bookclubThis past weekend I was reminded how amazing and gracious and incredible my group of friends is. Around this table are some of the powerhouses that make up what we call bookCLUB (don’t ask). We are missing a few people from the setting, but eight or so years later when the name was coined from some mischievous endeavours, we’re still going strong with the love.

This afternoon, Tumelo reminded me that I had written some of them a random letter of love back in 2012 – reading it again, I think it’s time for another. Not that much which change – they are still wonderful, just better versions of their 2012 version. Also missing a few on the old list.

I am grateful for my circle of women.

Here is the letter: unedited – grammar and spelling errors not omitted

From Akona To bookCLUB:

Dear friends

I’m just a girl, standing (well sitting) in front of her computer, asking you to accept her love.

In different and unique ways I love you all and hold you in very high regard.

You are beautiful, passionate, caring and absolutely amazing. Enough for me to want to express the glowing feeling I get when I’m in your presence, when you are on my mind and when you I read your emails and messages in your voice in my head.

What you have in common is how self-aware you are, and that makes for incredible women to be associated with.

Anele:

Your heart is so big, your mind so fast, your laugh so true. You are deliberate in all you do and that speaks to how well you align your heart, mind and your soul. You are kind and thoughtful and have a way to make everyone feel special, and seen. You are a breath of fresh air. I appreciate you.

Bontle:

Buddy, you easy going nature with a mix humour makes you so wonderful to be around. As elusive as you are, as soon as we are together it’s as though we haven’t missed a step. I appreciate you.

Dawn:

You are calm and not. You are crazy and collected. You are passionate and full of life. You are honest and trustworthy. You know how to carry a friend in need, and you are willing to listen. Even as you change, as one does with time and experiences, I always know who you are. You make me laugh and help me escape the mundane, and do it all so effortlessly. I appreciate you.

Kate:

The way you see the world is so refreshing. You are warm and hilarious. You have heart, and a lot of patience. You make me feel like anything is possible if you look on the bright side. I love that you love, and love the human you created who brings such happiness to me. I wanna be an ussist, just coz you are. I appreciate you.

Natalie:

Your focus is incredible. The way you do what you want to do without feeling hindered by what other people think is inspiring. I love that you don’t buy face for the sake of keeping things cool. You are beautiful and watching you blossom into yourself is wonderful. I appreciate you.

Nomfundo:

The lady. I love how open you are. I love how you stand by your opinion. I love that there isn’t a debate you can’t sprinkle with your Nomfundoness. I love the love you have for black people. I love your militancy in your beliefs. You are surprising and familiar. You are a woman of substance and class. You make me want to be better, try harder, question everything until I know where I stand. I appreciate you.

Nonhlanhla:

You are a woman of women. You trust, you love, and let life be beautiful. You are selfless and caring. I love that you are passionate and share knowledge with ease. You give of yourself without expectation. I appreciate you.

Nomathamsanqa:

Your over the top laugh is experience that leaves me lighter, always. Your heart is big and the number of times you have been my rock are immeasurable. You love, you live, you laugh. Even when it is dark, you try and put everyone before you. You are willing to try new things, even if they scare you and that is wonderful. I appreciate you.

Rose:

Quick wit, considered thoughts, and fantastic running commentary make you such a pleasure to have a conversation with. You make even the most complicated situation seem like a piece of cake. The way your mind works is a maze I love trying to figure out. You are an amazing woman who keeps being the gift that keeps on giving. I love being in your company. You are welcoming and loving. I appreciate you.

Simone:

Nah ah man, I wanna make my own soce. Your passion is contagious. The adventurous spirit in you is inspiring. You try, you do, and won’t stop until something is great. I love that you can walk into a room full of strangers and walk out with friends. You are fast paced and intense, and that it quite a ride. I appreciate you.

Tumelo:

Easily the most dynamic woman I know. I’m your biggest fan. I love that your dreams scare you a little and you challenge yourself and ask yourself those difficult questions. You are creative and speak your personality through so many visual and audio facets; it’s a great experience to enjoy. It has been beautiful to watch your soul come alive with every passing day. I appreciate you.

