Khokhela Sambe Nyongolo

Khokhela Sambe Nyongolo

Bulawayo is telling truths only these days kanti kusani? I’m here for it. Khokhela sambe we Nyongolo, mbabazane eyahaqaza amabhunu lasemasendeni, okwatsho imbongi.

I swear I don’t go looking for these things, they come to me.

I believe this is called a bridge? Kumbe yi chorus?

The first time I saw this Facebook ad I ignored it because there’s a lot going on and I didn’t have the capacity to deal with ‘Mthwakazi’ rhetoric, which is what I expected from a track titled Nyongolo.

The next time it came up on my feed I ignored it again. Guiltily, because #cityofkings, and because this post is still fresh however, no capacity.

Third time’s the charm though because I finally clicked the SoundCloud link and…

Listen. Click here to hear the full track.

Angilawo amanengi ngoba uDoni (uNgudoni? Kuthwani?) uqede konke.

It’s one of those tracks that makes you want to Google the lyrics so you can sing-along, immediately.

Not only is the beat perfectly suited to the cadence of the rhymes/bars (or vice-versa, whatever) but the lyrics – oh my God the lyrics. Pretty simple on the surface but if you know the history (as in, the history) then you know that whoever wrote this knows a lot more about Nyongolo and isiNtu than they’re letting on.

I developed an instant semi-crush on whoever wrote this track because damn, the big dick energy hinted at will be something to behold when this fire matures and settles into smouldering unquenchable heat. It’s the difference between a black man in his 20s and one in his 40s. Both are virile and strong (please, I’m not talking about your sugar daddy with the beer belly) but there’s something that comes with age that Ben 10 just doesn’t have.

I’m saying. Rappers flexin’ is kinda boring to me but once in a while along comes one who flexes and my ovaries and I sit up and take notice. Give this man a few years and he could really make me pay attention and like it. Of course I don’t know him, have no idea what he even looks like, all I have is this SoundCloud link and an inclination to see what else he has done. His talent is undeniable and that’s hella sexy to me.

If you know anything about Nyongolo, about Bulawayo, you’ll love this. If you love isiNdebele rap/hip-hop, you’ll love this.

If you love isiNdebele, period – well… you’re welcome.

Was It Love Or Was He Bored?

I call it: A Study in Pink


What this picture reminds me of is not my baby’s first ‘holiday’ or how much fun we had at Bela Bela, but how callous men can be and how I can be made stupid by a man who can turn a bunch of words into a poem written just for me. Whose head wouldn’t be turned by that?!

So there I was, minding my own Facebook business when Shaun inboxed me. Long story short he’d found a piece of my writing, been impressed by it and wanted to tell me so. So he did. I have twice fallen for ‘inboxing fans’ but Shaun was the first. It happened again a few years later because I live in hope (and I’m a slow learner). Don’t get it twisted – I will never not believe in love.

When Shaun asked me for a recent photo this is the one I sent him. It really was the most recent and it gave all the necessary information for him to decide whether or not to continue what was fast becoming a flirtation.

Despite knowing that I had a three-month-old baby (and an older son) and that I belong to team flat-chest and keep my hair natural, he pursued me as much as anyone can be pursued via texts and calls – he was in Europe you see, it’s not like he could take me on dates.

He fell for me and I fell for him. We discussed a possible future, what it might look like and what it might require. I spent a couple of thousands on phone calls and several hundred on gifts. That’s the ‘relationship’ that taught me about polarity – if you know you know and if you don’t know, I’m sorry your love-life sucks.

He called almost daily, video-called often, and we lived on WhatsApp. He wrote me poetry assuring me he was ‘here’ and that he was ready to ‘jump (into love).’ I had (and might still have if I didn’t delete it) a special Onenote notebook for all his words to me. He sent me money, he sent me gifts, and when it came time for his annual visit home we spent many hours discussing how and when we would meet. It was all really exciting until he set foot on African soil and went AWOL.

