Pledge: No Spending until January 2021?

Could you? Me, maybe.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

My kids always say, mommy when you say maybe, it means yes. Otherwise, you would say no! Well…

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and was thinking about whether it would be possible? Whether I’ll be able to make it? Not spending any money on anything other than food and essentials until January 2021? With that, I mean new clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils, a new car?

I guess it depends where you are in life and what matters to you? With so many people being laid off at jobs that they thought would be around forever and suddenly finding themselves in a financial crisis. I guess it may just bring more stress when you’re already knee-deep in a crisis, but what if you’ve been moderately good at handling your finances up to now. Would you be able to go without buying anything until January 2021?

How much do you think 3.5 months of no spending could save you? Maybe $1000? Or maybe more? With the pandemic and restaurants and coffee shops being closed all this while, I saved quite a bit of money on eating out. Now that restaurants are open again I see a lot of people rushing back like they don’t know how they managed without it for so long. But you did?

I know it may be easier for some, but not others. I have 2 boys aged 9 and almost 11 and they may need some new clothes as the weather changes and summer comes to the southern hemisphere. It can be a scorcher! Then there is Christmas in between and you may need to buy some Christmas presents. 
What if this year we tried something different? You bring yourself as the gift, literally! Or figuratively (thank God)!

Photo by Phil Coffman on Unsplash

Maybe you plan an elaborate outdoor picnic and everybody brings something that they already have in their house or garden. It may be time to learn how to make peach jam. I love hiking, so I am already thinking of a drive out to a nearby hiking trail and bringing everyone along, including those who said they weren’t into hiking.

I love reading and might donate a few books. Not everyone may like Sidney Sheldon’s Rage of Angels or Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key, and it could just collect dust on a shelve, who knows. It may just ignite a small spark, and more people may want to do it. The nice thing about all this is that someone is really getting to know you. What you like and dislike. How you prefer to spend your time. And you are getting to know them.

This is definitely more intimate than picking something off the shelf at Makro (our big retailer) and getting it wrapped in store. What people miss is closeness. Feelings are so important. We think we know what people are going through, but one has no idea.

I guess Christmas is just too far away to spend any brainpower on it right now. You can start by just planning a few weeks ahead. Is there something materially that you absolutely have to have?

I have a closet of high heels that I have not worn since March. I have a closet full of clothes that I never needed once during the lockdown. They are still good for another season or so.

We don’t need much. Let’s see how this pans out. I’m excited.

What Has Social Media Done For You?

Great, I’m happy for you. For me, not so much.

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Except disturb my sleep. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with social media from the beginning. I wrote about it a while ago, (almost 3 years ago) about being Peacefully Offline. I really meant it back then. I’ve been off Facebook for a few years now, I don’t miss it.

I started up Twitter again a while ago because I wanted to promote my writing, my blog and my administrative consulting business. It is all good and well, but what do you have to trade for it? Just a small piece of your soul.

Last night I was scrolling through Twitter and I must have hovered for too long because this video started playing. It was of an amputee shoved out of his wheelchair and another man slamming the wheelchair on the ground trying to break it. This was footage of the protest actions that have been going on for the last few months in the USA. The poor amputee was trying to get away on one leg and the guy came running after him. I didn’t want to see any more and quickly clicked away.

The damage was done. I couldn’t sleep. The graphic memory stayed with me, I can still see it so vividly. Of course, we can’t be naïve and make as if it doesn’t exist, but when you watch the news and social media on a daily basis, that is what you are going to get. Don’t even get started on the comments. The social media celebrities with a few hundred thousand followers cannot say anything without being attacked.

“It’s a beautiful day today.”

Comment 1: Yeah, right. Says he that’s got everything going for him. Thumbs down brother!

Comment 2: Well, I’m in Eastern Europe and the sun rarely comes out here and that’s all your fault!

And on and on.

Then there is Money Twitter. If you don’t have a Gumroad course to sell, you haven’t made it yet. People showing just how much they’ve made in sales and forex trading. To each their own.

