Category Archives: Heart matters

An area of growth

Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3 

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26

With those close to me, I love to talk. But equally, I tend to say things that are undesirable or hurtful and so my desire and prayer is that I would learn to restrain my tongue, being slow to speak and anger and quick to listen (James 1:19) starting today and always by God’s strength.

Courtesy of this journaling prompt.

Sunday Reads

Source

Recipes

Thursday Music

 

I discovered Lauren Daigle this week and she has quickly become a firm favourite. I am amazed at how she sounds like Adele but different. Here are some favourites to enjoy:

Enjoy

xoxo

It always shines the day after

Possibly in a bid to cheer myself up after the last post, I found the following images of black women and it made me insanely happy so enjoy!!

Niki’s Grove

nkmll 2 copie:  Beautiful illustrations by Niki's Grove | Mo-Saique

Nicholle Kobi

www.nichollekobi.com: www.nichollekobi.com:

How I feel www.nichollekobi.com:

Illustration 315

“Waiting for autumn/fall like..” 2016. 🍁🍂☕️

topimptheamazing: “Beautiful art IG: illustration315 ”

Black is beautiful

Black is strong

Black is me and I love it!!

Cry Woman cry, we are on our own

The last couple of weeks have been really tough for women in South Africa as case after case hit the media of women and children of all ages being violated and their bodies inhumanely disposed of and it broke me shattered me. (For context: search the hashtags #MenAreTrash,  #KaraboMokoena and #Courtney Peters) A lot of the incidences were targeted at Black women, which I happen to be.

What upset me further is the fact that in many of these cases, the accused/ the perpetrator was almost always someone known to the victim and/or her family and even went ahead to assist the family to look for the victim. What sort of special animal are you though?

What hurts even more is the fact that justice is meted out based on the socioeconomic status of the victim and therefore thousands in the townships die and no hashtag follows their death. In fact, we hardly know their names and their deaths are not reported on.

The countless rape myths that follow the victim are unbearable. Why was she dressed like that? Why was she with him? Why did she go to his house? How dare she be a lesbian? No, just no!! It is not her fault but his.

A friend of mine tried to think of what to do and even now I still don’t know. Beyond the usual trying to protect yourself from being raped or being violated, what energy is left for you to think of another and to try and stop it from happening to the next woman?

There Must Be More To Life Than This — Thought Catalog

via There Must Be More To Life Than This — Thought Catalog

 

We all can relate to this cycle of life at times.

Concluding Thoughts on the Book of John

On the last night of BSF we typically have a sharing night where class members share with each other lessons and thoughts of the study. It is a very encouraging and motivating part of the lesson as the Holy Spirit continues to affirm that He is the one who reveals knowledge to each of us.

Below see some of my thoughts and I pray that you will be deeply encouraged/challenged as I was.

  1. The Father and the Son act in one accord always. Jesus acted in total obedience and submission to His father and was obedient to death, even death on the Cross (Philippians 2:8).
  2. God is Sovereign – He ordains all things so that scripture will be fulfilled. This was confirmed for me particularly at the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord – He was in charge at all points, even when He gave His spirit on the cross.
  3. Through looking at the relationship between Father and Son, I was able to reevaluate my identity as a Child of God (John 1:12 -13) and to critically evaluate those relationships that were providing a pseudo identity. It particularly helped to read that believers are a gift from the Father to the Son (John 17:2) and we are securely held in the Father and the Son’s hand (John 10:28).
  4. Believers bear fruit as they abide in Christ. This forced me to look at the Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) again and ask those around me to help me identify where I am not bearing fruit. It was challenging to hear but definitely true and it gave me another reason to trust and ask God to help me overcome this area of growth.
  5. The character that most reminded me of myself is definitely Peter. Oh how I wish I could say I was like John but I saw repeatedly how self confident I am as opposed to being God-confident.
  6. I was struck at how unbelief in Christ existed throughout the gospel. I had previously thought that it only grow during that Holy Week but it was only present among the Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders throughout His life on earth. However as John explicitly says that he wrote this book that we would believe and by believing we would have eternal life (John 20:31), this is what I learnt about belief:
    • Jesus confronts unbelief to expose the heart. I was particularly challenged at how praying small prayers ultimately demonstrated that I did not fully believe that God is able to achieve significantly above all I can think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
    • A believers’ sole identity is in Christ and nothing (or no one) else.
    • God provides evidence for each step of belief.
  7. I also learnt that obedience is the lens that allows us to see the purpose that we were created for. Also, through the depth of my obedience am I able to show my love for Jesus Christ.

