all equal, lets live there. Give to yourself the love that you would extend to others, you are just as important.

  1. You are not ready for marriage

Marriage is no joke guys! It takes your whole soul and a bit to make it work with your beloved. You need to constantly work on yourself to be better for your soul mate and for the partnership to work. If I knew this, my twenties would have been the most liberating time of my life. I spent a decent part of them stressing about marriage and when it was finally gonna rain on precious me. It is only now do I realize that I have had quiet a lot to work on personally before I could even fathom of someone else entrusting me with their heart and their dreams.

  1. Being “you” is your Super-power

No one can be Noluthando the way I can be. Not now, not ever. That is my super-power. Only I can execute my destiny, tell my story and color the world in a manner that me can do. Everywhere you go, know that you have decorated the place with your rival and you matter. No one can dispute how you are doing you, because frankly only you know how to.

  1. Jesus saves

Not my moral behavior, sweet words, pretty face or lengthy prayers can save my soul, only Jesus can. I gave my life to the Lord in my second year of university and I continue to surrender it daily. Many Christians and non-christians fall into the trap of being their own saviors and some even say that they need to change their lives before they come to God. I have also tried to clean up own messes, only to create bigger ones. The acknowledgement that there is a power higher than you that can help you rise higher is the beginning of wisdom. If you were your own god, you would be running this world. Gradually understanding and absorbing that Jesus is my savior, has helped absolve myself off condemnation, forgive my own errors and renewed my hope for the future.

Overall, I have learnt to accept that I am a work in progress and will continue to be that for the rest of my life. I just need to remain committed to my own development. At the end of it, things will be okay, they always turn out that way. No situation is permanent, not even your weaknesses or deepest fears. Morning always comes, and when it does, take the lessons into your noonday.

“ You have to relentlessly participate in the manifestation of your own blessings”

 

Highest Honor

Everything natural on this earth is alive, if fact earth itself is considered to have a soul, called Gaia and she is female in her form. The soil germinates seeds and grows food for us. The plant itself is alive as it grows, water brings life, in fact without it; there is no life, just like air. All the natural elements (earth, water, fire, air) are a culmination of life and all living beings are an embodiment of these elements. You need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat and sun for warmth. This applies to all created animals, they are a combinations of all elements of life. We are therefore no different from any living thing on this earth, but we are somewhat superior, one might even say we are at the top of the food chain. Have you ever wondered though how was it decided that one would manifest as a plant, an animal or human being? If lives of animals were not sacred, they would not be afraid of dying. While, we’re at it, who decides which animal spirit will be a rat and another a lion?

Well, according to Vedic literature there is actually a science that determines who is born in what form. They believe that existence starts in the most basic form and evolves to the highest level, which is spiritual enlightenment. Where one is no longer subject to the limitations of the elements, nor gets to be born and die again, but live in the purest form reminiscent with the source of their soul. According to them, existence therefore, begins on the earth as rock and with is the densest vibration and gradually over time, that manifestation changes form into something else. Think of how mountains go through erosion and what was hard rock now becomes soil. The soil can germinate life and eventually graduate into manifesting as a plant. The next stage existence is that of animals, which is a more enhanced experience of the elements and less dense dimension. Animals can protect themselves; reproduce with intention and most importantly are driven by their instincts to ensure survival. I would assume it starts off small and climbs the ranks, over time to being an elephant, maybe.

The next, not final, stage of existence is that of being born as a human. In this dimension of existence it is considered the highest honor compared to all living things on this earth. We are not driven by instincts, but we have our intelligence, will power and insight to spiritual enlightenment. Art is the highest expression of human intelligence and all of us have that gift, whether creating or enjoying it. Most importantly we all have eternity engraved in our souls. All of us, at some point wonder, where exactly do we all come from and where we are going, ideally none of us want to die or age for that matter. Ancient Eastern texts (Vedic) believe being born human grants you the opportunity to change the destiny of your soul by how you exhibit your human experience. We cannot merely exist to eat, reproduce, protect and die; this would make us no different to animals. Likewise spending all our days wanting to have more than others, when in actual fact the value of lives is exactly the same. “All people spend their lives scratching for food, but they never seem to have enough. Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless – like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 7).

 “Once we take human birth, our destiny is shaped by karma. Karma are actions pertaining to the development of the material body and such acts sentence us to future births in the material world where we reap what we sow. If we act according to good moral code we produce good karma, likewise if we engross ourselves in fleshly desires we create bad karma. If we don’t learn good lessons we are sent back to try again, with a better starting point if we were good, or worse off if we were vile. The material world reforms us, teaching us through reward and punishment to acknowledge God’s supreme position. – (Swami Prabhupada, Veda, Secrets of the East).

I may not fully understand the evolution of the soul as described above. Whether our souls evolve over time, arrive as is or travel from one dimension to the next, is not important. What is important to is that we realize the strength of what we possess within our souls. The bible says God created us in His image. He spoke things into existence and we possess the same power. We have dominion over earth and all things created, therefore, it is expected of us to experience life on a higher level. It should be above the animalistic instincts. Our vibrations can change the course of humanity and digging deeper within ourselves for the eternity we yearn for, will lead us to attain our individual pursuit of excellence. Remember, a plant only graduates to the next level by blossoming to the best of its ability and bear the maximum amount of fruit it possibly can. It has mastered the dimension of being a plant, and it needs a new challenge, and we are no different. We need to live with the desire to rise up above our current form of existence, master it and move on to the highest and purest form of existence where we are not tied down by cumbersome bodies. Consider the Lotus flower; its seed sprouts in mud and it rises up from the murky mud to flourish on water effortlessly basking in the sunrays. The murkier the mud; the brighter the flower becomes. Some people rise up from the lowest points of life to become noble citizens, which is a reflection of how quickly they have absorbed life’s lessons. We too can learn the lessons presented in our mud, and the most important one is the humility of acknowledging that there is a God and we are not He. 

We cannot control the circumstances of our lives and existence and perhaps may never know all the mysteries of life. But we can live each day with the gratitude of being alive and being who we are. Many yearn for the gift. We must appreciate our souls for being different and gifted, in this way we honor He who created us. For we no matter how difficult things can get, we are bestowed with the highest honor that exists in this life and we need to be mindful of it. Finding our passion, doing the best with our abilities and sharing our light with others, adds its own flavour to this earth. Let us not despise our lives over the meaningless comforts of modern life, whether we live in abundance or lack thereof. It should never overshadow the sound of our souls that should be listened to.

If you are young and healthy, you are the wealthiest being on this planet. Sometimes it may take lying in a hospital bed or an old age home to realize the value of your youth. Use it wisely and: Give thanks for it. Everyday!

Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget you Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say –‘Life is not pleasant anymore’. Remember Him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young before the silver cord of life snaps and the bowl is broken. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. – Ecclesiastes 12

 

…as you say!

Be very careful when a naked person offers you a shirt – African proverb

First of all, how can someone give you something they don’t have themselves and secondly, why are they not wearing that shirt? Clearly, if it’s good for you, it will surely be good for them because you are both naked. It’s like food, if someone doesn’t want to eat something, but insists that you eat it; you get suspicious or eat it with discontentment in your heart knowing that this poor person is also hungry yet they are giving you all their food. The intention may be good, but the reception may not be entirely perceived in the same manner, it usually comes with a bit of an after taste if accepted at all. Parents may be an exception to the material application of this principle but not in its entirety.

A parent will go hungry for their children any day, however as the children grow older, they may not be as accepting of this sacrifice and will insist on sharing. The predicament comes when the parent lays out rules that they do not follow themselves. Most parents would say “do as I say and not as I do”. You use bad language, gossip, are untidy, stingy, lazy, etc. while preaching the opposite to your children. It’s not rocket science that your children will probably turn out like you. You cannot teach them something you don’t know yourself.