My friends believed with me that ‘something must have happened’ because the last time we spoke was when he was on his way to the airport. Did the cab crash? Was he in hospital somewhere wishing I was at his side? Did he miss his connecting flight? Did he even land in Zim? I was frantic and powerless. What the fuck happened? I ran through all possible scenarios except the one where he decided he wasn’t going to talk to me anymore. That didn’t occur to me until a mutual friend (who didn’t know I was pining for my missing love) mentioned, unasked, the drinking spree they’d had. To say I was hurt is an understatement.

When I did hear from him again – after he was back in Europe – he told me he’d decided that he wanted ‘a blank slate’ (yep, his exact words) – he couldn’t fathom taking on someone who already had kids. He was sorry. I was stunned (and really, really hurt) because he KNEW I had kids before anything even began…

You would think that I put him out of my mind then and went about fixing my life – you’d be wrong.
A couple of weeks later (or whatever) he convinced me that he’d thought about it properly, that he’d read up on step-parenting, and that his mind and heart agreed that I was the one. I believed him.

Sigh.

It was soooo good, that ‘relationship.’ We liked the same things. Like Terry Pratchett, wine, mascarpone and amacimbi (not all at once though). We were both as ghetto fabulous as we were bougie. We were writers, critiquing each other honestly, even brutally. We talked about everything, even his two friends who discouraged him from a long-distance relationship with someone he’d never met. Those haters.

I was so excited when he wrangled another trip home. We would finally get to meet and say to each other all the things we’d been wanting to say that didn’t work via phone or text.

You might not believe me but he pulled the same stunt as before. Not exactly, no. This time we spoke even after he landed in Zim and all the while he stayed there. We planned his Joburg visit – well, I say ‘planned’ but he claimed to be a spontaneous traveller and that he would ‘figure it out’ when he landed. I spoke with him daily right until the Sunday night that came before his Monday flight to Joburg and to me. Then I never heard from him again.

It took me a year to put myself back together and really forgive him. When I no longer needed closure from him because I’d found it on my own – as one should – I wrote to him. I wrote to him because I was free of all the feelings of unworthiness he’d triggered, because his name popping up on my feeds no longer hurt, because I’d dealt (I thought) with the broken parts of me that could fall so in love with someone I’d never even met in person (y out that last wasn’t done because M-ho came along a few years later – but that’s another story). I wrote to Shaun because the circle was still open and so I closed it, finally. I didn’t need or expect a response but one came anyway. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”

This photo reminds me of the time a man who didn’t want to be a step-parent fell in love with a single mother. It shouldn’t, but life’s funny like that.

LINA BANTU BAKONTUTHU, MATABELELAND ZOMBILI LE MIDLANDS: NGIKHULUMA LANI.

LINA BANTU BAKONTUTHU, MATABELELAND ZOMBILI LE MIDLANDS: NGIKHULUMA LANI.

Bulawayo artist Cal Vin released this track and it is fire. My thoughts after the jump.

Yikuthi iqiniso lisababa asikalifuni, kumbe ngithi asikabi lesibindi sokuliginya lonke. Olendlebe (lamehlo) uzezwa.

Into eyakhulunywa nguMajaivana iliqiniso kodwa siyaphambanisa nxa siyikha phezulu, nxa singacacisi ukuthi wathini ngodaba lolu lonke luphelele.
Nxa uMajaivana wakwanisa (yes I said that, yenelisa for who) ukuthi aliqambe iqiniso libaba gamu, thina sizahlulwa yini ukuthi lathi silikhulume?

Mina ke angisomuntu we music, or any of the performing arts, really, so I don’t follow the trends or the news. Ngingusisi (please don’t call me ‘masalu’) ozithandela ukuthula, lo Cal Vin yena lo angimazi ngiyam’qala today. Sengimazi futhi ngihle ngamthanda because listen, uqinisile and there’s some good writing in there – I believe it’s called bars? Barz? Anyway. Cool track. Otherwise I wouldn’t have shared it. But I digress.
I was saying ngeke ngiqamb’ amanga ngith’ i-industry ngiyayazi to comment in-depth. Ngazi kuphela engikwaziyo, yikho engizakhuluma ngakho.

