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leaRn tO stAy grouNded

Last week Monday, I took my car for its service and I ran into a family friend (Uncle Lazarus) and we had a lengthy chat about a lot of things. And in the spirit of this past youth day and father’s day and many other significantly celebrated days, I am taking the time now to reflect.

It took me a while to realise that God, is many things, and understands what it is that we go through as His children. He may not have experienced sin, but He created the grounds for which it was made (free will) and the emotions that come with every reaction to every action. One of the few things that God does as well is to ground you as a person.

Most of you may not know this but I have depression. I will not say I suffer or that it’s a disease I am giving myself because that’s not how I see myself. I see my depression like the flu, it comes and it goes and that’s as much power as it will ever have- that of the common flu. But there are times when this flu gets really bad, so bad that I can’t get out of bed, or eat or function. It gets so bad, I want to do horrible things to myself just to end the state of never ending darkness that I have found myself in. There are of course better days where the flu just gives me a slight fever and I wake up fine the next morning.

Most times I deal with the slight fever, but when things get really bad, I tend to forget what and who I am. I forget the loved ones who support me and I forget to support and love myself. I was taught to find the common factors that trigger these moments but if someone told you to stop eating ice cream because it will give you the flu, would you really stop? I know I wouldn’t. And so I am often stuck with knowing my triggers and doing nothing about them because I have found my dependence on them…

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not something I’m proud of. When I know that a person’s words could send me into a potential abyss, I find myself staying – not because of their role in my life, but because of the moments they make me feel good (and counting those times, really isn’t worth the stay but oh well, I do it anyways). I find myself relying on things to complete me. I forget that like that person, or object, they too were created and therefore are just doing what they do as a creation.

I recently posted on Facebook a list of my fears, none of which were “I think I might not make it to heaven”, which is a legit fear of mine because I find myself deliberately hurting myself with lows whereas the highs aren’t even worth it. Then I look to other creations to fulfil the role of the Creator. I find myself worshipping beings in the hopes that they will complete me, forgetting they too need completing. It isn’t a new thing, everyone at some point I think has done this; expected too much from the wrong source…

It brings me back to the conversation Uncle Lazarus and I had. He told me, we as people have a tendency to step on each other’s heads while going to the top, and when the time comes for us to gently come back down, we fall because nobody is right there to catch us. To me, that extends to God as well. We ask, He gives and in all those times when it’s good, we forget who got us there. We forget our place and give ourselves undue credit. But we aren’t birds. If God wanted us to fly, He would have given us wings, so in the true spirit of being human, we must come down. Then we fall because He who got us where we are, was left behind at the beginning of the good times and we just forgot to bring Him along for the bad ones.

I am only now learning who I am as a person and these things take time, so don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t gotten the hang of it all just yet (I do sometimes and it’s not fun). It’s a hard lesson to learn, I fall prey to it all the time. But it is a necessary lesson nonetheless.

sO i Attended A maRket

In the light of fasting the Ramadan fast with my Muslim colleagues and working new hours at work (night shift is crazy and making me lazy), I made time to attend a market in the East Rand (I know, I should have started doing something in my hometown a long time ago). I attended the Black Notes Market in Duduza last Saturday.

So Tshepo, a friend, invited me to come and check out the market that is hosted every month for their small but bustling community in the Duduza township in Springs. Mind you, I never grew up in townships, so a few thoughts comprising of all my fears started coming to life; that includes being mugged, hijacked and sold into slavery in another country (I know I’m being dramatic but I have my reasons).

I arrived at about half past four and was greeted by smiling faces at the gate. I bought my ticket (they are twenty bucks so broke students don’t have an excuse), drove in and parked my car. The first thing I noticed was the cold (I am telling you- how people have fun in that weather still baffles me). It was freezing (Still not blaming it on my flimsy top and barely warm poncho)! I started to walk towards the main arena when I saw a beautiful sight – children were skating and playing chess (it was a large set). It looked so calming and beautiful against the sunset that I would give anything to know what it was they were doing with the pawns and the bishops (not a chess player).