Another great example is a relationship. You must really be afraid of someone who doesn’t love themselves and yet claim they love you. This person overworks themselves, they don’t deal with hurt in their lives, tolerates disrespect from all and sundry, puts absolutely everyone and everything ahead of him/herself. They basically do not take care of their bodies and well being, either by living a risky lifestyle or engaged in other self destructive behavior. Now tell me how can this person give you love, which is; patient, kind, gentle, non-envious, etc.? Because of the inadequacy within themselves, their idea of love is distorted from the onset and what they consider love may be a very dysfunctional realty. Unfortunately you end up trying as hard as you can to “understand” this persons’ distorted definition of love and that is where abuse begins.

Unless someone does something themselves, it is not easy for anyone to follow their example. It is in our nature to judge others by their actions and only judge ourselves by our intentions. The world is not going to change by what you are planning to do, it is only what you actually do, and well so, that will change it. A manager, who knows absolutely nothing about the role and is not even trying to change, cannot expect you to shoot the lights out. That not only leaves you disgruntled, but you lose respect very quickly for that person. They don’t have the ‘work-hard’ shirt themselves, but they expect you to wear it, cleaned-and-ironed everyday. At times, the manager does manage to make you to comply, but, this usually comes through some intimidating re-enforcements. This is damaging in the long run, more to themselves than to you, interestingly.

Most importantly, we need to apply this principle on a very personal level and allow it to shape our characters. Before you expect something out of other people, please make sure you posses it yourself. No matter how many lies you tell yourself to believe that you are exhibiting certain noble traits, people can see right through your nakedness. You can fool some people sometimes, but not everyone all the time. It’s not good enough to think and speak your truth; you need to live it as well. Wearing the shirt is no easy task, I know, it takes intention, discipline and perseverance. We are not all born with brilliant traits, in fact we have had to learn these over time and the learning never stops. To build credibility, you need to do what is required of you, from yourself and towards those you have committed to deliver to. Doing as you have promised, when you promised it – consistently, will make others respect and consider you honorable. I read in one book that: Holiness is when what you think, what you do and what you say are in perfect harmony.

Self-leadership is key to you getting to the next level in life. How you lead yourself will determine how others perceive and treat you. It is absolutely necessary for us to be able to be great leaders; leaders of our homes, companies, children, teams, and the world.

Proverbs 18 vs 3

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity”

Change

Change is the only constant in the world. From birth, our lives are embedded with change and the world around us is defined by change. Sometimes we may think that there’s nothing going on and yet there’s a whole lot of motion going on behind the scenes. There’s drastic, sudden change and there is that constant, silent transformation that occurs at every second of everyday within and outside of us.

Seasons chachange-forevernge, the weather changes at least a few times in a day, times change, perceptions and paradigms change. As you grow from infancy, your body is constantly changing, as you evolve into adulthood everything you have known about yourself has probably changed. With this consistent churn of circumstances, why then do we resist change or get shocked by it? When you were younger you welcomed every bit of change, in fact you were excited by it. Getting excited to be allowed to feed yourself, starting a new a school so you can make you new friends, moving to a new town, staying by yourself, etc.

I guess at a younger age we are excited about change as we were intrigued by the possibilities of the unknown and had so many dreams we want to move closer to. But as we get older, stability becomes the key objective in our lives and at most find change uncomfortable unless we initiate it. Unfortunately as inconvenient as change may be, we have to deal it, in fact it is absolutely necessary for our survival. It is much easier to adapt to big abrupt changes, trying as they may be, at least we are readily alerted to the changes at hand. It may be a life changing phone call, major life event, an accident or even a confrontation.

The most difficult changes to adapt to are the silent, gradual ones within us and in our value systems. Let me make an example; as you become a parent, your definition of joy changes completely from an epic night out with your favourite buddies to a toothless smile from your now most favourite individual on planet earth. Yes you may have many future nights out with your mates (parents do, and must have lives), however little miss toothless has redefined the concept of joy in your being altogether.

Likewise with friends, throughout your lifetime you find you relate better with certain people at certain seasons in your life. Sometimes you find the ones that you really love the most no longer ‘get’ you the way they used to. I have learnt to accept that it is okay for those friendships to end, no one can be everything to you all the time. Another important thing is that you need to spend time with people who are where you want to be. If you are the most successful person in your circle, then you are misplaced. Find a new challenge. Your mind requires new information in order to facilitate your growth process.

You cannot get to your new best self by clinging to who you were yesterday. Survival and growth require us to adapt and move with the program. We all need to learn the art of re-inventing ourselves when the situation requires because if we don’t transform ourselves, life will continue to change without us. I personally came across a certain level of stagnation in my life until I eventually realized that the university habit of being a night owl was not serving me well in my current aspirations. Yes I was never a “morning person” but I had to force myself to start my day’s early so I can stay winning which involved setting alarm times to go to bed, etc. Not easy, but doable with the right intent.

We are creatures of habit; every behavior we exhibit is learned and we can unlearn and relearn if we want to. We just need to decide. Therefore sustainable change is indeed a decision.  Recognize what is limiting you within yourself and make a decision to change it, one day at a time, one experience at a time. It may not come instantly, but the universe will honor your intentions. Eventually you will see you desires of change becoming your new reality, you know what they say “the more things change, the more they remain the same”. Therefore,  gradual change becomes embedded in your character over time, it becomes who you are. You may not notice it, but as long as your commitment to your transformation is genuine, you will see it.

Life begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

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Just like when we are born. The moment we leave the comfort of our mother’s womb, life begins. The comfort of being carried, fed, warmth, safety and being thought for ends. Then, only then, do our real lives begin. Our lives take on that same cycle of growth throughout lifetimes. Our comfort has to be compromised for us to rise to the next level. It’s our nature, we learn through pain or passion.

Allow me to illustrate

 

As a child, you learn to walk learn because you are frustrated with not being able to reach the many things that make you so curious. You endure the discomfort of falling many times because you know, once you get it right, your life will never be the same again. As a teenager you fast learn that to stop people from bullying you, you have to stand up for yourself, find your own voice. It forces you to overcome your fear of conflict or confrontation. As a young adult you know that for you to get your degree/diploma, you have to forgo your comforts of sleeping and passivity and strive hard to get what you need to get. We all know what happens to those chaps that attempt an easy way out of varsity; they either dropped out, or kept on repeating years until they got their work ethic right. There’s just no other way.

 

Challenging our comfort zones, has taught me 3 things about life;

 

  1. Grow, or die. If a plant is not growing, it’s dead. If you insist on your comfort, you are slowly dying an invisible death inside. When you bask too much in the comfort of your achievement, your ambition dies. If you get comfortable with your partner and assume their affection\attention will remain perpetual without any extra effort from you, well, sooner or later, their excitement for you will eventually die.

 

  1. Life will repeat the same lessons until we learn what we need to know. Only then will we graduate to the next level of thinking, being and succeeding. Ever wondered why the same life experiences keep on happening to you? It’s like there’s something you do that invites these experiences. In Eastern texts they attribute it to your karma or darma that you need to fulfill before life can present you with new experiences. You need to either change your mentality, they way you do things or interact with the world. You need to learn; otherwise you will repeat that grade in life over, and over again. Unfortunately most people are never aware of what hinders them within themselves and they get stuck on the same level for most of their lives

 

Lastly, I have learnt that once you know something, you know it! No one or anything can take it away from you. It becomes embedded in your character because you have gone out of your way to attain it. As a child you only have to learn to walk once and that’s it! You only learn once (the hard way) that nothing good comes easy and from there on you appreciate the good things your have and are weary of the ones to come too easily. If you’re not ready to grow, then you’re not in enough pain.

Life is a continual journey. As we grow physically, we also evolve mentally, spiritually and metaphysically. Nothing is a hindrance to your development except yourself. The only competition you have in life right now is your thinking and attitude towards life. Everyday presents an opportunity for growth, no matter how small. Staying in comfort will not open you up to new ways of thinking and risk stagnation.

 

Be alert. Life is a test from when we are born until we die. Because, think about it; had you resisted exiting your mother’s womb when circumstances required you to do so, you would be dead. And be still born.

My Soul Is Alright With Me.

I am a child born of love, so let love remain in my heart and my mind. Let love and joy be my friend, give me peace with no end. Let me live with no fear and no shame. Let me begin to see love come alive in my life. Let me feel how it feels to be me!