UMajaivana wathi kasoz’ aphind’ abuye koBulawayo. Bakhona abakwaziy’ ukuthi kwakutheni az’ atsho njalo. Lokuthi kasolanga amaShona kuphela, bayakwazi. Maybe bazafakaza, asazi.

Mina engikwaziyo yikuthi nxa sifak’ umunt’ omdala entwen’ zethu kumele simhloniphe, singacatshi ngaye ngoba sisesaba ukukhangelana leqiniso LONKE.



UCal Vin uqinisile kodwa iqiniso lelo aliphelelanga, futhi bekungadingeki ukuthi liphelele lonke ngengoma eyodwa so don’t get it twisted. Inselele yikuthi silixoxe lonke iqiniso lakhona otherwise kusamatopi and the entire conversation is pointless, but maybe that’s just me.

Mina ngingahlangana lento yakithi emnandi ngiyathanda ukuzwisa abanye, unless into emnandi kuyindoda ngoba lokho kuyazila. Kuba buhlungu kimi nxa sengisizwa umuntu esithi ‘ah, imnandi ngayizwa.’
Hawu, wezwa wathula? Why?

Kungumbuzo oqakathekileyo ngoba how do you ‘support local talent’ if you can’t even like/share a damn YouTube video? Pho ku-show uzahamba? Merchandise uzathenga? So… Support how, exactly?

Lokhe sibukela idoti yezanu kulokuthi sibukele okwethu ngoba silinde yona zanu leyo labantu bayo ukuthi basithuthukise. Sihlala singo Sincengile labo Lahliwe eHarare kodwa nxa oCal Vin labo Ras Boom besiphakela sidla sisesulela phansi, asila dankie. Nywe nywe amaShona while we do the same thing they do – neglect us. In what universe does that even make sense?

Ngabe likhala ngemali kodwa isupport igcwele phamu ngabe ngiyezwa but as it is, alikafuni ukuzwa iqiniso elithi ikhwapha elinukayo ngelakoNtuthu. Zinukeni bo, ngoba mhlawumbe yini elilenkinga.

UCal Vin mina bengingamazi, s’tru bob. I’ve seen the name on social media posters but honestly, I thought he was a comedian – or is he multi-talented? Yebo i-music asonto zami, kodwa lina elithi liyamazi liyamthanda and liyamsapota, why singakaze siyibone isupport leyo, evidenced by you sharing his work lathi size sifise ukuzwa?

UCal Vin uqinisile, but iqiniso leli libanzi njalo lijulile ukudlula ingoma le. We all know that. We know that the discrimination on tribal grounds is systemic. Ingoma leyi ngokuncane kwakhona.
But the song has, I hope, opened a door, and that’s what art should do: get people talking. So, khulumani sizwe, oro ngithi sibone.

Kumbe liyesaba ukuthi nxa singaqeda ukusola amaShona kuzamele sibhekane sodwa sitshelane amaqiniso?

Autocorrect Is NOT My Friend

Once upon a time I met a man in these estreets. DMs were slid into, preliminaries exchanged and the basics established: we’s interested in each other and no, not for friendship.

Conversation moved to WhatsApp right quick and it was all the way lit. Immediately. Not lit like some of y’all’s message apps, but lit like two people who love words, appreciate punctuation, love humour, and love Bulawayo. Also, two people who understand how Nguni courtship works. If nothing else, I’ll give him that.

This man (shall we call him Farmer Bae?) slithered and wriggled his way into my life (read: my heart) such that me saying ‘I love you’ to him was not outside of the realm of possibility.
Did I say it? Not in so many words. I wasn’t that far gone but oh, it was a close thing.
Did he say it? No.
He just pulled movie stunts like finding me reference books I didn’t even know I needed, and showing up unannounced and making it feel romantic instead of creepy…which is to say, he did and said just enough that I was led to believe he felt it and wanted to say it…

Me, I believe in love. I will never not believe in love. I know this about myself now and I’m OK with it. Maybe it’s something to examine and heal, maybe it’s just who I am; all I know is I love easily, deeply, for real; each time like it’s the first and last and only time. I’ve learnt to separate my capacity for love from my fear of being hurt… But that’s another story.