It is perfectly fine to celebrate your wins, but it makes everyone else feel like losers. Well, they shouldn’t be so sensitive either, someone would comment. I wrote 2 ebooks and promoted them on Gumroad and Twitter. I was part of the gang now. I made exactly $50. It is still my pinned tweet and I will probably give those books away for free soon.

My biggest reward is when only one person can gets helped. The best feeling is when someone digs up a post from 2018 and writes a small note to say thank you, reading that post has just made their day.

I would rather have 100 true fans only, on any platform.

We keep talking about how little time we all have. Don’t spend all your time and mental energy on such trivial things.

Naval said the internet gives you infinite leverage. He was right. You can now connect with people all over the world that previously would not be possible unless you were physically introduced to them. People all over the world can read your writing. You can be commissioned for jobs. Others can learn from you.

All that is wonderful, as long as you don’t give away a piece of your soul in return.

Just Be Kind

Everyone is fighting a silent battle you know nothing about, just be kind.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I know it’s hard, especially if you’re a talker. Perhaps you’re an extrovert and generally outgoing and jolly. You want people around you to know it. You find yourself around the dinner table with a few others and someone talks about something that happened to them.

Their dog swallowed a bone and needed surgery and it’s costing a fortune. You say, well, you should’ve thought about that before you decided to get a dog!

Excuse me. The words are out before you can stop them. It happens. More often than not. Next time, can you just think before you speak.

With the morbidity of job losses, financial ruin, cancer, failed businesses, rather just err on the side of caution and be kind.

Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with cancer 4 years ago. He was fighting a silent battle. He is one famous example, but there are many others, less famous, who will never make the papers. You only hear about it when it’s too late. People don’t want to burden you.

They walk around with a smile on their face and a silent burden in their hearts. You will never know.

Live like it may be your last day. Be kind.

To everyone. It may be the last time you see or talk to someone today.

I know, I know, I know that this is easier said than done. You wake up late, your alarm clock didn’t go off. No time for breakfast, rushing to make it to the office, or to the Zoom meeting that started 5 mins ago.

To some people, it comes naturally, but to the majority of us, we need to actively pursue kindness throughout the day. Set yourself a reminder on your phone. Whatever it takes. Just do it.

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

Life is short.

Here are some useful habits that will make someone’s day and yours.

1. Live every day like it may be your last.

2. Spend time with your loved ones.

3. Tell them you love them.

4. Where you are, be there

5. Surprise someone

6. Call your parents.

7. hugs often

8. Send flowers

9. Journal

10. Be Still

You don’t have to do many things. You don’t have to do expensive things. Just your presence alone can make someone’s day.

We want 2020 to be over. Well, it’s 4 months away now. What do you have to show for the last 8 months? The pandemic. Yes, that one we all have in common. How did you use your time?

Quick question.

Do you know of anyone close to you who were here at the beginning of 2020 who isn’t with us anymore? I do.

Life is short.

It’s time to make a difference.

It’s time to take up new habits.

It’s time to change your lifestyle.

Time is our most valuable resource. Start living a life where you won’t waste another minute. Start making changes today that your future self will thank you for.

It’s not too late.

Just start.

Are You on Your Road to Financial Independence?

You should be. Nobody is coming to save you. Save yourself.

At the end of June 2020, I took a huge leap of faith and quit my full-time job. It is now almost 2 months later and I still think to myself, Michelle, you’ve made a huge mistake. That’s when I want to go run and hide. Whatever made you do that?

Well, if you will indulge me just a bit. In 2013 I opened my own fashion design business with a lot less experience than I have now. I didn’t know how to sew, but I knew that African print fashion was popular and knew that people would pay to get their hands on a good dress. I decided to make those dresses.

I set up shop with one part-time seamstress, store-bought patterns and just the sheer will to make this thing work. I posted some samples in the local classifieds where people normally go to look for jobs and second-hand stuff, not dresses.

I landed my first customer, and after a lot of trial and error, the dress was complete. I asked if she could write us a review and also post pictures of her in the dress. It was an instant hit. We received many calls for similar dresses and the rest was history.

