I recently read Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. I had always heard people talking about Audre Lorde, but I just never got round to picking up any of her material until now. It was quite the education; I loved it and would happily recommend anyone pick up her material. It’s not as dense as reading Toni Morrison (in that I was not checking the meaning of every tenth word) but just as sharp and piercing in her arguments.
- The emerging theme from the book is how do we get free / past the chains imposed because of our race, class, gender, or sexual orientation? Which remains a valid question today despite some of her writings being over 40 years old. Yes, there have been slight shifts, but I will be honest that as I read some of her arguments, it also felt like little had also changed.
- Her work definitely confirms that racism is the ultimate distraction.
- Having said that, some of her writing and thoughts made me very uncomfortable especially when I applied my true north, which is the Bible and so I wasn’t fully proselytised, but it was quite informative and challenged or refined some of my thinking.
From the specific essay titled Poetry is not a Luxury I loved the idea of poetry as giving language to experiences that are unique in a living way not the sterile way that forefathers previously considered. Her later work also talks of the low barriers to entry to writing poetry compared to say a novel that requires time, space and income while everyone can write a poem, perhaps not me, but certainly most people can.
The essay Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminist’s Response blew my mind and particularly this quote on page 74:
The strongest lesson I can teach my son is the same lesson I teach my daughter: how to be who he wishes to be for himself. And the best way I can do this is to be who I am and hope that he will learn from this not how to be me, which is not possible, but how to be himself.
Another essay that spoke to me and I felt so deeply that I read it over days and not in one sitting was Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred and Anger. I love how she charts the anger that women feel – the source and how it plays out across various scenarios. Having done that so well, a part of me could understand why but I also struggled to understand why Black women then turn on each other, we don’t turn that anger outwards but at each other. Throughout the chapter, you certainly feel the anger, but it is so contained and well explained. She also talks of someone grieving the death of her mother and how sad she was that no one would see and love her as her mother did – her mother felt her, saw her, and loved her in her entirety. In one breath I felt my mom’s love and hoped that my daughter always the knows the same of me. Finally, from page 66, I loved this quote:
Mothering ourselves means learning how to be both kind and demanding in the teeth of failure as well as in the face of success, and not misnaming either.
I also loved the essay, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.
Posted in books, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged Audre Lorde, Bible, book reading, books, essays, Eye to Eye, faith, first time, gender, hatred, Man Child, Non Fiction, race, reading, sexual orientation, Sister Outsider, Toni Morrison
Posted in home, life, working
Tagged BBC Womans Hour, Code Switch, Dr Gotian, Ear Hustle, Freakonomics, Freakonomics MD, habits, health, How to!, injustice, Motive, podcast recommendations, Podcasts, race, RadioLab, recommendations, working
A condition in which someone feels compelled to constantly bring things that make them look good in casual conversation. It can be the same thing every time or a variety of things; as long as the subtle or obvious aim is to make themselves sound or look cool, it’s a flex, and if it happens all the time, it’s chronic. It’s most obvious when a detail is tossed in that is really unnecessary for any other purpose than flexing.
A variation of ghosting, in which the ghoster continues indirect contact with the ghosted by liking and faveing his or her social media content.
Posted in home, working
Tagged Being Black, food, foodies, friendship, Guns, pasta recipe, poverty, Prince Charles, race, recipes, Sunday Reads, Urban dictionary, words we need
Posted in Heart matters, home, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged Africa, Africa's a Country, bible god, Bible Study, cooking, gardens, grandparents, ice cream, ice cream maker, marria, North Korea, parenting, Quinoa, race, racism, recipe, technology, The Confidence Gap
I read this book over the December holidays and was sooo excited, I am not sure what happened and it’s almost four months later that I am here gushing about it. Urgggh!! Please see below my thoughts under the different themes, page numbers are provided in brackets for you to follow.
- This is a book for us women, refugees, blacks (6) and I totally totally agree.
- I love that our time in Nairobi overlap – when she returns from Canada. I know all the landmarks she mentions of Nairobi. It felt so good to read a book about a place that I knew and know of so intimately. Double yay!!