Farmer Bae turned out to be a lying liar of the worst kind. Ruthless, a bounder and a knave, calculating, without couth, mercy, or conscience, and surrounded by enablers who help him maintain a facade of decent (faux) respectability.

Was I hurt? Yeah. Disappointed? Hell yeah.
But what really pisses me off,
What gets my goat and grinds my gears
Is that now,
Some two, maybe three years later when he’s nothing but a cautionary tale,
My phone auto-corrects ‘me’ to ‘Mem’
And I don’t know how to fix it. 😭

His name might Memabonke or MemHo…doesn’t really matter.
All I want to know is, how do I fix this?

The Woman Who Forgave Too Much Part 1

Once upon time, a brave legal secretary who wore nothing but heels to the office went into business. When I say nothing but heels I don’t mean naked except for heels, you understand that, right?
Anyway.
Everyone told her she would fail, that she couldn’t keep her job as a legal secretary, run a home (she had children) and co-manage a business. But she signed the agreements with her partners and took on the store.

She brought in her sisters, her children and housekeeper to sweep, mop, clean walls and eventually pack the shelves. She sent the littlest one with a list to nearby shops – Seawater Supermarket on this side and Tony’s Superette on the other, past the butchery – to compare prices. Competitive pricing, you know. With her partners, the lovely couple from Lobengula West, they agreed they would hire ONLY family, no outsiders, and they agreed on who would man (or woman) which counter. The shop opened, oh yes, and business was good.

The brave secretary (legal, not just a typist mind you) brought in her older sister Doris and Doris’s grown daughter Beatrice. She brought in her other sister too, Constance. Maybe they all three swopped womaning the tills and the bread counter and the sweet counter. Ah, the sweet counter. The huge yellow-orange apricots (a sugary imitation of the fruit, delicious), the fudge and the ‘fish’ – marshmallow shaped like fish – were my favourites. Also the chocolate éclairs, ama glucose in their red wrappers…ah, the good old days, when Arenel was Arenel. Her partners brought in staff too, but I wasn’t privy to the roster and division of labour so excuse the gaps in my knowledge of who did what.

Next door, sharing a wall, a kitchen and a bathroom, was a butchery. The secretary and her partners had wanted that space too but alas, it wasn’t available for rent. The butchery workers were two young men who took her admonishment to stop peeing against the back wall and use the bathroom now that it was clean, very seriously. They were nice young men, polite, from Tsholotsho. It was good to have more men nearby, she didn’t think they would cause trouble. Oh, how wrong she was.

Life was good in those supermarket days. People who had never worked before were earning real money, taking day-old bread and buns home, liberating Flava Rava and Fresh that had reached use-by dates from the fridge because everyone knew ‘use-by’ meant two or three days before it actually went bad – it was a good time for all concerned. Children began taking pocket money to school, cheeks grew fat…yes, things were looking up. The legal secretary didn’t have to support everyone anymore. She was no longer the go-to for any and all problems. Her family had means and it was a beautiful thing. Can you say Empowerment? How about Agency?

One day, the woman and her partners received a call from their lawyers. Oh no! What could be wrong?! They couldn’t help speculating as they rode the York House lift on the appointed day. Or was it Kirrie Building where their lawyer was?
What they didn’t expect was the butchery tenant – they’d never met him – and his impatience. He told them that he didn’t want any trouble, he just wanted his profit margin back where it was. What?

Yes, you and your store full of thirsty women are ruining my business and that needs to stop before I ruin yours. His final word. I think it was a very short meeting.
Everyone was confused because WHAT?

