Spring, Vertigo and the inner city

Today is the first day of September, and that denotes the first day of Spring for us in South Africa. I had imagined that today I’d be up and about, wearing a very Springy kind of outfit and ready to welcome the new season in with full force.
Instead I’m lying on my bed, as I have been for the past two days, writing this candid blog about a day in my life.

*****
“Are you sure she’s not pregnant?”
“Yes, I’m sure she’s not.”
“And how would you know, you are not with her every moment of her life?”

At this point let me interject and say, I know my sister must’ve been irritated by the pharmacist. “Like dude, why did you ask if you knew that I’m not with her 24/7?”

“I am sure, she said she’s not dizzy but the room is spinning. And I had her close her eyes just to feel her way and walk to the bathroom.”

“So she’s just lying there, like a chicken?”
Let me say, I resent that, what does poultry have to do with any of this? I haven’t even been able to eat the entire day. *picture the indifferent face right here*

“Yes, she’s lying there like a chicken.”
” Are you sure, she isn’t just hung over?”
“No, she’s not. She googled her symptoms and the net says it’s vertigo.”

At this point I’m guessing pharmacist dude is like, “Another one of those Google patients, and I went to school for this.”

“Here, tell her to try this, and if it doesn’t work, tell her to go see a doctor.”

When my sister came back and relayed the story to me, I was least of all impressed. She had gone to the local pharmacy to get me some medication and they’d been true to the stereotype: if it’s a women, don’t rule out the possibility that she’s pregnant. I fought the urge to get out of bed and go give that pharmacist a peace of my mind, just ’cause I’m sick it doesn’t mean I had no sense.
*****

Anyway, I googled the pills and saw that it helped with vertigo so I took them and slept. They’ve actually been working, so today I was able to brush my teeth, shower and write this blog.

Most people probably don’t even know what vertigo is, heck I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t listened to a podcast a few weeks ago, talking about money and finances. Okay so let me backtrack; vertigo is not a financial condition, I mean it’s not like one can get sick from too much money or the lack there of, but this lady on the podcast had vertigo and happened to mention it in passing. She said she was so sick she couldn’t even step out of bed, or walk to the bathroom, and basically that’s what happened to me.

I went to bed, everything was fine, but when I opened my eyes in the morning the room wouldn’t stop spinning. Thinking my head was playing weird mind games with me I shut my eyes and went back to sleep, but 10 minutes later the room was still spinning wildly out of control. To make matters worse I needed to go to the bathroom, which ordinarily is just next door to my bedroom, but on this occasion it felt like I had to walk was across the street. It had taken so much energy just to walk there that as soon as I passed the threshold for my bedroom, I fell on the floor and lay there for a good 20 minutes. My mum was starting to get really worried at this point, so to inhibit her concerns I just managed to kick the door closed while laying in my chicken position and slithered to back into bed.

After spending the better part of my day in bed I finally decided to Google my symptoms and send my sister out to go and get me some pills. If you didn’t know I have a love/ hate relationship with pills. I’ll try and hold off as long as I possibly can without them; I drank way too many pills when I was diagnosed with Takayasu’s, so I’m not really about that life.

Fortunately I had some lose change I could send her with after I had returned a pair of shoes on Monday in the inner city. I loved the colour and style of the pumps but simply couldn’t keep them after I tried them on and saw the poor quality that they were. Granted that these were only R 99 but still, I just couldn’t wear them and I felt bad for any soul that did. I’m big on thrifting, swopping or even buying bargains, but that didn’t mean I had to compromise on quality – and this was a brand new pair of shoes from a store that is supposed to be international.

*****
Johannesburg Central Business District had become a sight indeed over the years, and I had to pass there on my way to the Gautrain, so I decided to get a refund on the purple pumps I’d bought two days earlier. Dreading the kind of service that I was likely to get, I said a quick prayer and vowed to fight for my consumer rights as I walked into X store. To my surprise, the teller gave me my refund without a fuss and I was on my way to the Johannesburg Park Station to catch the Gautrain to Pretoria.

What a place, it always buzzing with life, and those ready to pick a pocket or two. “All major cities are like that,” I said to self, trying to keep myself calm. Still I had swopped my backpack to the front where I could see any potential threat from an unsavory character as it unraveled in front of me.

One of the security guards at the station saw this and began clapping; like he literally clapped his hands for me and my street smarts. Inner city blues I thought, and kept walking….

Happy Spring.

Love and peace, Fi

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I wasn’t gonna explain…

I was not intending on sharing this, but I guess I had a change of heart somewhere between, “I’m very private” and “people need to be inspired.”

