The Gemini: I can do both

” If sexuality is one dimension of our ablity to live passionately, then in cutting off our sexual feelings we diminish our overall power to feel , know and value deeply” – Judith Plaskow

The century of the women has come and we are witnessing more and more women getting educated and breaking barriers in their working environments it is no longer a surprise (well hopefully) to see a young successful unmarried woman. However this can come with a few misconceptions such as that successful women in business,politics, engineering  Continue reading

Advertisements

Fathers be good to your daughters.

My relationship with my father.

Nyeleti Ubisi (22)

“A relationship with your father changes your perspective on men and how you experience them” – Nyeleti

The story of a broken family is all to familiar to South African homes, television and media give us the perception that black households are filled with detached ,emotionless fathers who may provide for their children but have no personal relationship with them. This may be true for some households however Nyeleti reminds us that black fathers can and are well rounded parents who love, nurture and provide for their children.

Nyeleti expresses that “it is very important for every girl to experience what I call a walk with their father because it changes the way you perceive men and how you feel about men as a whole and it changes your routine how you handle your relationships with your male friends, male colleagues and your partner” and I fully agree as many times how we react to male influences around us is directly linked to the relationships (or lack thereof) we have with our fathers.

Nyeleti believes that her relationship with her father liberated her, the older she grows the more she appreciates he’s wisdom in her life ” as soon as he saw me as mature we were able to talk about certain things that I honestly never thought I could talk to my dad about such as my relationship with my partner because they are both men especially when there are things I don’t understand about my partner”

The depth of a women’s relationship with her father is always seen in her partner, because women always look for certain qualities her father has in a man I suppose the question here would be what qualities do you look for in a man when you have no reference. Nyeleti agrees that her father and her partner have similar qualities ” My dad can be very closed off with he’s emotions because of how he grew up similar to my partner who is also very closed off because he never had a personal relationship with he’s father another thing I learned from my father about men is that we need to accept them as they are because we as women always want to change something about men ” she continues to explain that even though her father is closed off with he’s feeling whenever he does open up they are able to speak and get more in touch with he’s feelings she can see a vulnerable side of him without me thinking that he is weak.

“My father taught me to have pick my friends wisely ,and to respect people no matter how much money I could have repsect goes a very long way .My siblings and I are very blessed but he also taught us to work for everything that we want he always reminds us that he’s money is he’s money and we therefore need to work for ourselves so we can understand the value of money”

Nyeleti expresses “I think its important for girls to have a relationship with their fathers because it helps you distinguish between a healthy relationship and a toxic one , once you receive that love from your father you become content in what love is” . Even though her parents are divorced she explains that her father still holds the highest level of respect for her mother and watching him treat her mother with love and humility reminds her that men have love and we should not be discouraged from believing it.

wpid-instasize_1101132945.jpg

May love,peace and grace be upon you.

I am Engineer!

The career series

Refiloe Sekabate (22)

“I was told not to have a child in the next 5 years because it will be difficult for me to attain my qualification and meet ECSA requirements as my progress will be delayed. But I wouldn’t do anything else” -Refiloe

The world today tells young women that we have equal opportunities and we can aspire to achieve anything we set our minds to. This may be true however the struggles of women in successful careers should not go unnoticed, even with the notion that we can achieve anything beyond our ‘limits’ we often receive misguided information about career choices when we are young which ultimately feed into the rest of our lives.

Refiloe believes that it is important to first establish what a career is to you as an individual , ” the definition of a career to me is an individual journey through life related to your work not specifically related to a particular job or position however it’s the whole progression of a person going through school, and university. ” She is clearly able to articulate this as she is currently in her journey as a university student ,studying towards a metallurgical engineering degree this career choice was not a spontaneous decision she explains that she choose this career field by matching her interests ,her goals ,and her abilities moreover making a conscious decision everyday to put in the work.

“I chose engineering because I love problem solving, I am very systematic and I love logical processing, the character and what is needed in engineering resonates with who I am” , this is a very important aspect to note as people often find themselves in situations where they are stuck in careers they find no fulfillment in simply because of financial needs . She further explains that engineering is a very broad career, there are engineers who work in banks, admin and government sectors because the skills attained in engineering can be used in any work space.