You are all women I would have been proud to introduce to my mom.

I love you.

(No I’m not dying)


Helloooooo

Popping in to share some kindness from the partnership with aQuellé where showing kindness with a Random Act of Coolness won one lucky person a cool R1000 in cash.

Last week, you may have a seen a strange little person at an intersection of rush hour traffic in Bryanston – well, this was me showing kindness to random people going to their places of work.

With each bottle of aQuellé (litch flavour), I gave the tired and stressed people in their cars a little quote of inspiration as a pick me up as well. You know those moments when you just need someone to tell you everything is okay; I think we put some smiles on a few people who needed it. Random but fun.

KinAK

 

AND, we have a winner:

winner aQuelle-logo

Thanks for having fun with it folks! Keep spreading kindness like confetti

 


The nice people of aQuellé have been on the run to celebrate the unsung heroes of our country by doing random acts of coolness. That construction worker being beaten down by the sun while building something that is sure to be big and beautiful being told they are appreciated, the night guard watching over people while they sleep, that random person going about their day and making a difference in some way are some of the people that they have been giving smiles to with acts of coolness

The campaign is part of an initiative encouraging people to nominate someone who deserves a random act of coolness for their kindess, and the nominee and nominated could both win share of prizes and ofcourse, #ActsofCoolness.

Now here at casa Akona, we are giving away a cool R1000 cash prize to you, yes you, if you shine and show me your random act of coolness for someone who deserves to be given a smile

How to win? easy peasy and cool three steps:

1. Like the aQuellé Facebook page and find inspiration for creating an #ActsOfCoolness

(You can also check out the aQuellé Youtube channel and see some of the awesome acts)

2. Create your own act of kindness for anyone you want to give a smile to by buying them a bottle of aQuellé

3. Take a selfie with your aQuellé & the recipient of your cool kindness and post it (tag me) on Instagram or Twitter using hashtag #ActsOfCoolness (@akona1 on Twirra and Insta)

The more sparkling the act, the closer you get to walking away with R1000 cash prize.

For an extra chance to win, tell me your favourite flavour in the comments section below

Competition runs until Friday 24 April

Next week, I’ll show you my random #ActsofCoolness

 


This fascinating poster sashayed across my Facebook timeline earlier, kissed me on the forehead, whispered sweet everythings in my ear and promised my mind a little taste of its ecstacy.

Thugs and Coconuts

Tonight, 8 April at 18:00 – Short notice I know, let’s make our way to Humanities Graduate Centre at Wits University and have our minds blown by Achal Prabhala

It is free & Open to the Public.

Public lecture by Achal for about 45 minutes, followed by commentary from Raimi for about 15 minutes, then discussion for about half hour. Foo and drink will be provided after 8pm

 

 

 


Source: Ryan McArthur

Source: Ryan McArthur

So it has been a bit of a weird run in the love department lately – I don’t want to call it failure, but maybe let’s call them opportunities for learning. Honestly, all I’d like to just say is that men are weird – but that’s just puerile. They are a strange bunch of hot & cold blowers and particularly those men who weren’t exposed to affection between their parents are the weirdest of them all – in my experience of course. There is something about men or women who don’t know how to be loved that need a lot of work – sometimes it is a mixture of broken families or just a tough time growing up and feeling like they have to fight for everything that makes it difficult for them to let their guard down and receive.

I had fallen in-like with a somebody who seemed exactly on my path; a somebody that I could vibe with honestly, a somebody that I could share my secrets with, a somebody I could try new things with and share experiences with, make memories and be me as I am. We shared similar values and outlooks on the world – very important – with somewhat similar as well as different experiences which made us compatible enough to be our true selves at every moment. We flowed quite easily in the getting to know each other space; with everything seeming to flow well and literally fit. As though I’d met the male me in present, past and future form. Without a head in the clouds stance I can honestly say he felt like the human I could share tomorrow with (I don’t know about forever). And it was nice.

