Sunday Reads

Recipes:

Sunday Reads

 Recipes:

Books read: January – April

I happily enjoyed all of these books that I would happily recommend any of them.

Change of Plans

I recently read a post about things you would change of your wedding. I loved my wedding and though, mhhh nothing. On second thought, I do know some things I would do differently:

  • I would have worn blue or yellow shoes, just because I could.
  • I would have insisted the DJ play more Kenyan music.
  • As a guest book, I had wanted to buy a new bible and ask people to sign against their favourite verses as a prayer for us the new couple.
  • To ensure that all my plans were accomplished and our families could relax and enjoy, I should have paid for a day-of-the-wedding coordinator.
  • I still would not have any kids on the line up.

Are there any changes you would have made to your wedding? Why?

So what did you expect?

This morning the Mr and I had a little fight. I had to take my car for a service – something that in my horror, totally feels like a dentist’s visit what with the information asymmetry, pain (actual and to the wallet) and the fact that there is a specialist whom you trust but then again, information asymmetry. At the root of the fight though is that ugly word: Expectations.

Any one about to be married, or married for a day and an hour will long have heard the mantra that expectations kill a marriage and that the counter is communicate, communicate, communicate. Our little fight had me reassessing all the different expectations that I had regarding marriage and an assessment of all other expectations I have held since our marriage started.

  1. I expected a partner that would take charge of cars and who would directly engage with mechanics and basically inform me when I needed to do any car-related changes.
  2. Ergo, any fixing of stuff around the house. I would highlight any issues and he would oversee to the fixing – whether directly or outsourced, I am ambivalent. To be honest, a lot of the technical stuff I was happy to delegate away.
  3. All newly weds are told that they need to set time for date night or else … Consequently, I too came into marriage with this (fear-driven) expectation and very early on we both figured out that given the pace of our lives it would be infeasible to designate a specific evening to always hang out. Having said that, when one of us is hectic, there is no expectation to do stuff but when things simmer down, we often hang out.
  4. My family has a habit of starting to plan for Christmas from as early as August/September. His family? Not so much. Initially this made me feel slightly helpless. Besides the family tradition, my personality is such that, you can never be too prepared OR start preparing too early. What we now try and do to incorporate both our idiosyncrasies is to have a lose discussion in September and refine it in the following months. This is certainly imperfect (according to me) but it definitely helps somewhat.
  5.  I thought that I would hate meal planning. Turns out, I love it.
  6. Sometimes as wives we expect that our husbands will become our best (female) buddy. That’s not the case and surely it’s not the reason that we fell in love to begin with. So keep your buddies and work on building a friendship with your husband too.
  7. Before the wedding I had heard of brides that often felt a bit sad after the wedding because things had gone back to “normal”. Did I feel the same way? Emphatically, NO!! After the energy and time spent planning the wedding, I was only too happy to settle for normal.

I must say these lessons are over and above learning how selfish I am, how much space and time alone I require. All of that. Marriage is certainly not the penultimate goal, neither is it my most defining relationship but I must say I have learnt a lot and it has been very fulfilling for me.

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Book Review: Rape – Pumla Dineo Gqola

Book Description

Why has South Africa been labelled the ‘world’s rape capital’? What don’t we as South Africans understand about rape? In Rape: A South African Nightmare, Pumla Dineo Gqola unpacks the complex relationship South Africa has with rape by paying attention to the patterns and trends of rape, asking what we can learn from famous cases and why South Africa is losing the battle against rape. This highly readable book leaps off the dusty book shelves of academia by asking penetrating questions and examining the shock belief syndrome that characterises public responses to rape, the female fear factory, boy rape, the rape of Black lesbians and violent masculinities. The book interrogates the high profile rape trials of Jacob Zuma, Bob Hewitt, Makhaya Ntini and Baby Tshepang as well as the feminist responses to the Anene Booysen case.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would happily recommend it to anyone. It is obvious not a light or easy read and so even the review will have to be organised the different themes that I picked up on. Please get the book and share it with your friends and loved one and most importantly, men.

What is Rape?

