Tag Archives: Heart matters

Book Review: Happiness is a Four Letter Word v Men of the South

Following this summary of what is currently on my to-read bookshelf I have a couple of books that I would like to review.

Happiness is a Four Letter Word – Cynthia Jele

I loved this book, it deals with two things that I am particularly passionate about: Johannesburg and female relationships.

  • The book is what would happen if Sex and the City had been cast in a cosmopolitan African city. If you would love to see that, check out the YouTube series, An African City.
  • The themes are easily recognisable: love, family, beauty, work/ career advancement, marriage, female friendships.
  • The book is a really easy read, I started on Friday at 7 and finished the next day by 12.
  • Having said that, it is definitely a conversation starter and will have you thinking deeply about some of the issues dealt with for instance, what would I tell a dear friend that was cheating on her husband because she did not exactly marry him for love? Or a friend that rekindles communication with an old ex?
  • Only concern and I guess because of my personal views, I feel like the author portrays a very negative view of (Black) relationships and someone that is not acquainted with any Black people might take it as a given that this is how our love dynamics play out. Yes it’s a novel, but their portrayal is definitely very one-sided, what happened to “normal“?
  • Would I recommend it? Definitely yes!! I actually cannot wait for the author to release a second book.

Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner

A bit of a preliminary disclaimer is that I read this book on the back of Happiness and the after-glow it gave me.

  • The book’s main theme is love and relationships (gender dynamics, hetero- or homosexuality, family and friendships) and it definitely deals with each of these in turn.
  • The book is set in Johannesburg and Cape Town, cities that I can safely say I am familiar with which makes the reading that bit enjoyable when I can understand the physical setting.
  • The book provides an entry point to have some difficult conversations for example, being a Black homosexual in a culture where one is expected to get a wife and settle down or what if I earn more than my husband and can take care of him, should he stay home while I work?
  • However, I think it attempted to do too much in a few pages and fell short. Hence, it was not as memorable as it could possibly be. I also felt that the first person reportage was not too helpful either.
  • Overall, the book was quite predictable and I would not recommend it unless you maybe had a few hours and did not want to be wowed but wanted to tick a book off your reading list.

Rachel’s Blue – Zakes Mda

I tried to read this book and failed to get into it despite trying. In light of my recent advice on how to read more books, I am giving up and will mark this is a non-read on my part. My biggest issue I suppose is that I love it when he writes about various aspects of South African people and the setting of this book was too different for me to adjust my expectations accordingly.

 

 

 

 

Each one help one

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We all have those days when we need a little boost, each one help one!

Happy Human Rights Day South Africans.

Friday Tunes

At my first job, we had a dedicated “DJ” that would send us Friday Tunes to stop us hanging ourselves get us all into the weekend always with the title “Friday Tunes” and this post is definitely meant to be a shout-out to those good old days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJr80jXCepc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f2qkejlPjo

Enjoy and have a super duper weekend!

(Fleeting) Female friendships

I often talk about female friendships that are in many parts so fulfilling but sometimes so emotionally frustrating. Just today at lunch I was thinking about how fleeting female friendships can also be. In particular I was thinking of all the people that I am not longer friends with.

Of the friend that is a twin who felt the need to lie about her age. PS: her twin said his age honestly. Also, we were in our early twenties when age was not yet a thing.

Of the childhood friend that went through such a demeaning and embarrassing break-up and because we all knew of it, our friendship could never be the same again. We eventually made up and can talk but things are just not the same. Too much history there.

Of an old time friendship that is hanging on by the skin of its’ teeth because … who knows.

While they have such depth and can be emotionally fulfilling, female friendships can at times also change just as suddenly. Sometimes because we honestly outgrow each other or sometimes for no reason beyond the fact that its time to let go and move.

Today’s post is written in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt —-> Fleeting

 

 

Belated IWD 2016

To all the women out there. Collectively, we are all SHE.

Laura Mvula is another new discovery and I am delighting in all her stuff.

March Goals

In keeping with my 2016 theme to be more rooted and connected, this is what I hope to do in March.

  1. Reach out to close friends via calls, emails or messages to talk about what’s really happening in our lives. I mean group communication and Facebook is great but not all the time. Also, to get into the habit of praying for friends and family.
  2. Do more outdoorsy stuff and enjoy the last of the Cape Town glorious weather.
  3. Cook more and enjoy that time.
  4. Get data and finalise topic for school.
  5. Read more African literature (more on this later).
  6. Host a high school friend and her family for lunch.
  7. Hang up more pictures around the house.

Will post at the end of the month how it’s all going.

My weekend in food

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Went to a fancy Stellenbosch restaurant for lunch with the Mr this past weekend and this is what I had.

XOXO

Wednesday Love

A friend recommended NPR’s Tiny Desk and this week I gave it a go and discovered the most delightful band, The Suffers. I love the soulfulness of the lead singers voice, their lyrics are so dreamy and I just know that the lead singer and I would get on famously.