The company ran successfully for 2 years and unfortunately due to mainly a lack of management skills and some cash flow problems, we had to close down.

To this day I’m still amazed at how smoothly it ran once my mind was made up and we got everything set up. There were long nights, tight deadlines, someone needing a dress for Saturday and they come and see you on Wednesday!

A lot of it was common sense. Deliver on time, deliver the best. Everybody wants to look beautiful. I don’t think they realise that they were already beautiful, the dress maybe added 1 percent. Anyway, we had a happy customer. And another and another.

All it takes is a mindset shift. If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t. Every single person reading this has all the tools they need to start a successful business or make money. Even if money is not your number one goal, it sure helps not to start stressing when the rent is due.

Also, you want to get out of that cycle that kept you and your family trapped for so long. The baton has been passed on to you. Don’t disappoint us. There is no-one else.

With the worldwide economic crash and businesses closing down, there is absolutely no safety in job security any more. You could be laid off any day. It will be an unemotional decision, a business one. The company needs to survive. Don’t be the one on the receiving end of that message. Now is the time to create multiple streams of income.

Start something on the side. Put time in over weekends and evenings. Just the mindset shift alone will set you apart from the others at work. Those who are content with their 9–5. The problem isn’t the 9–5, the problem is the mindset. People that think their job is safe till retirement. Those days are long gone. Don’t be the one left out in the cold.

Secondly, build up your savings. It will save you from financial ruin should anything happen at work. Don’t spend everything, every month. You don’t need a new car or another big screen tv. Those things can’t save you. Have a sit down with the family and let them know that you are trying to build a better future for them, to get away from living paycheck to paycheck.

I have now decided to set up my virtual administration business. Most people call it a virtual PA, but there is so much more to it than being an assistant and answering the phone. I have done a lot of administration and operations during my working career and know that the skills I have may be a match for some small businesses and entrepreneurs out there.

It could be as basic as managing the incoming email inbox with customer enquiries and complaints. It could be managing the customer database or performing marketing tasks like creating a newsletter or content for the website.

The perks of the job are that you can work from home and manage your own time. You can have multiple clients with different needs which keeps the job exciting and you can learn a lot of new things. You just have to be open to it. Scheduling your time and hours is key. It helps you not to drift around aimlessly during the day.

I have also written 2 e-books and am busy with a 3rd. So far I’ve made only $50 in sales. I am in no hurry. Don’t expect anything in the first year. Just put your head down and put in the work to build a reputation. The glory will come afterwards when you have forgotten about it. A lot of people give up just before the big breakthrough.

Just the thought of working on something for yourself that can help you in the future is quite inspiring. A lot of people won’t be inspired with you. They live for the now, they want to spend everything today, their time and their money. Keep building up your reserves. If nothing else, you will slowly become a different person.

A person with goals to a better future. A person who has already started to put the steps in place. In 6 months from now, you will be way ahead of someone who never started.

There are so much talent and no lack of resources to get started. Only if you really wanted to. We are on the cusp of a new era, of a new way of earing and investing. Invest in your future. Start today. So many wish they had all the advantages you have.

You don’t even see them because you’ve always had them. A talented mind, a decent computer, uninterrupted wi-fi, free time on your hands. Don’t take it for granted, not for another day. Start today.

In 6 months you will be a different person. Only because you made the decision to start. Good luck with your journey!

Before you go! Get a copy of my e-books here!

10 Ways to Make the Next 142 Days Really Count

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

For most of us, the last time anything made sense was in March. It is now August. Five months have gone and we can’t account for where that time went and what we did.

I know this is a generalization and hopefully, for most of you, there is something to show. Like a new job, starting a business or a side hustle.

What we all agree on is that we cannot waste away another minute. Life is just too short. We have already lost 5 months of 2020.

There are exactly 142 days left to 01 Jan 2021. The next steps will show you how to make those 142 days really count.