A longing and pounding in my heart, led me to want so much more out of life. Led me to forgive every hurt, to let go of the past and allow myself to heal every pain.

Now I am free, yes! I hold my head up high. The burden on my shoulder is no longer with me. Now I can breathe, and I feel so much at ease. My soul is alright with me.

Let love and joy, be my friend, give me peace with no end. Let me live with no fear – I don’t want to fear. Let me begin to see love come alive in my life, let me feel how it feels to have joy.

Let me be free from disease. Let my heart feel at ease. Let me know  how it feels to be free.

-Miss Lira

Soul in mind

Black History month: Pro Africa is Anti-nobody

It’s funny how when things change, the more they remain the same.

Last week when a lecturer introduced himself at Business school, he told the class that he was a racist. Everyone was obviously astonished,; here was this white South African male in his early 40’s openly declaring that he didn’t like black people. What was even more appaling was the fact that he dared to talk about race in 2015! The blacks were offended and the white people equally so, but as our educator for the day we had to humor him.

His analogy was that, he wasn’t racist because he chose to be, he was racist because he was raised to be. All his life he was conditioned to think and behave in a certain way. He only first saw a picture of Mandela when he was 20 years old and spent about 2 years in military school with racist ideologies being drummed into his head. So he had no choice but to BE. An electoral vote will not suddenly shift his paradigms; it takes much more than that for things to change.

The whole point of his shocking declaration was that we all needed to talk about race and not make it this horrible monster that opens you up to so much judgment. In South Africa white people are “apologetically” white and black people are also apologetic of who they are. We are all tiptoeing around each other, while neglecting to love each other and ourselves for who we are. Being pro-Black is not being anti somebody, it simply, means you love and embrace who you are and the culture you were born into, likewise for other races and cultures.

Mental Slavery

February is Black History month, and in commemoration I though I should share an extract of Robert Sobukwe’s first recorded speech while he was a student at Fort Hare University. Reading it really proved to me that not much has changed, instead we have created an illusion of freedom and became more afraid of who we are. Celebrate black history, be proud of your scars, embrace the possibilities and remember that no amount of money  or denial will change the color of your soul.

This extract is from a biography of Robert Sobukwe’s life written by Benjamin Pogrund’s titled: “How can man die better”

how can

“I had an occasion last year and also at the beginning of this year to comment on some features of our structure of which I do not approve. It has always been my feeling that, if the intention of the trustees of this college is to make an African College or University, as I have been informed it is, then the Department of African studies must be more highly and more rapidly developed. Fort Hare must become the center of African studies to which students in African studies should come from all over Africa. We should also have a department of Economics and Sociology. A nation to be a nation needs specialists in these things……….

 I said last year that Fort Hare must be to the African what Stellenbosch (University) is to the Afrikaner. It must be the barometer of African thought. It is interesting to note that the theory of ‘Apartheid’, which is today the dominating ideology of the State, was worked out at Stellenbosch by (Dr W.M.M) Eiselen and his colleagues. That same Eiselen is Secretary for Native affairs. But the important thing is that Stellenbosch is not only the expression of the Afrikaner thought and feeling, but it is also the embodiment of their aspiration. So also must Fort Hare express and lead African thought. The College has remained mute on matters deeply affecting the Africans because; we learn, it feared to annoy the Nationalist government. What the College fails to realize is that rightly or wrongly the Nationalists believe that Fort Hare staff is predominantly United Party. So that whether we remain mute or not the government will continue to be hostile towards us. So much for the College…

…I know of course, that because I express these sentiments I will be branded an agitator. That was the reaction to my speech last year. People do not like to see the even tenure of their lives disturbed. They do not like to be told that what they have always believed was right is wrong. And above all they resent encroachment on what they regard as their special province. But I make no apologies. It is meet that we speak the truth before we die. I said last year that our whole life in South Africa is politics, and that contention was severely criticized…During the war it was clearly demonstrated that in South Africa at least, politics does not stop on this side of the grave. A number of African soldiers were buried in the same trench as European soldiers. A few days afterwards word came that from the high command that the bodies of the Africans should be removed and buried in another trench. ‘Apartheid’ must be maintained even on the road to eternity…

…. And as Marcus Garvey says: ‘You cannot grow beyond your thoughts. If your thoughts are those of a slave, you will remain a slave. If your thoughts go skin deep, your mental development will remain skin deep’. Moreover a doctrine of hate can never take people anywhere. It is too exacting. It warps the mind. That is why we preach the doctrine of love, love for Africa. We can never do enough for Africa, nor can we love her enough. The more we do for her, the more we wish to do for her.

I wish to make it clear again that we are anti-nobody. We are pro-Africa. We breathe, we dream, we live Africa; because Africa and humanity are inseparable”.

-Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe (21 October 1949)

I have taken extracts of the speech, for entire read feel free to purchase the book. The aim of this article is not to sow negativity in our young democracy, but as my lecturer eluded, it is to create open dialogue on our racial dynamics. I believe we can find common ground at some point in this life time, but only through a principle of love. Love for oneself and love for another despite the history.

History will forever remain, we cannot pretend it away. We cannot remain divided, because that only perpetuates the slavery mentality. If you really think about it we are all slaves to a certain extent, black and white.

Aluta!

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How (un)Fortunate!

So this Saturday, my vacuum cleaner decided to teach me a lesson; A real one! Woke up early-ish on that day and decided to spring clean my room. This also involved moving things around and changing the way my bed was positioned.

I usually have music on when I clean, but I decided not to put the radio on coz I know I have to vacuum my carpet first so it will make noise and I wont hear my playlist. So after shifting everything I took my vacuum cleaner and went to work. To my dismay, the vacuum cleaner didn’t wanna switch on. I tried every button and switch, but nothing. I thought maybe I had neglected to read the manual properly coz my sister assembled it for me, I was usually passive when it came to such.Keep calm and get

So I got the user manual read it cover to cover. I even learnt that I needed to change the filter and so I got the dirt out. For the first time ever, I realized how much I needed this thing. After all attempts were made, I then resolved that the vacuum cleaner was broken and it was time to fetch the broom. My room had to be cleaned and re-arranged so crying over the vacuum cleaner wasn’t gonna help. I was on the verge of throwing a pity party because I felt like nothing in my life was going right. I didn’t have the best of weeks and my geyser had recently been broken and now this. I was feeling rather despondent. But I couldn’t fall apart because it wasn’t going to change anything.

After sweeping the entire carpeted room and moving stuff around I went to fetch the dustpan to scoop the dirt. And while I was walking down the stairs, I heard my microwave beep! Then it hit me: there was no electricity the whole time. I quickly rushed to switch on my vacuum cleaner and it worked!

Not once did I consider a power outage a possibility, but there I was with egg on my face and a sore back. This taught me the following lessons about disappointment;

It’s not as bad as I think.

This vacuum cleaner not working doesn’t mean the end of the world and it has no reflection of how my entire life is going. One can easily drown on the missed opportunity and feel as though nothing better will ever come. It’s not as if I don’t have a broom to clean up with. The vacuum cleaner not participating doesn’t determine whether my room gets clean or not.

There was a way of cleaning the house before the hoover and there will always be a way. I once survived without it.

It’s not a reflection on you.

Stop taking things personally! If you didn’t get the job, it doesn’t mean that you are the worst candidate or you’re not worthy of good things. It just means that someone was destined to get the job and there’s a better opportunity waiting for you ahead. So relaying my life as pathetic purely because there was no electricity is so not AYOBA!

The vacuum cleaner is “broken” not me.

Accept the situation and find way forward

We sometimes dwell too much on what went wrong instead of acknowledging its occurance and then look to find a solution. Coz it doesn’t matter how much I would have cried and felt sorry for myself, it didn’t change the fact that this thing is not working and my room still needs to be cleaned. Even if I had announced it to all the neighbors, it wouldn’t have changed my situation.

MoveSo instead of sharing your misfortune with everyone over and over again, try to find a way to get over it. It doesn’t matter how much sympathy you get, you still need to move on and get on with it; Misery loves company, don’t give it room!