The music was amazing and before I knew it, a voice started singing and I was spellbound. A young man (who I later found to be Kgomotso aka Okolom- and it’s his birthday today) has an amazing voice and it carried me through as I drifted into some rhythmic dream while I sat at the edge of an amphitheatre step looking rather awkward. It wasn’t long till a young lady (don’t recall her name) was singing in a voice that would rival my taste in tribal music. I then shook myself out of the trance I was in and made my way to the actual market (I was by the part of the park that had the entertainment). There weren’t a lot of stalls but the few that were there sold mostly food – no I didn’t eat any of it, I wasn’t hungry- and another stall further south had what looked like beanies or headscarves.

The Black Notes Market explained is meant to be a jam session, a market and a record label in one and I love how they were able to culminate that into one event without overwhelming themselves.

Children and young adults respectively were all over the place and everyone was enjoying themselves. I had the time of my life watching a pair of girls dance and break it down like my mama didn’t give me. There was also an open mic session where a group of girls went up and sang a song by Ringo Madlingozi (hope I spelt that right). It was a colourful affair and I could feel the unity that brought everyone together. These people weren’t just friends, they are family. It was so heartwarming to see such events receive support because well, you know, the youth isn’t getting the attention it needs period.

No event is perfect of course, there was just so much alcohol (haha) and there wasn’t an age restriction in any of the areas so children were exposed to alcohol drinking adults. There was no monitoring to make sure none of the young ones drank as well but everyone acted out in a mature manner. I am happy to report that there were no drunken fights and the place stayed relatively clean till the end which is commendable. They have only recently decided to venture into events so we’ll keep an eye on them.

Would I go again? Definitely. But their next market is going to be held on the weekend of my friend’s baby shower (the 1st of July if I’m not mistaken) so it’s a shame I won’t be able to attend it, but if you are ever in the vicinity or you are a young entrepreneur who’s looking to get a bit of space, contact the organisers and they will hook you up with the details.

For more information contact: Kgomotso Moloko (cell) (076) 618 8858 (email) okolom@black-notes.co.za

Visit the website: http://www.black-notes.co.za or visit their Facebook page: Black Notes

 

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sO I expeRienced a wAr

Have you ever experienced your life flash by like lightning and wonder why you’re still alive? I mean a genuine near-death experience that had the ground-splitting, Armageddon feeling like it was a walk in the park? That’s exactly how I felt last Thursday when I attended the South African National Defence Force Capability Demonstration (I’m telling you, some real “Xbox has nothing on these graphics” type stuff was happening there).

Let’s start from the beginning.

My colleagues and I were invited to a capability demonstration hosted by the SANDF which took place last week Thursday (18th of May). After we registered, confirmed our attendance and hassled our way around logistical issues (which resulted in my waking up at 4 am that morning to be at the base at 6 am), we had everything sorted and I arrived on time at Waterkloof Airforce Base.

Hawa arrived before me, so she had already signed and weighed in. After the admin processes of getting my name tag and weighing in (I swear that scale was broken, there’s no way I weight that much), I hugged Katlego (you guys probably know him from my previous post) and proceeded to the waiting area which had nothing but awesome vibes and food (yes!!!) – as you would guess, my good friend and I found heaven and stuffed our faces…

Long story cut short, we flew in the military aircraft to the Bloemfontein Military Base and arrived there to find yet again more food (I’m telling you the brownies and mini burger things were just out of this world) and we got acquainted with other media personnel from Bloem and The Citizen (her name was Amanda I think). The event started with a poetic piece “I am an African Child” and a scripture reading and opening prayer. There were a few speeches and a media briefing, then we all headed to Kimberly for the actual demonstration. Mind you, they just kept feeding us one way or another, so to date; this is my favourite event (I was punished by the food landing on my ever round tummy and other unmentionable parts).

We arrived there a bit late but just in time to see them rolling out the big machine guns and new military cars and air crafts so fast, the only way you’d know one was there, is your confirmed death. It was loud, scary, exciting and adrenaline filled but beautiful all at once. They demonstrated different tactics for airdrops and bombs. Things, however, got very real when they simulated a war for us. We experienced an actual war-zone and I won’t lie, I was shaken up by the fact that something so beautiful and raw would result in so many lives lost. It was a bittersweet experience.