1. Stop waiting for it to end. It won’t.

We cannot live our lives for the day that things will go back to normal. There is no normal. That is gone. The sooner we start facing some real truths, that the circumstances we currently find ourselves in can only be solved with the tools we have at our disposal at the moment. There is no going back. To anything.

That is gone. That was yesterday.

Look forward. That’s where you’re going.

2. Show gratitude

Be grateful for what you have. If you still have a job, be grateful for that. If you can keep relatively the same lifestyle as before without any major changes, you are lucky. Show some gratitude. If you still have a business and did not have to lay off 50% of your workers, you are in a better position than some other businesses.

Count your blessings. Every day.

3. Make peace with WFH (working from home)

It was exciting in the beginning to work from home. No more commuting. No more sitting in traffic for 2 hours. You can have a 2-hour lunch break. You decide which hours you work. When you are most productive.

However, the blending in of work and home makes you feel like you can never switch off. You should be always on, always connected. Online meetings have become the norm. Get used to it.

4. Make peace with having your children around

There were days if you can still remember when you could drop your kids off at the school gate and get on with your life. Go to work, do your thing and get back to them later in the afternoon.

Now you have to deal with homeschooling and online learning and Zoom meetings. And making sure tasks are completed. Wait, is that not the teacher’s job?

School was never meant to be a daycare centre. It does allow for the parents to go to work though. The sooner we stop feeling flustered and get the children into a routine that works for everyone, the better. All children need are rules and boundaries. If you don’t set them, they will.

And yes, those without children won’t have a clue and that’s ok too. It is what it is.

5. Pay off your debt

I know everyone says it, you’ve heard it so often, but with lay-offs being the order of the day at most companies, debt is a real threat to your survival and wellbeing.

Pay it off as fast as you can. Get rid of that car note. Think twice before getting a big-ticket item. Nobody cares, nobody is looking.

What about a challenge? What if you decided that you are not going to buy anything new for the next 142 days until 01 January 2021. Nothing besides the essentials. Let’s try that!

6. Build up your emergency fund

If your boss told you tomorrow that you don’t have a job anymore (that is a reality), how long would you be able to cover your monthly expenses? One month, three months, 6 months. At a bare minimum, you should have 6 months’ expenses saved up.

It will buy you time. You can decide on the next steps without hyperventilating or feeling like an anxiety attack is imminent every single day. Remember, you are doing this for yourself.

Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash

7. Visit your parents

But they said no home visits. You don’t want them to get sick. Yes, of course, that should be your main priority. If now is not the right time, that’s fine, but do it as soon as the opportunity allows.

Years later when they are not around anymore, you will either cherish the memories of the good times you spent with them, or you will regret that you did not spend more time with them. You don’t want it to be the latter.

8. Cut toxic relationships

Just because someone was your friend since high school does not mean you still have to hang around with them. People grow up and grow apart. Priorities shift. The same goes for family. There is no need for hangers-on who just drain you and hinders your progress.

It sometimes is an emotional decision to stay with the crowd. No-one else knows you like them. Don’t let your whole life pass by and realise all this time that you were a crowd-pleaser.

9. Get your body in shape

Not for anybody else, but for yourself. As we’ve said before, if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.

It also means wearing a mask, not because the government says so but because it is the right thing to do.

We are not sure whether masks work, but shouldn’t we rather err on the side of caution? Rather wear a mask and look ridiculous than end up with a ventilator. It’s a no brainer.

10. Become a philosopher

Make time to reflect. Make time to be alone and just think. Think about where you are in life. What you want to achieve. Where you are heading.

There is so much noise out there. One can quite easily carry on and not even realise that they’ve hardly had a coffee with themselves lately.

Make that date with yourself. Schedule it in your calendar. Meditation helps. It calms the mind. When you have a calm mind you can achieve anything. Unless you make a concerted effort to stop and take time out, it will just pass you by. Make the time.

11. Smile (bonus)

You’ve got this!

Women, We Should Do Better

What would you do if you were in her shoes?

Photo by KEEM IBARRA on Unsplash

I read a tweet over the weekend that got my blood boiling. Someone said his brother nearly got killed while he was out jogging. I jog a lot, almost every afternoon. Maybe it’s time to set up that private gym in the garage. And these people running without masks.

