I AM AFRIKA ON MY SLEEVE - Exhibition

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I AM AFRIKA ON MY SLEEVE - Exhibition

I AM AFRIKA ON MY SLEEVE

Third Culture African Voices

On the 27th of May we had the pleasure of opening the 'I AM AFRIKA ON MY SLEEVE' exhibition at The West Auckland Research Centre. What an amazing afternoon we had sharing Afrika on My Sleeve's journey. Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated with us, we are humbled. 

The last four years of collaborations and projects wouldn’t have been possible without the love & support of the people that came on board and most importantly the community. Thank you for being a part of campaigns, for attending workshops and for fully embracing the platform with an understanding that this is for us by us. Thank you for standing beside Afrika on My Sleeve, the manifestation of the Ubuntu spirit (all for one and one for all) has been reflected and continues to shine through because of your actions and unwavering support. 

What started off as a fashion show to provide a platform for designers inspired by Afrika has now blossomed into a platform thay champions for authentic voice representions of people of Afrikan descent in New Zealand and across the diaspora. It has also been a journey full of lessons and a lot of growth.

Thank you thank you thank you! Sisters and brothers of Afrika, your melanin and your Afrikanness is a blessing, sometimes it may not seem like it but trust me the glory is in you. Thank you for journeying with this platform for the last four years, I am looking forward to four more years infinitely. 

Thank you to Peter for dressing me. Click here to shop your own Afro-inspired look

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Finding Temeraire - Play Review

Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned!

Finding Temeraire, a play written by award winning writer Stanley Makuwe is a story about love, betrayal and forgiveness that left me in chills. Set in the mining town of Mashava, Zimbabwe, the play is about an estranged lover who returns after serving a 25-year jail sentence for the murder of her new born child. Blazing with rage & fury, the woman seeks sweet revenge against a lover who scoffed when she told him she was pregnant. With patriarchy being his blessing, after he scoffed, he returned to his life like nothing happened. He doesn't even remember her. 

I imagine the 25-years she spent behind bars her motivation to see each day was the thought of confronting him, of him seeing what he had done to her. I imagine the pain, shame, guilt and hurt burning inside her skin and resembling an itch that you just can't quite reach so its always there. Come to think of it the revenge she seemed to seek wasn't one of hate and malice, it was the revenge a pained and confused person seeks. She was someone who wanted to be heard. It was from someone who wanted to be listened to. 

Without giving too much away, one can say the short of it is: unrequited love is a bitch, something that you and I already know, but throw in there predatory behaviour and a setting of a culture riddled with respectability politics and you got yourself a hot, complex mess! It's right there in the way she describes their encounter, his advances and their joint behaviour that drives my mention of respectability politics home. She is punished for it. Not him. Her. Even though it takes two to tango. I digress. 

As she goes on to describe the gruesome manner in which she killed her child, I couldn't help but want to reach out and hold this woman. I wanted to get her a cup of tea, run her a bath & read to her poems. I wanted to part her hair and gently massage it with shea butter, yes that level of intimacy. You're probably thinking, sis are you okay, did you not just say this play is about a woman who killed her newborn child? While her actions are inexcusable and not okay, I thought about her. I thought about the treatment of women in some parts of Zimbabwe. I thought about the stigma around pre-natal & post-natal depression. I thought about how abortions are illegal in Zimbabwe. I thought about if she had access to any healthcare or help. 

I thought about how we are conditioned to not consider her. I thought about how we are conditioned to blame her, to feel no empathy for her. I thought how problematic it is. I thought about how we quickly rule something as right or wrong without considering socio-economic factors, equality, gender related violence and the cultural/political/economical setting of some of these circumstances. 

What I also found interesting while watching the play was that a few days earlier I had read a piece about how more women were choosing not to have children and the mixed reactions. I couldn't help but think in the words of Frank Ocean is a woman just a container for the child? Do we treat woman like she is a container for the child? I remember thinking about the friends I fiercely support when they tell me in whispered hushes like it's a dirt secret that they don't want to have children. How genuinely surprised I am that they are relieved that I don't react otherwise. My reaction is founded on this belief that it's your life, they are your reproductive rights & you have agency over your body. These are the same women who mention what great Aunties they are going to be and slide in my DMs with videos and pictures of cute children because they know how clucky I am, they know how much I want to have children and instead of looking down at what I hope for the future, they instead celebrate it. So why can't I afford them the same love? What makes my decision to have children more superior than their's not to? 

Munashe Tapfuya, Tawanda Manyimo & Stanley Makuwe

Munashe Tapfuya, Tawanda Manyimo & Stanley Makuwe

So many questions! Big bravo to Munashe Tapfuya and Tawanda Manyimo for bringing to life such a thought provoking production. A birdie told me that they will be more screenings of the play in the near future and I can't wait because not only is this play amazing in the way it unfolds before your eyes but it is also excellent commentary on social issues. I mean the state she finds Temeraire in speaks of so much more like the political climate in Zimbabwe, the state of affairs of the nation and how it is impacting people, the economy, the effects of colonialisation and the health of people, but that's a story for another day.

IG: @nubiianphenomenon 

IG: @nubiianphenomenon 

Makanaka Tuwe

A neatly packaged combination of several things, Makanaka is a social development dreamer, book reading, free spirited dynamite. Can be found laughing at inappropriate memes or happenings of life.  Hailing from the Southern part of the African continent, Zimbabwe, I am a citizen of the world and above all a womanist.

Makanaka is the Founder & Creative Director of Afrika on My Sleeve & is currently in the process of self-publishing her debut title 'Questionable Intimacy - what goes in, out and around'.

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      Notes of Gracious  I grew up in a family where I was always told that I could be anything I wanted to be. I remember one day many years ago when I was in my early years of high school and I told my amazing father that I wanted to be a hip hop dancer (LOL, I am incredibly lazy to dance) with much enthusiasm in his voice, he said  “okay bring me a business plan” . Days later I did just that, of course that dream didn’t last, I quickly changed my mind and wanted to be something else. Not long after, people kept telling me that they thought I was a good communicator, writer and I was good at organising and administration. At first I thought these were just compliments until I realised what joy planning a youth conference or my mum’s yearly birthday parties bring me (She’s surprised every year by the way). I slowly started realising these gifts within myself and slowly started tapping into them, until eventually they became a part of me I hope I will never lose.   Fast forward to 2015: The birth of  GRACIOUS EVENTS, MARKETING & CONSULTANCY .      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Starting my own events company has taught me to TAKE ACTION, have COURAGE, and to COMMIT through anything. It took one friend at the beginning of 2015 (as my father had done years before) that recognised my gift and believed in me. This eventually led me to believing in myself as well. It kept dawning on me that I found it easy to fit in with people who do photography, art, decor, events, make up, writers, bloggers, and designers. The year turned out to be a great year for my company with four successful events planned (two charity launches, blogger's seminar and art exhibition). I always knew that my gifts were meant to make room for me but I lacked vision and a vision is as far as you can see. In other words if you don't see it, you won’t do it. As the year went on the vision of the company became clearer. Our vision is to plan and host, accurate and, professional events effectively. We have a deep understanding of time and effort that is included in planning a successful event, and we always want our customers to be satisfied. Gracious Events is an Event Management and Marketing Enterprise that, wants to continue to host and plan the best events possible. Quality customer service and satisfaction is at the heart of the company. Our services can be used for occasions such as weddings, conferences, exhibitions, launches, parties, meetings, award ceremonies and MORE.  My company and the planning of these events is about people who have been told that their dreams, desires and plans are insane and impossible, that the ceiling is too high and you cannot break it, GRACIOUS EVENTS shows them that is NOT TRUE, not for me and not for any of us. Take any dream you have, put it on steroids and make it your reality.   Live the life you Love.    -Gracious Tapfuma Director & Founder.  On the 24th of June, Gracious will be hosting a hub for Entrepreneurs. Click  here  for more details.    Gracious Tapfuma is a freelance event planner and  blogger  based in New Zealand Auckland, but has travelled to countries such as the United Kingdom doing events. Gracious began planning events many years ago for a small church community; she was able to create invitations, concerts, and birthday parties from her room. Her creativity was recognized by her family and she has since opened “Gracious events, Marketing and Consultancy” and planned bigger concerts, 21st Birthday parties, Baby Showers, Graduation parties and art exhibitions and charity events. Gracious is obtaining a Bachelor of Communications degree with Unitec Institute of Technology, and has won several awards for her events. 