- I thought it was odd that she kept referring to her folks as Mummy and Baba??? So odd coz those are two different languages in my head and I would have gone with either Mummy and Daddy or Mama and Baba.
- I wondered also why she protects the names of her own kids but not Simon’s eldest two. Not sure what that’s about is it maybe that they are adults and the other two are minors?
- The things said to them about a male child being preferred to daughters. And how this is often blamed on the mother in a way that gives the husband carte blanche to stray in the name of looking for a son (pp 7 – 27). I know this reality all too well and all I think is Biology lessons are important for all.
- It’s so subtle but her talking about not participating in the street games and fights as much as the local kids do coz it could turn on you:
“I had to choose how I would distinguish myself and I knew that it had to be safe.”(9)
- The plight of house girls and domestic workers – all too relatable ( 50).
- Having read Pumla’s Rape, it resonated with me how she spoke about the incident of being sexually attacked: her response and that of the adults around her (52 -55). Also, in the light of #MeToo, I thought it quite bold that she opened up about this incident.
- The urgency for them to receive their citizenship. Yeah, I get that (67 – 68).
- I remember the following events but was probably too young to consider their true impact on history: Chris Hani, Mandelas release, the IFP-sponsored murders and the election.
Growing up Foreign
- Being called an African monkey. While that did not happen to me, I know about being called a refugee almost as though it was a dirty swear word.
- And the rules that their mom had them follow because growing up in another country with parents working full time, there is not a big social infrastructure to support the parents. So rules are key or in young people speak, rules are bae.
“… the immigrant child knows that outside is one thing but home is another country.” (83)
“The immigrant child knows that the key to survival is in the inflection points. … The key to survival is in blending in first, in learning how to be just like else as a first step to freedom. You have to know how the inside works before you can stand outside and make everybody laugh.” (90)
“The immigrant child doesn’t make any noise. … She is preparing for the day when she will have mastered the art of being normal so that she can stand out.” (90)
- How she always talks of her sisters, so beautiful and in some way the story is as much about them as it is her. Yay sisterhood.
- I understand when she talks of her discovery of her race in the States. The same thing happened to me in RSA.
- Being foreign in South Africa has shown me that White ones are still preferred to Black ones. Sad but fact!
- On discovering that your mom is not just a role – mom, wife, friend, daughter – but actually a woman with dreams, feelings and thoughts quite apart from me even. GASP, SHOCKING.
- How their mom almost became like an older fourth sister but their dad remained a dad. I find this to be the truth with us too.
“To know your mother as an adult is to finally see that she has lived many more years as a woman than you have been alive. To be a grown woman who loves her mother is to understand that it is no easy thing to raise children so beautifully that they don’t worry about you until they are grown up and ready to carry the complex burden of that anxiety.” (304)
- Class: I enjoyed reading about her relationship with her nanny especially when they were both pregnant. I thought it was the most honest tale by a middle class Black woman that I could totally relate to.
So please go out, buy the book read, it, share it and enjoy it.
Now, to make friends with her in real life?
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, Motherhood/ Parenting
Tagged about me, Books reading, foreigners, growing up., home, Kenya, life, love, motherhood, Nairobi, race, Sisonke Msimang, sister love, South Africa
Fill your life with women that empower you, that help you believe in your magic and aid them to believe in their own exceptional power and their incredible magic too. Women that believe in each other can survive anything. Women who believe in each other create armies that will win kingdoms and wars. Nikita Gill
Posted in books, design, home, working
Tagged Beneath the Lion's Gaze, book club, books, Chicken, church, faith, Grace Mugabe, kids, Nigeria, race, recipes, Sunday Reads, white, women and work, working
There’s a crescendo of voices saying, ‘If you don’t do X or Y, you’re doing it wrong,’” Monk says. The result is “a kind of over-preciousness about motherhood. It’s obsessive, and it’s amplified by the Internet and social media.”