It “ended” abruptly – he basically stopped responding to messages and calls (I don’t call or text more than twice) and it has not been too long since the silent treatment began (from speaking and texting everyday *weep*) and I’m left wondering WTF? I’m a little confused, angered and in a bit of a strange space wondering why. No regrets, just wondering why was he brought into my life? Look, this is not an original tale in the single in the city girl’s dating experiences, it is just so shocking when it happens. I know someone is nodding along here.

I had a slight moment of clarity and contentedly figured that it is he who chose to walk away; he who was afraid – men who have ever been made to feel discarded tend to discard easily and mix that up with not knowing how to deal with receiving affection and goodness from people will have them running and hiding. They go from hot to cold and back again because they don’t understand being cared for like that. Some are just assholic beings but, mostly, I think it is the fear of not feeling like they’re good enough or that it is too good to be true or making sure they protect themselves from being hurt before it happens (even if it wasn’t going to happen). Not to toot my own horn, I give good girlfriend. (I also do single quite well, so it’s an interesting fusion of being). Apart from it being rude to ignore someone, I’m distraught (a little dramatic) that he walked away before we could explore what this incredible connection could have been; either way I’m letting his childish behaviour go & allowing.

So, as opposed to crawling into foetal position and crying myself to sleep wondering what I did wrong, I accepted that this being does not want me and that is okay. Yes, it’s a knock to the ego and I have to start the process of unlearning the things that remind me of him – what a mission! For his own reasons, reasons he chose not to share with me, he has chosen to go through the ticking of time without me. These things do happen – maybe it is a blessing in disguise, maybe not. I’ve chosen also to accept that I tend to attract broken little birds; a huge part of my interactions with people is that I end up being their healer in some way or another. Healing was something I enjoyed and I felt gave me some form of purpose, but I had to release this part of me because it made me vulnerable to being taken advantage of and taking too much away from me for the benefit of others. Broken birds are a lot of work, I know because I too was one. Or at least I can recognise my own bullshit.

I must say that it was nice to get some male attention, some cuddles and laughs and being a part of someone’s life, having a witness to my life and a sounding board for my thoughts – however brief it was. It was nice. It was fun. It was easy. It was scary. It was exhilarating.

I don’t know what the universe has in store – I was mad at some point screaming to the sky that yet again I got a taste of exactly what I want and it was ripped away from me cruelly. I’m over it now (sort of) but I do wonder if I can trust the universe, my angels, ancestors and the stars with my hopes and dreams and wants and needs if they will continue to be mean to me. Maybe I need to visit a medium or iSangoma or shaman and find out what it is I am missing – not just in the area of love. Something feels off under g.

Anyway. This is a deeply personal post and not my usual, however it felt right to just get it off my chest.

Now to live, let live and let go. And for the love of all that is good, not fall into the trap of trying to get “closure”. Sometimes we just have to forgive without an apology.

An old friend used to say “self-preservation is a noble act” and I might agree.


I was recently introduced to the haunting music by French Cuban twins who go by the name Ibeyi – pronounced ee-bey-ee, meaning twins in the Nigerian language of Yoruba.

Influenced by their percussionist late Father, Yoruba folk music and French music they create incredible music that is all at once beautiful, eerie and distinctly moving to listen to. Some of the words I don’t understand, but they make complete sense.

In their videos and in photoshoot images I’ve seen they seem like people with deep stories to tell – there’s an ancestral air about them; as though they are also sharing stories from previous / other lives lived beyond just their current.

Love!


Over the weekend I got my very first style cut / fade since childhood. As a kid, we’d walk into the salon with my mom and the only words she’d say were “German Cut”. This happened far too often and I felt like the cut made me look like a boy. After age 8, it never happened again.