You, reading this, are not confused because although you know that nobody said ‘thirsty’ in that context in the 90s, you know exactly what was meant. Right?
But the woman – let’s call her Ntombi – and her partners didn’t understand what thirst had to do with anything. They had no idea of the shitstorm that was coming their way. Still, they agreed to fix it, whatever it was.

Back at the store, Ntombi and her partners agreed to investigate separately. Investigate they did. Well, her partners did. Ntombi simply asked MaSibanda, her housekeeper of many years, for all the gossip. MaSibanda did not disappoint.

What followed in the next few months was a fallout between the partners, an unexpected and unimaginable betrayal, and the loss of a business that should have and would have changed lives in lasting ways.

What followed, eventually, was a legal battle that put Ntombi – my mother – in debt for years, wiped out her savings, and forever ruined several longstanding friendships.

What followed should have broken the family too but it didn’t, because Ntombi – Ntombizodwa – was beautiful inside and out and forgiveness was her superpower. Some might argue that the family didn’t break apart because it was already broken and that Ntombi was plastering over cracks – over chasms in fact – trying to mend the unmendable, but that’s another story.

I never saw my mother cry except on three occasions. The first, when Aunt Matilda died. Second, when Gogo MaMpofu died and the last time was when I was in labour with FirstBorn. Outside of those times I don’t remember seeing her cry (although I think she must have), but when she told me what happened to the shop, I think she came very close it.

Should I Have Said Yes?

Straight after graduation I was encouraged to apply for postgrad study and the accompanying faculty job. I applied.
In the interview, the discussion rolled around to my honours dissertation, for which I had a 3. Why such a poor showing, they asked, when you did so well in everything else? What problems did you encounter in your research? I mumbled some explanation or other.

See, I had been victimised for my views on Gukurahundi and on the language of teaching on campus, but all that had happened in first year before I knew any better, before I knew to just put my head down and work. I couldn’t afford to repeat so I wasn’t going to kick-up a fuss just because my supervisor asked me, in our first meeting about the paper I was to write, if I was free that weekend for a visit to his lodge. Nor was I going to discuss that in an interview with his colleagues.

He had shown me an advert in The Herald, a beautiful lodge in Domboshava, I think it was. He told me all about how the opportunity to invest had come to him, he made small talk, asked my favourite drink (0% Carimba in those days), told me how he’d manoeuvred to be appointed my supervisor so that we could go to Domboshava together ‘for business and pleasure’ because I was the kind of girl who could be discreet. He was making an exception for me he said, because he could see my potential, otherwise he’d never invite me to the lodge, his special place. He made it clear that he would only discuss my dissertation at that lodge. I declined the offer.

So I wrote without support and in that interview, after I’d gotten my 3 for it, I dodged (neatly, I thought) all questions about how I’d come to submit without supervisor approval.

At the end of the interview the panel informed me that my 3 and my inability to adequately explain it meant they could not in good conscience allow me to register for the MPhil.
Did I perhaps want to try again, this time ‘opening up’ about my ‘irregular’ dissertation?

I walked out tears stinging, but I never let them fall.

This morning, bathing in the morning sun, I found myself recalling those days and wondering – what if I’d gone to Domboshava? Where would I be, what might my life have become?

Happy New Year and all that…

Happy New Year and all that…

My account might be empty but my heart is bursting and I am thankful.

As a new decade unfolds I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in the cupboards and overall good health. My heart is full full full because I also have loving friends, supportive sisters, and my children are well and happy. I spoke to the little one yesterday and she told me in no uncertain terms to ‘go outside and find money’ because she really, really wants a tablet. Fam, feel free to contribute to that fund. I have PayPal 😁

Today I had a long chat with FirstBorn, child of my youth, and we agreed on things like schedules and curfews for the new year. Then we called his sister who is visiting her aunties, and my heart almost burst when she asked if she could speak to him, no prompting necessary. If nothing else, at least my children know and love each other, and long may that hold. Amen.

I’m tempted to go into how shitty 2019 was but I won’t because I’m looking forward, not back. Yeah sure, lessons learned and all that, but I’ve done a lot of reviewing over the last couple of weeks and I’m ready – I’ve been ready – to lay that decade to rest.