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Notes of Gracious

I grew up in a family where I was always told that I could be anything I wanted to be. I remember one day many years ago when I was in my early years of high school and I told my amazing father that I wanted to be a hip hop dancer (LOL, I am incredibly lazy to dance) with much enthusiasm in his voice, he said “okay bring me a business plan”. Days later I did just that, of course that dream didn’t last, I quickly changed my mind and wanted to be something else. Not long after, people kept telling me that they thought I was a good communicator, writer and I was good at organising and administration. At first I thought these were just compliments until I realised what joy planning a youth conference or my mum’s yearly birthday parties bring me (She’s surprised every year by the way). I slowly started realising these gifts within myself and slowly started tapping into them, until eventually they became a part of me I hope I will never lose.


Fast forward to 2015: The birth of GRACIOUS EVENTS, MARKETING & CONSULTANCY


Starting my own events company has taught me to TAKE ACTION, have COURAGE, and to COMMIT through anything. It took one friend at the beginning of 2015 (as my father had done years before) that recognised my gift and believed in me. This eventually led me to believing in myself as well. It kept dawning on me that I found it easy to fit in with people who do photography, art, decor, events, make up, writers, bloggers, and designers. The year turned out to be a great year for my company with four successful events planned (two charity launches, blogger's seminar and art exhibition). I always knew that my gifts were meant to make room for me but I lacked vision and a vision is as far as you can see. In other words if you don't see it, you won’t do it. As the year went on the vision of the company became clearer. Our vision is to plan and host, accurate and, professional events effectively. We have a deep understanding of time and effort that is included in planning a successful event, and we always want our customers to be satisfied. Gracious Events is an Event Management and Marketing Enterprise that, wants to continue to host and plan the best events possible. Quality customer service and satisfaction is at the heart of the company. Our services can be used for occasions such as weddings, conferences, exhibitions, launches, parties, meetings, award ceremonies and MORE.

My company and the planning of these events is about people who have been told that their dreams, desires and plans are insane and impossible, that the ceiling is too high and you cannot break it, GRACIOUS EVENTS shows them that is NOT TRUE, not for me and not for any of us. Take any dream you have, put it on steroids and make it your reality.


Live the life you Love. 


-Gracious Tapfuma
Director & Founder.

On the 24th of June, Gracious will be hosting a hub for Entrepreneurs. Click here for more details. 

Gracious Tapfuma is a freelance event planner and blogger based in New Zealand Auckland, but has travelled to countries such as the United Kingdom doing events. Gracious began planning events many years ago for a small church community; she was able to create invitations, concerts, and birthday parties from her room. Her creativity was recognized by her family and she has since opened “Gracious events, Marketing and Consultancy” and planned bigger concerts, 21st Birthday parties, Baby Showers, Graduation parties and art exhibitions and charity events. Gracious is obtaining a Bachelor of Communications degree with Unitec Institute of Technology, and has won several awards for her events. 

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How to slay your interview in 6 steps

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How to slay your interview in 6 steps

For the past couple of years, I have lived and breathed recruitment and in that time, I’ve come across the good, the bad, the ugly and just the plain bizarre. Sometimes people attend interview after interview with no luck and just don’t know why. What exactly are businesses looking for when they put you in the hot seat? If you have a job interview around the corner, you need to make sure you’re prepared. Here are the top six factors that will make your interview fab or fail:

Research *cough cough* Stalk


Most nervousness in an interview comes from people feeling like they don’t know what to say or why they are there. Do some light research on the company; what do they do? What are they known for? Who are their main competitors? Look up some commercials on YouTube to get a real feel for the image that they are trying to promote and think about how you’d be able to fit into that. Do the same amount of research for the job you’ve applied for – imagine yourself doing the damn thing. If you can already picture yourself in the job, your confidence will naturally start to glow through. 


Slay!


Kimora Lee Simmons once said “Leave the house dressed as if you’re going to bump into your haters.” Basically, if you look good, you’ll feel good. A dress code will be stated in your interview confirmation email, and 9 times out of ten it will either be formal or business casual. Both terms are quite broad, so don’t feel like you should completely revamp your style. General rule of thumb: keep skirts no more than 10 cms above the knee and wear heels below 6 inches. Pick the type of outfit that will guarantee to have the IG likes popping. It’s important that you feel totally amazing in how you look as this will subconsciously affect your body language and presence in the interview. 


First Impressions


Much like a first date, first impressions at a job interview can either make or break the encounter so you must make it count! How you come across in those first few minutes is subconsciously being judged by the other person. Turn up 10 minutes early (don’t be late!), sit and stand up straight, smile and give a good hand-shake. That first impression counts for a huge majority of your interview.


Pop your Personality


Anyone can be taught anything. But it is your personality that will make you stand out from all the other applicants. Through your previous stalking you will hopefully have a good idea of the overall vibe of the company and department, so do your best to show that you’re someone who would fit right in.  You can’t change who you are for a job, but it is largely what will determine if you get the role or not – whether you’re a right fit for the team – so it’s best to be the best version of yourself. Try to steer away from making any crude jokes, and unless the other person does it first, bringing up politics or religion is a no-no. If you’re nervous and fidgeting, it will show that way. Instead, try your best to come across as calm and confident. Do you what you can to hold your head high.


Show off


You’ve made it to the interview stage, meaning that you looked good on paper and didn’t make a fool of yourself over the phone. I love Kendrick, but I would ignore his advice about being humble. Now is the time to toot your own horn and sell yourself. Remember, I’m telling you to be confident, not delusional babes. Don’t be shy! What skills do you have to bring to the table? Even that crappy fast food job you had in high-school gave you hella skills. Time management, working in a team, writing, sales, communication – the list could go on. Your current skills account for a lot in the job interview. Make sure you’re equipped with solid examples to back up your offering.


Question Time


Past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour. For this reason, you will find that most of the questions will ask a lot about your previous jobs. Make sure you listen carefully to what is being asked so that you understand the point of the question. Don’t rush your answers. The person interviewing you will be expecting you provide specific examples so it’s important that you’re concise. Take a sip of water from the glass in front of you if you need a break and to buy yourself some time. If you’re talking too fast it can make you seem a little nervous and over the top. Naturally you’ll talk fast in this kind of high pressure situation, so do everything in your power to slooooooow doooooown. 


Once your interview is winding down you’ll be asked if you have any questions. Always take advantage of this opportunity, it’s a great way to show you’re curious and to create strong engagement with the person sitting across the room. Don’t feel like this is a trick question, as an interviewer we genuinely want to know if there’s something that we haven’t explained to you properly. 


Use these tips to help you when you’re next entering the job interview situation, and while you still may not get the job it will leave a good impression and leave you a little more optimistic for your next try! 

Paid Chinamo

As a recent graduate, I have begun my career in the recruitment industry by exposing myself to both permanent and temporary recruitment in a professional and blue collar capacity. Currently I work as a talent acquisition partner for New Zealand Post, where my responsibility goes beyond just filling vacancies. When it comes to attracting blue collar talent, I aim to ensure that I am using methods that are customer centric while efficient and productive at every step.

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Goals & Head Wraps Wellington

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Goals & Head Wraps Wellington

On Sunday 7 May we hosted our first workshop and event in Wellington ever! What an amazing afternoon we shared with the sisters that came out discussing goals, passions, purpose, what the future looks like and how each day steps can be taken towards that future. It was so heartwarming to hear about the plans each sister had including traveling to Zimbabwe to do something in mental health, buying a house with a partner, resting/taking time out, traveling and finishing off university.

Yesterday as we were reflecting on the time we had spent in Wellington, the gram alerted us that someone had tagged us in a post. The following was something written after the workshop by one of the sisters.