I am a firm believer of two things; Africa is an amazing continent and women need to be empowered in meaningful ways! If you haven’t already picked up in my writing, that’s what I do; I empower women to empower women and men to empower women; ultimately this empowers the man.

V had mentioned on our way to work one day that she had lost her faith in this country and wanted to move her children overseas as there was nothing here for them. I felt a pang in my heart at the thought of our country being lost. 

********

“No, it’s Refiloe’s matter now,” boomed the voice over the microphone. The queen scrambled to get her court files in order in response to what the judge had just directed her to do.

Are we on a first name basis now?” I mused, while sitting in the fist row of the public gallery waiting to be called forward. I was in court this particular morning to be admitted and sworn in as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa. “She, must have taken issue with my papers; why else would she know my name,” I reasoned.

Again the Judge’s voice came over the speakers, still firm yet cheerful, …”I told you, you need to call Refiloe’s matter now.” The registrar of the court finally got the correct file and began reading the case number.

“Case number 4….. of 2017, ex parte Refiloe Majodina.”

I had been waiting for this moment for a long time, and my dad had come all the way to the Pretoria High Court to see he’s eldest daughter being admitted as an attorney. As “My Lady” and my legal representative, Advocate Z, exchanged formalities I grew weary. Anxiety had been gnawing away at me since I woke up that morning. I mean I had even taken out three different outfits for the occasion; gone shopping, bought a pair of trousers, only to  wear what was already in my wardrobe (not to mention that I went back and got a refund for the trousers.) This was one nerve wrecking event.

Finally, I breathed a sigh of relief when the court was briefly adjourned by the presiding female judge and we could leave to go and celebrate our new accomplishment.

“Congratulations,…” one queen said on our way out, as my celebration party and I were about to catch the lift down to the ground floor. “…You are an inspiration.”

*****

I remember reading about Marilyn Mosby and her journey as a lawyer  and feeling so inspired, but more than that I remember thinking how stringent testing was designed to keep out the majority of the people, at as it were. Not to say that every Tom, Dick and Harry should be allowed to enter and practice a profession, but these systems were not actually designed with us in mind. By us I mean the divergents, the outliers or the  exceptions.

The above story reflects how we have women in high ranks wielding power, and more are being added daily. Africa is a wonderful content to live in and women are being empowered. Let us not give up one oursleves, and dare I say our nation, as we shift barriers and remove blockades.

In a previous post of mine, I was questioning what it means to be a black lawyer, and female at that. I don’t think that there is anything in particular which is special about being a black lawyer, and I am not in any way diminishing anyone’s perspective; I just believe that I have so much more to offer. If you think I’m an inspiration now, you should see me ten years from now! And it won’t be by virtue of me being “a black female”, but by virtue of me being Refiloe and choosing to stay positive. Maybe unbeknowingly the judge calling me by my first name was a attesting to this greatness within, after all I was not the only black candidate attorney being admitted before the court.

Girl, go on and chase your dreams with your bad self!

Fi.IMG_2815

We are not black diamonds and pearls.

Angles, angles, angles; it’s as important as the story to me, so here goes…. I’ve deliberated (pretty much with myself) extensively whether or not to write this post, and finely, I did.

In an act of defiance, as suggested in the title, I’m writing this as a rebuttal to those of us who feel the need to quantify our value by relating to economic substance. A pearl, or a diamond or even, as Bervely Knight suggests, “pure gold” does not quantify my worth.

Of course I could just end my seemly appearing to be “rant” right there, but let’s just be honest, you don’t have much of a clue as to what caused it.

Well my somewhat  angered, maybe frustrated, but not entirely unwarranted passion is derived from the recent highlighting of violence against women. If you’ve read some of my previous blogs you’d know that the issue of gender-based violence has been tabled here before; women are victims and sometimes perpetrators of acts of violent crimes in this and many other societies. This has to stop and we all need to play our part.

I refuse to label myself by an inanimate, soulless, devoid of any feelings commodity buried in the ground. By virtue of the fact that I am here, thinking and breathing, and moving towards a unique destiny; I am immeasurably far more superior, both qualitively and quantitively, to any amount of extraction beneath the earth’s surface. Even Prince ( the Artist formally known as Prince, back to Prince… it gets confusing at times) did not make such lofty claims – come on Queen you are worth more than diamonds and pearls! And while I am not in any way advocating for the removal of any blame from the often male perpetrators of violence against women, I am saying let’s be careful with the use of our words. Let us not continue to build on gender stereotypes, instead let’s debunk myths about us as women and challenge the status quo.