Here’s to actioning all the things FirstBorn and I put down, and more besides. Here’s to all that abundance and growth and joy. Here’s to #20Plenty to you and yours ❤️

So you don’t believe in new year resolutions. What do you want, a medal?

So you don’t believe in new year resolutions. What do you want, a medal?

What follows that dark night of the soul should you be lucky enough to hang on till morning?
Sure it’s a brand new day and all that jazz (and hip-hop and afro soul), but you’re a broken-down raggedy-ass version of yourself, you’re tired and worn out. How bright is that new day looking, really?

That dark night was no joke and some recovery and reconstituting of the self is necessary.
What does that look like? What does it require? What more can life ask of you after what you’ve just been through? What is there left to give when you been rung and squeezed dry, and you just want to be left alone, at least till you’ve caught your breath and you’re firmly back on your feet? And that’s the question, isn’t it? How to breathe again, stand again, get out of survival mode and thrive?

These are the questions I’m asking on the cusp of a fresh decade. I don’t care that the calendar is arbitrary. No, I didn’t ‘wait for the new year to make changes’ but that’s how the cookie is crumbling. I don’t care who’s rolling their eyes right now because fuck it, new year, new me.

Everybody doesn’t need a whole new beginning right goddamn now, everybody isn’t in the space for that. We’re not all at the same place in our journeys and that is ok.

However.

Stop crapping on those who are making a big deal about the new year, who do need a fresh start RIGHT NOW, right around the start of a new year. Clichéd, much? Yeah. And?

Ignoring us new year resoluters 👀 takes nothing away from you but mocking us is hurtful and damaging. And no, we’re not all strong enough to ignore you in return, especially those of you whom we love and respect, and those we look up to, to teach and to lead. Imagine trying to turn your whole life around and feeling alone with that gargantuan task because your friends and your therapist and your life coach mock new year’s resolutions (if your therapist and/or life coach mock you please replace them). Seriously though, imagine being the reason someone is lonely on that journey? Or, even worse, being the reason why they don’t make the commitments they need to, to make vital shifts? I know we’re not to blame for the choices others make, but there’s a reason we need to be compassionate with one another. That shit matters. If you can’t be there that’s one thing, but don’t be the darkness when we’re only trying to get to the light. I didn’t ask for a dark year. I didn’t ask for some kinda breakthough now, at the end of it. Don’t make a hard thing – getting back up – even harder, or something I need to hide, or something for which you shame me. Please.

So yeah. New year, new me. I said that. Yes, I’ve said it before and maybe it didn’t stick but so what? I’m still trying and as far as this goes, I’m going to continue trying. And if I fall, shut the fuck up if you’re not helping me get up. Thanks.

New year, new me. New decade, new me. I will say it for myself and for those who do want to make this season a time of change, healing and recovery, but hesitate to say so because of the cliché. If that’s not you, just roll your eyes internally, keep your jaded opinions on resolutions to yourself, and move on. Be kind in that regard. It really won’t kill you.

Having said that, it’s important for my reputation to point out that I’m not some special snowflake. I’m still going to laugh at myself with my friends who WILL roll their eyes – but that’s because my friends are savage and unfiltered and, importantly, they will chase the unfiltered savagery with a whole bunch of love and support. Do the same (the love part, not the savagery part) for your friends and others. Show them and maybe even tell them (insert eyeroll here) that even though you don’t go in for that new year = new start vibe, you respect and understand why they might need to. Be a good friend, hold space when needed. When in doubt, do the loving thing. It’s really not that hard if you think about it first.

Correct Me If I’m Wrong: On Veganism

Correct Me If I’m Wrong: On Veganism
*NB: I have vegan friends whom I love dearly and whose personal principles and ethics I respect. Otherwise we wouldn’t be friends. This is not about individuals, it’s about informed decision-making and staying off high horses.

