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Some Recent Pins

More views of the bun ❤️ #teamnatural #teamnatural_#teamnaturalhair#naturalhairstylist#naturalhair#naturalhairsalon#dmvstylist#dmvhairstylist#iamlocd#voiceofhair#loclivin#locs#locstyles#locstylesforwomen#hairbyrelle#teamnaturalhair #naturallyshesdope#locbun

Love the style but I keep thinking of the strain on the hairline and the overall weight.

@caxshe

I love her ear rings and her overall attitude

A ‘Joyful House’ on Geelong’s Outskirts

Such a dreamy bathroom 

 

 

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Book Review: Who Will Catch Us As We Fall

Against the backdrop of the political shenanigans in Kenya, I read this very interesting book on Kenya by a Kenyan Indian author.

About the Book.
Haunted by a past that has kept her from Nairobi for over three years, Leena returns home to discover her family unchanged: her father is still a staunch patriot dreaming of a better country; her mother is still unwilling or unable to let go of the past; and her brother spends his days provoking the establishment as a political activist. When Leena meets a local Kikuyu artist whose past is linked to her own, the two begin a secret affair—one that forces Leena to again question her place in a country she once called home.

 

Interlinked with Leena’s story is that of Jeffery: a corrupt policeman burdened with his own angers and regrets, and whose questionable actions have unexpected and catastrophic consequences for those closest to him. Who Will Catch Us As We Fall is an epic look at the politics and people of Kenya.

So my general thoughts:

  • The book had quite a slow start, I mean you could tell she is hinting at something that happened in the past but she wasn’t going to give away anything quite so quickly.
  • I thought it was a good attempt for the author to include Kiswahili phrases but it probably needed an editor who also spoke Kiswahili as in the absence of that the book had basic editorial mistakes like the police moto: Utumishi kwa wote, not utamishi kwa wote; Jogoo House not Jogo House.
  • I thought that the city of Nairobi could have been more prominent unless the narrow lens through which it was presented was necessary to present how insular the Indian community in Kenya is?

The book had a few major themes that were particularly meaningful to me.

Race/ Tribe

  • Love that she talks about the race/tribe relations between Indians and Africans in Kenya. How there is a sense of mistrust and almost antagonistic hate or resentment. This was best played out by the employer – employee relations by the Indian mama and her Kikuyu/ African maid.
  • I thought the discussion between Jai and Ivy at the SONU meeting about what makes a Kenyan Kenyan quite insightful. It made me wonder whether by the same reckoning I would be classified as one because though by birth and upbringing I am one, then again, am I actually one? Will Indians ever be viewed as Kenyan?
  • My surprise at Jai choosing to study at UoN instead of going to England which as the mom confirms is the better option and generally the done thing among this sub population.
  • It was interesting to read about Pio Gama Pinto because he is one person who history has not represented very well even all these years later.

Gender

  • Jai could play outside but Leena couldn’t.
  • Jeffrey just “took over” his friends wife like she was a spare item and no one questioned that.
  • Also the fact that the wife just rolled over and adjusted to this new reality.

Power

  • The dynamics between a maid and her employer were very startling and playing into the perception of race and/or tribe in the book is the difference in treatment for a maid between a white and Indian employer.
  • Jeffrey wielded significant power and that was how over time he was able to become as corrupt as he was.
  • Who really ran the home between Jai’s parents, the mom or the dad?

Home

  • Leena’s characterisation of being in Nairobi vs being in London and how one can reimagine / build it up into something bigger than it really is. (p. 335)
  • I loved the following quotes that best typified Nairobi.

“I love this country but I must accept it for what it is. A place where thieves are celebrated and good men die unremarkable deaths.” (p. 357)

“Nairobi is a sly town. It is so small that run-ins with people one is trying to avoid are a common occurrence, yet it is segmented enough to keep two searching individuals apart. (p. 384)

Not as ambitious as Dust but for a contemporary book, it was a great effort and I would certainly recommend it to anyone.

Sunday Reads

Recipes

The Double-speak we give children

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i’m just incredibly tired of this rhetoric where apparently we have to be super gentle and coddle white children through the shock of realizing they aren’t actually better than everybody else, there’s just been an imbalance in their favor throughout history; that we should be understanding of how hard it is to accept that they may not have earned everything they have

and yet nobody gives a thought to how painful it must be for children of color to be taught that they have to be on guard against prejudice or violence at all times, that sometimes people will treat them badly for no reason and there’s nothing they can do about it

no, no, that’s just the facts of life. just standard growing up stuff. being conditioned to handle constant dehumanization is not as hard to cope with as maybe not being as good at life as you thought you were.

 

Sunday Reads

  1. Loving these sets of articles about women, women and ambition and the work place.
  2. Thinking of doing this for someone I love.
  3. Something about this video made me so homesick for Nairobi.
  4. Some tips for all the new moms out there.
  5. Love that this guy acknowledges what White Male Privilege has meant for him and his accomplishments.
  6. Kenya goes to the polls in  August this year. A quick primer of some of the issues.
  7. Some great African books to look forward to this year.
  8. Somehow not a fan of all these baby products that work on selling fear to parents.
  9. Some more Obama stuff.
  10. We cannot run from God’s voice, where is He calling you to today?
  11. An effective way to incorporate prayer into your life.
  12. yummy fish recipe.
  13. Getting kids to [always] eat veggies.

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

LiftEachotherUp_libbyvanderploeg.gif

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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.