  • Rape is not a moment but a language (p. 22)
  • Rape is violence and not sex (29)
  • the believability of a rape survivor depends on how closely her rape resembles her society’s idea of what a rape looks like, who rapes, who can be raped, when and how. (29)
    • The story told by a woman needs a body of evidence. It is not an interest in the pain of the rape, but a burden of proof placed on the survivor or victim of rape. (29)

The Black Woman as a sexual and rapeable object

  • At the same time that the rape of slave women was routine within slavery, slavocratic society created the stereotype of African hyper sexuality which sought to both justify and authorise the institutionalised rape of slaves. The stereotypes held that slave women could not be raped since like all Africans they were excessively sexual and impossible to satiate.(43)
  • At the same time that slave women were being routinely raped as a means to multiply their masters slaves, slave men, especially when they were African slaves were cast as dangerously sexual, with a ravenous sexual appetite better suited to slave women but with a particular danger to white women. (43)
  • While the rape of slave women was profitable, it also threatened ideas of racial hierarchy and produced anxieties about race-mixing …  of the unspeakable sexual intercourse between white women and slave men … about the loss of control over the bodies of white women, as much as it was about the idea of white women becoming impure. (45)
  • Until the abolishment of the death penalty, no white man has been hanged for rape, whereas the only Black men who were hung for rape had been convicted of raping white women; no white man or Black man had been convicted and sentenced to death for raping a Black woman. (52)

Black Men

  • The image of poor, young Black men as the figure of the rapist is not the reality SA women live under. (11)
  • We need to confront violent masculinities. We need to confront and reject violent men and the patriarchal men and women who enable them. (67)
    • “Your silence will not protect you.” Audre Lorde (67)
    • “All our silence is … complicity.” bell hooks (67)
  • If we accept that it is time to render all forms of gendered violence genuinely illegitimate in all spaces we occupy, then it follows that to do so we need to stop making excuses, that we take up the challenge to constantly debunk rape myths wherever we encounter them because all gender-based violence is brutality, a form of gender war against survivors’ bodies and psyches. (143)

Patriarchy

  • Rape has survived as long as it has because it works to keep patriarchy intact. It communicates clearly who matters and who is disposable. Those who matter are not afraid of being raped because they have not been taught to fear sexual assault. (21)
  • Patriarchy trains us all to be receptive to the conditions that produce- and reproduce- female fear, especially when it is not our own bodies on the assembly line. (80)
  • All men, no matter what race, class or religion have patriarchal power and can choose to brutalise and get away with it. (151)

Female Fear

  • Tired, hungry, distracted women are easier to control. (40)
  • The republic of SA has the contradictory situation where women are legislatively empowered, and yet we do not feel safe in our streets or homes. (65)
  • The manufacture of female fear uses the threat of rape and other bodily wounding but sometimes mythologises this violence as benefit. (79)
  • The threat of rape is an effective way to remind women that they are not safe and their bodies are not entirely theirs. It is an exercise in power that communicates that the man creating fear has power over the woman who is the target of his attention: it also teaches women who witness it their vulnerability either through reminding them of their own previous fears or showing them that it could happen to them next. (79)
  • The manufacture of female fear requires several aspects to work:
    • the safety of the aggressor,
    • the vulnerability of the target,
    • the successful communication by the aggressor that he has the power to wound, rape and/or kill the target with no consequences to himself. (80)
  • Women are socialised to look away from the female fear factory – to pretend it is not happening and to flee when ignoring it becomes impossible. (80)
  • Excuses make violence against women possible – they are part of the complicated network that says women are not human so our pain is generalised, unimportant, so we give violent men permission to keep all those they deem vulnerable such as women, men, and gender non-conforming people or children. (151)
  • South Africa has a greater problem with the existence of the […] rape survivor and victim that trouble by pointing to her/his/their own pain in South African public culture. The rapist is welcome to live and boast and be celebrated or lambasted for his hypermasculinity, even as he continues to flourish financially. (165)

This book helped me to understand the sexual objectification of African women and how we are often viewed as desirable and rapeable things by White and African men at large. Specifically for the White men, that attraction that often precedes that revulsion for deigning to be attracted to this lesser thing. Also, I could see how the morality laws are mainly to tame African men’s (sexual) appetites from being unleashed fully on (tired, hungry and distracted: read as helpless) White women. So on the one hand, it is perfectly fine to protect White women while on the other, prey on African women and continue to rape them and then blame them for it afterwards.