Having learnt all of this, I can also say that my discomfort at the number of the unreached (unsaved) also grew. It is appointed for man to die once and after that to face judgment (Hebrew 9:27). My responsibility is purely to share God’s word and leave it to Him as he awakens faith in us and causes us to believe. While scary, failure to believe means meeting Jesus as Judge as opposed to as Saviour and Great High Priest. So I pray that we may continue to share the reason for our Hope when asked (1 Peter 3:15).

 

Sunday Reads

Recipes:

Books read: January – April

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

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.

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

ec73e-positive

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!

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.

So we would like to date you

IMG_3726

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?

Let’s talk money

I read this interesting NYT article on seven essential money questions that start a conversation and thought it might be interesting to try and answer.

What lessons about money did you learn from your parents?

  • Always save and live within your means.
  • Never loan money to a friend unless you don’t mind losing the friendship.
  • Tithe.

What does the word “money” conjure up for you?

Freedom. Options. A nest egg.Independence.

How many children would you like to have when you retire?

Two.

How do you think your children feel about that?

N/A

Tell me about your financial situation when you first met.

We were both students, working part-time through school for pocket money.

What are the most important things in your life?

God (faith/church), Family, Education/ Career.

What does the prospect of retirement look like to you?

Leisure/ comfort, time to pursue other interests, financial independence.

Every woman needs a friend …

little girl centre

  • Who lifts them when they are down.

  • Who can lovingly reproach and correct you when needs be.

  • Who challenges you to be more than you are or do better.

  • That you can call up on short notice and they will take your call or make the time.

  • With whom you can dream up big ideas.

  • You trust fully.

  • Who accepts and loves you as you are …

Is goodbye possible if you have their number crammed?

lulu

When we first started dating, the Mr had this theory about how girls shed friends in their 20s. Shed. His word, not mine. And always, I would scoff at him and state how I am too loyal a friend to ever lose a friendship. See, I know of myself that I am a particularly loyal friend. Loyal to the point of abuse or pain.

As a result, I am fairly ready to make amends and walk a mile in someone else’s shoe, try and be there for them, and basically to be the type of pal that I would want to have and the type of friend that they also talk of wanting in their life. As a result, I often struggle with when to let go of a difficult/ trying/ unfulfilling relationship. To be honest, I always start with never, you can try a bit more, come on, give it another go.

However, I currently find myself  pondering over this issue with a friend that I have known for over 10 years. In truth, the struggle was to allow myself to walk away and I am now at that place.

The best part of this friendship has always been the fact that we are two peas in a pod, kindred spirits in a sense. She and I have the same outlook in life. She has that gentleness in her that I know I can trust and that she will never take advantage of me. Which I totally loved and will always cherish about her. Having said that there has always been this doubt of my motives, what I say or don’t say and this has been the undertone of our entire friendship and led to many instances of not talking to each other or a lot of misunderstandings/conflict. This has been tiring and taken an overall toll on the friendship particularly now that we live in different cities and often rely on texts and emails that often don’t generally convey true meaning.

Another element of a great friendship is that as both parties get older, there is natural room for both parties to grow, experiment and come to terms with themselves in the new phase and both parties have to allow for this to naturally play itself out. Friendship cannot be rigid or imposing or it naturally dies away. As we have gotten older, I have also struggled to embrace all her choices and some of the decisions she has made have made me quite uncomfortable and I am struggling to be the friend she needs in this phase of her life.

More than that however is the fact that our friendship is steeped in the past. We are not generating new memories, we are hanging onto old memories but none of us is invested in going forward. In fact, if we did not have friends in common, we wouldn’t really know what the other was doing or what they were up to. I honestly think ten years has been great but we truly don’t need each other that much any way and so although painful, its probably the right thing to do.