Sunday Reads

  1. This post reminded me that bloggers ARE real people.
  2. Useful apps for the travel bunnies in our midst.
  3. Five uses for your Baseline Survey.
  4. Imagine the impact on the enviroment if all take away coffee/tea mugs were recyclable?
  5. An old friend from home released a song recently, check it out!
  6. I suppose writing a cookery book is like any other project – emotional, time-consuming and involving.
  7. BUT WE are not here for THEM.
  8. Interesting article on food and the Vatican. (Aside: read the comments, ridiculous!)
  9. On travelling while Black IN AFRICA. One. Two. AfDB Report on the same.
  10. A beautiful conspiracy.
  11. Down with small talk or, how to do it better.

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!

Late Sunday Reads

  1. Google for kids? Kiddle
  2. Yummy tamarind chicken.
  3. Yummy Lemony Cream Cheese Pancakes with Blueberries.
  4. This colour thesaurus is so beautiful to behold.
  5. On how female friendships change with time.
  6. This is what it means to truly love someone. It’s a verb.
  7. Of the first AIDS patients and how most of them are now are in their late 60s and 70s.
  8. Oatmeal latte, anyone? REALLY not sure.
  9. Carrot cake for two?
  10. Welcome to poaching fruits.
  11. I happen to live with someone that could eat eggs for three main meals and as snacks in between. Here are some lovely dishes to try out.
  12. Sometimes our best motivation is external.

    Often, our best work happens when we’re in a situation we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves. The hard part is choosing to be in that sort of situation in the first place, the uncomfortable one where we have no choice but to do better work.

  13. Which would you want in a job, freedom or responsibility?

    Freedom and responsibility aren’t given, they’re taken

  14. I have friends with whom I share goals.

    A common trait among successful people is that they have friends who expect them to move on up.

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.

Exploring my little town

This past Tuesday I attended an event called Pechakucha in Cape Town CBD and I loved it.

PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. The presentation format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture. The first PechaKucha Night was held in Tokyo in their gallery/lounge/bar/club/creative kitchen, SuperDeluxe, in February, 2003. PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format.

Check out the global site to see whether your city is hosting an event.

PCKC.PNG

I went all alone, new city = few friends and the Mr had another engagement. It’s OK to go alone, you still have tonnes of fun but it’s definitely better with someone  or better yet with a crowd. This past we listened to the following 9 talks as shown in the poster below.

 PCKC 2

My reactions? (Numbers below coincide to the numbered listing above)

  1. Given by Macio, Lloyd and Karien (VDMMA Architects). I never knew that architecture could be so sexy. They are re-purposing an old agricultural silo into the largest museum of modern art on the African continent. The presentation was very detailed but between their presentation style and the beautiful pics we have to look forward to, it was a very interesting talk.
  2. Presented by Sarah Joanna Kennan whose love for tequila saw her visit Mexico and start to grow the agave plant in the Karoo. I loved her talk because it dealt a lot with passion and life being a journey that helps you answer questions you didn’t know you had. Isn’t that beautiful? Other lesson: agave can be spun into fabric that can be used to make surfboards.
  3. Presented by Lawrence Batchelor who based his presentation on the Bates Method that helps people back to normal site. What I learnt from him is that, your eyes do get tired and that you should blink often and breathe. Blink. Blink. Blink.
  4. Kris Steyn managed to link his love for sailing with the creation of leaders. It seems that there is a shortage of young sailors and if you do know anyone interested, have them email him.
  5. Sarita van der Walt introduced us to biomimicry and how we can learn all these lessons from nature. Definitely learnt a lot and it was interesting to see how this philosophy is being applied in furniture design, software designs and other areas of our lives.
  6. Delroy Guzha urged us to think past exercise and fitness and look at introducing new habits into our current lives. I heard this talk in light of all the stuff around how sitting is the new (insert whatever morbid thought here). Little things, not slouching at your desk, sitting on a fitness ball to urge your lower back to kick in, walking and not sitting around all day.
  7. If I had met Dr Sahal Yacoob before I gladly dropped Physics 16 years ago, I might have kept at it. Imagine listening to an intense Physics talk at about half 8 in the evening and still feel captivated by his presentation. All I remember in case you are interested, Higgs Bisson, The Atlas Experiment, neutrons collide.
  8. Teagan Philips captured our imagination with her combined love for cycling and drawing cartoons. Great talk but you know how I do not know how to cycle,right?
  9. Zara Vorwek talked about positive psychology. I took away from her talk that she encourages one to be mindful and practice gratitude which is something that I am trying to inculcate into my life this year.

Overall, definitely go if they have it in your city. The next one in Cape Town will be held on the 3rd of May.

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

Sunday Reads (the how-to version)

  1. I love this beautiful Joburg home – the art and the styling. Yum!
  2. How do you stop dirty money flows?
  3. How do you invest your windfall?
  4. An experts summary of how to reduce sugar in your baking.
  5. For anyone that needs tips on conception.
  6. So many ethical issues regarding this Surrogate mother’s tale.
  7. As the gap in education access and attainment continues to broaden, this is the reality for some kids.
  8. How to crotchet a chunky knit blanket.
  9. For all of us that need to learn to say no graciously.
  10. How do you get health officials not to steal donor funds? You send an enforcer and you put in repercussions.
  11. On the unpaid work that women often do.
  12. Watch 100 Years of Black Men hairstyles in one minute.
  13. On Cancer and other health scans and the depths that people will sink to.
  14. A project that shows how fickle international borders really are.

 

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.”

Twenty years ago

26 years on …

first hand accounts of a former homebody

On this day, I remember that we were all home and my dad was transfixed to the telly watching Mandela being released from prison. The thing that stuck out the most in my mind was that the telly was on during the day because that pretty much never happened at our home.  Its twenty years on and as with any newly independent nation, this is when the cracks begin to show and all the hope that was felt on that day begins to evaporate a whole lot more.

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