IMG_2815I am closing, but let me just say this, (this is the part I had the most anguish about) while this is an issue that affects all women, some appear to be more vulnerable than others. The old argument of a double prejudice rears its ugly head again; being a woman and black* is not a crime… I won’t say to much about this, but I will borrow from the words of MLK junior and let you decide: the most neglected person in America is the black women. ** Some of the crimes against women of colour are on so many levels, to unpack them all here would take way too much time. We need to break the cycle, we are not commodities on your black or white markets. We have souls and they cannot be bought.

 

via a strong black women, to strong black women all over the world, I love and respect you.

Fi

 

* I always use the word “black” very loosely, I don’t subscribe to racial social constructs but I do try and keep my writing easy to understand.

** Any one will be a victim as long as they feel disempowered and disenfranchised, but if you walk out of a negative situation and don’t allow yourself to be a statistic you will no longer be neglected because you will be the one giving the attention.

Consumer Debt

img_4323Np• Solange x Cranes in the sky

I walked past a store today with the most stunning display of scarves, and I probably wouldn’t have stopped if I didn’t see the sign saying R 99,00 and a middle aged lady stopping to peruse them. I commented to the queen on their exquisite nature, she didn’t stop once or even look up to respond. “She must be having a bad day, not your fault,” self whispered.

On returning back to my seat, after excusing myself to use the restroom I told N. “We have to go there so I can buy you this scarf!” “Okay,” she responded promptly. “I love gifts,” she said while she chuckled and smiled.

After lunch we walked down to where I pointed the scarves out. Feeling a little embarrassed though, I must admit, I hadn’t even looked at the name of the store. That feeling of shame quickly turned into pride when I realized that I was slowly and gracefully bowing out of the brand race.

Later the pride turned into a simile as I realized that more than anything, I just had impeccably good taste; and it had nothing to do with who saw me owning what and which label I acquired it from. I thought back to the first time I visited the famous Capetonian Victoria & Albert Waterfront Mall; I had to buy two scarves as that was the only thing I could afford, just to be able to say I got them at the V&A. I’ll never forget how those scarves were the cheapest thing I saw, at R 20 a pop! Getting into debt for consumerism isn’t a joke and so I’m super relieved to not be a slave to brandism like I used to before.

To end the story though, N. was super stoked about where we bought her gift from and I probably would have never even looked at the name if she didn’t pointed it out. Holidays are the worst time to go shopping, consumer debt calls you by all your names. All I’m saying watch yourself.

Love and peace,
Fi

Women’s writes

My last post relied quite heavily on innuendos and puns, so I was a bit skeptical about using a homophone in my title; but I did it anyway! I guess that’s the rebel in me (I know I would have mos def crossed the Berlin Wall. LOL)

Anyway back to business. I’m excited that 3 of the girls I mentor are female entrepreneurs or starting to think like business women. I love that they are so bold and courageous, enough to start something from nothing and I am extremely proud to say that they add to the mystical species of #girlbosses. This is a dying bread, in an era characterized by the rise of #blessees and overshadowed by the imfamous #abusedwoman. Seeing that we are in a period of 16 Days of Activisim Against Woman and Child Abuse, I will speak of the so-called “prostitute or Madona” theory. I first came access this school of thought in my Gender and the Law class, a sub-category of the Feminist theory. The idea that a woman was either a mother to children or a femme fatal seemed very extreme to me. Surely there was an in between? The idea here is that men, in a highly patriarchal society, either idolized and worship the idea of wholesome and submissive women or see them as a threat. What ensues would be better explained as the battle of the sexes, and many women would pay for this fight with their lives. Abuse is not limited to physical scares though, a subject worthy of mention is sexual exploitation in many industries.

On a lighter note, women in business are here to offer critical perspective. See it as a commentary on years of human trading, merchandising and consumerism. We are not here to offer a threat, but rather to pose a very real question: Can the world really afford to function without women in their economies, and not only as employees but as c-suit management and ground breaking pioneers? And if it can’t, what are the repercussions of a pay gap or gender tax on our nations?