This amazing career field does not go without it’s challenges , Refiloe expresses that women in the engineering field still experience predujice on the basis of their physical stature because men have physical capabilities to perform certain tasks that women cannot. “We still get nasty comments from men and when you get to a workshop looking for employment  you still get asked why are you not doing arts, accounting or humanities” she further explains that the protective gear is unsuitable and uncomfortable for women and the environment is not welcoming for women ” I worked in a plant where there was actually one bathroom for women. The protective gear is uncomfortable when your on your periods and you can’t wear it when your pregnant ,the hard hats don’t accommodate women’s hair ,the protective shoes are not suitable for women because the sizes are big and I know of one division where the women had to fight for basic sanitary towel bins to be placed in their bathrooms “

These women work in an environment that is stagnant, it shows growth on the surface but in essence the industry is still largely dominated by men. It is evident that as much as women are succeeding in male dominated sectors it is with great sacrifice and uncomfortable silence. We as women need to move into uncomfortable spaces with passion to show that we will no longer be accommodated for working just as hard and even harder for the same jobs and qualifications. Young women like Refiloe remind us that with hard work it is possible to reach your highest potential in a patriarchal environment, and the more we share our stories we advocate for other women who are voiceless.

image

May love,peace and grace be upon you.

Confessions of a feminist Christian

I have always had personal struggles with religion, especially because I was raised by an independent women with strong opinions . When I eventually decided to explore a personal relationship with my God I soon realized that I would always have more questions than answers and that was ok. Growing into a feminist didn’t help my journey in anyway, I was constantly hit with words such as ‘submit’ and ‘obedience’, which in my mind meant that I had no freedom to exercise any form of mental capacity that will enable me to think for myself. I had to make a conscience decision to allow someone else to dictate my decisions, thoughts and actions.

However I have always thought very highly of the church, especially with regards to empowering women and openly advocating for issues that affect women, to my disappointment I have noticed that women in the church are still regarded as secondary to men whose needs and purposes seem to come before ours. The church still gives women labels of fifthly and unworthy  of marriage when they are not a particular standard of Christian.

Especially with regards to sexual purity where the priority to remain a virgin is always emphasized to the women, and when women choose not too they always receive the worst of the persecution. I always wonder ,do these women have sex with themselves? Does marriage under Christian law not bind both male and female to keep their virtue until the day of the marriage, so why does it seem as if we forcefully seduce these men into our beds with our magic wands forcing them to act against their own free will? the very institution that is supposed to be at the forefront of protecting women, continues (as it always has) to demoralize and undermine women in the church.

It baffles me to understand how the church expects to draw people towards this magnificent God, if instead of a message of love they teach a message of shame and fear. Churches are detached from women’s everyday realities; I can only imagine the thoughts of an HIV+ woman who could possibly sit through a sermon seeking solace and acceptance only to find that the church is no different from the world. Realistically the church and many other institutions are still run by men who not only fear the women’s potential but realize that they too do not understand the fundamentals of what they preach or maybe I don’t fully understand Christianity in totality . I do however believe faith is a beautiful thing, to have a relationship with someone you’ve never met and never feel alone, is a powerful phenomenon which is beyond anything we can comprehend and we cannot allow any man to keep us from experiencing that.

feminism

May love,peace and grace be upon you.

The rainbow nation fallacy?

The past few months have been rather exciting for South Africa from the Rhodes must fall movement to the Luister video that was recently posted on YouTube and the conversations on gender equality during women’s month , finally we as the ‘born free’ youth of South Africa get to be at the forefront of transformation.

Unlike the youth of 1976 we have always been uncertain about what our role in this country is as well as what are the struggles and challenges that we need to fight.  Recently it has become very evident that we are in a space of shaping South Africa in service of our vision and unapologetically so.

However this era of revelation awakens anger and uncertainty about whether the rainbow nation dream still lives. In my opinion yes it does and no it doesn’t we need to stop being apologetic about being proud of our own and creating movements that elevate our own people. If there’s anything I admire about the Afrikaners is that they are very unapologetic about the language they choose to get educated in, how and where they choose to raise their children and sadly even about wealth they have benefited at the expense of our humanity.

So why are we afraid to be black and proud? Is it wrong that I want to fight for my people to be taught in a language they understand or even better in their own language, or the possibly of building private schools and luxury neighborhoods where my children can live and learn from their own?

This in no way excludes friendship, and just means that I no longer feel the need to explain why colonial statues need to be abolished and why it is important to me that we reclaim economic capacity ,this of course is applicable to all races and cultures in South Africa. We need to reclaim our dignity , stand for what we believe in,because if we don’t and we choose to ignore the calls from the future our children may never know what it truly means to be free.

So I encourage you to speak your mind, let your voice be heard ,stand up for your own. Love remains in our hearts , however we can no longer pretend like it’s enough.

May grace,love and peace be upon you.

image

Posted from WordPress for Android

Consent is a clear verbal yes ,and nothing else!

According to Statistics SA’s 2014 mid- year report South Africa had 26366000 males and 276635900 females out of total population of 54002000 South Africans.