So, remember a few months ago we (me, myself and the royal I) went from gorgeous twist braids to completely bald? Yup.

image

My hair has been growing steadily and healthily but I have been getting bored. My only other option, which had been my staple for around 8 years, was a chiskop. This did not excite me as much as it used to for some reason.
So I dared myself to try something new!

image

image

It took a lot of self convincing because I really did not know how it would turn out. I sat in the barber’s chair, asked him for a “fade”, closed my eyes and prayed to Beysus for FIERCENESS to happen.
For the duration of the styling / fading / parting I did not open my eyes.

I’m really happy with the style. Think this will be my look for a few months.

Now to get some red lips…


Happy New Year!

Source: Lineo

Source: Lineo

Before I start, thank you for coming back (or coming by)

I haven’t been this excited about a year as I have been about 2015 – and true to form, I kind of only got into the spirit of the New Year at little late. So hello 2015

I don’t have any grand life changing plans nor do I have serious resolutions with a goal in mind, instead I want to make small lifestyle and mind set changes and see what I open myself to. I believe in the saying, and to quote Picasso, “inspiration comes, but it must find you working” as a mantra.

Here are the little big things & the steps I’m putting together to stick to them – which is essentially to reward myself for doing them:

  • To drink more water – I live for a good cuppa, so for every cup of coffee I have, I follow it with 500ml of water. That gets me to about 2litres a day. That’s a good thing, right?
  • To cook more – living alone is glorious, but, when it comes to meal times it just seems so tedious to cook for one! I’ve often substituted cooking with take-out, eating out, nibbling on junk and sometimes just wine (grapes are a food group mos). So I’ve been looking at recipes online for 30 minute meals and I then treat myself with a glass of wine only if I have cooked. I also want to learn about juicing – Instagram makes it look like fun.
  • To be more present – I’m very much a head in the clouds kind of person, floating along and most of the time, day dreaming, wishing for something else, focusing on the next thing and not ever really the right now. To overcome this, I plan to write a page a day in my personal journal. I do this in the morning over a great cup of coffee before I even shower and get ready for work and the day. No coffee if I don’t write. There’s an accountability and honesty to documenting feelings, thoughts, plans and hopes that allows me to be more present
  • To be more positive – I am generally positive, but I want to be more deliberate about positive outlook because I know that it opens the heart and mind up to see clearly. The positivity will be achieved by listing three things I am grateful for in my evening meditation. I’ve come to dedicate 20 minutes of meditation in the evenings and this time is so precious for my well-being that I just can’t do without. Being still, aware, within myself and reflective.
  • To open up my mind and being – I want to read more, and not just fiction as usual but to learn more about myself and my history, roots, blackness, being African, being Xhosa and understanding how I fit into the universe, how everything is connected. I gift myself two books a month and have them wrapped, and I don’t unwrap my self-gift until I have completed a book. The excitement to unwrap a present will always stay with me from childhood and what makes is it even better is that I never know which book is next.

Finally, I will laugh more; though I do that plenty, I figure there’s never enough laughter in the world

See, small but important things and all easily achievable with just a matter of willingness. The rest of my path will fall into place at its right time. For now, I will be more aware of myself and fortify the being and the soul. Being ready for whatever may come –  including to learn not to fear my own greatness, learning to believe I deserve the best and that if I want something, I don’t have the space to make excuses about why I won’t or can’t get it.

Wish me luck

Are you also ready to be more amazing?


Credit: Leonita*

Credit: Leonita*

There is an important project currently being run by Dove, the champions of beauty through their Real Beauty campaign, and it has touched me in a reflective way, inducing some well needed soul searching. At any age women grapple with issues around positive body image, beauty and gender stereotypes on a daily basis and in various forms. We think we are less than or not as good because we see airbrushed supermodels on the covers of magazines who have become the standard of beauty. We’ve stopped teaching ourselves to strive to be anything but ourselves.

You’ve probably seen some of Dove’s beauty campaigns helping women realise that real beauty is what matters. Now it’s time to talk to young girls and young women – who in  their growing years contend with some of the same body issues, albeit in a faster more connected and more expectant world than when I was younger.