Dissapointments test your will power

The vacuum cleaner breaking down highlighted how much I wanted to re arrange and clean my room. If I didn’t look for other ways to do it, it means I was unconciously comfortable with it not happening. That’s why they say “if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself up and try again”. How much you want something is determined by the lengths at which you will go to get it!

Maybe that wasn’t the plan

When things don’t go the way we planned, we get so devastated and think: “that’s it!” all hope’s lost. Firstly who said your plan was “THE” plan? Maybe God already has something planned for you and it didn’t look anything like that which you had planned for yourself. We must admit that we sometimes miscalculate our objectives and we must forever be ready for what comes next.

It’s not your fault

I took for granted the fact the vacuum cleaner does not only rely on me to press the “start” button for it to work. But it also needed electricity. Here I am sitting and thinking that I was such a bad owner who never cleaned to poor thing, while instead it had its own problems! (it’s a pity it couldn’t tell me though). We do tend to blame ourselves when people disappoint us. Yes we have our own faults but their actions are not directly driven by our actions.

You didn’t get that job because the other candidate grew up in Cape town and you didn’t. And no, there’s nothing wrong with coming from Foschville, it’s just that this time it didn’t work for you. Don’t punish yourself.

The last and most important lesson I learnt is that; You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. The time I was sweeping the carpet manually, that was the peak moment where I wished I had a vacuum cleaner. I didn’t appreciate mine and now it was gone and I felt like such a fool. It’s funny how life takes the smallest things to teach you a big lesson.Dissapointment

“It is not your job in life to judge what is right or wrong for somebody else. When another person behaves in a manner, which seems to be unhealthy or unproductive, we must not judge. We must learn to accept. Once we accept this is how the person chooses to behave, we have the right to decide whether or not we want to participate” -IyanlaVanzant

We don’t choose what happens to us, but we choose how we react to it.

#004: People!

GoodbyeIn life we will go through different seasons, as mother earth changes, we change too. Things can turn out for better or the worst, at any time, but nonetheless they will change. And interestingly all those changes involve people. It’s actually people who make the world go around!

Imagine of all the 5billion people in the world, the people that are currently in your life are the odd 3000 that you know. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. Every person walks into your life at a particular time for a reason. We never know why certain people come into our lives, and no one can ever fathom the reason why people’s paths cross in life.

Some paths will bring you pure bliss while others you wish you can erase from the face of history.  In your entire lifetime, you have met the people you needed to meet (and there are still more to meet) and they will always be part of who you are whether you choose to celebrate it or not.

There are people who will come into your life and make you grateful for being alive- everyday. It may be your children, family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, collegues, spouse or  even strangers. But regardless, you cannot imagine how your life would have turned out without them. Some are there to give you strength, some encouragement, life, laughs, being, pruning. Those people who make it a point that they will not rest until your happiness or sucess is secured. They may not be many in our lives, but they are surely there. Usually some of these relationships take the soul of you to build, but at their peak they bring the sweetest aroma to your life. For them we give thanks and our prayers as they do the same for us.

However, in life you will you will have to meet (and pray for) another kind of people. The people who do not give a flying hoot about you. Certain people will tear you down, as in like totally break you and then move on with their lives. And trust me; they won’t miss you for a second! These are the ones who test character.

Weigh yuo downTrials build character. That’s why you must love your enemies and the people who hurt you because they presented you with an opportunity to grow. Each time they exposed you to a hard time, they stretched your capabilities and wisdom. And regardless of how the friendship ended, you still pursue peace with them. Not the “I want you back”, “bitter”, “ please be my friend” kinda peace, but peace that heals you more than them. This is why after every goodbye, we must learn to breathe, reflect, learn our lesson, forgive ourselves, forgive the other and move on!

However, be very careful, that even after the person’s chapter has ended in your life, you insist on holding on to them for unhealthy reasons. I don’t understand how we humans are- for some odd reason we have this fascination about people who don’t like us or reject us. It’s like you try to prove a point to yourself that there is actually an individual out there in the world who doesn’t want you. I mean who rejects such an awesome, considerate person that you are? Well, here’s a…..NEWSFLASH!: You are not money, not everyone will want you. Misery loves company, so remove yourself from any situation that no longer honors you, before you drown in it.

Being alive is a blessing and having people who love us is a greater blessing. Loving those who don’t love us is a multiplied blessing.  If you say you want to know God, you must start by knowing that which defines HIM; Love, Grace and Forgiveness. Live these out and you will see His glory.

Love tolerance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give thanks for L.I.F.E

Noluthando Khanyile

 

#003: People that are hard to please

There are some people in your life you will always struggle to please. Not that you constantly seek their approval, but their opinion matters to you so much that you would like them to acknowledge when you have made good efforts. It may be people that we admire/respect, that their congratulatory note will be a massive vote of confidence or it may be people we want to extend our caring emotion towards. Hard to please people come in different shapes and sizes;

Genuine: This person never seems satisfied with whatever stride you have made. They always believe that you can do better. These people actually have a genuine belief in your capabilities and always want to stretch you. Funny enough they will tell you when you have done well, BUT instantly remind you that you can do better. These are usually mentors, teachers, role models, etc… and they often mean well.

Own standards:  Then, there are those people (especially parents), who refuse to honour you until you achieve something greater than they did. You can come back home with 10 CAF stars and they will remind you that they got their 9h star when they were half your age. So this means you must achieve more than that to please them. The thing is; with this type of a hard pleaser is, the goal posts are always shifting. It is now not the fact that you got a 10th star that matters (more than theirs), but it’s the fact that they got their starts quicker than you. With this type you are highly unlikely to win. In some instances they want to live out the dreams they left behind through you. We all have one life to live, be careful when someone wants a second dose of youth at your expense.Confidence

Pull you down:  This is the most dangerous of all the impossible pleasers. This person will make sure that they don’t acknowledge your achievement, purely because they don’t want you to realise how good you are. If you give them too much airtime, they will make sure your self confidence takes the first available train to Mars. Basically these people are just jealous of you and will discourage you, to make themselves feel good about their own lives. RUN.

Insecure: This type of hard pleasers usually occurs in romantic relationships. No matter how much you make an effort to show this person how special they are to you, they will always find something to complain about. You eventually feel like you are not good enough for this person or you are just incapable of loving someone as they deserve. The problem here is not the pink roses or cheap chocolate, the problem is that you are loving someone who doesn’t love themselves. Hence you are being made to fill a void that even the owner doesn’t know how to fill. Ps: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.

Don’t know how to: This person may be proud of you, but they will never show it. Not because they think it will get to your head, but because they don’t know how to. People were raised in different environments and unfortunately for some -affirmation was never part of their upbringing. And in most cases people cannot give what they don’t have. If you recognise your impossible pleaser to be this type, you need to teach them. Congratulate them and affirm them, don’t demand that they reciprocate it, but if you’re consistent enough, they will learn. Remember: you teach people how to treat you.

I have mentioned quite a few types of people that are impossible to please, I’m pretty sure there are whole of others out there. I only have one solution to dealing with such people: Celebrate yourself!

Don’t always seek the affirmation of others, set your own standards and beat them. Ask yourself: “what would I have to do/get to for me to feel satisfied/proud of my achievement? Don’t matter what anybody says, as long as I get “there” I’m happy”. And when you do reach that point, stop and celebrate. Give yourself a pat on the back so that even if someone else doesn’t celebrate you- you are proud of YOU.

Yes, it is always good to have people affirm and encourage you, but their definition of excellence must never be absolute to you. At the end of the day, they are people with their own imperfections. You do need people to look up to and we all have people whose negative/frank opinions have bettered our lives, but don’t let them define you.

I am a firm believer that: “It doesn’t matter what people think of you, or even what you think about yourself. But what matters the most is what God thinks of you”. Aim to please Him and you can never go wrong!

Remember:  No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.

Act

If you were married, I would understand…

So where was this girl when all of this happened??Differences

“She was there in the room with us”

What? You mean to tell me, this man beat you up in his room with some chick watching the whole show? He most probably met her that very night at a pub and now he comes and upholds her more than you, and you are okay with it?