So I know several vegans who keep cats and dogs. And I’ve always thought to myself… 🤔

Because generally, vegans love to rant about meat-eating, meanwhile… 🤔

And then there’s the fact that I know (because I asked) that vets know that cats will often die prematurely from sustained attempts to turn them vegan, and that vegans will pay for every consultation until then…

Here’s where I get confused: vegans wanna harass Bab’ uMkhize, a communal farmer, for taking his grass-fed free-range cattle to the abattoir, and then harass and judge me for buying the meat meanwhile they finna pay premium rand for imported plant-based GMO-free cat-food and still talk to me about carbon emissions? Make me understand, please.

Also…

Another question I have: local vegans and Beyond Burgers. Beyond Meat is a US-based company that produces plant-based GMO-free meat-substitutes. Beyond Meat products are available locally and the Beyond Burger is especially popular ever since it was first introduced in SA around 2017/2018. Beyond Meat is produced in the US and distributed in Africa by Infinite Foods. Where are your ethics, vegan, your principles, your concern about the environment and dedication to reducing your carbon footprint when you buy a Beyond Burger? I know I’d do a lot for the perfect, juicy burger, but aren’t vegans better than all of us? I mean, to hear some of them talk…

So how does it make any kind of sense for these warriors for the environment to import burgers? Not medication, not books to educate the rest of us troglodytes and philistines, not technology for sustainable food production practises, but burgers?

My conclusion is that just because someone is vegan doesn’t mean they adhere to any or all of the principles generally associated with veganism as a movement. Correct me if I’m wrong, but vegans are human too and as imperfect as the rest of us. Right? Although to hear some of them tell it…

If I was a vegan and spouting all the stuff vegans spout (thank Goddess none of my vegan friends ever spout), I wouldn’t keep a cat. I would never encourage the incarceration of a living creature just so I have a carnivorous warm&fuzzy to keep me company. Because that would be wrong. And weird. But unless your pet is a guard-dog I probably think you’re weird anyway so, yeah.

If I was a vegan and also an activist for the environment as most claim to be, I would boycott not just animal products but also all imported goods except the absolutely essential, because hello, principles that I don’t forget when it’s convenient (or delicious) to do so.

If I was a vegan I’d also make a whole lot more noise about why Woolies (which I would love because you know, it’s Woolies) sells packaged avocados. Avocados. In styrofoam and plastic. I’m not even vegan and I posted on the Woolies fb page about this. Someone told me to cut them some slack because they’re trying. Really??? How hard is it to not wrap avos?

How much do you really care if you’re buying Woolies avos? I love avos as much as the next person (unless that person is my son who says avo tastes like Vaseline), but I will never buy packaged avo.

Fam, if I was a vegan I’d put my money where my mouth is. I would buy local, support cottage industry, and eat only what my environment can sustainably produce, even if that means possibly dying without ever tasting a Beyond Burger. The Beyond Burger thing bugs me even more than the cat thing because if you had a cat and then went vegan what could you do? But importing vegan burgers? The same people who judge the rest of us for eating meat even when we try to buy responsibly??? How, Sway?

Vegans eat exotic foods (if it’s imported it’s exotic, even if it’s ‘only’ a Kenyan avo) and then they wanna get on their high horses and look down on the rest of us because we – supposedly unlike them – don’t care about the environment.

I don’t know where, when or how vegans lost their common sense. Might be a side-effect of all the amino-acid deficiencies (I kid, I kid), but if they really cared about the environment surely they’d agree it’s better to buy chops in Heidelberg than a burger flown in from the US?

And don’t even get me started on almond milk. Litre for litre and everything being equal, cow’s milk costs the environment more than almond milk. But factor in that almond farms use pesticides that are causing irreversible damage to the soil and impacting water supply, and that the milk is flown to you most likely from California – suddenly it’s not so straight-forward anymore. Correct me of I’m wrong but the vegan choice isn’t always better.