The reason for the capability demonstration was to highlight the importance of having a defence force and to show how much work and effort is put into making everything function. The Army Chief lamented the fact that there is little money budgeted for the military, therefore, they are unable to progress in terms of weapons development and to further train a number of soldiers needed as well as to guarantee their safety in battle. He could not hide his anger and frustrations when he spoke about soldiers being out-skilled and outgunned by guerrilla groups in other countries. His pain was evident as he mentioned the loss of life due to the inadequate quality of the uniforms and the harsh terrain that neither soldier nor captain is ever prepared for.

Apart from the beautiful event, I was filled with a sense of sadness throughout (realising the gravity of the situation from both points of view). One of the evaluators spoke of the discipline our men and women carry when representing our country, but it was also sad to find out whenever we succeed in a battle, the opposing militant groups would take out their frustrations on neighbouring towns and villages, so all in all, nobody wins.

We were flown back home in another aircraft. It was so cold, I couldn’t manage to nap for a few minutes. I took that moment, as we were passing over beautifully lit cities beneath us, to reflect and remind myself how fortunate I am. I suppose this should and will serve as a reminder for us to keep hoping and praying for world peace (I know it’s a far-fetched theory but we have to believe in something)

I enjoyed myself thoroughly and look forward to the next one next year.

Blessings on blessings.

The carnage and noise was on another level… Made me feel like South African gamers need to up their anti with virtual reality

FOOD!!!! It was amazing!!! I won’t ever get over the way they fed us. Kudos to the chef

Hawa made some new friends (don’t worry  I’m not threatened, I’m too awesome lol)

Took a picture with a Navy Captain from Argentina who was just out of this world!!!

Here I was doing my thang with my clickety click and Hawa is doing her thing with the selfie

We found ourselves taking pictures by the “Forbidden Zones” lol… I honestly didn’t know. But here’s to World Peace

 I know I look scary but I took a pic with my brother’s superior!!! (Kabelo. You don’t know him but he works for the Airforce)
Till next time!!!

sO i atteNded A netwoRking sessioN 

Being a lifestyle blogger teaches you a lot of things, many of which do not involve travelling and fashion but things filled with substance and meaning for your readers on a deeper level. It teaches one how to help his or her readers invest their money in themselves as well as others. It also helps people understand better how things work (yes we aren’t just materialistically driven people, we care about the planet and its inhabitants too) and inform them how to make this world a better place. 

I’ve never been one to attend government-hosted gatherings, but when my good friend Hawa suggested we attend a Networking Breakfast, I didn’t want to pass up on the experience. I remember clearly stating that I would stay away from all things politics when it comes to blogging, but it was a media networking session and I was curious to know as to how ministers talk and react when it comes to the media and the likes.

I arrived in Pretoria the evening before (it was Monday, the 8th of May)and spent the night by my elder brother’s house. I wasn’t complaining, I missed my sister-in-law and nephew immensely. Tuesday morning, I was signed into the Union Buildings (honestly didn’t know they would call the entrance The Glass Doors) and I spent my free time connecting with my brother over a breakfast of noodles and chatting with his colleagues. The networking session was scheduled for 9 am that morning , so a few minutes before it was due to start, my brother escorted me to the stairs that would lead me to room 159.

Hawa arrived shortly, there was catering, so we grabbed a muffin and some fruit, sat down and we started gossiping about all the famous journalists in our midst. We felt underdressed and uninvited (I remember not laughing about this then but I’m laughing about it now).

Moving along, the session wasn’t a media briefing but more of the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) re-acquainting itself with the media (or as they prefer to call it, the Fourth Estate). They touched on a few things the department does and I was pleased to see Minister Jeff Radebe, and other official heads at the gathering. What shocked me the most was their ability to keep to political jargon even out of the spotlight! I came to accept that it’s how they speak even in their own homes and probably during social gatherings (still laughing).