I also have a response to the cry “Not all men … ” if, and indeed it is the case, all men do not rape why do other men not call out these known rapists? Why don’t societies evaluate their ideas of a man and get their sons to grow up in a way that does not require them to diminish or brutalise women in order to feel fulfilled and accomplished. Being a man does not involve violence, rape or other attacks on women.

When I read the chapter of the female fear factory, I finally had to confront my own habits to counter this fear of being raped: smile at a group of men when they greet me even if I do not want to greet them; do not enter a loo if it is in a deserted part of the mall and there is a man outside; wear clothes that do not show my form if I will be going to certain crowded places; don’t walk in certain places after dark and the list goes on …

In closing this poem fully captures some of what this book tries to address: if he raped you, why didn’t you change/ who can be raped and how do they need to act afterwards? Also, this little paragraph about why the image of an independent black woman is a relic of racism.

Brave and Bold Monday

Source

Sunday Reads

Belated: (Women-related) Sunday Reads

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Three thoughts on Ngugi wa Thiong’os public lecture

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Source

His talk was titled “Decolonising the Mind, Securing the Base”.

  1. We exchanged our accents for European accents and in exchange for access to African resources.
  2. If you know all the languages of the world except your mother tongue, you are enslaved. If you speak your mother tongue in addition to other languages, you are empowered.
  3. Names and language is the imperialist’s last battle for the war that begun with the sword.

His talk was disrupted, I think wrongfully but here are a couple of other views you could check out.

Sunday Reads

  1. Interesting take on development in Africa through the tale of the seed industry in Uganda.
  2. Even I got punished for speaking an African language at school.
  3. More women than men in Lesotho are in school.
  4. Technology is definitely making life easier for refugees.
  5. This seems like a simple DIY even I could do.
  6. As Christians we do not look to our circumstances but the hope of Christ and His promises!
  7. A mistake is just a moment in time.”
  8. Be ambitious for life and not just work. Yes!
  9. Ten places to visit in Nairobi.
  10. Six hot podcasts on and by Africans to listen to.
  11. Yummy lemon cake.
  12. What is a PhD?
  13. Awwwww at this cute child‘s response to her mom. Oh dear for this old man.
  14. Lime zest and cardamon mandazi.
  15. Some really inspirational girls!

A little late but thoughts on Gilmore Girls

I happened to find this rough draft reviewing Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

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  • I watched the show in bits which I thought was great. I am definitely not the kind of person that has to watch shows in one sitting.
  • Before watching the show I remember thinking that Rory was the inner me as a teenager, and wondering whether she would embody me as a (Young) Adult in 2016. And did she? YEP!! She so did. Many times and again yes. 
  • Rory the overachiever who meets the real world? Did she peak too early?? In this story line I could very much see myself and how I am procrastinating on the PhD. I also had occasion to look back at my career and wonder whether it had been good enough!!! Still not sure, the jury is definitely out.
  • I love how they speak of complex (Lorelai and Emily) and simple (Lorelai and Rory) mom-daughter relationships. Not a one sizer at all. I also love how the updated show switched up these dynamics.
  • Luke and Lorelai. Comfortable but yearning for more. Their dynamic totally made me think of the Mr and I and our dynamics.
  • Lorelai and Luke’s wedding made me want to get married again?
  • The MUSICAL???  What the hell was that for? We could definitely have given it a miss and the show would have been so much better.
  • Love the reference to current culture. Hamilton, The Wild, Marie Kondo, Uber (Oooba). Love it!!
  • Loved that Richard was part of the show despite his death. Very touching. 
  • #Teamlogan. Back then and still to date. As a married person though, I did not like how this story line played out.
  • Wasn’t sure that we were meant to believe that Rory needed three phones. In 2016? Really??? 
  • Cliff hanger of an ending!!! Does this mean there will be a second one late next year? Please say yes!!!

Did you watch the show? What were your thoughts (if you can remember)?

 

Guest Post: Things to do Before Baby Arrives

I read this article citing a few things that the author (a mom-to-be) wanted to do before the baby came and convinced a dear friend to write her own list. So with no further ado, please welcome Simple Girl blogging over at (Simple Girl Writes).