And vegan skin products? I will respect a vegan who gets her soap, shampoo, makeup or whatever from local suppliers who use locally available ingredients. Especially if those suppliers also use sustainable production methods. But if you make a trip to FreshEarth every month to get that Europe or US-produced lipbalm and face cream – I’m judging you. Hard. And you will never convince me about veganism while you’re making all of these hypocritical decisions about what to eat and put on your skin and etc etc. How’s that dissonance feel, hmm?

And as for buying bottled water? As for buying imported bottled water?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against vegans or veganism, I just get confused when talk doesn’t match walk. I’ve toyed with the idea myself a couple of times but out of respect for my ancestors it’s unlikely that I’ll give up meat completely and forever. Cut down consumption, yes. Buy/farm responsibly, yes. Eliminate totally? Not without divine intervention.

And then there’s an issue I’ve pondered often but am yet to address directly, even with vegans in my circles: I have NEVER seen or heard any vegan ever talk about the rights and welfare of farm workers. Not once. Not ever. So I wanna know: do vegans really not give a damn about people?

On Writing Joy

On Writing Joy

The first post I wrote for #boty2019 came from some deep place I have not accessed since. That’s because I wrote it ‘stream-of-consciousness-ly’ which is how I write when I write for myself and from my heart, when I’m not trying to stay on-topic or to adhere to some unspoken-yet-agreed-upon rules. It’s how I write when I write for the joy of unburdening my heart, which is both the easiest and the hardest way to write. Easiest because I’m my only critic and I’m on my side, and hardest because it leaves nothing unexamined and it is draining, in much the same way that good sex is about vulnerability and leaves you exhausted, to use a metaphor everyone understands. So the very first post was the equivalent of phenomenal sex with someone you love, and all the others were like meh sex with someone you once loved that you’re hoping still has that thing.

I’ve read some of the other blogs in the challenge and honestly, hayi kabi, but a lot of the posts read like the writer wanted to get the topic of the day over and done with, to tick the box marked done and keep it moving. Decidedly unexciting I must say, and I understood and sympathised because I felt the same way about my own #boty posts, all two or three of them. However, I did not start this blog for it to be unexciting, mediocre and mundane. I started it to write what I like. Which begs the question – why bother with the challenge at all? Because I was uninspired and because I have a lot to say about a lot of things and I thought the challenge of writing to a prompt every day would get me out of the funk I’d been in. I was very, very wrong.

2019 was such a crap year that looking for ‘best of’ things actually hurt because it was proof that I didn’t really live 2019. Oh I survived it barely, but I didn’t thrive at all and trying to remember my favourite things of the year brought that into too-sharp focus.

If I had a gun pointed at me to complete the challenge or else I probably could, but for the love of words, I did not start this blog or take up the #boty challenge for either to be joyless – and the exercise was decidedly joyless. Even expanding the timeline from one year to encompass the entire decade didn’t help. I mean, I could write reams and reams for each topic and write them well, but I don’t get off on doing things just because I can or should – unless there’s money involved of course, and this blog isn’t exactly a money-maker. I’m simply not the girl who thrives in those circumstances. I’m at my best when I do things because I want to or because I’m inspired or led to, which was the case with the very first post. And if I can’t do that on this blog, where can I???

It took me a week to come to grips with what was bugging me about the challenge, to figure out why I was so lethargic about it from jump. I also didn’t want to quit without introspecting about why. See, it’s not that I’m quitting, I’m just changing direction but if you think I’m quitting that’s OK too. Semantics? Perhaps.

So what am I saying?
In short: Eff 2019. Throw it away already.
I’m not going to torture myself with ‘best of the year/decade’ because this was a crap year all round and I refuse to mine the past for moments of joy when I can put that energy to good use creating joy today and tomorrow. I’d probably feel differently if I’d had a great year but I didn’t, so here we are. Adaptability, see?

I’d rather look to the future. I’d rather not spend 30 days or 25 days or however long the challenge was supposed to be, searching for things of note in an awful year. I’d rather spend this time fantasing about my beautiful, sexy, free future thus creating it, than tryna find things to love and praise about a dying year and the decade it’s closing.

Oh, and eff 2019. Did I say that already?