I understood where they were coming from when it comes to the RDP project and other issues like Nkandla and the SASSA debacle. They also touched on how hard it is to fix mistakes made by other individuals. They are allegedly doing their best to rectify the backlog regarding people needing homes and better health care infrastructure among other things (they call it “eating the elephant one chunk at a time”).

All in all, it was boring. I struggled to stay awake but the times when I managed to concentrate, I picked up on some valuable information I would soon forget upon exiting the room once the session was over. I was also hungry. Those of you who know me well, know I love food and sitting in a quiet room for three hours was just not cutting it for me. Had it not been for Hawa sending me secret messages to keep me entertained, I would have surely fallen to my demise.

Would I do it again? Maybe when I’m older. My young attention span hasn’t figured out how to prioritise yet (trust me, I struggle at work too) and they fed us at the end so that was a bonus (kudos to the sweet potato and the chicken. Your rice tasted funny). It was an interesting experience. I’m glad I went through the processes and now I am more convinced I’ll end up as a creative writer rather than a news writer – that life is not for me shame. 

Here I am patiently waiting for the session to start so I ignore my brother, Katlego, and take a moment to indulge in some selfie action

Here I am with my good friend and fellow colleague, Hawa Mayere. Her secret message/joke sending technique is out of this world…

Don’t worry, they didn’t starve us. I just didn’t want to seem like I was there just for the food. That paw-paw was amazing though

Minister Jeff Radebe and other official heads were present at the session

Here is Hawa with her one time bae, Xoli Mngambi from ENCA … She doesn’t like him much anymore. Wonder what happened in 24 hours lol

Till next time my good people.

Blessings on blessings.

tHe neXt fIve yeaRs

A letter from somebody to anybody…

I have been asked to write an article about where I see my life in the next five years. After being told to write this article – a nerve struck in my body. For the first time in a long time I was being asked to write about myself. Now- this would have probably worked out just perfectly had I been in a better frame of mind but alas I am not and I find myself at a crossroads asking myself… Keabetswe, where do you see yourself in five years?

Anywhere. Everywhere. Somewhere. I don’t know.

I want to learn.

Education has always been a big part of my family’s legacy. It is what my father calls “the bridge from nowhere to everywhere”. Listening to those words should probably have filled me with some mythical dose of inspiration where all I’d want to do is to know everything, right? Right? Wrong. Instead, I am pressurised to live up to my father’s expectations to keep on learning, to be endowed with everlasting wisdom- to know everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read. Reading and writing have always been my first loves, so why the sudden anxiety? I figured it out.

In the next five years I want to study everything. Next year I hope and pray to be allowed to study Communication Science at UNISA. If possible, I would like to triple major in psychology and English literature. Afterwards I want a shot at something unorthodox like sexology or philosophy- just because I can. I am not forgetting my future plans about acquiring a Btech for my Journalism diploma, but honestly, I’m not so excited about that line of work anymore. It feels like I put that dream in a balloon, hoping it would reach the starts then someone decided to shoot it down. If you’re imagining this, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It just looks really pathetic and sad and in some ways, that’s how I feel right now. Back to education. I am hoping to win one of those awesome scholarships for National Geographic, because I have come to realise that I have a higher tolerance for animals and for mother nature than I do for human beings. I can already see it “My Life amongst the Wolves” or something as close to that as possible. Just thinking about it gives me a rush of adrenaline and most of all- hope.

I want to travel.

Not just the movie’s version of travelling, but see the world and life through a writer’s eyes. For some reason, nobody experiences life more than someone who hopes to see it. I want to be like my favourite author, Wilbur Smith. Now that man has had a taste of Africa like no one else I know. His writings make me want to travel through time and breathe Africa the way it should be. So I want to travel in order for me to discover and learn and breathe. There are other places I’d like to see too, like the Seychelles and Ethiopia and all the other hidden and lost gems of this world. I’m more excited about that then getting a PhD in something or another. I’ll probably end up going as far as Namibia in the next five years and that’s ok with me. I have the rest of my life to do everything else and that puts me in no hurry at all.

I want to do a lot of good.