Moreover the number of people living with HIV from 2002 to 2014 increased from an estimated 4,09 million in 2002 to 5,51 million by 2014. Amongst women between the ages of 15-49, the HIV prevalence in 2014 was 18,5%  which is much higher than the HIV prevalence of 8,7% amongst youth( 15-24)

What shocks me more about these statistics is that even with all the information we have at our disposal we are failing dismally as a country to combat HIV prevelance in South Africa.

So I had a conversation with Tarryn Nell who is the HIV & AIDS coordinator at the North West University ,coordinating HIV testing ,training on HIV related topics and managing a volunteer program on campus about why women still have a higher prevelance of contracting HIV and the Grey areas of consent when it comes to sexual intimacy.

Tarryn explains that twice as many females than males get tested on campus , so it appears as if we take personal responsibility for our sexual health. However I’ve heard scary stories of women who believe that they only need to use contraceptives because they have been in a relationship with a person for a long period of time and trust them enough not to use protection.

Tarryn passionately expresses that  “Trust in an important part of a relationship ,so on the one hand yes you should be able to trust your partner so much that you believe that he is faithful, but from a professional point of view you cannot do that, because than your shifting the responsibility of your sexual health to another person”

Another reason why women are so vulnerable to HIV is the issue of consent. Women never think about the fact that consent should be free and voluntary ,as Tarryn says “consent is only really when you say yes,let’s do it”
Consent should also be continuous , if you give consent for sex today with your boyfriend, it doesn’t automatically mean that your going to have sex with him tomorrow.

Most importantly consent needs to be informed, think about your partners sexual history, know your partners HIV status , know the consequences of having sex such as unwanted pregnancy and decide on a form of contraceptive and protection.

Tarryn says she’s noticed that it also seems as if the responsibility is shifted to the women to be on a contraceptive, and it is her responsibility to go for an HIV test. Male’s don’t assume that responsibility.

However women have now been given more power than they use to have, with female condoms on the market women can determine their own standards for sexual intimacy. If a female can be assertive enough to say “I’m not having sex without a condom” condoms would actually be used. Do you think you have been giving consent for sex?

image

Posted from WordPress for Android

My Shameless Relationship with My Mother

Zodwa Msimango(24)

” I’ve learned to accept my mother for who and what she is” – Zodwa

Not all of us have been blessed with the best relationships with our parents, and that can leave scars that we carry through out other relationships we build, and possibly even to our children. However they can also be growth experiences as it was for Zodwa , an experience that taught her to love even in the most dire of situations.

This is her story:

It was the June holidays and my sisters were so tired of me being at my boyfriend’s house instead of spending time with them so they decided to download Shameless. I watched the first episode and needless to say I was hooked (for those of you who have never heard of this series, it is about a dysfunctional family where a young woman(Fiona) quits school to take care of her five siblings). It wasn’t the dysfunction or Lip’s almost six pack that got me hooked, but the whole storyline. With an alcoholic father and a mother that abandoned them when she was 16, Fiona was forced to play mom to her siblings. Later on in the season their mother comes back and tells her children that she wants to be the perfect mother that they deserve. As expected, she ruins the children’s lives even more and abandons them again.

I had a very happy childhood. My mother has never worked a paying job in her life. My grandparents and aunts made sure we had everything we needed. She was what we call a free spirit. She was here today and gone the next, not seeing her for weeks on end was a norm to us.

I had never had a problem with her lifestyle, until one day when she came back home with a man who we were told was going to be our father and was moving with us to our new home. I would watch my mother everyday struggling to play mom, struggling to bond with us. One day, after moving four times in one year, we woke up and she was gone. Father told us that she had been arrested. That is when my life as Fiona began, at age twelve.

I went from being a child to being a mother to my twin sister, little brother and two of my father’s daughters. Life was REAL. Cooking oil was now also used as body lotion and shoe polish. My twin sister and I later moved to a relatives house until end of the year. My brother was taken by his paternal grandparents. On the last day of school, my aunt came to take us to her home, we stayed with her until we finished high school then later moved back to our grandparents’ home.

My mother is not the type to stay in one place for a long time. When she was finally released from prison she moved to Secunda and we’d only see her once or twice a month.

She recently moved back home and it is still difficult for us to build a relationship. I am however, slowly realizing how my experiences as Fiona have shaped me into becoming the woman that I am today. I’ve learned a lot about the kind of woman I want to be and the type of mother I would like to be to my children. I have learned to take care of the people I care without expecting anything in return. I’ve learned to be grateful but I’ve also learned to fight for what I want, I now know how to make everyday count.

Most importantly, like Fiona, I have learned not to expect too much from anyone. I have accepted my mother for who and what she is, sometimes accepting the people we love for who they are is the greatest gift we can give them. She deserves it, she is my mother after all and mother’s deserve everything.

image

Posted from WordPress for Android