I’ve been trying to do my part, even as I pant like a bitch on heat after the first corner because the damn mask is trying to suffocate me. But I wear it nonetheless. I want to do my part. We all have our parts to play. It’s your choice. You always have a choice.

That wasn’t what really got me upset. It’s the fact that in the next paragraph he said that his brother just found out that he had a 14-year-old son. Some woman called him up on Facebook and said, dude, I had your child 14 years ago. He went for a DNA test to confirm that the child was his. He was.

The reason why I am quite livid right now is that I want to know which person keeps a child from his father for 14 years? I mean really! I know that is how we get back to men, that’s how we punish them, we want them to suffer as we suffered. It’s been done for generations. We can justify all we want.

Photo by Chayene Rafaela on Unsplash

All you succeeded in doing is keeping away a father from his child. You think you got him back, but it is your own child who suffered without a father for 14 years. 
Dad couldn’t see his son walk for the first time, say his first words, see his first tooth coming out. Dad couldn’t teach him how to ride his tricycle. Dad wasn’t there for his first day at school.

We are not in a position to judge. We shouldn’t. It has been done. All we can do is move forward now. At least dad will be there now for the rest of his life. Thank you, mom, for giving dad that chance.

The reason I’m writing here is so that the next mom or mom-to-be who is coming before this very junction and having to make the same decision, will think twice and choose wisely. That she will consider the implications and not make an emotional decision. Let him know. He has the right to know. Ladies lets become a generation that does better. Not just in words, but actions too.

Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

However hard it might be at that moment. Make the right choice. Trust the process. It won’t let you down. There may be people around you who want to dissuade you. Tell you it won’t work, that you’re making a mistake.

At least one day you can look your son in the eye with the knowledge that you made the right decision for him. However, it turns out thereafter does not take away from the fact that when you were at the crossroads you chose wisely.

Life is short. We realise it now more than ever during this pandemic. A person can be taken from us at any moment. Therefore, make the right choices.

Don’t let your heart be troubled. For whatever you are going through has happened before, there were brave women before you and not so brave women. Which one will you be?


Black Families Matter

That’s firstly a two-parent home, secondly a financially secure two-parent home.

Photo by Shawnee D on Unsplash

“All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

A few weeks ago the world woke up to the shock of racism and police brutality in America with the shameless death of George Floyd.

George Floyd, his only crime was that he was a black man.

My husband is black, my father was black, my brothers are black, my boys are black.

It doesn’t matter that Oprah is the richest woman in the world. She couldn’t help him.

It doesn’t matter that Barack Obama was a two-time American president. He couldn’t help George.

Kanye couldn’t help.

There is something infinitely wrong with today’s society. Men don’t know where they fit in, they don’t know their place.

Fifty years ago, the man was the head of the family. He protected and cared for his family. He fought off lions if he had to. He was the embodiment of courage, strength, perseverance and determination.

Now, we are not in danger anymore. Women earn their own money. There is no-one to protect and feed.

Men don’t know where and how they fit in.

Photo by Shawnee D on Unsplash

With the rise of double-income families, and everyone earning equally, well maybe the man should stay at home and look after the babies. After all, she is a lawyer.

We perpetuate this negative mindset with the rise of the feminist. By all means, let’s have our rights, but not at the detriment of your rights as a man.

It is a double-edged sword.

Especially for the kids growing up in these households. My mom is the strong one. The boys grow up thinking that this is the norm.

The girls grow up thinking this is the norm. They don’t have any other means to get a balanced view. We say a college degree and school is a farce. Every child can now be homeschooled, it’s not for the privileged anymore.

With that comes the isolation from the community. The kids don’t have to mix with other children or grown-ups anymore. You don’t even need to go to the shops to buy groceries, everything gets delivered to your door. With Amazon, you can get a same day delivery if you order before a certain time. Hell, if you buy more there is no delivery fee.

Our biggest flaw is that we are comfort seekers.