Below are some videos that have been entertaining me.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

Monday Pinterest Love

Below see some pins that have been getting some love on my different Pinterest boards.

Locs......:

I love their glasses first of all and then the beautiful locs styles – low maintenance but stylish!

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I loved the curls and the size of the locs.

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Oh to have the patience to colour code my bookshel ...  Southern Newlywed: At Home with Emily and John:

This actually challenged me to colour coordinate my bookshelf. So beautiful!

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Natural Haircut Style:

I would cut my hair this short if I got bored of my locs.

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after a long day (2011) its national #hug day! go and hug...:

I love Nidhi’s cartoons and I love how she expresses love between herself and her husband. ❤

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Did my parents know the answers to all of life’s lessons at my age?

Adulting never gets any easier the longer you keep at it. I recently got thinking on three things in my life where I certainly needed my parents to come through and tell me what to do or how to do it.

  1. Finishing high school and having to decide what career I wanted to pursue thereafter. Then having to visit the different Universities and make my application and everything else. Coming on the back of completing high school and being told everything I needed to do, this freedom was quite sudden and frankly overwhelming. However, I oddly always knew what I wanted to do and so all I had to work on was finding a school to study Economics.
  2. Dealing with my first job. So many different things. One,  I put in an application for a Work permit and this took over seven months to finalise and eventually I had to decide whether to stop working while I await my permit or go back home and either look for a job or start the application all over again to come back and coninue with my old job. Two, dealing with a difficult boss and having to decipher honest feedback against being bullied. The hardest lesson ever that I had to go through. Three, deciding to quit and wishing I could ask my folks to take care of me again.
  3. Moving house across cities. Urgggh!! I thought of my mom for months in the build up to it and for weeks after and secretly begged that she would offer to come help me.

And this is only up until now. I cannot imagine having a first baby, bringing up kids, losing loved ones, sickness, marriage stuff. Oh dear me, please can I just go back to being twelve!

Question time

What I’m listening to: NPR’s Hidden Brain. Haven’t really gotten into any new music of late. So happy to take any suggestions in the comments.

What I’m reading:  Introduction to African Religion by John Mbiti; The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna.

What I’m wearing: Blue nail polish on my toes because nothing says summer quite like that.

What we’re watching: Just finished Shameless Season 5 and waiting to continue onto season 6. Trying to get time to get into Billions.

What I’m struggling with: My inner critic particularly professionally. Also, trying to maintain my theme to stay connected to some of my friends and acquaintances.

What’s making my heart happy: BSF, Downton Abbeys’ last season, Woolworths Spicy Chai tea

Inspired by Joy at Frock Files

Belated Valentines Day dinner menu

This year I fired the Mr from Valentines Day and decided to plan a three course in-house dinner for the both of us. #iSlayedV-Day. I totally did. I obviously took no pictures but below is the selected menu.

Starters

Warm winter greens with Ceasar dressing, smoked bacon and a poached egg.

Mains

Steak au Poivre, Creamy lentils with rosemary and tomatoes and sauteed rosemary and garlic potatoes.

Dessert

Poached pear with lemon sorbet

I used Rachel Allen’s Entertaining at Home for inspiration.

 

Sunday Reads

Happy Valentines Day all … Something warm and fuzzy!

  1. Healthy pumpkin and oat bread
  2. Finally government and ruling party comment on the evil virginity bursary schemes.
  3. Loved this story about second hand booksellers in Joburg.
  4. Simple enough DIY involving a wok that turns into a lamp.
  5. Childhood obesity is on the increase. In Sub-Saharan Africa *GASP*
  6. Fascinating read on a river that actually boils.
  7. Lunch club anyone?
  8. Always in life it helps to be a unique individual. Always. Be Unique.
  9. This cooking project in Delhi just warmed my heart for some reason.
  10. On the schooling options for Black children and the issues to consider: One and Two.

“The paradox of elite education in SA is that it breeds an economic elite with very little social literacy, and who display contempt for the idea of social intelligence.”

Strength for the day

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A snippet from my diary

 

8 years

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On this day in history, well, only eight years ago,I boarded a plane with a plan for two years but all of my worldly possessions and came to start my Honors and then Masters Degree the next year.

All I can say, this far the Lord has brought me and has continued to sustain me through so many lessons, firsts, lasts and experiences altogether. In keeping with my desire to be grateful this year, I am extremely grateful and my heart bubbles over.

Thanks for the memories and here’s to so many more years to come.