The project, aptly called The Dove Self Esteem Project, is aimed at helping to dispel low self-esteem in young girls around the world by creating content for parents, mentors & teachers that empowers them to start conversations around body image, beauty, self-esteem and to re-establish or instil self-love in our young girls. I was asked to contribute to this project and while researching all the content on the user-friendly website –Self Esteem Project –  I was struck by how I didn’t have this sort of perspective or support for my self-esteem growing up. My only points of reference depended on the women in my family and magazines; which really didn’t represent me. There is a difference in how you feel about yourself as a 14 year old and when you are 30. There is something different about speaking to elders about sensitive issues that you think no-one actually understands. The thing about that adolescent age is that we simultaneously know-it-all and feel completely isolated by the things we think we know and no one else could possibly be experiencing. So I thought the best way to contribute in any valuable way to the project – and hopefully inspire you reading this – would be for me to reach back and speak to my young self and tell her everything is going to be alright. What better time than this season of reflection.

Five things I’d like to tell my younger self:

  1. Be Present

There’s always something to look forward to, plan for, strive for and this is a good thing. Sometimes we worry too much about what may or may not happen and we lose sight of what is happening right now. In all the things you want for yourself in life and everything you work for, you are not wrong, but you will sometimes forget to just be in the present moment. By being right where you are and absorbing everything around you and learning to feel what you feel in that very moment you teach yourself how to appreciate even the little things. You will want to “move on” when things are tough, I ask you to please allow yourself to be in that moment whether it is good or bad and fully experience it. You will teach your heart to laugh when it is light and be strong when it is dark. This is how you will be passionate about anything; being present.

2. Be kind

Even when you are angry, be kind. When you are happy, be kind. The thing about kindness is that no one can take it away from you. There will be times when someone upsets you, maybe hurts your feelings and because we are human and prone to lash out in these times, you may feel that you must retaliate. You are allowed to feel hurt and angry, but there will never be a need to be malicious to anyone (even if they deserve it). Remember to be kind not only because it is one of those things about your character that will be remembered and loved, will also feel better about it as the world turns because we receive what we put out. The world goes around with love and kindness.

3. You are always in season

I know that you wonder if you are good enough. Who told you that you are not? Tell them that the reason there are so many people is that we all bring our uniqueness into the world and we are each necessary. We cannot all be the same, otherwise what is the point? We all offer something specific and important to the universe and it is your job to be who you are at all costs. No matter what you look like, you are always going to be in season because you are you. You will sometimes feel a little low, but don’t let yourself get down; remember that you are necessary.

4. You are everything you believe

The saying goes; “if you think you can or you can’t, you are right”. It may sound like a cliché young one, but it is true. Our thoughts and words become actions and perspectives. It is really important that you know that your thoughts will guide how you feel and how you act. If you think you are not beautiful, you will believe it and you will go through life thinking   and acting as if you are not. If you think you are capable, you will believe it and you will go through life thinking and acting as if you are. So be aware of what you think, and even if you have to fake it to yourself, think only the best. Dream big, because why not

5. Try, fail, and try again

Not everything you do will result in a win. The difference between a winner and a loser is the one who tried again. It is not always going to work out the way you want it to, but please don’t give up. The strongest and most successful amongst us fell but then they got up again. Know that you can. Believe that you can, then try. Try and try again. Even though this is meant to be a letter to my younger self, it is exactly what my adult self needs to remember and live by everyday

Please visit the site: http://selfesteem.dove.co.za and see how you can help a young girl remember that she is valuable and important


Hello friend

Please will you listen to this song. I’ve had it on repeat for a month now.

I don’t usually research artists or the story behind their expression. I like to just like to allow their craft to speak and resonate, but I’ve been going through a bit of an existential transformation that wants me to try and see the story as I would like my story, one day, to be seen.

Found this “making of” video and fell in love even more. Mali Music has been moving my life everyday on my drives to where ever and I finally succumbed to a video that might give me more context.

I know I should be looking at more, but I’m just stuck on his beard and his sweet face talking about his passion… I get weak for bearded men. I get weak for people excited by their craft. I get so much life from people who aren’t afraid to be.