I somehow felt judgmental when I said this, it’s her business, but then again something sounds very wrong about this picture. It is a random girl after all, maybe if it was the new lady in his life one would understand, but iseqamgwaqo nje sasetshwaleni? Hai no, zero nje! Clearly Ephraim was trying to impress this silly girl when he beat up my best friend; this surely put a stamp on him getting “some” that night.

I could see the shame in Lydia’s eyes when I asked her if she’s okay with it. She kept on zooming her eyes up, and down keeping a small gaze in the middle. Up, gaze, down…, and she didn’t even once look me in the eyes.  And after a few of those, she eventually responded…

“Ok! Before you start giving me a long lecture on morality and the difference between right and wrong, I know a man only respects a woman that respects herself. I shouldn’t have gone to his place that night without letting him know. Yes I was drunk and probably said a lot of things I shouldn’t have said, but I needed to speak to him desperately. He tried to break things off when I confronted him about his cheating 2 weeks ago, but we have been talking via wats app since then, so I thought….”

…you thought what exactly Lydia? That you’re going to rock up one night and things fall into place? Listen here my friend; if a man wants you nothing can keep him away and if he doesn’t want you, nothing will make him stay. You need to stop making excuses for his behaviour and start smelling the coffee. Your relationship is basically non-existent at this stage. If he refuses to change his cheating ways and suggests a break up instead;  you’re still gonna run after him?  And you’re very right about self respect, your baby is barely 6 months old and here you are getting drunk at some tavern at night and running after men!

And the mere fact that you just gave birth to his child should at least warrant you a certain level of respect from him, don’t you think?

“Everything I do, I’m doing for my child can’t you see?  I refuse to allow my baby to be raised by one parent. We will make this work; we have to make this work Tselane. And yes I do realise that our relationship is practically over, but my heart still yearns for him. My love for him is so strong, I’m willing to overlook his mistakes as long as he loves me back and we get things to how they used to be. I know deep down inside he loves me more than anything in this world, I think him having a car now is making him go wild and girls throw themselves at him”

(Silence)

“But in all honesty I do regret that night. I shouldn’t  have went to his house unannounced”

I rolled my eyes. By now I realised this conversation is not getting anywhere, because now fresh excuses are being made for Ephraim. I had to ask decisive questions, just to understand where Lydia’s judgment stood about this beating. What bothers me the most are not her excuses, but her compromised dignity. We live in a very small township and everyone knew she’s been in a relationship with Ephraim for close to 6 years now. This girl that was with them the night of the beating is probably laughing it off somewhere over magwinya and atchaar with Lydia’s haters. It’s bad enough that Ephraim doesn’t respect her, now half of Itsoseng won’t too!  I kept these thoughts to myself. But I had to probe to her “regret”.

Oh, so you say you regret that night? What exactly do you regret? Going to his house drunk, unannounced and saying whatever or do you regret him beating you up infront of another woman? And if it’s for the beating are you going to open a case of assault against him?

“Yho! Tselane nawe you’re taking this issue way too seriously, gosh! I told you I still want to make things work between me and Ephraim, sending him to jail would totally ruin things, plus I don’t need that kind of drama in my life. Besides, he didn’t hit me with his fists and stuff, he used a belt. My body is green all over but my face doesn’t even hint of what happened. It was the first time my man laid a hand on me and punishing him over that one mistake would be cruel nje. I know Ephraim is not the aggressive type.”

I cringed.

Lydia, I would understand overlooking his “one mistake” if you guys were married! But you cannot compromise yourself so much over a paper-less agreement. He is merely a boyfriend, not your husband! Anyway, I can see you’ve already made up your mind about this whole situation and I’m not going to try and convince you otherwise. Do what you think is best for you and your little family. I’ll stay out of it.

End.

 

Do you think Tselani is right about Lydia having the obligation to forgive/overlook  the beating if she was married to Ephraim? And how often should a woman allow physical abuse before she reports it to the police? Maybe Lydia is being too objective about her friend’s situation. Do you think if she was to get a beating from the man she truly loves, she would have seen this situation differently? Lastly do you think Lydia is actually protecting her little girl with her choices?

The bible does call for women to be submissive to their husbands, but in the very same sentence it says: “Husbands love your wives! And from what I know Love doesn’t hurt you. It is kind, does not boast, keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil and does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. It never fails!

What’s your take?

not loveGet help: www.powa.co.za

And HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY 🙂

 

#Ayashisamateki: New Beginnings

So lately my weekends have been spent up and about jozi streets, looking for worthy children to benefit from the Ayashisamateki project. By worthy I mean: they are younger than 20, are not completely drowning in drugs and they can show me where they stay and tell me a bit more about themselves. I’ve spent time with street children (and adults) in Berea, Hilbrow, Braamfontein, Jozi.

I have, however, developed a special bond with the young boys living under the Mandela Bridge. Mostly because they are the first group I was introduced to by my friend Alex who visits them regularly and they have the youngest age group living there (as young as 11). So I’ve grown to know some of them personally, and when I get left-over food donations around town I take it to them. Engaging with these young men has taught me something very important about life: If something is meant to happen, it will happen. And, you can only help people that want to be helped- you cannot force your compassion on other.

So when I first saw the 11 year old boys at the bridge, I collected their names for shoe sizes with the rest of the group. However they were so tiny that my heart didn’t allow me to leave them behind so I arranged to take them to the orphanage in Mofolo that I have I have been supporting for the past year. We begged the little boys to come with me so they can be fed and warm and we were already making plans to get them to school. One was very reluctant, but *Tom (not his real name) who is from Limpopo wanted to go to the shelter and was excited to leave the street. They spent 2 days at the orphanage and on the 3rd day they stole money (R50) and ran away-back to the street. About a week later, I went to collect Tom again who admitted he was influenced by the other boy and wants to go back to the home. When we got there he was so happy to see the Gogo and hugged her like she was his mother. I felt our mission was accomplished and a young child will get to be taken care of, go to school and find his family. A day later I got a call from the older guys at the bridge telling me Tom was back. I was sad. But oh well, I tried.

At the same bridge I had met another young man (Boyza), however he was 21 years old and wasn’t my primary concern really as the little ones had captured all my attention. Boyza only had 1 request: He wanted to go back home to Qwaqwa. He came to Joburg with his mother when he was young. At age 9, his mom left where they were visiting as though to go to the shops nearby and she never came back for him. So at that tender age he was forced raise himself and live on the street. With that said, when you come across him today you can never tell he lives under a bridge. He washes and gets piece jobs washing and parking cars to have some decent clothes.

I had given my number to an elder boy Lebo, to contact me as he was helping me move around jozi to find beneficiaries (esp girls) and it helps to walk the streets with a street wise person. So about a week after Boyza asked me for money to go home, he took my number from Lebo and called me to remind me about his request. I told him I will make a plan after we distribute the shoes (as he might also get a pair). My biggest worry about this was that; what if he gets the money and doesn’t go home? Or if he does get to Qwaqwa and finds no one home or he can’t even remember his way there. After all I was there to buy them shoes, not to be a social worker. This was just tricky.

On Sunday morning, Boyza called me again, this time almost in tears. He told me he got stabbed the previous night and he is tired of the street life, he desperately wants to go home. He is not even willing to wait for his new pair of shoes from Ayashisamateki. He wanted to go. I think he called me 6 times that day. So my friend Alex agreed to accompany me to see them on Tuesday evening. And Boyza showed me his scars (not too bad) and he was still on that going home tip. He assured us that he remembers his way back and will try his best to get his life together. He said he realises that if he keeps moving with the street motions he will either end up dead or be like the dirty old men that eat from dustbins and he didn’t want that.