It’s comfortable to keep the kids at home, work from home, get groceries delivered. No-one will be judging you for the choices you make. We see nothing wrong with it because there is nothing to balance it against.

Girls, it’s our job to change this. It starts with using birth control. Most likely he is not ready and neither are you. Don’t throw your whole life away by getting pregnant. That was the 1950s. Guys, keep it in your pants.

If there is anything you need to build early on, it’s some restraint. Restraint to sex, food, drugs, fast cars. Your life can spin out of control so easily and one day you wonder, how did it happen? Every day, slowly, without you noticing.

Ladies, there’s more to having a party and a good time in your twenties. Unknowingly, you are building the foundation of a good family home. Don’t waste it. You can’t play catch up later.

I know that I may be preaching to the converted here and we are all model families. As model as we perceive them to be, but without a doubt, there is someone on the brink of making one of two decisions.

One on his way to make a better life for his current or future family. Another one that thinks that all of this is just too hard. Leave me alone and he turns over on the couch and pulls the sheets over his face.

Which one are you?

Entrepreneur, Hustler & Self-Starter

Don’t let your dreams be asleep with you anymore

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Yesterday, June 26 2020 was my last day of being formally employed. I was at the company for 5 years and had some good times. It was time to move on. With Covid-19 upon us and everyone working from home, I realised just how much I was missing out on with raising my 2 boys. I used to drop them at school at about 07h30 and only be back after 18h00 in the evening. I just didn’t want that anymore.

I decided to trade places and choose them. With that, of course, comes the responsibility of now having to make my own money with my freelance writing and blogging career, as well as the virtual administration business that I have running on the side.

I am very familiar with business, I had a fashion design business making African print ladies fashionwear before. I am even more familiar with failure. I had to close the business after 2 years due to cashflow constraints. One would think this time she would have it all together…

I still have sleepless nights since the day I decided to go on my own about a month ago. How am I going to pay my bills? Am I gonna have to deplete the savings I spend years accumulating? What if I’m forced to look for another job?

If you let loose the demons in your head, there is no end to the stories it will tell you. Of the doubts that you will continue to have. Above all else, get your mindset right. I took a piece of paper and wrote down the pros and cons of taking this major step right now.

You will never be ready, but you have to start somewhere.

Don’t wait for the right time.

The time will never be right.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

There will never be a better time than right now, in the middle of Covid-19. It is inherently a time for change, for everyone and everything. Companies are changing the way they have been doing business for years.

More employers allow staff to work from home. They are learning to trust their workers that tasks will still be completed, even though they can’t see them. A two-hour commute just doesn’t make sense anymore.

As for the individual, you are made for a time such as this. This is the cue you’ve been waiting for. The time is now. There are so many opportunities to make money online, to make money without leaving your home. It may mean learning a new skill, it may mean just brushing up on a skill that you have. But it does mean that you have to work harder than ever before.

Working on your own is not for everyone. The possibility of failure is real and it can crush you. Allow some caution and common sense in your decision making. Discuss it with your partner and family. You will need their support. They will want you to succeed, that’s great encouragement and motivation to get going.

Alas, time doesn’t stand still, it waits for no-one.

This is a tweet I wrote about 3 days ago.

You can be a new person in 6 months’ time.

Start now.

With hands shaking and knees trembling, I have started.

You can too. Let’s do this!

Be Fully, Magnificently, You!

Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash

About 20 years ago when I was in high school (I know I don’t look my age 😊), you had 2 groups of girls. The cool girls and the girls with nappy hair and crooked teeth. I fell in the latter group. My father was also not the headmaster or the church pastor. I slid lower down the ranks.

I don’t know who decided on these ranks, but there they were. I had to fall in line. Like many other teenagers who don’t know their place and trying their best to fit in, but only succeeded in standing out, like a sore finger.

‘I hope that my presence on your screen, and my face in magazines may lead you young girls on a beautiful journey, that you will feel validation of your external beauty, but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.’ — Lupita Nyong’o

I eventually finished high school and went to college in Cape Town. I stayed with my aunt and worked nights and weekends at KFC in Claremont, the one in Main Road. I was lucky enough to find a decent job straight out of college. I could get my own place that I shared with my brother and later my sister came to join us.

