A few months ago I went on a little holiday in Magaliesberg. It was a weekend break in December. It was gorgeous. Until I had to see him, again. The man who had felt entitled to my body all those years ago. I tweeted my shock and horror and pain from the feeling of my heart and guts being ripped out of my being. A while later I was contacted by Cosmopolitan SA and asked if I would be willing to share the story. I hesitated for a while and finally chose to do it. Continue to break the culture of silence. So I told the story. In neat words. 950 of them. You can read the story in the May issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. It was a painful and cathartic experience to share, and I hope it touches someone and gives them strength. I am healing. And finding my voice.
A few days ago, I took my nephew to the park down the road from our house. He’s at a beautiful age where everything is still new and interesting. He makes me so happy and helps me remember that there is magic in almost everything. Sometimes I forget the simple pleasures in life. I hope to always hold on to my imagination and hope and belief in magic. In any case, still on a bit of a blog hiatus. Lets connect soon again.
I am really such a head in the clouds, dream chasing kind of person. I throw caution to the wind and I dive into happy-making moments all because my heart shouts louder than my head. I’ve learnt this about myself in moments of retrospect; I then proceed to fail at trying to change myself to be a head person and less of a heart person, now I’ve just accepted that this is who I am.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, because I took a leap of faith; against my so-called better judgement and I entered that travel job competition through My Destination. (Blogged about it here). And this story is about the 24 hours of my impulsive fun loving dream chasing happy making peeks of me. (Long, please read the whole thing)
So on Saturday, I woke up energised by the dream to travel, gripped by the possible regret of not trying, by any means necessary, to make my dream to happen. I enlisted the help of my friend to be camera woman with my little camera phone and I quickly scripted a possible shot list of the things I would do to make an original and unique and personal video of the city I live in. The creation of a 3 minute video being one of the entry mechanics to the competition.
We started out with a drive to Braamfontein, with on camera pieces of what my video entry would be about – the focus of my love of Joburg would be centered around open air and /or rooftop entertainment. The first being neighbourhoods market; armed with a quick drink, some air kisses with beautiful Jozi people and a few links to camera about the venue, we got what we needed. It was loud. I must say, didn’t really know what I was doing, but we forged on. Just a quick one – I’m deadly scared of being on camera and I’m a nervous wreck when it comes to any kind of public speaking.
The next stop was the rooftop hangout on Juta street, The Beach. I mean, how much cooler could inland Joburg be? Real beach sand and vibes on a rooftop in the middle of the city, far from the ocean, but you can stick your feet in the sand, overlook the bustling streets below and a peek over at the ever beautiful Nelson Mandela bridge. We didn’t stay too long because we had convinced the people at the door that we had to get in without paying the R150 entrance fee since we were not on the guest list – life or death situation, we told them.
We then did a short on camera link about Nelson Mandela bridge, and as part of my own bucket list tick; walked across the bridge! Always wanted to do that. It’s fun, and it was awesome to see the parked trains under the bridge up close and not whizzing past as I usually see them.
The plan was then to drive to Rosebank, take the Gautrain (you know, show how people get around in our snazzy new development and the only underground train travel in S.A.) from there to Park Station, walk to Bree taxi rank and take a minibus taxi (you know, show how most residents get around) back to Rosebank. But that plan was thwarted because we were running out of time to get to the climax of the video, which was my biggest bucketlist to do item ever…
Ended up in Soweto a little late and had to turn back to the North and plan on doing the last part of the video on Sunday morning.
Now, I’m going to take you along on a trip of what happened the rest of Saturday even though it’s not part of the video entry. But it was unplanned fun- all part of my impulsiveness and love of random excursions.
Thami decided we needed a good night out and we convinced our DJ friend Akio to let us be his wing-women on his gigs for the night. What a fantastic decision that was. We drove to his house, parked my car and proclaimed it was a no driving but lots of drinking night for us. Jumped into Akio’s car and for the first time heard the itinerary. I remember thinking I would need lots of energy drinks for this one.
First stop – back to Soweto, at Chaf Pozi for a Miller event where Reason, Khuli Chana, Dimplez and Akio were performing. Great music and great fun. Thami took to the dancefloor like the lover of shaking it she is, I chilled and people watched and had random conversation, like I do. Some drinks were had and lots of laughs shared. Some of our friends arrived and the circle was made bigger.
The next stop was Joburg CBD again, at the Lister Medical Building close to Carlton Centre for a Sky Room Live event. This happens on the 19th floor and the rooftop of the building, where artists perform with the gorgeous backdrop of Jozi city in lights (breathtaking views) and the performances are broadcast live on television and online! Brilliant concept. I loved the party, loved the views, loved the music – Reason was performing again and he did a completely different set to the one at Chaf Jozi and he was joined again by his DJ Akio (Reason even did a shout out to Akio’s parents who were streaming the show live from Tennessee and had never seen/ heard Akio perform before), the trio was completed by Reason’s performance and album Producer, the beat maker 37mph. Incredible set.