I gave in eventually and Alex was willing to accompany him to the taxi the following day. I agreed to help save his life from danger only of he allows me to tell him how his soul can also be saved. I introduced him to Jesus Christ and he was delighted to meet Him. He told me he loves going to church but was never sure if he’s saved. This was a brand new start for him, and He now had the Lord of all on his side to face this new chapter. I was beyond happy. We started planning how he’s gonna start a vegetable garden at home while he looks for work. He asked that I organise him a small bag for his clothes so he doesn’t get home with plastic bags and maybe an extra pair of shoes to see him through the next months as the ones he had were almost finished. Again, I said i’ll make a plan and we parted. What happened from here on was both out of this world and humbling.Bye Boyza

At home I managed to find him a small bag my brother didn’t use anymore. In it I packed him some oranges for the trip, a motivational Christian book and a t-shirt. On Wednesday morning I went to the storage where we keep the Ayashisamateki donations to get him some socks and possibly shoes. To my surprise, I found a fresh pair of Puma sneakers (donated recently as it was sitting on top of a packed pile), and they were exactly his size! Brother Alex came to collect the bag and transport money (obtained from the shoe donations- thank you guys). His fare was R 170 and I gave him an extra R50 for pocket money.

Alex walked him to the taxi rank. Got him onto the taxi, paid the driver and wrote Boyza’s details down and they said their goodbyes. Just make sure he was indeed serious about going back, Alex waited by a corner somewhere for 10 mins and afters seeing that Boyza didn’t run of, he went back for the final, final goodbye. To his surprise when he got to the taxi he found another man sitting next to and talking to Boyza. This man thanked Alex for paying this young man’s fare to go to Qwaqwa. I turned out the guys is Boyza’s uncle and they have been looking for him years on end. And there he was in the same taxi, going to the same house with him. Immediately he called home and told them he was coming home with a special somebody. If this is not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

Alex had this to say about Boyza’s trip: “I have never seen Boyza take such bold strides. He is walking tall, confident, smiling with no clue what to expect when he gets to a place he calls home. The streets are all the love he has ever known. They; embraced him, Hugged him, Protected him, Abused him, Yet comforted him.”

All along I have been trying to help kids that don’t want to be helped (or don’t know any better), while there was someone who needed the help and was ready to receive it. Yes, Alex and I happened to be at the right place at the right time to help Boyza, but already His help had been prepared by the Lord. For many are the plans in a man’s heart, but only God’s will prevails. I don’t believe any of this is coincidence, it was pre-destined and God had set His eyes on Boyza’s life way before we came into the picture. He is indeed sovereign.

As for Tom, I’ve sort of given up on him; he’ll find help when he’s ready. Even though I’m a person that looks at world through my heart, I haven’t got time for games; I honestly have way better things to do with my love. I want to thank Brother Alex for introducing me to guys and walking this journey with me. To Sis Mpume Myeza; thanks for creating the atmosphere for Boyza to share his request and a bigger thank you to everyone that donated to the project which ultimately help give Boyza a new beginning. As for me, everyone says the Lord will bless me for reaching out to the destitute, I say: I am already blessed with the honour of being God’s hands and feet. That He entrusts me with His children and He gives me so much love that it overflows.

#Ayashisamateki clearly isn’t about shoes, but lives.

Blessings!

 

PS: I got a call from Boyza on Thursday morning telling me he arrived safely. He told me he was on his was to get information at a local FET to learn welding. It will definitely take a while for him re-integrate to his community. But he will never spend another night on the street. Mission accomplished!

#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

So I came to Joburg…

It is called the City of Gold, but where you find gold, there is always rubble nearby. Here are 2 ladies who both came to joburg for different reasons, yet they are somewhat faced with the same reality.

Let me tell you their stories. Both are fictional, but have volumes to speak about what the real world offers women out there.

Story 1:

At age 6, both her parents were deceased, left to be raised by 2 older sisters, age 18 and 26 but useless. She struggled growing up (raising herself) and ultimately when she was 17 she decided to go to Jozi for a better chance at life. Here she met Sis Girly the pimp, who gave her a place to stay, taught her how to be a woman and how you need to sell your “thing” to get all you need. For a while life was comfortable being caught up with the money and the bling. At age 20 she was still pretty but her value had diminished that even for 40 bucks any man could get a ride.

At age 25 she eventually died of Aids, leaving 2 fatherless less kids, aged 2 and 6. About six weeks later there were heavy-cold rains and the kids couldn’t survive the cold in the pipe they were sleeping in (with no blankets). That night the 2 year old died, and a week later municipal workers discovered the body. Now here’s this 6 year old wandering the streets of Jozi with no clue how she will make ends meet. She learnt that sniffing glue keeps you warm and makes you forget the hunger, so that becomes her daily hustle because in this place, no one gives a care. Written by Mbongeni Khanyile

I’m sure you’ve come across a news headline that talks about a baby (dead or alive) being found abandoned in a bin somewhere. Now you know where they come from!

Story 2:

A teenager (Thandeka) comes to Jozi for the first time to study Law at wits and she is welcomed by an old friend from back home (KZN). This friend highlights to her that here in the city the “razor cut” weave makes you look rural and they don’t wear jeans and sneakers to the clubs, but freakums. Thandeka is quickly introduced to her home-girl’s boyfriend who drives the fanciest car she has ever seen. At the club they are treated like royalty and she receives R5000 as an apology coz her friend’s boyfriend touched her ass by mistake;  Which she reluctantly accepts.

This story goes into detail on the day to day decisions Thandeka has to make, and unfortunately her sense of morals is weak and she gets herself into all sorts of drama. After her home-girl dies (car-accident), she assumes the role of being the new girlfriend to Mr 5000. This is a well off girl, mind you. She lives in a fully furnished flat that is owned by her uncle and she shares it with some girl. So she really doesn’t need Mr 5000’s money, but for some reason it constantly lands up on her hands.  She later finds out that her new roomate is actually her uncle’s sugar baby… Written by Mike Maphotho (for the full story go to: http://diaryofazulugirl.co.za

There’s an urban dynamic that occurs in cities, that unfortunately consumes young women in a tragic way. But also there is an element of choice. Without judging; Thandeka is rather well off, and the lady in the 1st story is not entirely a victim because not all orphaned kids have to end up in prostitution. All it takes is for these women to have a sense of pride in themselves are and know their value. Ladies: it is important to know who you are and being content with what you have. Yes, Joburg offers incredible opportunities, but if things don’t work out well, it will not kill you to go back home. Unless you want get there dead already. And here, there are so many ways to die.

“In life (and love) there are no guarantees. That is why it is important to love yourself first”

girl-all-alone

Unfortunately in big cities such stories have become a norm and street kids are just part of the ecosystem. We have somehow chosen to look the other way because these “things” are just pests! But unfortunately, street kids are just that, kids! Behind those naughty faces are children who have no one ask them how there are, let alone provide for their daily needs.

These children are very close to my heart because I believe it’s not fair for any child to miss out on their childhood. I am personally planning a few projects to make a difference in their lives. If you would like to be informed/be a part of this work, you can send me an e-mail at noluthando@innerheights.co.za and we can get cracking. It is getting colder outside, so our efforts must be swift.

 

“For evil to triumph, all it takes is for good men to sit and do nothing”

http://www.innerheights.co.za/inner-heights-foundation

#01: Ungrateful People

You throw a 50c coin at a beggar and to your surprise he stands up and shows you so much gratitude for it. I mean it’s not much, but for the fact that they were grateful for the 50c, doesn’t it compel you to give them a little bit more because they were grateful for little? Well ungrateful people will give you a totally different reaction.Ungrateful

No matter what you do for these people, it will never be enough. This type is usually family members or friends that you care deeply about. They know that you will never leave them stranded and in turn take your compassion for granted.

It’s like going to buy petrol for instance, after you have paid, the petrol attendant won’t say “thank you” in fact they shouldn’t because you are expected to pay. Which brings me to the problem with ungrateful people:  They have a sense of entitlement. Why should they thank you, when you HAVE to do A, b and c for them? You are expected to do stuff for them!

You can buy the whole earth for these people, but they won’t be grateful for it because it didn’t come with the moon. Often times they will give you deceptive appreciation, saying “thanks” with a thousand complaints underneath their breath. These ones will side with your enemies and not hesitate to give false witness against you because you never give them the best (according to their expectation). So when people congregate to say you’re a terrible person, they will definitely add to that conversation.