Throughout this time I was grouped in a certain class.

We were the Coloureds from Mitchells Plain who were all gangsters. I didn’t need to open my mouth. It didn’t matter that I was not from Mitchells Plain. I fit the profile before I could open my mouth. Talk about judging a book by its cover.

‘I raise up my voice — not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.’ — Malala Yousafzai

Photo by Leon Ell’ on Unsplash

With that racial bias and stereotypes came the realisation that there was a glass ceiling. You could only be the PA, don’t ever think you will make it to the corner office. And when one of the girls got knocked up and the baby daddy is gone before the baby is born, it just reinforced our positions.

That maybe you should hold on to the merchandiser’s job at Edgars. At least you’re not the cleaner. And so we never get rid of the stereotype. Even if you can now afford to book a table for 10 at the Codfather in Camps Bay, when you walk in they size you up and down and think, Oh Lord who let them in?

‘It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.’ Madeleine Albright

My message to you, don’t let it take you 20 years. Twenty years to understand that you have just as much right as any other person to be here, breath in the free air and own your space.

You don’t have to be a feminist and burn your bra and demand equal rights. You can do so silently, with fierce determination, to firstly quieten the voices in your own head. Once you have conquered those, the rest is easy.

‘I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.’-Audre Lorde

It starts with you believing that you belong here.

You have a purpose. Others look up to you, some you don’t even know. You carry their hopes in your heart because you have the voice they don’t have.

‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’ — Anais Nin

Be fully, magnificently, you!

We’ll Die Of Hunger First!

Unlock the South African economy now!

As we enter lockdown day 43 in South Africa, with over 8000 positive cases and a death toll of 161, the situation is bleak, to say the least. The economy was abruptly brought to a halt on Friday 27 March when the lockdown started. Everyone had to stay at home, you could only go out to buy food or go to the doctor. Only essential services were operational.

Everyone else had to stay at home and work from home. Restaurants, hairdressers, beauty parlours and gyms were closed. There was a ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes and a curfew in the evenings. Sounds more like we are going to war than fighting a virus.

Exactly 6 weeks later and thousands of people have lost their jobs. Some had to take salary cuts of more than 50%. Others can’t afford to pay their rent, pay their car instalments, or buy food. Someone I know had to be content with 10% of their normal salary. I mean, what do you do with 10%?

The companies also don’t have a choice, no-one is buying, no-one is paying, pending orders are cancelled. With a huge cashflow crisis gushing expenses with no income, it’s not a pretty sight.

How does your life change so radically in 6 weeks?

A whole generation’s sweat and toil down the drain. No-one has an emergency fund. No-one. I guess we thought the rainy day would never come.

All the schools are closed. Children are at home. Parents are at home. Nerves are in tatters. Children are going hungry. Parents watch in despair. If they go outside without a permit they can get locked up.

Still trying to find the owner

We know that the lockdown was never going to stop the virus, it was only going to slow down the spread so that hospitals can prepare and get ready when the virus hits at its peak. But in the meantime, people are starving.

“First they came for the cigarettes, and I did not speak up because I am not a smoker. Then they came for the alcohol, and I did not speak up because I’m not a drinker. They later came for my cooked chicken, and I did not speak up because I’m a dumbass who can’t recognise danger.” — Quentin Quarantino Ferreira

The government has vouched to plough back billions into the economy to ease the hardships of ordinary people, but the sheer magnitude of the administration is leaving many people wanting and waiting. The grants are not coming today or tomorrow.

In the meantime, people are going hungry, by the millions. Another initiative was to distribute food parcels. Well done for that, but it’s only feeding the family today, what about tomorrow?

By the time we wake up, starvation would have killed many more people than the virus ever could. We need to lift the lockdown and let people get back to work, those lucky ones who still have a job.

Masks are now mandatory. Yes, let’s wash our hands and wear masks, but please can we just get back to work!