We made our way off the rooftop, continued the closing shenanigans and proceeded to the next stop.
OST in Newtown. The dodgy spot that is sometimes indoor venue to some of the coolest outdoor / street party concerts (think Bilal concert). Anyway, I love and hate OST and that night it was a stop over that provided awesome entertainment.
Final stop was Kitcheners. It’s a firm favourite party spot for me, and doesn’t need much explaining. Unfortunately Saturday’s party was a weird music and crowd experience, but I didn’t hate it. We ate and drank and bid our goodbyes to the night at about 4am (maybe it was 5am).
As mentioned, none of the after-dark missions were part of the film making that Saturday was meant to be about but am so glad my liker of things self was not silenced.
The sunrise came with a blue skied nippy morning and I woke my camera-woman, Thami, up for the final moment required for my competition entry – something I had never done before and had to have to make my video of my Joburg spectacular!
On fours of sleep, at 10am on Sunday morning, I bungee jumped off the Orlando Towers in Soweto. It was the most exhilarating and most frightening thing I’ve ever done. Life flashed before my eyes as I removed myself off the the rope bridge between the top of the two Towers and fell towards the earth. I was a little bird who believed she could fly. I screamed. I panicked. I thought I would die. My mind and body were boggled by this weightlessness. I released all fear. I thanked God for every blessing that had ever come my way. I felt more alive than ever in those incredible few seconds
What made it even more amazing was that it worked out well as part of my birthday gift to myself which was on Tuesday.
Thami captured the jump, the screams, and the craziness and the tears at the end and my video footage was complete.
Then came the hard part; trying to edit the damn thing. Me and my determination forgot about the fact that I had never edited a video before, didn’t even know what program to use, how to even put everything in sequence. Technology even tried to get in my way with my Android phone and Apple laptop acting like they were enemies. I managed to download the footage, select what I liked and panicked again at the fact that editing was so foreign to me – but I watched a few online tutorials, fumbled about and somehow created a 3 minute story of why I loved Joburg (on a budget nogal)
Here’s the link to my first ever YouTube post and one of the entry mechanics to the greatest job on earth (to travel the world for 6 months, across 6 continents, reporting experiences via blogs and vlogs and ticking off all the things I’ve ever wanted to do through The Biggest Baddest Bucketlist competition)
What do you think?
Wish me luck!
I haven’t done one of these in a while. Which means I broke a promise. And that makes me feel awful.
So, here my list of things I am grateful for this week.
- On Tuesday I got home so exhausted from work and before I could complain or get my body rested on the couch, my nephew laughed and ran to me as I walked through the door. The world melted away just from the happiness in his face and that high pitched laughed of his. God he makes so happy
- I learnt something new at work about how digital creative production works. and I’m hooked. But there is so much jargon! Next week I’ll ask more questions and take in as much a my brain can take
- My short hair now saves me 10 minutes in the morning. Heaven knows that extra ten minutes of snoozing in bed is well appreciated
- I had a pretty dream about my mom. I can’t remember exactly what happened, I remember waking up feeling less anxious than usual
- A work presentation went really well. A goosebump inducing idea will come to life.
Til next week 🙂
I still whisper “I love you” in a creepy way to the screen every time I see her featured anywhere, especially when she posts on her blog – www.mydamnblog.com – I’ve never loved typing in a URL like I do hers.
I stan. Hard.
How can one human be so damn awesome?
After 2 years and a few months of trying the hair thing, I let go. I released and chose to cull my coils.
The last time I had shaved my head was in October of 2010 having moved back to Joburg from Cape Town ( a second time) and at the time I was visiting Nigeria, taking a break from Joburg job hunting. I remember walking through the salon, passed throngs of women getting their hurr did and up to the second floor to the barber. I turned a few heads upon my entrance into a room full of men. Found a chair and a nice man approached me, looked at me in the mirror and jokingly said I may be in the wrong place. I asked him to shave my head and he smiled and said “you must be South African. Confident women you are”
The shaving, at least proclaiming to myself that it would be the last time was my silent prayer that I would get the job at the company I work for now. I got the job on my return to S.A. and I kept my promise. My hair grew very slowly. And without my mother I truly and honestly had no idea what on earth I was doing with my crowning glory every time I walked into a hair salon.
I went through phases of dying it fiery red, the thin braids, twists, box braids, even box braids with bangs. When I got bored or stumped I’d get some fabric and wrap my head. This head wrap / turban phase lasted a while as it became a gorgeous way to liven any outfit. More on that in the next post.
Three weeks ago, at about midnight I stared into the mirror in my bedroom and asked God to guide me through my troubles. And something said cut my hair. I ignored the whisper and went to bed. When I woke and went about my routine of getting ready for work I was combing my fro and stopped. I knew the affair was over and it was time to let it go.