#motivationmonday admire someone’s beauty without questioning your own. Growing in a country were I was the minority, I was often bullied and told I was ugly, or my birthmark (mole) was gorss and countless colourful things mean kids say so never considered myself a beautiful person. It’s been a long journey to learn the truth, everyone is beautifully and wonderfully made and beauty really comes from within. Thanks @afrikagram for running an amazing event to empower women to be the best “YOU” they can be.
— Laura

Our hearts were warmed and they are full right now. We are looking forward to more workshops with women and who knows maybe something for the fellas soon.

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The Good Eye: Nom Mpande

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The Good Eye: Nom Mpande

Part time visual content slayer, full-time goals.

Zimbabwean-born Kiwi, Nom Mpande, is the curator of The Good Eye* lifestyle blog. Unapologetic for one, she oozes confidence, intellect, depth and ambition with a remarkable eye for beauty. Whether she is travelling, showing off her latest outfit or decorating her showpiece cakes, you can't help but want to be part of her squad. 

Queen? We think so too!

I think for a while now there was always this push for me to share with the world the things that I see through my ‘good eye’. I'd say it was my mother who has always encouraged this, hoping for me to be the next Patricia Bright or something haha. And then one day I just woke up and decided that instagram and snapchat just weren’t going to cut it anymore.


I love being behind or in-front my camera, a self proclaimed tech geek. So first and foremost I’m big
on photography. My niche? Definitely portraits. I try and concentrate on this field more than anything, especially during my travels. My main goal is to capture a life story in the features and expressions of a stranger’s face.

In a perfect world, you would find something you like, a talent of somewhat and stick to it. Unfortunately that's not exactly how it works for me. My father raised me to believe that I could be anything I wanted to be and I guess I took that literally. The word can’t, is seldom in my vocabulary. I thrive on educating myself about everything and anything. Guess this is how I randomly stumbled into decorating cakes! Here I am, a medical scientist, undertaking two Masters, part time blogger, part time photographer, part time cake decorator, full time car enthusiast! (laughs). It’s exhausting but I wouldn't have it any other way. I live in a self-built cocoon of my passion and interests.

Not quite sure where life is taking me but I know it's gonna be wonderful. I'm always looking for a new country with lots of culture to visit and on my list is Cuba, Mexico and Portugal to name a few. I can go from five star snob to slum dweller with ease because I want to experience it from every perspective.

My advice is build your self-awareness. if you know your weaknesses you can do everything to improve them and if you know your strengths, well, be damn unapologetic in their use. 

It's no doubt that we'll be seeing more of this woman in the future. Keep an eye out world!

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      Success: it's a mindset   Success. People often assume it’s some sort of financial accomplishment. In reality, however, it’s really any sort of accomplishment made as long as effort has been expended to achieve it. To be successful then, is to become what you set out to be, this is why for most, success is the ultimate goal. Everyone at some point wants to become accomplished.   If this is the case, why is it that the general model of success is almost exclusively white? They seem to dominate the lists of successful people even in New Zealand. Just look at “New Zealand’s Top 100 History Makers” list on Wikipedia, only 12% are made up of the ethnic minority (Maori). Is this reflective of the reality that white people are more likely to become successful, or simply a reflection of population in New Zealand?  In my opinion, it’s both. Seeing as 69% of New Zealanders identify as European, statistically there would be greater chances for people to succeed within this large population compared to that of the 31% minority groups. The greater the chances of success that occurs, the greater it’s reflection on the racial group that’s achieving it. Therefore, if there were an equal number of ethnic minorities within this country sharing the same population statistic as the white man, then surely we would see greater models of success from across the board.   However, this logic seems to ignore the fact that though white people dominate the population, they also dominate the actual likelihood for achieving success in general. Why, you may ask? Simple, it’s in the existence of the societies mindset. Let’s throwback to the  last post  where we touched on the stereotype of  “black people are lazy”  and the fact that this negativity creates an obstacle to success due to it’s pervasive connotation that blacks are incapable. As one of many racial stereotypes that exist across society, you can see how these stereotypes create a negative mindset for the minorities that fall victim to it. We have to struggle, where whites do not. The concept of being white has far more advantages for the population as they don’t have to contend with racial negativity. This is why it’s called white privilege.     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      So how do we combat this problem of white privilege? Again it’s simple: think like the white man. Seeing as the mindset establishes a set of attitudes held by a particular person, we become subject to what the mindset believes. If we are trapped in a cycle of negativity, we are only ever going to believe ourselves as failures. On the flipside, if we see ourselves as worthy and capable then individual success is a given. As minorities in society we have to act as if we don’t hold the technically lesser position. We may not be the largest group in society, we may not have the greater likelihood of high paying jobs, come from high decile schools or even capable of owning our own property. Statistically, we may not even be in a position to achieve as greatly, but we are capable of achieving despite it all. Like the white man, we are equally capable for success to whatever degree – we just have to believe that we are.   This type of positive self-image is one of the key things to success as it informs you’re identity. It reinforces your ability to yourself. It reminds you that you are able – like the white man - and that you are who you believe you are. Success then becomes that much more attainable, but it needs to be followed by effort in pursuing it – whatever the success you want to achieve. For this reason, desire for success will be the subject of my next post, addressing the willingness for your own success whether it is big or small.  Until then the song of the week goes to Kendrick Lemar – I.        </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"          Strength, Love and Blessings.       

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       Karla Abrigo  Living by the mantra “to be a strong, intelligent woman with substance and style” she advocates for the capacity in all of us to be the best we can be. Also living by the rule that understanding is the answer to all problems she emphasizes the old Aretha Franklin adage, RESPECT in everything she does and writes with a purpose that, at the very least, everyone deserves that much. So read and be critical, open discussion is what she relishes in as engagement she believes, allows for collective growth.        IG: thenigmaeffect | Snapchat: bl4kbe4uty

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Success: it's a mindset 

Success. People often assume it’s some sort of financial accomplishment. In reality, however, it’s really any sort of accomplishment made as long as effort has been expended to achieve it. To be successful then, is to become what you set out to be, this is why for most, success is the ultimate goal. Everyone at some point wants to become accomplished.


If this is the case, why is it that the general model of success is almost exclusively white? They seem to dominate the lists of successful people even in New Zealand. Just look at “New Zealand’s Top 100 History Makers” list on Wikipedia, only 12% are made up of the ethnic minority (Maori). Is this reflective of the reality that white people are more likely to become successful, or simply a reflection of population in New Zealand?  In my opinion, it’s both. Seeing as 69% of New Zealanders identify as European, statistically there would be greater chances for people to succeed within this large population compared to that of the 31% minority groups. The greater the chances of success that occurs, the greater it’s reflection on the racial group that’s achieving it. Therefore, if there were an equal number of ethnic minorities within this country sharing the same population statistic as the white man, then surely we would see greater models of success from across the board.


However, this logic seems to ignore the fact that though white people dominate the population, they also dominate the actual likelihood for achieving success in general. Why, you may ask? Simple, it’s in the existence of the societies mindset. Let’s throwback to the last post where we touched on the stereotype of “black people are lazy” and the fact that this negativity creates an obstacle to success due to it’s pervasive connotation that blacks are incapable. As one of many racial stereotypes that exist across society, you can see how these stereotypes create a negative mindset for the minorities that fall victim to it. We have to struggle, where whites do not. The concept of being white has far more advantages for the population as they don’t have to contend with racial negativity. This is why it’s called white privilege.


So how do we combat this problem of white privilege? Again it’s simple: think like the white man. Seeing as the mindset establishes a set of attitudes held by a particular person, we become subject to what the mindset believes. If we are trapped in a cycle of negativity, we are only ever going to believe ourselves as failures. On the flipside, if we see ourselves as worthy and capable then individual success is a given. As minorities in society we have to act as if we don’t hold the technically lesser position. We may not be the largest group in society, we may not have the greater likelihood of high paying jobs, come from high decile schools or even capable of owning our own property. Statistically, we may not even be in a position to achieve as greatly, but we are capable of achieving despite it all. Like the white man, we are equally capable for success to whatever degree – we just have to believe that we are.