I have to answer as an African, before I speak as anyone else; women are as much a part of our precious human resource as anyone one else – and yet I’ve seen circus animals treated better. We need to leverage off all our African renaissance leaders. My optimism was rendered a shocking blow just three weeks ago when Minister Blade Mzimande of the Cabinet of South Africa, announced the minimum wage to be a mere R 3 500. That average is a pittance and is largely based on male statistic; so this means women are making far less, and of that they still have to pay the monthly costs of feminine products (the punishment for not procreating I suppose) while male condoms are freely available in bathrooms. It would be an injustice if I didn’t mention that as many as 9 million girls miss out on up to 8 days of school a month due to a lack of sanitary towels.

So yes I am very excited about girl bosses, and I am blessed to be in the midst of a few of them. My dream is to make and see many more like them.

I’m just a woman who writes,
Fi

Eternal Optimist pick-up lines

I like it when money makes a difference, but doesn’t make you different… my favourite line from Drake.
The way love goes is not the way love came… the Common’s sense.
Like a moth to the flame, burned by the fire. My love is blind, can’t you see my desire… my favourite tune from Janette.
They say the darker the berry the sweeter the juice. I say the darker the skin, the deeper the roots… Tupac fruits.
Shame on me for changing, no no no, shame in you for stating the same…wanderful Aiko.
We’ve got each other and that’s a lot for love…Bon Jovi classics.
Imma look for my glory yeah, be back real soon… team Solo all day.
Wild is the wind… nothing is the matter with miss Simone.
You can be a master, don’t wait for luck… because life doesn’t always stick to The Script.
When you grow, you take everyone you love along… the Beys-nis (business).
You’ll never be happy until you learn to love yours… truths by Jermaine Cole.
They say our love won’t last forever, they could be wrong… banging track from L La Havas.

You’ve got the words to change the nation, but you’re bitting your tongue…Emeli Sandè encouraging us to share our version of events

….

People of Light

It’s been a minute since I last wrote, kept having concepts and ideas but never the time to sit and write.

So what’s been happening? I’ve been learning, growing and feeding my mind. I’ve encountered some truly amazing men and women and I’ve just been taking it all in. I’ve also been reading, I just finished my second book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Half of a Yellow Sun; it’s a riveting, can’t be put down kind of book. It’s a book that should be read by every African child, to remind them how ugly hate can be, how unfair to us the world can be and the importance of knowing the story of your people.

Having said that I’ve also had to silently internalize some sad moments. I had a friend in hospital, some personal loses and  gotten some less than favourable reports; but I’ve kept my hope card close to my heart and managed to keep going (because that’s what people of the Light do.)

img_2328
Morning light entering my bedroom

The ability of light to be refracted and broken into different colours is so amazing; in fact that is not the only cool thing you can do with light, light can be reflected and the universe continues to expand at the speed of light.

So so I guess a picture really is worth a thousand words… I’m still trying to figure out how that light broke up in pieces like that, and the green, I don’t even know where that came from.

Fi

Rueful – Reflections on Woman’s Month

N•P Nico & Vinz – Am I wrong

“I was walking one night, when I came across a woman.” The look on his face appeared to be quite somber. “I walked up to her and asked her where she was going.”

… I paused and thought for a moment. “OMG, I hope you didn’t harm the poor thing!” I thought.

…”But when I came close she became afraid, as if I was going to mug her. I just wanted to help her. It was late at night and I thought she might want an escort walking on this side of town. I wasn’t going to hurt her, just help her with her bags and things.” Again M. appeared to be addressing to the people in the room but his mind he seemed to be roaming the streets of Rose Town at night.

… I felt a wisp of ruefulness sweep over me. “How could I have thought this way? Yes M. did fit the profile of a brown-skinned tattooed mugger, but he had always been a perfect gentleman with me.” Later on I found out M. used to live a life of mugging and crime, I slightly felt better for my earlier thoughts, but not entirely.

******
The above story is true, and although it has a silly end it’s the backdrop for a major social issue. The vulnerability of women in our society.

Often times the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are partners, husbands and lovers, the very same people that should be protecting them.

Recently a group of four university students gate crashed a presidential address in Pretoria, South Africa, pertaining to the local government elections. President Zuma was upstaged by the silent protestors who wanted the nation to remember the president’s alleged rape charges. Whereas the president had been acquitted of all rape charges, the women insisted that as feminists it was their duty to revisit the matter that still plagued the victim to the very day.

I’m not sure whether the platform that these women used was the correct one to address such an issue, but I do know that I was very disappointed by the general ANC response, as well as that of the ANC Women’s League. They seemed to deal with the “conspirators” and bypass the real issue. I listened as the ANC spokesperson advised that it was simply an opposition party trying to discredit the ANC leadership, but on interview one of the young women said that no one had put them up to it. “We live in a society where women are discredited… Where we are not depicted as being capable of having our own thoughts… Why does there have to be a third force involved?” The agony in her tone almost pleading with the camera.