Sunday reads …

  1. If you would like to incorporate more vegetables into your diet/ be vegan. Here’s how to go about doing so.
  2. Recipes to enjoy your grains.
  3. Such a beautiful and poignant story of motherhood.
  4. And this post on surviving after losing a mother from one of my most favourite bloggers.
  5. Creative ways to counter the rising pay gap e.g. publish pay info by gender, make an offer that ignores past salary levels, teach women how to negotiate.
  6. The Mr and I have the same and different takes to this Saturday dilemma.
  7. I so DO NOT endorse people that believe in presenteeism.
  8. This is the kind of meaningful stuff I want to do with myself.
  9. But what is this now???????????? Virginity testing, school only for virgins? Madness!!!
  10. Because who would not like poached pears with tea?
  11. Another tea recipe (tea-infused lemon tart)
  12. What Obama carries in his pocket  … (Lemme know what you think?)

2016 Theme Verse

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So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)

In the last couple of years I have started to look at a theme word and then gotten a verse for the following to keep me grounded. As 2015 drew to a close, I started to look at the last couple of years and the word that came to mind was “centred” or “rooted” as it felt like the previous years had been in some kind of flux. An alternative word was abide which always calls to mind being at peace and being deeply connected to something or someone as it were.

I love this verse above because besides so many other things it connects being established and rooted in Christ while at the same time talking of gratitude which was something else that I felt about 2015. God has been so good to me and mine in this year that I want to begin another year reminded of this and almost saying to myself to count my blessings, each and everyone of them every day.

So I look forward to a calming year with my focus on my Lord and Saviour as well as a spirit of gratitude!

First thoughts on the Mother City

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View of Table Mountain

  1. The mountain. On a beautiful or cloudy day, the mountain is majestic and I love how imposing it is!
  2. The water. Very beautiful but often just as cold.
  3. It is a much smaller town so most places are within twenty minutes of each other which is lovely. Very welcome respite from Joburg where standard driving is about 40 minutes.
  4. The shops around us open fairly early and close late. The nearest Woolies for example opens at 07h30 and closes at 21h00. Obviously not great for the workers but I am loving that flexibility.
  5. The beautiful and artsy CBD.
  6. I am finding the drivers are quite chilled and very law-abiding. I have on occassion been driving at 80km/h (aka the speedlimit) on the fast lane and have not had a single driver drive up close to me or overtake me at a weird angle to prove a point about my granny driving.
  7. Relatedly though, no one tells you about the insane traffic jams in Cape Town. Such a nightmare and mainly because of the mostly two lane highways!! Why now?
  8. The public taxis (matatus) have a tout calling out destinations and such. Much prefer that to Joburgs finger signs.
  9. It is standard to have buildings that have no parking and as a result I now park on the street outside my house. But, you have to be careful about where and how you park or you could easily pick up a hefty fine – I already have three for my efforts!
  10. Things work – so far, only one traffic light has been out, traffic got collected on Christmas and New Years despite those being public holidays.
  11. You could experience four seasons in a single day which was initially very distracting and difficult to plan with. But, you can get around that with jerseys at your desk or in the car.
  12. Much longer days with early sunrises and later sunsets. Initially disorienting but with time you adjust, except for the fact that we are eating dinner later and later because its hard to imagine eating dinner when the sun is still hot and out.
  13. Some malls charge a nominal fee for the toilet usage. Found out when I was so pressed and not sure I had a coin to pay!
  14. CAMPS BAY!
  15. The massive inequality between the haves and the have-nots. And indeed the cost of living which brings to mind the Kiswahili saying hii nchi ina wenyewe (this country has its owners). Of course Cape Town is not a country, but in many ways, it feels like it is!

Coming from a very diverse city in terms of race, language, ethnicity and nationality, Cape Town is quite binary in terms of White/Coloured; South African/ Foreign and there isn’t much of that in between grey layer that makes things all the more interesting. And this is what makes me miss Joburg the most. Joburg is not a classic beauty like Cape Town is, it’s not even as organised or run beautifully but there is an innate beauty it has, an edginess and a diversity that I greatly appreciate. Outside of that, Cape Town is a place I reside at but it is not home.

Merry Christmas!

2015 cHRISTMAS

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For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is govern

This day in Bethlehem is born a Child of the Virgin

My prayer is that Christ may be reborn in your hearts and in your midst this day. God Bless and richly scatter His favour upon you and your family!!

Reviewing 2015 through posts

I have enjoyed posting so much this year and pushing myself to write more, write in different formats or on different topics than the typical ones I would. Thanks for the reads, sharing and comments!

  1. My theme this year was on obedience.
  2. Listened to great music too!!
  3. Took care of myself!!
  4. Really got into podcasts.
  5. Ten little things I enjoyed this year (the first of many similar posts)
  6. I hurt when the Xenophobic attacks broke out! In February. Twice.
  7. Read a lot about women struggling with infertility.
  8. Cooked some nice things.
  9. Read some good and bad books!! The invention of wings was easily my book of the year.
  10. Made a personal announcement too!!

Enjoy and looking forward to 2016!!