This type of positive self-image is one of the key things to success as it informs you’re identity. It reinforces your ability to yourself. It reminds you that you are able – like the white man - and that you are who you believe you are. Success then becomes that much more attainable, but it needs to be followed by effort in pursuing it – whatever the success you want to achieve. For this reason, desire for success will be the subject of my next post, addressing the willingness for your own success whether it is big or small.

Until then the song of the week goes to Kendrick Lemar – I.


Strength, Love and Blessings.

Karla Abrigo

Living by the mantra “to be a strong, intelligent woman with substance and style” she advocates for the capacity in all of us to be the best we can be. Also living by the rule that understanding is the answer to all problems she emphasizes the old Aretha Franklin adage, RESPECT in everything she does and writes with a purpose that, at the very least, everyone deserves that much. So read and be critical, open discussion is what she relishes in as engagement she believes, allows for collective growth.

IG: thenigmaeffect | Snapchat: bl4kbe4uty

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Back Pedal - Bajan-Kiwi Vibes

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Back Pedal - Bajan-Kiwi Vibes

Bajan-Kiwi Queen Amber has just dropped her newest single 'Back Pedal' and we are honoured to be the first share it. We are loving this track as it speaks on something that we are passionate about: freedom of expression and freedom to be. The track is the result of what happens when 90's dancehall meets modern pop-fied hip-hop and when Amber's warm smooth vocals are introduced the track hits that fine balance. As you listen to the track you can't help but bop your head!

Filmed in the streets of Barcelona, Spain, 'Back Pedal' is a tune that captures the spirit of being free from societal conventions. It is an anthem for reclaiming independence and finally refusing to be limited, tamed or changed. For those that know Amber musically, this will be her first time giving us insight into a different side of her music personality. Flowing over a beat influenced by Caribbean culture and 90's dancehall, this track is a banger! Press play and remember you heard it hear first ;-)

To keep up with Amber's adventures & get familiar with her music, show her some love on Facebook.

If you vibing with 'Back Pedal', the track is also available on Spotify

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I've got your back

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I've got your back

Growing up I was your average African girl child, I think some would even say I was a bit of a below average child. I played no sports, participated in no extracurricular activities, very shy and basically invisible. I managed to just exist through life till my teenage years where life decided to bring some spice.  At the age of 16 I began to struggle with a “medical mystery”, I suffered from chest pain that could not be explained. After being told by my family doctor that I just had to endure with this condition, my family and I lived in the hope that one day this nightmare would soon disappear from our lives. Little did I know that this nightmare was going to be the best thing that could have happened to me. 


During my first year of University I grew a curiosity for Chiropractic. I knew I wanted to work in the health field but there were so many things that just didn’t make sense to me and it was as though Chiropractic filled a gap and the puzzle of my health began to make sense. Upon following my curiosity, it became as clear as daylight that my career path had to change. I immediately applied to study Chiropractic at the prestigious New Zealand College of Chiropractic. I became a Chiropractic patient around the same time and the change was evident. After a few months of receiving regular Chiropractic Care my chest pain episodes were long forgotten and peace was restored to my family. What?!? Just like that? Indeed it happened just like that. 4 years of constant agony gone like the wind. 


After this life changing experience I made it my life goal to bring Chiropractic to all masses especially my African community. You see, when I started getting my spine checked regularly, it was not just the chest pain that changed. I began to stand up straight (I had a hunched posture because I had nothing to look up to and self- esteem was running on empty but that is a story for another day), I suddenly had more energy, no more back pain,no more headaches, a lot more coordinated, I was more alert and you know what? I just became a more confident person, achieving things I never thought were possible. So it really got me thinking, how much more could this profession benefit my people? Who else is missing out?

Chiropractic acknowledges that the human body is controlled by the spine and the brain (also known as the nervous system). As a result, there are communication pathways between the body and the nervous system, known as nerves. Interference to these pathways can cause information to not flow as well thus causing the human body to not function to its full potential. Contrary to what many think, Chiropractors do not fix back pain, in fact we do not fix anything. Chiropractic’s role is to remove interferences in the nervous system and allow the body to self-heal and self-regulate like it was designed to. This explains why I experienced all those benefits I did once I started receiving Chiropractic care. 

As a child growing up in middle class Zimbabwe I saw far too many people die and suffer due to lack of “proper health care resources”. With Chiropractic being a health care profession that only needs the Doctor and their hands, imagine the change that will come about if we trained a whole lot of Africans to be Chiropractors and bring about change themselves instead of waiting for foreign aid? Can you imagine that? Uh I get so excited at just the thought of it. 

Dr Kudzai Zvenyika is an Auckland based Chiropractor who provides Mobile Chiropractic services. Life gets busy sometimes but I am here to bring Health & Wellness to your door step. There is absolutely no need for your busy lifestyle to come in the way of your health and wellness. Say bye-bye to seating in Auckland traffic while Anxious about whether or not you will make it to your appointment. Save yourself time and money, get a mobile Chiropractor.

www.drkudzai.com
hello@drkudzai.com
0278440682

 

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In Transit

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In Transit

At the heart of this play is a very important slice of NZ history.
— Auckland Theatre Company Literacy Unit

In Transit is a New Zealand/African play that gives voice to former refugees and migrants as they transition from everyday lives in their African homelands, and the unnatural and often perilous journeys across continents and oceans to their new homes and new lives in Aotearoa.


Based on true stories collected by Wanjiku Kiarie Sanderson (now archived in the Oral History Collection, National Library, Wellington), In Transit presents the real-life experiences of African people living in Aotearoa NZ with a thought provoking theme of intergenerational conflicts between parents and the first generation of NZ-born young people, desperate to be recognized as New Zealanders; who see themselves as KIWIS, not Africans; and struggling to establish their own identities, while maintaining respect for their parents and the cultures they’ve left behind.


The play revolves around eight different characters of various backgrounds.  The ensemble: actors, musicians and dancers are from African, Pasifika, and Māori communities in Auckland and Wellington.


Importantly, the production presents a visual and vocal answer to the question, “What happens when African and Pacific cultures meet and fuse their theatre and performing arts traditions in a contemporary context?”


Justine Simei-Barton, Director, is an accomplished producer and director of theatre, films and television, and a long-time collaborator with performing artists of many ethnicities.  She brings to this production, a wealth of experience in intercultural performing arts in New Zealand and the Pacific region.


Justine says, “I always knew there were similarities and connections between African and Pacific traditional performing arts.  The challenge of fusing the two to create a new and unique platform with high artistic merit is one that I embrace whole-heartedly, and am very pleased with the outcome.”


In Transit, written by Wanjiku Kiarie Sanderson, is as a tribute to the late NZ actor, Martyn Sanderson, and his life-long involvement with African theatre, and with the African communities in Auckland and Wellington.  It was meant to be their next project after the successful production of Muntu in 2009, but Martyn passed away two days before Muntu opened.  Wanjiku has spent the last seven years bringing In Transit to the stage.


She says, “The tradition of telling stories comes very naturally to many Africans, but what amazed me in the interviews, was the generosity and warmth of the interviewees when relating some of their most horrific, as well as humorous experiences, and I knew that all New Zealanders would appreciate their stories as I do.”


In Transit opens 4 May and runs through 13 May at Mangere Arts Centre.

WHAT:  First ever Pasifika and African theatre production in New Zealand
WHEN:  4-13 May, 2017
WHERE:  Mangere Arts Centre, Bader Drive and Orly Avenue, Mangere 2022
For interviews and more information, please contact: Kubé Jones-Neill, Producer 021 0847 3590; Valeria Edwards, Media & Public Relations 021 775 652

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The train of salt and sugar

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The train of salt and sugar

Film: “The Train of Salt and Sugar” 2016
Director: Licinio Azevedo
Actors: Matamba Joaquim, Thiago Justino, Melanie de Vales Rafael
- By Khayelihle Moyo

“The Train of Salt and Sugar” is set on a train travelling from Mozambique to Malawi in 1988 during a war between the Government and armed guerrillas. Apart from the obvious struggle trying to get from point A to point B without dying; this film tells a story of a predictable romance complete with a damsel in distress, a detestable villain and a dashing hero. Nonetheless, it also has multiple complex underlying themes that reflect the present-day world. It shows the world as it is as well as what the world has the potential to become.