Three months ago I walked into the hospital and about 12 hours later was announced as a mother to a precious little girl. Yes, I said I was ‘announced as the mother’ as I only really felt like her mother two months later (but that’s a story for another day…). A friend asked me to compile a list of the things new mums should do before their bundle of joy arrives as you will most likely spend the first six/seven weeks in a haze where you won’t even remember your own name! Be warned, this is not the typical list outlining the very practical things to do (book the hospital bed, go to antenatal classes, take your vitamins etc.) – this list is for the mama that is worried about how much life will change post-baby. And trust me, life will change!

  1. Buy that dress that shows off your new curves and go dancing (or shuffle depending on how swollen the legs are)

I was lucky enough to have a fairly small bump for most of my pregnancy and up to 30 weeks pregnant, I could get away with saying I’ve just gained “a bit of weight” around the tummy. So imagine my horror when I had to go shopping for a dress to go to a wedding with a massive bump at 31 weeks.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing that makes you realise that you are pregnant (yes forget the previous 30 weeks of pregnancy symptoms!) like going shopping for a dress in a mall. Apart from the pity stares you get whenever you walk into a MANGO or ZARA and lovingly touch a dress that you used to fit into a couple of weeks ago. The real horror comes when you are shown the ‘maternity wear’ – long, flowy, pitiful looking dresses that are supposedly supposed to make you feel good about being a baby mama. I took one look at those dresses and almost burst into tears (let’s blame the hormones!).

To cut a long story short, I ended up finding something to wear in a store catering for the ‘plus-size’ lady Ya…I will reserve my comments but the dress was beautiful and I felt good enough in it to go out the next day and dance away.

Trust me, you need to do this – you will forget about the pitiful stares, swollen ankles, achy back and the closet full of clothes you can no longer wear. Most importantly, you will look back at the photos from the day and said dress with a massive grin.

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  1. Take photos of the growing bump!

I didn’t manage to get the professional maternity photo shoot (even though a good friend had offered to do it for me) but I did force the husband to take a lot of photos.  I won’t lie, I struggled with the body changes associated with pregnancy. Unlike other women, I didn’t marvel at the growing bump or liked my bump that much 😦 but take the pictures anyway! It’s worth remembering where the bundle was home for months and even funnier to look at post-baby to remind yourself how big you really were!

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  1. Go on a fun holiday with your closest girlfriends

This one I strongly recommend you do.

I am the first one to have a baby amongst my friends (the last one to get married though – judgment galore!) and they were more excited than I was about having a preggy belly in the circle. So when the chance came to have a last hooray as friends before life dramatically changed – we went on holiday to probably the most random place I’ve been to (Cinsta in the Eastern Cape). It literally was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while. We stayed at a backpackers, ate way too much, overindulged on chocolate and biscuits (you know, all in the name of helping the pregnant lady with her cravings), went to a beautiful spa for overly-priced pedis and massages and just generally had a blast.

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  1. Babymoon!

Similar to the girlfriend hooray above, I strongly recommend going on a babymoon. The time to enjoy ‘the two of you’ for the last time. If you have the budget for it, planning a trip far away from home would be ideal.

We did a ‘Sho’t left’ to Umhlanga and spent almost every day at the beach with me stuffing myself with frozen yoghurt (I had a sweet tooth while pregnant!). But even without the vacation, just doing more stuff as a couple is important before baby arrives. I didn’t believe it when people told me but the relationship really changes after birth. In a good way overall but I do miss being able to plan a night out without calling every single relative we have living in close proximity to us, to check who is able to babysit for a while. Also, believe the mantra – happy parents make for a happy family so the time spent on the parents is never a waste.

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  1. Read those books/ go to gym/take the long showers/play Adele at the loudest volume setting – enjoy ME time!!

This is something that I’m struggling with every day post-baby. I miss having time to myself without any restraints.