The beautiful thing about this crazy thing called technology is the ability to see just how much someone else needs your help. In the coming five years I want to invest more time in doing all I can for the doctors, the journalists, the penguins, the rhinos and the pandas (who would forget the pandas). Now I’m sure by now you have realised that I wish to live a very busy life- and I do. Apart from all the boring things like children and marriage, I want to be involved in things bigger than me. World peace, the end of all hunger and the success of science so we may bring extinct animal species back to life. My ultimate dream is to be at the forefront of something within my power to change. If I make enough money, I want to buy better equipment for the brave doctors who go to horrible places to spread the medical love. If I had the power to persuade governments, I would urge them to protect their journalists more. I mean- we all know they can be a pain in the rear end but they are human- and it gets things done. If I was gifted some part of the North pole by a dead ancestor I’ve never heard of, I would take all the penguins of the world and put them there to live happily ever after in perfect harmony. If I had a very big garden with plenty of shade, I’d adopt a rhino or two and give them epic names like Darth Vader and Lord Voldermort. And last but not least- someone please tell the pandas to stop eating their own babies, I mean there’s nothing I can do about that sad scenario.

I want to do everything.

I want to start a blog, a podcast, write a book, produce a documentary, own a travelling restaurant, paint, draw, write, inspire, talk…. my apologies, I’m just taking a moment to marvel at my awesomeness and take a break- I was running out of breath. Like I said, I want to do everything. I haven’t much to say about this area in my life because I’d first have to see where all of those things would fit into my already imaginary crazy schedule but I am hopeful that I’ll find a way.

Thinking of all the things I hope to achieve in the next five years fills me with a sort of excitement. I can’t put a name on it yet but it makes me want to go out and just do. But, for now, I am forced to be content with the last few months of quiet in my life before I go out to save the world (did I mention that I have super powers?).What can I say? Conquer and defeat. Carpe Diem. Be bigger, faster and stronger. Live.

And it is with these words I bid you adieu.

sO i tooK A Breather…. A feature

Being a South African, I’d often find myself embarrassed by my lack of having travelled my country, so when the chance arose, I took it. Toward the end of my third year (which was last year), I decided to spoil myself by booking a weekend away with my mother to Magaliesburg. I’d often heard about it long enough to be convinced that it was the ideal place for me to go and relax after a long and stressful year. I wasn’t wrong.

Magaliesburg is a beauty surrounded by lush green mountains and rich vegetation. The calm and tranquility that it possesses is seconded to none. I was actually surprised that such a place was bustling with life. The people are friendly and the lodge that we were staying at (Big Creek, which is a beautiful family owned place), was quaint and adorable. We had our very own cabin which was toward the edge of the property and for the first time in a long time I took a breath of fresh air, not the polluted mess we have here in the city, but actual, undiluted, God’s gift to humanity and the purest oxygen.

The town in itself is small and doesn’t have much. It just has a Spar and a few fast food joints but nothing fancy, which suited me just fine. There are a few things to do there as well including spas, game drives and sightseeing while learning about the beautiful history of the small town.

It’s the ideal place if you want to go and breathe and just to detox yourself from all the bad energy of the city. The accommodation is affordable and Rustenburg is just over an hour away. Just bring enough mosquito and fly repelant and you’ll be well on your way to having a heavenly time at one of the Most beautiful escapes South Africa has to offer.

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 Then i toOk theM tO eAt… An event 

There comes a time when one has to take being a Sunday School teacher to another level, to go to a place where no man has dared to go. To achieve the impossible… by taking your little kiddies to McDonalds.

We had been announcing the outing for a while at the end of our sermons but at the end of the day I suppose you still overwhelmed at the turnout. There were like millions of them!! Ok not millions but when a child comes in more than one things become a little interesting. We had made reservations in advance so when we arrived everything had already been set.

We arrived and the children went crazy. They ran all over the place, their adorable faces screaming and colouring in and trying to find their way around the play area. We had a bunch of the older kids with us too but they weren’t much help. finally the food came and lo and behold there was silence… I mean actual silence. The kind where you can hear the people on the other side chewing their food. Hunger does wonders I tell you.