Religion is one of the main themes of this film. The religions represented are Muslim, Christian, and Ancestral and Spirit worship. Practising differing faiths did not create any animosity among the characters. The “goodness” of a person was not determined purely on what divine power they believed in. Their actions also contribute to their “goodness” or lack of.

This film also explores relationship dynamics through society (men and women, educated and uneducated, soldiers and civilians, and politicians and the rest of the nation) and how they are affected in tense times such as war. As these relationship circles are not separate from each other, their hierarchical nature often leaves those at the bottom unprotected and abused. 


I found most of the main characters two dimensional. Their cliché good vs evil behaviour contrasted the main theme of the film. However, the dialogue was thought-provoking as it gave a folklore like impression though the use of proverbs. Some of the dialogue is hard to follow and its meaning may have weakened in translation.

Overall, “The Train of Salt and Sugar” can be watched multiple times but is not for those that are easily distracted. They may find it quite slow paced as the dramatic moments are few and far in between. The realistic shooting style, subtle use of music and the portrayal of the characters all come together to create the film’s authentic feel. The grey areas that are represented in this film are clearly present in all aspects of life, but as humans we tend to simplify most issues to black and white to fit our own agendas. You can find good and bad people on either side of a war.

Khayelihle Moyo

Self-aware flawed people, self-knowledge, harmony with mother earth, body butters, the love; hate relationship with I have with Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal, Economics, an organised closet, babies that don’t cry and books. These are a few things I love. I have multiple personalities and twice as many passions. I consider myself what Emilie Wapnick calls multipotentialite (check out her TedTalk, its great). Writing is one of my passions. Whether it’s rants, think pieces, poems, short stories and now, film reviews; it’s a healthy means of self-expression that I indulge in when the spirit moves me.

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In conversation with Constance Ejuma

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In conversation with Constance Ejuma

Once again the power of technological advancement led to an interview with the star and producer of Ben & Ara (one of the films that will be showing at the African Film Festival New Zealand). It was a pleasure to e-meet Constance Ejuma and find out more about her and the film. 

AOMS: Was there a particular event or time that you recognised that filmmaking was not just a hobby?


CE: Before 'Ben & Ara,' I never really considered myself a filmmaker. I've always been an actor and up until that point I'd viewed the acting profession as a separate thing. I remember the moment I realized I wanted to be a storyteller. There was one summer where I got to watch a lot of Bollywood films and even though none of them were subtitled, I was fascinated by the fact that I could still understand the story. There was something about good storytelling transcending language that made me interested in the world of cinema. It wasn't until I was about 16 that I realized that acting could be a viable field to pursue to satisfy this desire I had to tell stories.

AOMS: Films evolve through the creative process – sometimes most dramatically in the editing process. It’s often really hard to reconcile the difference between what we desired and what we achieved. How have you encountered this and how do you move through it?


CE: The editing process is really tough because it's the time that you get to see what you actually have on your hands. Sometimes expectations and reality meet. Sometimes they don't. When that happens, you have to work with what you have and allow the story to shape up the way it wants to. In our case, we had very limited resources so we had to make the best of what we had. Fortunately, the final product turned out ok.

AOMS: What one theme out of the many running through the story resonate/d with you or influenced your decision to take on the Ben & Ara project?


CE: I liked the idea of two people with completely different philosophies having an encounter and somehow being compelled to change their thinking. So much conflict in the world could be avoided if we just took a moment to put ourselves in someone else's shoes and allow ourselves to see the world through their eyes, even just for a moment.

AOMS: One thing the film does well is offer several diametrically opposite view points on big issues such as religion/faith or lack of it without overdramatising, as do other storylines that attempt to discuss such issues . The question is was it difficult to keep the cinematic depiction of the story grounded given the subjects addressed in the story often Elicit polarised view points?


CE: I think the most grounding element of the film is the love story between Ben and Ara. While their intellect makes for interesting conversations, their philosophical debates can be fairly abstract and hard to grasp. But that's the very thing that feeds their love and attraction to each other, which is the main thing the audience picks up on and holds their interest.

AOMS: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating film?


CE: There isn't a specific blueprint for being a successful filmmaker and in this day of smart phones and YouTube, there aren't as many barriers to creativity as there used to be. So I'd encourage aspiring filmmakers not to wait for permission and to create storytelling standards based on personal taste rather than what's popular.

AOMS: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?


CE: A great film either surprises me, hits me in the gut, or keeps me thinking long after I've seen it.

AOMS: What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?


CE: This is always a tricky question for me because there are so  many films I like from completely different genres. I was still trying to figure out the answer to "Mulholland Drive" years after I'd seen it. "The Matrix" definitely caused a mental shift not just in the way I thought about what was possible on film but also in what's at the core of a good story. The staging device used in Lars von Trier's "Dogville" kind of blew me away. "Enter the Void" remains a favorite because of it's exploration of life after death. And my current obsession is "Tanna" which took me back to that experience I had a child tapping into what's at the core of our shared narrative as human beings.

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Ben & Ara

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Ben & Ara

Ben and Ara is a story which  follows the developing relationship between a middle class white male and ayoung woman of African descent. Through the central characters the viewers are led to examine their own perspectives on themes including the meaning of love, religion, gender, sexuality, and the role that tradition plays in setting a moral code of ‘acceptable” individual behaviour.

From Ara’s perspective, life is only lived fully out of a place of faith. She is a black Muslim and has a strong sense of family and duty. We see her struggle with self-determination in the face of societal and parental expectation, which at times would seem at odds with her strong religious beliefs. She has her future mapped out and is on course to complete her studies when she meets and forms an unexpected relationship with   Ben. 

Ben’s character represents what could be seen as the western world concept of individualism or freedom of choice, to be and live as one desires, with no particular attention to societal or community consensus on what would be considered right or wrong

The story is told with well-articulated dialogue expressing what I think are eternal truths such as the concept of cause and consequence, action and reaction and the assertion that thought develops better outside of oppression. My lasting impression was that true freedom and peace are to be found in authentic connection with others and acceptance of who they are as they are.

Overall a thought provoking and emotionally moving film which is a must see. I give it five stars.

Sierra Zion is a youngish woman native to the Shona peoples of Zimbabwe and has made Auckland her home. She is invested in several artistic pursuits including written expression, and on stage antics. 

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African Film Festival New Zealand

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African Film Festival New Zealand

The African Film Festival New Zealand is back for the third year and we are super excited to be on board again. This year the film festival features 12 films from the different parts of the African continent which ultimately allows for us to be taken on a cinematic journey through the motherland. 

For the last two years the film festival has provided another avenue and insight into the diversity of the Afrikan arts and we love it. This year not only will Rialto Cinemas Auckland be home to this vibrant and necessary event this year, the Embassy Cinema in Wellington will also have the pleasure in being home to the festival's first year in the world's coolest little capital.  Viva Afrika!

AUCKLAND
6TH TO 12TH APRIL 2017

Rialto Cinemas
Newmarket
Auckland

WELLINGTON
3TH TO 5TH MAY 2017

THE EMBASSY CINEMA
10 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria,
Wellington 6011, New Zealand

Both opening nights will show The Wedding Ring and tickets will include nibbles, a glass of wine and maybe some entertainment!

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Kati Kati

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Kati Kati

Kati Kati (2016)

Director: Mbithi Masya
Cast: Nyokabi Gethaiga, Elsaphan Njora, and Paul Ogola

Kati Kati in a nutshell: haunting, enigmatic and profound. The word Katikati in Swahili means ‘centre’, or ‘in between’, which is fitting because the characters seem to be dancing in a state of limbo, located in a congenial and enticing purgatory. The film opens in the middle of nowhere, which is appropriate as it alludes to the despondency of the situation. Well, this no man's land is technically not in the middle-of-nowhere, but in the open fields of Kenya; where our protagonist Kaleche (Nyokabi Gethaiga) stands stoically with an aura of bewilderment, her eyes searching as we observe her.