I got a pair of scissors, chopped off chunks and once it was short enough I got through the rest with clippers. It took an hour or so. I got into the shower and felt heaven as the water hit my naked scalp.
I feel amazing. And surprisingly I can still wrap my head with 4m of fabric.
The thing about a bald head is that there is no hiding. There is no adornment to work with. There are no hairstyles to compliment your mood or outfit. Nothing. Just bare honest me. It’s scary once you know the deliciousness of change of hair and looking different every so often. I love the bald head for now and am going to enjoy it for a few months until I decide what is next.
Guys. I’m about to tell you about one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that you’ll just kick yourself for if you don’t try! You have to enter, and tell everyone you know to enter.
We all love to travel, we all dream of travelling the world, My Destination does you one better on your dreams and invites you to actually experience every city or island you have ever wanted to go to and do the things you’ve either read about in books, magazines, on other lucky people’s blogs , seen on TV and movies. This is it. This is your time to shine, see the world and share the world with the world. Not only would you get what you want – lots of stamps in your passport; but you’d be part of the beautiful act that is inspiring other people to travel. There’s so much world out there, it has to be seen, touched, and lived.
What am I talking about? The competition of a lifetime: THE BIGGEST BADDEST BUCKET LIST!
Six whole months of globe-trotting well six continents of the globe, all expenses paid (so that dream of eating frog in Thailand, dancing on the streets with thousands of other people on the streets of Salvador, visiting the tallest building in Moscow, eating at the restaurant where a scene of Kill Bill was shot would all be paid for) trip for one lucky citizen of planet earth. That person could be you. You could be the one trying out the world and reporting via blogs and vlogs of your experiences for half a year.
What do you need to do to win?
Create one 3 minute video about your favourite destination, write one 500 word blog post about your best travel experience and three pictures that go along with your story. Easy right?
More information and tips here – http://www.mydestination.com/bbb#.UTXOzzBTbTo
You have until 31 March 2013 to enter – but you really want to do it sooner because one of the ways to make it to the top 10 short list is by making a lot of noise about your submissions. Of course, that ‘s not the only way – great submissions will also be selected by the people at My Destination. It really could be you. Yes you, the one who has read this far and is currently hyperventilating at the thought that your dreams could quite simply come true.
It gets better. When you get back from the six month whirlwind job of experiencing the world and telling the world about the world – you get $50 000 to start a fresh in your new path at home (or wherever you please). That’s close to half a million sweet ZAR.
I’ve been lucky before to have lived my dream of travel, thanks to the globe-trotting competition I won from Smirnoff a few years ago. 32 cities and islands over 13 months reporting our travels in search of original nightlife via blogs, vlogs, magazine articles and more. I would absolutely love to enter, but I think it’s time to give other children a chance.
The world awaits you… your passion for travel, your love of storytelling, picture taking, people meeting and try everything once self could be the lucky winner. Life will never be the same again.
Check this video out for more inspiration, then get on with your game plan to travel the world.
I am weak from the last week. I am frightened, I am angry, I feel hopeless and helpless. my soul is sore
Last week Sunday I spent most of the day reading newspapers and engaging topics and people on Twitter; this exercise usually involves a lot of diplomatic “fuck off” slinging, debating and arguing on various topics, preaching to the converted, choir like nodding in agreement with different people.
Then I read the City Press ed’s piece about Anene, the young girl who was brutally gang raped and murdered, written by Ferial Haffajee. The writer / journalist titled her editor’s piece “words fail us” and quite aptly, words did fail her. I was fuming because the piece read like yet another rape-apologist finding blame in everybody and everything BUT the perpetrators of the crime. It read, and still reads, like Anene’s upbringing could have saved her from being raped. As though if her guardians had given her a curfew or taken pictures of her she may have not become another victim to this violation. It made my skin crawl, my blood boil and broke my spirit. I and other people engaged Ferial on the piece, to which responses varied from dismissive to not seeing anything wrong with making such dangerous statements, in a national newspaper. Not that it would have been better is she only thought these things and never said them, it all adds to the popular “it was her fault” brigade of rape-apologists and victim blamers and shamers. I’m still so very angry about it.
While I wasted time over-intellectualising the rape pandemic to apologists it turns out my half-sister and my childhood were abducted by nine men, beaten, stabbed and gang-raped in my hometown, Umtata. I still have no words. My heart sank. This wasn’t something happening to ‘other people’, it was a tragedy visiting my family, again.
At the time, when my father didn’t have all the details because my grandmother who was dealing with my sister and friend wasn’t dealing very well and couldn’t pass on the information. In a way I was glad because I was already broken by just the ‘headline’. I cried that night. Cried for my family, for my people, my country. I prayed, with no hope. I asked a God I don’t know to protect my people. I begged a world I do not feel safe in to stop the pain. I haven’t yet decided if I think rapists should rehabilitated or removed from earth.