If you have a woman in your life, love her, heal her and protect her,

Fi

Expletive – Not like a curse, but more like the lalala in a song.

Sorry I’ve been too busy to write. I know I don’t owe anyone an apology but I have to account, even if it’s only to myself. I’ve been busy with studying and reading to better myself but something brought me out of hibernation.

I think I had a moment of magic, well I know I did; so hence my reappearance, which is soon to be a constant again. As much as I use this platform to share quite a lot of myself, there are still parts of my life I keep private. So about this magical moment… I won’t go into too much detail, but I will share just enough to get you thinking and hopefully keep you interested.

So by way of digression, my sister is getting married and like any big sister I’m super excited. That’s magical on its own, but back to what I was saying; I usually write in the past tense as I chronicle past events, but this is in the present tense ’cause it’s still forming in my mind. My idea isn’t finite yet, it’s still in fetus form but I really think I’m on to something! I’m going to generalize here, but I hope that you the catch the spirit of what I’m saying.
We sometimes get lost in the small things, small ideas and small people.* We reduce a mass problem affecting a neighbourhood, a city or a generation with our myopic view to our own circumstances. What I mean by that is we lose focus of the bigger picture, and start watering things down till it becomes our own micro-portrait. What brought the magic for me was lifting my eyes above my circumstances and peering over the horizon as it were.

There is magic inside you, in each and every single person. Why if it weren’t safely tucked away on the inside of us we wouldn’t enjoy the journey of self-discovery & coming into our own through self-realization. Ever get the feeling that what your doing today is a dress rehearsal for something great that’s still on its way? Have you ever felt like you were the main character in your own tale? Or try this one on for size. Have you ever felt limited by some or other unknown force or power? The simple answer is the power is wielded by you; your thoughts, words, actions and habits frame the reality of your life. A frame almost “guards” the dimensions of a picture. The smaller your frame, the smaller the picture you place in it will be. Everyday you wake up you choose to dabble in some forgiving, hate speech, violence or love, but you create. You make choices and when one course of action is followed, it’s often to the exclusion of another. You are a artist, a magician and boy do you create! Prolifically, not a moment is wasted. Sometimes it’s trouble and sometimes it’s peace. Every option is fair game until you make up your mind to, “Go with the tangerine shoes!,” because you love them. Because at this point the universe is truly responding to who you think you are and what you feel you are worthy of attracting. Unlike certain authors (whom I’ve never read) I don’t pin this down to emotions and the will, it’s really a matter of sowing and reaping. Oh gosh! What I’m really trying to say is use words, think thoughts and make decisions that will add value to your life like a good frame adds value to a picture; the quality of your life can only fall within the parameters of what you’ve framed it to be.

So no, no, no! The picture does not proceed the frame. Instead the frame was always there guiding the artist’s hand. What blank canvas has unlimited dimensions? None. The frame was there all along, intrinsic in the canvas’s DNA.

I’m going to need a bigger picture for the frame I have. Let’s make magic,
Fi. 😌

*Small people are people with a capacity for where you are, or where you have been, but not for the place where you are going.

Daughters of Sarah

I’m so excited a long term vision of mine has finally come to fruition.  A while ago I started thinking about the necessary discussions, the relevant discourse and the inter-generational talks that were not happening. One night I even dreamt about it, and now it’s finally here and I get to be a part of it.

Daughters of Sarah is an organisation, a girls society where we talk about all things pertaining to young women. From self-image and brand identity, to etiquette and career planing. We are a network of future leaders who pass the baton on from one generation to the next.

Our first meeting was a low tea event.

The girls did a lot of work on themselves.

The first activity was for the girls to:

  1. Stand against a chalkboard while the other girls wrote something about them which they couldn’t see
  2. then we took a picture and left them guessing as to what the opinion the others had of them was
  3. we engaged them as to what their thoughts were about their self image, the effect that both the environment and their own internal factors had on this
  4. then we let them read what the others had written and engaged them on what formulates ones reputation
  5. the point of this exercise was to show  that people’s opinions do not have to affect our self confidence and that we also have a responsibility with regard to what we put out to the world.

We giggled and had fun, but we touched on some very serious issues too. Daughters will become women and one day mothers who will be responsible for nurturing future sons and daughters, they need our support to become the best that they can be.

Here’s to big things coming our way and the 2016 DoS,

Fi

*if you’d like to be involved please email me or post a comment below