Well after about three hours I must say I was happy when it happened. What I realised is that I love these children. They may be headaches but they are amazing headaches. It was a day well spent… 🙂

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aNd thEn theRe Were peTS

Movie review: The Secret Life of Pets

Usually I would hold off animation movies for my nephews but I have found myself drawn to this adorable yet quirky number that features the likes of comedian Kevin Hart (Central Intelligence) and Ellie Kemper.
This funny movie revolves around the lives pets lead when their owners are not around. The movie is about a cute canine, Duke, who’s owner brings home another dog. All hell breaks loose when they encounter a gang of street cats. The pair gets taken by animal control and a cute bunny, Snowball (Kevin Hart), comes to the rescue. The animals go on a wild goose chase around the city while trying to find themselves.
This movie is beautiful and will be quick to warm your heart. It is jam packed with content for both parents and children. It receives a well deserved eight out of ten stars from me. It is well worth the popcorn.

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Doing ouR parT tO saVe

​There are a few posts that I as your friend and fellow blogger have delayed. It wasn’t intentional but somehow I think everything centred around timing. South Africa is going through somewhat of a rough patch; students are protesting over school fees, our finance minister is being investigated for fraud, even our president is in a bit of a shamble with the state capture that was released yesterday. Now is the time that I remind my people that our country is still facing a bigger problem than all those above mentioned combined- we are low on water.

The world has been experiencing some droughts over the past few years and everyone has felt the pinch some way or another on just how bad this water situation is. For a second, it had me wishing the Arctic could melt an iceberg or two just to help us out a little. But we are here now, and it’s not getting better.

I attended a press conference hosted by Johannesburg Water on the 29th of September. The agenda was the discussion of our current water situation and what we should do as citizens in order to conserve as much water as possible. These methods included our usual water saving tips as well as a surprise introduction into the fining process they are developing. What this entails is, if a certain household uses water above the limit they have set aside, then said household will be fined. There is a lot of grey with this process as it includes a lot of elements such as size of household, income etc but that is the gist of the matter.

The CEO, Mr Johannes Nong highlighted how things such as broken pipes and faulty systems are a thing that the previous government had failed to rectify during that time and that measures such as boreholes and water tanks are temporary solutions to a long term problem. There is also a project Johannesburg Water is working on that will ensure water for all in the next coming years, all we have to do is exercise patience. It is up to us as the citizens to do our part in curbing the water situation anyway we can.

i aM deSign- a feature

It’s two thirty in the afternoon and a concept logo is done. This means beating traffic in the hot and bustling city of Johannesburg in order to deliver a very special package to an eagerly awaiting client.

These are one of the days in the life of Peter Magagane, a 27 year old Communication Designer from Mulbarton. If he’s not in class dreaming up logos, he’s at home bringing them to life.

“I’ve always been a creative. I’ve always been interested in the engineering that goes into the creative process to form something that will have life because of the thoughts conceived in my mind.”

Peter’s mother, like any other parent, had many and great visions for her son. Where parents see doctors and engineers, she saw a lawyer but in his heart there was a designer. Having being accepted into the University of Witwaterstrand (Wits), Peter studied law but it was soon obvious (to him and those around) that it was not the path for him. He left Wits and studied Design Communication which is by definition the combination of graphic design and branding.

“I fought my way into getting myself in it until my mother gave in.”

It wasn’t much of a struggle, but for this young man who describes himself as a visionary, the push was more than enough. Since then, he has completed his studies and has designed logos for a number of established organisations.

He says what sets him apart from the rest is his use for objects and symbols that are significant to the brand. Even with a market as small as South Africa, Peter believes that through an individual designer’s own style, the market becomes big enough, even for friendly rivalries.

For Peter, great things lie ahead, this includes an MBA and establishing a restaurant. It is quite the fete but he is ready. He was born for this.

Peter the design visionary

One of the logos he has created  for a store in Johannesburg

Black Bottom Couture is a store based in the Maboneng District, Johannesburg

Photo cred:

Peter

Black Bottom Couture