I’ve had to deal with my fair share of ungrateful people, and trust me being constantly overlooked hurts. Now I know better, and learnt valuable lessons from them. I have learnt to:

  • Give without expectation
  • Never inconvenience myself to accommodate them. I can only give what I can
  • Not to beat myself up if I can’t help them at that time
  • To give more assistance to the people that actually does appreciate my efforts.  Gratitude invites more blessing
  • I can actually survive life without them (they actually need me more than I need them)

My greatest advice on how to deal with such people is to STOP doing stuff for them! Or just give the bare minimum. Maybe then they will realise the value you add to their lives and show you appreciation. You know what they say: “You never miss the water until the well runs dry”

We were all created to serve one master and that is God. You don’t owe anybody anything, unless they are your child, even in that case there are limits. Yes we are commanded to love one another and give the other cheek, but at certain times, tough love goes a long way in gaining respect and teaching people to say Thank you.

It’ the same with God, when we thank him for little, He blesses us with more!

#Next : It’s  people that are impossible to please. No matter how well you do, it will never be enough for them….

You too can make it happen. Why not?

We thought it would never happen, or something will go wrong, or our planning would just not be enough. But it did happen and everything was beyond perfect. I could have been at home watching cartoons (like I do most Saturday mornings), but last week Saturday was something special and I was glad to be a part of it.

Together with the Project Hope ladies, we organized a special lunch for teenage girls from Hope for the Helpless orphanage in Mofolo. You see since Project Hope was incepted, the orphanage has been our beneficiary in terms of donating groceries every month. However we know that a child is not only raised on food, they need love and knowledge that someone actually cares about them. So this was basically to spend some quality time with the girls, to get to know them better, while encouraging them to dream beyond their circumstances. That is why the theme for the lunch was: Living your dream. We tried to make the event as special as possible, from delivering handmade invites with their names on them to giving each one a rose when they entered the event venue.

We were prayerful on the weeks leading up to the event that God prepares the young ladies hearts to receive something and grow from it. Well our guest for the day, made sure of that. We had Thendo (Mpho’s sister) come share her life story with the girls and how she managed to escape rape and death situations to be where she is today. Born of a preacher mother, she was one rebellious teenager and got herself into all sorts of trouble which exposed herself to many horrible things, some of which she is still dealing with right now. But by God’s grace she is now a blooming woman, who has just written her own book and is focusing her life into Social entrepreneurship and living for the Lord. She said, she wishes at her age she had someone caring enough to host an event like that for her and warn her of what life carries ahead.

The girls were encouraged, and I hope they understood that by them growing up in an orphanage might just be a blessing in disguise and God actually cares for them more than they think. We had fun sessions with the young ladies when they shared a bit more about their dreams and what defines them. And let me tell you, those kids are one joyful bunch, some even sang for us! We obviously didn’t have money to finance the entire event, we got young professional ladies to sponsor a girl for lunch. These ladies also brought knowledge to the girls in the various fields, which added more value to the afternoon. I recall Sandra (a medical doctor), saying: “We are encouraging you to be the best you can be, so we can have a coffee break with other black sister doctors”. Yes our desire is make the most out of these ladies and see them thrive and be successful so we can grow our young black professional landscape.

Obviously the event was a once off treat for the girls, as the main concern over their lives right now is food, clothes and decent schooling. But this one thing can remind them how special they are. Knowing that the next time they go to school without lunch money, they know they have a provider who does exceedingly and above than what they can imagine. Even if it’s just once or twice a year.

Sharing on this event is not to place glory on anyone, but God. Yes, I honor the ladies for working relentlessly to make the event a success, but ultimately this showed me that when God gives you a vision, He will bring it to pass. There were so many things to worry about, from the weather to the finances, but He took care of everything. This shows that you don’t need to accomplish xy or z to help someone out. Just heed God’s call inside of you to reach out, and trust Him to do the rest. To think those “special invites” were printed in color on a normal A4 page and wrapped in ribbons that cost R2.50 each. Because we had the heart to make it special, the almighty made a way for it to be.

You just need to desire to help someone out, it may be through kind words, financial assistance or even going to visit the less fortunate. Nothing you do can ever be too little.

A big thank you to project Hope, the ladies who sponsored the lunch, my brother for providing us with transport, the venue people for hosting us, and God for holding up the weather, providing  goodie bags, trusting us with his little ones and giving us the vision.

You too can bless someone, with something. Remember, we are blessed to be a blessing. You are not where you are because you deserve to be, your opportunities could have easily been granted to someone else. And you don’t have to be a millionaire before you can help others. Maybe driving around with a packet of oranges and giving it to the beggars you come across on your way to work could be a start OR you can come together on a monthly basis with colleagues and donate say R100 each and decided how you’re going to help someone out. Just think of a way and you will find it.

If you want to know about Project Hope, or the Orphanage, please go to our new page: From God with Love. I have also profiled a few other initiatives that serve to make a difference in other people’s lives and you can get involved with them if you like.

Izandla ziyagezana.

Life is short…

Not a single one of us is guaranteed another day on this earth. Our days were apportioned to us before we were even born albeit, there’s a time for everything; to live, to die, to grow, to cry, to laugh, to hurt and to love. These times should be treasured (and accepted), living each moment as our last, because we don’t know what tomorrow holds. These are people who have been part of life somehow. Our paths in life crossed and some point and a part of me was shared with them and so was theirs. Let me tell you a few stories…

We used to call my brother in law’s granddad, Da (father). He was a vital element in my life somehow. This year, when everybody was celebrating Mandela day, our family wasn’t in a jolly mood. You, see 2 days before we had lost our Madiba. Da was also born in 1910, we were looking forward to his 92 birthday in November. An old man who was strong and had so much love, all of a sudden fell sick after a few weeks passed on. We were sad, but also grateful that we shared in his life.

Shortly after Da’s passing, his grandson had an annoying headache. End July he was admitted into hospital and after a week or so he died. We buried him on top of his wife who passed away in a car accident a couple of years ago. They leave 4 kids, the youngest being 8. God will keep the children, but unfortunately life had to happen for him. May his soul rest in peace.

Then there’s Ntombana. A chick we grew up with, we lived in the same neighborhood in Dobsonville. She went missing on the 23rd of September. Her body was then found by cops in a nearby cemetery 5 days later, she had been raped and stabbed to death. I still can’t get over how horrible her last moments might have been. She was openly lesbian and has been ever since I knew her. Yes, everyone has their time to die, but no one can judge another. Farewell Ntombana, a very sweet somebody who is the only person I know who has a smile on every single picture. Laid to rest 4 Thursdays ago a few days before Gay Pride. Here’s her story http://www.citypress.co.za/SouthAfrica/News/Lesbians-family-begs-for-justice-20121006 (There is only one lawgiver who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge another? –James 4vs12).

On the same day I went to see Ntombana’s mother, I started in Braamficherville on the news that Mr Norman had passed away. I know him through Golden Ark senior citizens, a food project, to feed the community. I remember when I last spoke to him he said: My child; “by the time the first rains come this year we need to be ready to plant our crops”. He was the Chairperson of Golden Ark and was passionate about the agricultural project. Gogo Angie told me that the previous Sunday, he woke up like any other day. He just fell on his way to the door and that was the end of him. Death is indeed a thief.

A colleague of mine was telling me about a tragedy that befell her relatives. That morning she had been so tired because they had to identify bodies in Mpumalanga. A recently married couple, went to Swaziland with the groom’s dad and brother to introduce the wife to their relatives there. While travelling back, the family got involved in an accident with a truck and another car. Everyone died on the spot, all 5 of them. Turned out the young bride was pregnant. May their souls rest in peace.

Nathi’s older brother is engaged to my cousin, we were all so fond of him. Born in 1995, he was shaping up to be fine young man. He loves cars, his father owns taxis so he learned driving at a young age. He is the one that picks up my little cousins when they are invited to a party somewhere. On the 13th, he was driving his father’s BMW with a few friends, something went wrong and they were involved in a car accident. http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/cops-blamed-for-teen-s-fatal-crash-1.1408390. Out of the 4 people that were in the car, 2 died and 2 were critically injured. It was Nathi’s funeral 2 Saturday’s ago.