As Kaleche ventures further to explore her surroundings and find answers, it becomes glaringly obvious that nothing is at it seems. There is a similarity to the 1998 film Pleasantville as our protagonist finds herself in unfamiliar territory that exudes an eerily comfortable ambiance, and the society she has fallen into has accepted the peculiarity as the status quo. It is all very copacetic and calm on the surface but still waters run deep.


Kati Kati is multifaceted and deeply complex as it continues to unravel throughout the progression of the film. This can be seen through some central characters such as Thoma (Elsaphan Njora), the unofficial leader of the motley crew, and Mikey (Paul Ogola) the class clown. Kaleche does well in reflecting the mindsets of the audience such as acclimatization to the situation and the environment she is in. Nonetheless, just when you start to adjust, new developments in the characters arcs prove sobering and serve as a pin in the storyline.


As a young black female, I have had my own journey with mental health issues and believe me when I say it hasn’t always been pretty. I appreciate that film director Masya shines a light on such an important issue and from the perspective of a young black male. The ethnic and gendered inequities towards people of colour and mental health are very real and damaging. A compelling and heartbreaking display of acting by Ogola as Mikey.


There is a constant teasing of the audience with information, as questions pop up throughout the film like road signs, which finally lead to a shocking revelation in the film’s dénouement. The main themes of the film are freedom, identity, loss of innocence and death as a part of life. The cinematography of the film is imaginative and artsy, with beautiful still frames and captivating slow motion that gives the film a music video aura. The focus of the frames highlights the juxtaposition of the environment that Kati Kati is set in. On one hand, it’s hauntingly placid yet on the other it’s harsh and barren. A contemporary soundtrack that is a fusion of wavy European EDM and optimistic Afrobeats accompanies the cinematography. This marriage paints the walls of the utopia with a semblance of abstract freedom within an encapsulation.


My personal take home message from Mbithi Masya’s Kati Kati is that freedom results from introspection of yourself and looking deeper. Hopelessness or complacency can be a default emotion in the face of our demons that torment and follow us through life. Nevertheless, self-confidence arises from knowledge of yourself and a sense of identity. Seek your truth and your personal release as the characters of Kati Kati had to.

Kati Kati will be showing at the African Film Festival New Zealand, click below to secure your ticket.

Jenn Onyeiwu | IG: jayonyeiwu

A five-foot-eleven storyteller navigating my twenties as an aspiring actor, an aspiring writer and aspiring GIRLBOSS. I love cloudy days, books, films, pasta, dessert, my family and my friends. Iʼve spent many years unknowingly trying to seek for love, loyalty and respect from other people, without filling it up in myself. Thatʼs over. My minefield of an imagination is always powering and always fertile. Iʼm on a journey of spiritual, mental and physical self-discovery and itʼs never felt so right. In the words of Maya Angelou, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some
compassion, some humour, and some style.”
 I will always speak me truth and live to best of my ability. May it bring pride to God, myself and my mama!

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ZIN’NAARIYÂ! - The Wedding Ring

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ZIN’NAARIYÂ! - The Wedding Ring

Three words that describe Wedding Ring: black girl magic. This film is black girl magic in all its majestic  power and intangible gracefulness. It was also black love, as one author once said “Black love is all encompassing. It means brown skinned boys playing happily in the street, sistas in all shades hanging out and enjoying each other’s energy and beauty, romantic couples kissing in the quiet of their homes. It’s two friends who never tire of the other’s company, a mother feeding her child the milk from her breast, a father teaching his daughter how to ride a bike. Grandparents who are still in love, a man who speaks up when he sees a fellow black woman get disrespected by another person—even though he doesn’t know her name”.


As I sit here and reflect on this beautiful film, I am at a loss of words with where to even begin with the different lessons I learnt plus also what parts of my being it resonated with. Without spoiling the film for anyone I would like to thank the filmmaker for presenting black girl magic in a different perspective, for presenting Afrikan village life, in this instance Niger, in such a cinematic manner and for exploring what love means for different people and love in all its fullness, not just romantic intimate love but community love and family love.


At the beginning of the film you are introduced to two sisters visiting a medicine man and in that moment you are almost waiting for something shady to happen, for the friend to betray her other friend or for the medicine man to start mumbling and rattling his bones. I was literally cueing dramatic music and terrible sound effects when I saw the medicine man but what happened next caught me off guard and that became a constant during the film. What happened next was selflessness from one sister to another, love from an older man to two younger women who he treated like his daughters.


In terms of the narratives the film debunks the two that stood out for me was the love the women had for each other, it was the sisterhood full of acceptance, protection and looking out for each other. The other was the treatment of black women by black men, my goodness the men in this film embraced the Sun energy and were protectors, they were protectors not in that hypermasculine sense that is egotistical and is in fact part of the problematic patriarchy. Instead in this film their protection was one that respected and honoured the divine feminine, the hopeful romantic in me was hugging my cushions and smiling.


In mainstream media women are usually portrayed as being jealous of each or sabotaging each other, especially women of colour so seeing this display of unconditional love between two sisters reminded me of the women in my life, the women that have shaped and loved me unconditionally. At the same time medicine men because of colonialization have been demonised and alternative medicines were labelled witchcraft, while there is a dark side to black magic (as there is a dark side to everything even our beings) this film does not further perpetuate a negative stereotype on rituals that many observe, instead it educates about those rituals in a simplistic yet powerful manner by not dramatizing anything.


As a woman of colour who has dedicated their journey to storytelling and retelling narratives of people of Afrikan descent, Wedding Ring is the kind of expansion on the Afrikan narrative that you crave. Something different, something that adds to the layers of diversity that is our culture and something that is so beautifully executed that you cry at the end not because you are sad but because you feel proud. After the film I felt what an honour it was to be an Afrikan woman, a Bantu woman to be precise.

The Wedding Ring will be showing on the Opening Night of the African Film Festival New Zealand on Thursday the 6th of April.

IG: @nubiianphenomenon 

IG: @nubiianphenomenon 

Makanaka Tuwe

A neatly packaged combination of tree hugger, tea drinker, cider loving, self appointed wine connoisseur, explorer, social entrepreneur, woman’s rights activist, reggae swaying, serial snap chatter, people loving, community and social development dreamer, book reading, free spirited dynamite. Can be found laughing at inappropriate memes or happenings of life.  Hailing from the Southern part of the African continent, Zimbabwe, I am a citizen of the world and above all a womanist.