A simple thing like going to spinning in the morning relies on either my husband being home or the nanny coming in to work on time so that I can leave my baby and go torture myself in the spinning studio. Playing music while cooking – hahaha – that is something I used to do but no longer can because really after putting baby down a couple of times, no one wants to wake her up when she is finally sleeping. And Lord, the day I can have a shower when I want to shower for as long as I want to shower will be the happiest days of my life. Right now, I either shower late at night when her dad gets home from work or put baby in the bouncer, move the bouncer into the bathroom and shower with the door partially open to make sure baby can hear/see me at all times so she doesn’t start screaming again. Sigh. The life of a new mum.

There’s no doubt that life changes a lot after baby arrives. I’m still dealing with the changes and clearly have no pearls of wisdom on how to survive them. What I can say is that the day your baby looks up at you and you get a toothless smile (filled with a lot of spit bubbles) is the day when you realise that it was all worth it – the changing body, constant worry, dealing with the never-ending mummy guilt and family judgment was all worth it as you will realise that you are the best mother that this baby has.

And so what if you get this smile while you haven’t brushed your teeth or had a shower? 🙂

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Thanks Simple Girl for sharing your journey frankly, I see so many guest posts that you hinted at in this post and will try and hold you to that!

The Cape Town Art Fair

I went by this past weekend and it was truly the best use of my time. I enjoyed it and would happily recommend it to anyone. Below, some of the bits that best stood out for me.

 

Enjoy!!

Sunday Reads

  1. How to read more books this year. I am definitely taking it to heart by reducing my junk TV viewing and making sure I always have a book as I go about various chores.
  2. A reading list on Kenya in case you are interested.
  3. If a story moves you, act on it!
  4. This article on insecurity made me stop and think. Really hard!
  5. Somali nicknames are hilarious 🙂
  6. So many white tears in this article. I see that they have only a given demographic of foreign spouses married to South Africans.
  7. Also, this IS cultural expropriation.
  8. More on how couples deal with finances.
  9. I didn’t know there were Nigerian Jews in Johannesburg. Today’s fact!!
  10. What does it mean to be a boy or girl? National Geographic asks 9/10 year old kids.
  11. Stealing from one of the comments, “This is by far the best article I’ve read regarding LBGT and the gospel.”
  12. Chocolate cake and another vegetarian pasta recipe.

Fact: You and I are God’s beloved

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:1-7 (NIV)

I love these verses. They remind me of God’s personal promises to us His children. We are loved and precious to Him. It also reminds me of a very dear friend of mine because she really got me into this verse. I have highlighted and underlined verses that are particularly meaningful to me.

So we would like to date you

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One of the things that I thought would happen with marriage is that we would automatically become part of a group of other couples and we would often hang out and as the babies came, they would all grow up together. Why is this important for me? Well, I believe that as a couple, it is important to have a community that you can learn from and you can be open with. Not the entire world but some people that hold you both accountable and keep you both encouraged in this game of marriage.

Two years later, I can’t really say this has been the case.

If I think about our friendship cycle, we have either had that one couple that always invites us over to theirs and that we have occasionally hosted or the ones we always invite to ours/ out to dinner but upon our initiation and not theirs. Very binary. We are both really puzzled as to how  other couples go about befriending other couples. Where are the best kinds of places/activities to meet and interact? In the past, we have invited people for dinner or lunch but it has tended to revolve around food. Another possible place is church but our local church has less than 40 people (clergy included) and is very old. Where else?

Who would our ideal couple be? This has been the toughest bit in truth. As we have no kids this rules out the flexibility of having another couple with one or two kids in tow to pop by at random. With single people, we have observed that they sometimes project third wheel vybes when we hang together. Which means that we either chill with our single pals separately or host few people sporadically. Our ideal couple would be similar in age, committed to being married and fairly authentic – separately and jointly as a couple.

So, have you got a couple pal? How did you meet and what is the benefit to you to dating/being married and having a crowd of witnesses?

This guy is on his way to being a dictator ..

Thanks Gaddo ❤

Some dining room ideas

 

BECKI OWENS -:

I love the simplicity of the table and the matching chairs. For some reason I am also loving the arch and the additional bookshelf in the corners.

L'artisanat africain : une nouvelle façon d'habiller nos murs:

I love the back wall with the baskets and the intense colour. 

Eten en tegelijkertijd bedenken wat je nog van de wereld wilt zien.:

Because I really love maps and how they can add some interest to a boring wall