About 5 weeks ago, Pana came to my place with Mom to help us move in some stuff. He is an old family friend who visits every other weekend. Pana was no trouble at all; he just loved watching tv and smoking his cigarettes. Last week Sunday, he was taking a walk to a spaza in the neighborhood. A taxi sped past and knocked him over. He sustained head injuries and a broken leg. 3 days later he passed away in hospital. By the way, the driver of the taxi is a young teenage girl who was playing around with her boyfriend’s company car. Her life has changed, forever, just like how Pana is gone forever. I’m still sad.

The previous Sunday we woke to the news that some guys from my hometown (Nquthu) were missing. Funny enough, I know all of them and my step mom is related to some of them. They were driving in a low lying bridge from Magogo (Northern KZN). Apparently there was a heavy storm on Saturday night and their car was swept away, 2 managed to get out the car and stand on the roof of it. The other 3 got washed away in it. Follow the link to read their story http://www.thepost.co.za/woman-watches-teachers-drown-1.1408922. Their bodies were only last week Friday (http://www.thepost.co.za/teacher-s-body-found-others-still-missing-1.1411997) more than 30km’s from where they drowned. Imindeni yakwaNgobese, kwaSikhakhane nakwa Buthelezi iduduzeke.

Life is short guys. I’m reciting these tragedies as though fables, but that is the reality of the earth we live in. I am beyond sad, these experiences have just taught me to accept things as they are and move on. Life brings us new turns every day, and we never know what can happen next. Maybe you’re sitting there and your last day is a few months away? Will you be grateful for your time here, or are you going to wish you had made much out of your time? We must get off the paradigm that there’s always tomorrow to do this or that. Tomorrow’s not guaranteed.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell ad make a profit.” Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a small vapor that appears for a little while and vanishes away. Instead you ought to say,”if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin__James 4 vs 13-17

If you’ve been meaning to tell someone how wonderful they are, do it today, not tomorrow. Mend that relationship, send that gift, go visit that relative, buy that house, open that business, write that book, go for that audition, make that suggestion. If you have a dream, start living it, or least start finding a way on how to. Our lives are but a mist that appears in the morning and disappears by day. That is how short your life is. Start living for today, let go of the past because it will keep you there and prevent you from loving the here and now. The people you just read about are ordinary people, as special as you are, nothing different about them. If it happened to them, it can surely happen to you.

With the understanding that life is short, it is wise to start planning for eternity. Start serving the author of time and you will understand that death is not the end. But the beginning of another, beautiful, worry free life with our Father. If you’ve been meaning to surrender your life to Christ, do it now, today, don’t postpone it much longer because we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Choose life.

All flesh is as grass. And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers. And it’s flower falls away. But the word of the Lord endures forever__1 Peter 1 vs 24

Just so you know….

This is for all the ladies in unhealthy relationships. Yes, you know who you are, don’t need to a doctor to diagnose your situation. So listen up! If you’re unsure, listen up as well.

This is not a break up post, so guys please don’t hate me; I’m just sharing small basic truths that we as women sometimes forget. Loving someone means you’ll wait for them, but you need to respect yourself too by knowing, if and when it’s time to walk away.

If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away.  
If he doesn’t want you, nothing can make him stay.  
Stop making excuses for a man and his behavior. 
Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.  
Stop trying to change yourselves for a relationship that’s not meant to be.  
Slower is better.  
Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy.  
If a relationship ends because the man was not treating you as you deserve  
then no, you can’t “be friends.”  A friend wouldn’t mistreat a friend.  
Don’t settle. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is.  
Don’t stay because you think “it will get better.” You’ll be mad at yourself  
a year later for staying when things are not better.  
The only person you can control in a relationship is you.  
Avoid men who’ve got a bunch of children by a bunch of different women.  
He didn’t marry them when he got them pregnant,  
Why would he treat you any differently?  
Always have your own set of friends separate from his.  
Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you.  
If something bothers you, speak up.  
Never let a man know everything. He will use it against you later.  
You cannot change a man’s behavior. Change comes from within.  
Don’t EVER make him feel he is more important than you are…even if he has  
more education or in a better job. Do not make him into a quasi-god.  
He is a man, nothing more, nothing less.  
Never let a man define who you are.  
Never borrow someone else’s man.   
If he cheated with you, he’ll cheat ON you.  
A man will only treat you the way you ALLOW him to treat you.  
All men are NOT dogs. 
You should not be the one doing all the bending…compromise is a two-way street.  
You need time to heal between relationships: there is nothing cute about  
baggage! deal with your issues before pursuing a new relationship.  
You should never look for someone to COMPLETE you…a relationship consists  
of two WHOLE individuals…look for someone complementary…not supplementary.  
Dating is fun…even if he doesn’t turn out to be Mr. Right.  
Make him miss you sometimes…when a man always knows where you are and your’re 
always readily available to him- he takes you for granted.  
Don’t fully commit to a man who doesn’t give you everything that you need.  
Share this with other ladies….. You’ll make someone SMILE, another  
RETHINK her choices, and another woman PREPARE.  
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate   
him, a day to love him, and an entire lifetime to forget him.  
 

BY THE WAY, THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A MAN, SO TAKE A HINT.

-Author Unknown

Sometimes you have to forget how you feel and remember what you deserve. Remove yourself from situation that no longer honors you. Love yourself enough.

The more stable, confident and self loving a woman is, the healthier will her relationships be.

Sweetest Revenge

When people deliberately hurt us, our natural reaction is to seek justice. We may forgive them but deep down inside, we wish that something equally bad happens to them so they can feel how we felt.

Here’s a piece of advice: If someone hurts you, please don’t spend your life waiting to see their downfall because it will never come! You just need to deal with the negative energy they enforced upon you, learn from it and move right along. Their whole life should not perish just coz they did you wrong. God loves them as much as He loves you and if you don’t perish from your wrongs, they won’t too.

If someone doesn’t love you/rejects you it doesn’t mean they are bad people altogether. You are not money, not everyone will have the burning desire to want to have you. Don’t hate for not being loved, rather respect other people’s choices to choose who they want in their lives and who they don’t. Their decision to dislike/ disrespect you is based on their perceptions, and has no reflection on you whatsoever. So other people’s actions towards you should not define your character and dictate who you are.

You see when someone does something bad to you. By trying to “sort them out” or “teach them a lesson”, actually means that you are now stooping to their level. And trust me; it drains so much of your energy. You should obviously express your hurt and tell them what they did is not right, but beyond that there isn’t much you can do. Instead continue being who you were toward them. I know it’s hard, but treating your enemies with kindness is the worst thing you could ever do to them. Guard yourself in prayer so you never lose your peace. You are exercising power with gentleness, the bible calls it meekness and it has such positive fruit on your character.

Allow God to deal the injustice you have suffered the best way He can, it is not up to you to decide on someone else’s fate. Think of all the people you have wronged, deliberately or otherwise, would it be fair for God to let them have a say as to how your life should end up? You see we want to settle scores and see that people get what they deserve and yet God does not give us what we deserve in our transgressions. This, my friend is what forgiveness is about. It is not just simply saying: “I’m sorry”

Yes you forgive and let go of the hurt, but seeing the person prosper, sort of hurts. Not in a jealous kind of way, but in a “you don’t deserve to be this happy” kind of way. You see we take the act/hurt and define the person by it. We brand the person as our heart ache defines them. It’s like saying an entire bank is useless because you were once issued a faulty card and you couldn’t access money to pay for a meal you just ate or something.

Sometimes people will not realize their fault towards you, at that very time you want them to see it. You may express your anger as forcefully as you want, but if they chose not to realize it, they just won’t. That’s why it sometimes helps to put the shut to the up. Yes, just shut up and let it go. Maybe you might even have to apologize even if you were wronged. Simply do it and move right along. It is not a sign of weakness; it just shows that you choose which battles to fight.

You cannot afford to lose your peace of mind, just because someone decided to be rude today. Sometimes you just need to let people drown in their stupidity so they can learn the valuable lessons life has to offer. You just walk on in faith, believing that the Lord knows best how to deal with them. Just cast it all on Him and best believe He will heal your hurt in the process. Focus on your own journey in life, learn your lessons and keep to your lane.

Let God be the ultimate judge, because your definition of noble is not absolute.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint- Isaiah 40:31