Comment

      Goals  Goals. A rather fickle subject. Everyone at some point makes them, but few actually achieve them. The ‘New Years Resolution’ for example, is notably the collective first attempt to set the first goal of the year, yet it’s likelihood of ever being completed usually disappears by February the next month. So why are goals so difficult and elusive? Is it limited by the individual, or is it the goals itself that are hard to achieve? What if we looked at it through a black lens? Does the setting and achievement of goals become that much harder?  The simple answer to all these questions would be yes goals are hard because we make them so. As individuals, we often create them as an aim to strive for yet we often don’t plan a method of putting them into action so they can actually be achieved. Put simply, we say we are going to do them but never really do anything about them. We are all talk. Success, then, must come not only in activity but also in willpower – we must be willing to do what it takes to get to where we want to be. As black folk we must further be willing to stand against the stereotypes that may hold us back from achieving our own goals, because let’s face it, we not only have to contend with the universal difficulties of goal setting but the perception of our capability in doing so.  Let’s look at the common stereotype ‘black people are lazy’ for example. This assertion hinders our capabilities and self-belief in the most obvious way as it says that we are incapable of achieving our goals simply because we lack the motivation and drive to do so. Not only are goals hard for the black person, they are hard-er because we are ‘typically’ incapable to begin with. With that knowledge, our hopes to ever get to where we want to be and succeed in life becomes that much more difficult due to the extra obstacle. To believe that this obstacle diminishes the hopes in achievement of our goals though, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we believe that we are lazy, we won’t ever try, making that stereotype true. The task instead becomes a way to prove this negative stereotype wrong by persevering and attempting to succeed anyway. That way, when we do succeed the result is that much more satisfying because one would have achieved it despite the odds.  So how do we prove the stereotype wrong? Simple, start by setting goals that though ambitious, are achievable and realistic. Saying you want to lose 10kg in a month for example, isn’t going to happen. Stretching that time frame to six months eases the pressure and allows you to work at it in a more realistic way. Next start writing the goals down, research shows that a goal that is penned reinforces a person’s commitment to achievement, increasing the chances of success. Similarly make the goals when in the presence of others, particularly your significant other, as it reinforces the commitment once again and increases likelihood of it being kept. Fourth, don’t make too many goals to be achieved at once, psychologically speaking this depletes your willpower as it wears your mind out thin due to the self-control you have to maintain to make sure everything is being adhered to. Stick to one or two that you can focus your attention on. This will increase chances of success. Finally, don’t berate yourself for slipping in your commitment once and a while, as long as you keep correcting yourself and stay on target, you’ll be successful. Remember, perfection is overrated, every little step made is to be celebrated as it gets you closer to the milestone. No matter how long it takes for you to reach it, as long as you’re making your way there, you’re winning.  For an added bit of motivation also remember that black folk have that extra obstacle to contend with in the simple task of goal setting, highlighting the extra struggle many have to deal with on a daily basis. This struggle, though unfair allows us to showcase our work ethic and drive to succeed in a world that seemingly doesn’t want us to. Once we consistently work together to prove society wrong we establish a credibility and poise that readily sticks its middle finger up in solidarity. We will not and shall not be held back. Success is our only option, and thus will be the subject of the coming posts.  Until then, the song of the week goes to Black Men United – U Will Know        </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"            Strength, Love and Blessings,       

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     IG: thenigmaeffect Snapchat: bl4kbe4uty             
  
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    Karla Abrigo   Living by the mantra “to be a strong, intelligent woman with substance and style” she advocates for the capacity in all of us to be the best we can be. Also living by the rule that understanding is the answer to all problems she emphasizes the old Aretha Franklin adage, RESPECT in everything she does and writes with a purpose that, at the very least, everyone deserves that much. So read and be critical, open discussion is what she relishes in as engagement she believes, allows for collective growth.

Comment

Goals

Goals. A rather fickle subject. Everyone at some point makes them, but few actually achieve them. The ‘New Years Resolution’ for example, is notably the collective first attempt to set the first goal of the year, yet it’s likelihood of ever being completed usually disappears by February the next month. So why are goals so difficult and elusive? Is it limited by the individual, or is it the goals itself that are hard to achieve? What if we looked at it through a black lens? Does the setting and achievement of goals become that much harder?

The simple answer to all these questions would be yes goals are hard because we make them so. As individuals, we often create them as an aim to strive for yet we often don’t plan a method of putting them into action so they can actually be achieved. Put simply, we say we are going to do them but never really do anything about them. We are all talk. Success, then, must come not only in activity but also in willpower – we must be willing to do what it takes to get to where we want to be. As black folk we must further be willing to stand against the stereotypes that may hold us back from achieving our own goals, because let’s face it, we not only have to contend with the universal difficulties of goal setting but the perception of our capability in doing so.

Let’s look at the common stereotype ‘black people are lazy’ for example. This assertion hinders our capabilities and self-belief in the most obvious way as it says that we are incapable of achieving our goals simply because we lack the motivation and drive to do so. Not only are goals hard for the black person, they are hard-er because we are ‘typically’ incapable to begin with. With that knowledge, our hopes to ever get to where we want to be and succeed in life becomes that much more difficult due to the extra obstacle. To believe that this obstacle diminishes the hopes in achievement of our goals though, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we believe that we are lazy, we won’t ever try, making that stereotype true. The task instead becomes a way to prove this negative stereotype wrong by persevering and attempting to succeed anyway. That way, when we do succeed the result is that much more satisfying because one would have achieved it despite the odds.

So how do we prove the stereotype wrong? Simple, start by setting goals that though ambitious, are achievable and realistic. Saying you want to lose 10kg in a month for example, isn’t going to happen. Stretching that time frame to six months eases the pressure and allows you to work at it in a more realistic way. Next start writing the goals down, research shows that a goal that is penned reinforces a person’s commitment to achievement, increasing the chances of success. Similarly make the goals when in the presence of others, particularly your significant other, as it reinforces the commitment once again and increases likelihood of it being kept. Fourth, don’t make too many goals to be achieved at once, psychologically speaking this depletes your willpower as it wears your mind out thin due to the self-control you have to maintain to make sure everything is being adhered to. Stick to one or two that you can focus your attention on. This will increase chances of success. Finally, don’t berate yourself for slipping in your commitment once and a while, as long as you keep correcting yourself and stay on target, you’ll be successful. Remember, perfection is overrated, every little step made is to be celebrated as it gets you closer to the milestone. No matter how long it takes for you to reach it, as long as you’re making your way there, you’re winning.

For an added bit of motivation also remember that black folk have that extra obstacle to contend with in the simple task of goal setting, highlighting the extra struggle many have to deal with on a daily basis. This struggle, though unfair allows us to showcase our work ethic and drive to succeed in a world that seemingly doesn’t want us to. Once we consistently work together to prove society wrong we establish a credibility and poise that readily sticks its middle finger up in solidarity. We will not and shall not be held back. Success is our only option, and thus will be the subject of the coming posts.

Until then, the song of the week goes to Black Men United – U Will Know

 

Strength, Love and Blessings,

IG: thenigmaeffect
Snapchat: bl4kbe4uty

 

Karla Abrigo

Living by the mantra “to be a strong, intelligent woman with substance and style” she advocates for the capacity in all of us to be the best we can be. Also living by the rule that understanding is the answer to all problems she emphasizes the old Aretha Franklin adage, RESPECT in everything she does and writes with a purpose that, at the very least, everyone deserves that much. So read and be critical, open discussion is what she relishes in as engagement she believes, allows for collective growth.

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Ephasini Lamabhudango - Stroll & chat with Ndumiso Sibanda

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Ephasini Lamabhudango - Stroll & chat with Ndumiso Sibanda

Recently while scrolling on the 'gram I came across a photo that Ndumiso had recently posted and to my surprise his background was Wynyard Quarter. I literally had to scroll up again and check his profile to see if I had the right person and indeed it was him. I decided to leave a comment to see if he had a minute to stroll and chat about his 3 minute film 'Ephasini Lamabhudango'. 24 hours later we were scrolling through Albert Park and Auckland City Gallery discussing life, culture, the need to expand African narratives, objectification and everything in between.

So who is Ndumiso Sibanda? Ndumiso is a storyteller who works with the medium of film. When I reached out to him I wanted to learn about the film medium in South Africa as well as find out more about his film Ephasini Lamabhudango which is about the celebration of Ndebele culture in modern day Johannesburg. According to the film's vimeo page, Ephasini Lamabhudango is a film about the celebration and reimagining of a Ndebele woman in modern day Johannesburg who dares to be her true self. Ephasini Lamabhudango means your dreams…english is such a literal language and is not always the greatest to translate into but to translate it loosely it means your dream world.

MAKA: When I first saw your work it was through a friend of mine and to say I was in awe not only of the beautiful and sharp cinematography but also of the strength of the actress, the bravery in which it must have taken to walk through the streets and also the essence of the whole project. Well done to everyone that was involved, what a piece! As I was watching it I remember thinking I wonder what those who were around's reaction was. What were people's reaction? 

NDUMISO: I have found that the pace and development of city life causes a shift in mentality especially when people move from a village setting into a city one. It's almost as if they take off their way of life from the village and take on a Western persona that then informs their belief and behavioural system. I always wonder, why can't you be yourself in the city? That's part of what inspired the film, we wanted to see the reaction that people would have to a Ndebele woman dressed traditionally as she would in the villages. 