In the time that it has taken for me to type this so far, someone has been sexually assaulted.
On Monday a very close and wonderful friend of mine fell into a deep darkness after a long while of difficulty and in the hopelessness attempted suicide. I haven’t yet absorbed it and am only concentrating on making sure all love and strength is provided while healing happens. Suicide scares me.
Then came Valentine’s Day. The country, actually the world, was rocked by news of the death by gun shot suffered by Law Graduate and Model, Reeva Steenkamp. Someone’s child was killed. The circumstances of her death are being reported everywhere, with her alleged killer in court. A woman died at the hands of a lover, violently and unnaturally. Another woman was in fear for her life and ultimately died. On Saturday I viewed a few minutes of the reality show she featured in and saw a bit of her wonderful personality I read about. I especially loved this piece about her written by former FHM editor, author and all round wonderful guy, Hagen Engler here. Reeva seemed like a woman so full of life and a common thread in stories about her is how much she still had going for her. I cannot imagine what her family and friends are going through and my thoughts are with them. Human life has no price and as with rape, I don’t see any viable reason to kill someone. (I might retract that statement one day). I hope for justice for her and other women harmed by people they trust.
The media circus can continue without me on this particular mess, I just hope we don’t forget that someone’s child was killed. Someone’s friend is dead. A life has been taken and will only continue in memory.
Last week we also found out that yet another person in power found it suitable to act selfishly and pilfer state funds; not for use to better the country through the portfolio in her care, but rather to beautify her office. This continue to fuel my anger. With Rape Crisis Organisation without funding, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities (i.e. everyone the country doesn’t care about) Lulama Xingwana is reported to have spent R2.100 000.00 (that’s two point one million South African Randelas) redecorating her office. Was this necessary in a time that the people you are in charge of taking care of are in crisis? Really?
As you know, the website created to help break the culture of silence and offer survivors of rape and sexual abuse a safe place to share their story, I SAID NO, is up and running. On average we get about two or three stories a week. Last week, with the great help of media personalities Anele Mdoda through her radio show and Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu through her tv show we received over 50 stories. This is obviously not something to celebrate. The fact is, rape and sexual abuse happens. Sandy Schultz and myself have created this website as a place to share and engage. Some people find healing, some people find support, some people just want to tell someone. the website is there for that. I guess we are starting somewhere. The heartbreaking part is having to read each and every horrifying post before publishing. Sometimes I tremble in pain for the people who share, I cry and want to crawl into a hole and escape this world. I feel helpless. Sometimes I don’t even want to read the posts, but I figure if someone had the strength to talk about it, the very least I can do is be there. Sometimes I reply with words of encouragement. Lately I have not been able to. It hurts so much. So very much. I wish we had a better resource list so that we could direct people to professional and specialised sources of help.
Friday, Twitter SA showed its disgusting side with a foul and utterly unnecessary trending topic titled “I Blame Apartheid for” – where a majority of white South African people had a jolly good time making Apartheid jokes. Do I need to explain why this is disgusting? Maybe when I can no longer smell the blood on my street where my uncle was beaten and abducted by Apartheid police, and later brutally murdered, I can tell you. Not now. Not when my country is still broken by the injustice and crime that was Apartheid Not while transformation and equality and economic freedom is still myth. Not while people live on less than R500 a month without toilets. Not while townships and squatter camps still exist. Not while we are not free as a people.
Last week, and almost every week in my beautiful country is threaded with the bile that is misogyny patriarchy, entitlement. disrespect and privilege.
Another week of a broken people. Hurt people hurting people.
I woke up in country filled with possibility, bloodied with pain.
In the time that it has taken for me to type this so far, someone has been sexually assaulted.
To quote Mandy Weiner – “South Africa repeatedly produces material that a best-selling crime writer could never conceptualise.”
Rape is in the news, on fingertips, tongues and screens and people are expressing their outrage and ‘shock’ and dismay and sadness.
A few days ago I saw my timeline filled with tweets about this and that and rape being wrong and that pledges must be signed, that marches must be organised, that we need to talk… then something in me saw red and I proceeded to tweet rant.
I am bored to death with talk. I am bored to death with marches that are convenient. I am bored to death with the tip toe-ing around the issue. I am bored to death with the diplomatic route. I am ready for us to really make a stand, make shit happen.
So here, are some of my tweets.
What ideas do you have as to making a real difference to make rape stop and while it happens, it be taken seriously and not just an issue that happens to ‘others’. If we can block roads for e-tolls, surely we can have a week of TOOLS DOWN, block roads, stop productivity and cripple the economy even if just for a day so that we and our government can take rape, counselling, prosecution and education seriously enough to do something IMMEDIATELY?