Posted in Heart matters, home
Tagged careers, daddymons, exercise, fatherhood, fitness, Grey's, growth, India, lessons for my daughters, motherhood, parenting, race, recipes, resilience, sin, tea, white, White guilt
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
Posted in books, Heart matters, home
Tagged books, Books reading, Dust, gender, home, Iman Verjee, Kenya, Kenyan Indians, Kiswahili, Nairobi, power, race, tribe, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Posted in books, design, Heart matters, home, working
Tagged Africa, Cape Town, church, cooking, faith, gifts, home decor, Issa Rae, Jonathan Ball Publishers, Kenya, parenthood, pasta recipe, Petina Gappah, pressure cooker, race, recipes, Serena Williams
Posted in Heart matters, home
Tagged Africa, Cape Town, children, female friendship, friends, friendship, history, Johannesburg, life, Podcasts, race
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.
We mentally compress our networks when we are harassed, bullied or being threatened by job loss. We close ourselves off, isolating ourselves, creating a huge blind spot where we can’t see our resources, allies and opportunities.
Posted in Heart matters, home, school, working
Tagged Being Black, Christianity, family, food, friendship, language, motherhood, Movies, networking, parenthood, PhD, race, school, selflessness, Sunday Reads, telly, The Bachelorette
Posted in books, design, Heart matters, home, life, marriage
Tagged 90s Music, ALU Mauritius, books, Books reading, decolonisation, education, faith, Kabali-Kagwa, Kenya, Kenyan elections, Kintu, marriage in Kenya, motherhood, music, Nigeria, photography, race, recipes, Refugees, Sunday Reads, Uganda
I happily enjoyed all of these books that I would happily recommend any of them.
Posted in books, Heart matters
Tagged Africa, Ama Ata Aidoo, Angela Duckworth, chick lit, Chika Unigwe, death, Emma Straub, Grit, Jeffrey Archer, Jodi Picoult, life, marriage, Paul Kalanithi, Petina Gappah, Pumla Dineo Gqola, race, Sinead Moriarty, womanhood, Yewande Omotoso
His talk was titled “Decolonising the Mind, Securing the Base”.
- We exchanged our accents for European accents and in exchange for access to African resources.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A reading list on Kenya in case you are interested.
- If a story moves you, act on it!
- This article on insecurity made me stop and think. Really hard!
- Somali nicknames are hilarious 🙂
- So many white tears in this article. I see that they have only a given demographic of foreign spouses married to South Africans.
- Also, this IS cultural expropriation.
- More on how couples deal with finances.
- I didn’t know there were Nigerian Jews in Johannesburg. Today’s fact!!
- What does it mean to be a boy or girl? National Geographic asks 9/10 year old kids.
- Stealing from one of the comments, “This is by far the best article I’ve read regarding LBGT and the gospel.”
- Chocolate cake and another vegetarian pasta recipe.
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, life, marriage
Tagged Books reading, Christianity, culture, faith, foreigners, growing up., homosexuality, Kenya, marriage, money, names, Nigeria, pasta recipe, race, recipes, selfesteem, Somali
Posted in books, home, life, working
Tagged Africa, babies, books, home, Kenya, Kenyan elections, Kenyan music, music, Nairobi, Obama, race, recipes, Sunday Reads, women and work, women at work
Dr Lwazi Lushaba has had his name all over the #Fallist debate and today I read an open letter he penned to his Department Head.
In the afternoon of the 24th August 2016, the HoD of Politics at UCT addressed to me a letter, whose contents we shall in a moment discourse about. He opens the letter with the following salutation; Dear Lwazi. He could as well have written; Dear Dr. Lwazi Lushaba. It would not have made any difference. For, I cannot say with certainty what I, in his modern imaginary, represent. Accordingly, I have permitted myself the liberty of leading him to the abyss wherein dwells the shattered fragments of my being so he may recognise me for what and who I am. I am of those whose skin colour makes them objects of scorn and disregard. I am one with the black children of Masiphumelele, Imizamo Yethu, Gugulethu, and other black slums who with their tender bare black bodies play all day long in stagnant pools of discarded bathing water, urine, menstrual blood, vomit of drunken black souls, and perhaps discharge from a backyard abortion performed on a body too young to bear life. I am one with those in this country who grow up certain that success is destined to elude them because they are black. For us it remains dark even though the day should have started.
It is a heavy letter and it touches on an entire PhD worth of themes but it’s a worthwhile read because it summarises cogently the state of the races across institutions such as universities and the work place. Please bookmark it and read it when you get the chance to.