It was a rather interesting reaction, I found and strongly believe that those that hated or were disgusted by what they saw, hated and were disgusted by themselves; it was a reflection of them and the shame they carry about their culture. We caught a taxi, we walked over Mandela bridge and walked through the streets, it was not only about culture but also became about overcoming objectification. The level of discomfort manifested differently in different people. To my surprise the group which we thought was going to be the worst was rather receptive and respectful. This group is the taxi drivers who are known for violence and being the "law" that governs women and disrespects them sometimes violently. One of the comments that struck me as interesting was "this one is a virgin", which was used as a compliment but in essence is rather problematic.

MAKA: Wow that is interesting and problematic. It reminds me of the whole one time for my sisters, one time for my whores. You know this problematic thing that some men do of categorising women into either queens, sisters and whores based on how they believe a woman should be behaving. While I am surprised the taxi drivers acted with respect, it is probably because she reminded them of a sister or of a mother because of the way that she was dressed, in their eyes she was behaving accordingly, as a traditional woman. 

NDUMISO: Yeah it is interesting and I find the categorisation of women based on how they behaviour extremely limiting to their growth. In doing that it's like you place her in a space where she is okay to relate to you and while that's "fine" for the male counterpart it isn't for the woman, it means because she has been put in a box she can't transcend. She can never define herself for herself and that is wrong. 

What I also found interesting was the female reaction and also having to be mindful of how I observed her through the lens. It is after all about the language of the camera and because me observing her through the lens was a male gaze, I had to be mindful and I made sure that I viewed her as a non-sexual being. I suggest that men watch it twice to get the desired effect/message across because once you get over the nakedness you see that in the world that she is in, she knows where she is going. I feel that once you get over the nakedness, you begin to understand. 

Women either cringe and say oh my goodness she went there and she did that looking like that. 

MAKA: Interesting reactions on the ground, what were the reactions online?

NDUMISO: The reaction online was great sans Instagram that said the content was offensive because of the nipples. It made me realise that we as Afrikans need our own platforms where we don't have to explain that the nudity isn't for sexual intent it is a woman in her cultural attire. We need platforms for our own understanding and I think in creating our own platforms we are actually defining ourselves. See I have this thing where I don't believe Afrikan history is being redefined, no, in everything that we are doing we are actually defining it because what is mostly out there about our history is not from us. 

MAKA: Ase brother! I feel that especially about creating our own platforms, it also allows us to expand our narratives about our individual as well as collective experiences as Afrikan people.  

To keep up with Ndumiso's adventures, show him some love and follow him on the 'gram @ndumisosibanda

IG: @nubiianphenomenon 

Makanaka Tuwe

A neatly packaged combination of tree hugger, tea drinker, cider loving, self appointed wine connoisseur, explorer, social entrepreneur, woman’s rights activist, reggae swaying, serial snap chatter, people loving, community and social development dreamer, book reading, free spirited dynamite. Can be found laughing at inappropriate memes or happenings of life.  Hailing from the Southern part of the African continent, Zimbabwe, I am a citizen of the world and above all a womanist.

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      The Black Experience - Introduction     

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The  ‘Black Experience’ , the titular subject that seems rather overlooked in New Zealand Society. It is to be expected I suppose, the community isn’t as large as others in the general population, nor does our society have the same bloodied history as most. Yet the question still remains: what is it like to experience being black in this country?   In order to answer this question we first need to establish what it is to be ‘black’. The simplistic view would probably see it as someone with African descent displaying a level of melanin in his or her skin. Those in the know, however, would see that this biological viewpoint is rather limited as it fails to understand the social construct that race dominates.    Like gender, to be ‘black’ is a racial identity that defines the person as a whole. It’s the beliefs, attitudes, perceptions and intimate relations one has in life. To identify as a race, one often shares an intimate connection with those of the same race. Therefore, to be ‘black’ is to be different, and in the interest of being precise, it’s really about being different to being white.   Seeing as physical features, beliefs, attitudes, preference and even name often mark this ‘black’ difference, it’s of no surprise that ‘blackness’ is not a thing to be possessed. ‘Blackness’ rather, is an experience that leaves its impression on a person. In my case, the black experience has been very subtle as my circle of influence from growing up until now has predominantly been white. It’s only now as an observant, intelligent and critical adult that I can see how ‘subtlety’ marginalized I have been within a white context.   To illustrate one example, as a youth I was one of many girls who adored the Spice Girls, Sporty Spice was my favourite. But in cases where I would be role playing with a group of my white friends, I was always delegated to being Scary Spice simply because I was black and so was she. I wasn’t given a choice. Now I know that 7-8 year olds may not understand the concept of racism, but this delegation and lack of choice I was given seems to demonstrate how pervasive, and subtle, the concept really is.   This subtlety is what I want to address in future posts themed around certain topics, so we as a people can open a discussion of ‘the black experience’ in New Zealand. To clarify, though, these ‘black experience’ posts won’t be rants on racism or prejudice, but a critical analysis of the difference being ‘black’ entails in both the society and age we live in. So my fellow brethren, take a walk with me as in the next post we begin by exploring the topic of goals and goals setting. Until then, the song of the week goes to Nina Simone – To Be Young Gifted and Black.        </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"        
  Strength, Love and Blessings, 
      

  

  	
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     IG: thenigmaeffect | Snapchat: bl4kbe4uty             Karla Abrigo: Living by the mantra “to be a strong, intelligent woman with substance and style” she advocates for the capacity in all of us to be the best we can be. Also living by the rule that understanding is the answer to all problems she emphasizes the old Aretha Franklin adage, RESPECT in everything she does and writes with a purpose that, at the very least, everyone deserves that much. So read and be critical, open discussion is what she relishes in as engagement she believes, allows for collective growth.     
  
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The Black Experience - Introduction

The ‘Black Experience’, the titular subject that seems rather overlooked in New Zealand Society. It is to be expected I suppose, the community isn’t as large as others in the general population, nor does our society have the same bloodied history as most. Yet the question still remains: what is it like to experience being black in this country?


In order to answer this question we first need to establish what it is to be ‘black’. The simplistic view would probably see it as someone with African descent displaying a level of melanin in his or her skin. Those in the know, however, would see that this biological viewpoint is rather limited as it fails to understand the social construct that race dominates. 


Like gender, to be ‘black’ is a racial identity that defines the person as a whole. It’s the beliefs, attitudes, perceptions and intimate relations one has in life. To identify as a race, one often shares an intimate connection with those of the same race. Therefore, to be ‘black’ is to be different, and in the interest of being precise, it’s really about being different to being white.


Seeing as physical features, beliefs, attitudes, preference and even name often mark this ‘black’ difference, it’s of no surprise that ‘blackness’ is not a thing to be possessed. ‘Blackness’ rather, is an experience that leaves its impression on a person. In my case, the black experience has been very subtle as my circle of influence from growing up until now has predominantly been white. It’s only now as an observant, intelligent and critical adult that I can see how ‘subtlety’ marginalized I have been within a white context.


To illustrate one example, as a youth I was one of many girls who adored the Spice Girls, Sporty Spice was my favourite. But in cases where I would be role playing with a group of my white friends, I was always delegated to being Scary Spice simply because I was black and so was she. I wasn’t given a choice. Now I know that 7-8 year olds may not understand the concept of racism, but this delegation and lack of choice I was given seems to demonstrate how pervasive, and subtle, the concept really is.


This subtlety is what I want to address in future posts themed around certain topics, so we as a people can open a discussion of ‘the black experience’ in New Zealand. To clarify, though, these ‘black experience’ posts won’t be rants on racism or prejudice, but a critical analysis of the difference being ‘black’ entails in both the society and age we live in. So my fellow brethren, take a walk with me as in the next post we begin by exploring the topic of goals and goals setting.
Until then, the song of the week goes to Nina Simone – To Be Young Gifted and Black.


Strength, Love and Blessings,

IG: thenigmaeffect | Snapchat: bl4kbe4uty 

 

Karla Abrigo: Living by the mantra “to be a strong, intelligent woman with substance and style” she advocates for the capacity in all of us to be the best we can be. Also living by the rule that understanding is the answer to all problems she emphasizes the old Aretha Franklin adage, RESPECT in everything she does and writes with a purpose that, at the very least, everyone deserves that much. So read and be critical, open discussion is what she relishes in as engagement she believes, allows for collective growth.

 

Comment