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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?

Blessings.

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 @ wocintechchat.com 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 @ wocintechchat.com 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!

Staying Home Amid COVID-19

Don’t wish for it to be over

Photo by Tani Olorunyomi on Unsplash

In South Africa, we started our nationwide lockdown on Friday 27 March at 00:00. It was to carry on for 21 days until midnight on Thursday 16 April. That was 3 weeks. All we could do was go to the shops or go to the doctor pretty much. If you were not essential services, you stay home.

Companies had to adjust quickly and send staff home to work from home. Restaurants, bars, public places were the hardest hit. Everything had to remain closed.

Two weeks in, everybody got into their groove, not too much bitching and moaning going on anymore because it was the same for everyone, the rich, the poor, black, white, coloured, indian. No-one was exempted. This made it more bearable.

On Thursday 09 April, we heard that the president would address the nation in the evening. We were all eagerly awaiting news from him. He started with praising the public response and cooperation, the healthcare workers’ dedication and commitment. Then he said that’s it’s too early to tell whether our efforts to curb the virus has been successful and imposed a further 2 weeks of lockdown. The lockdown will now extend to 35 days, until the end of April. There were mixed emotions. We had one week to go and all of a sudden the 3 weeks had started all over again. Businesses who were suffering were now pushed into a further 2 weeks.

About a month ago patient zero arrived on our shores. Who would have thought? I bet these are the words on everyone’s mind. How did this thing come out of nowhere and so quickly disrupt my existence to the point of some losing jobs and later all hope?

Who allowed that to happen?

Photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

As you are now confined to 4 walls with your partner and children, you have never spent more time with them. You’re not sure if you want to anymore. Your spouse is driving you crazy and you wonder, where were the days that you could drop your kids off at school or the daycare centre and get on with your life? I want answers you think. Someone must pay for this.

After all the ranting and raving and punching pillows, you know it’s not going away. No use fighting it any more. You always said you would build the dollhouse, well now is the time. Might as well keep you busy and not just with trips to the fridge.

Your kids will grow up and you will never have this time with them again. You won’t have all this time again to start that side hustle that you always dreamed of. Everything is going digital anyway. Maybe it’s time to offer those online piano lessons. Or to learn code, or to take up cooking lessons. 
 
First, you have to start with a plan. Work out a daily schedule for the remainder of the lockdown and include everything, even trips to the fridge. 
Read, meditate, catch up with friends and family via FaceTime. Call your parents, every day. They are the most vulnerable.

On the other side as well, it’s a great motivation to re-adjust your budget and expenses and save. You just realised you can do without all that eating out and daily Starbucks coffee. Put money away for a rainy day, because although the rainy day is here now, you will be better prepared for the next one 
 
Only hard cash is king. Make sure you have at least 6 months of expenses saved up. Yes, we all thought that day would never come. Well, all we can do is ride the wave, make adjustments and come out of this strong and ready. I will and so can you. We can make money again, find other jobs, but we can’t bring back life.
 
Good luck and all the best during these turbulent times.

Just remember, this too shall pass.

Blessings.

Love Lives Here

In the heart of a beautiful woman, you.

I just felt that today I needed to speak to the women in the house.

Ladies, wherever find yourselves. Will you do me a favour? Just for today, put yourself first.

Take some time out, go into a quiet corner and reflect on where you are today. What are you grateful for? What do you have going for you? A job that you like (that’s rare), your studies to educate yourself in order to become something better. A husband or partner who loves you. And lastly your kids whom you wanted to drop off somewhere more than once, but since there’s a law against that.

The burdens are heavy. Our mothers have carried those same burdens. With so much grace. Here we are, living in an age of microwave dinners, workplaces with child care facilities, being able to FaceTime your mother whenever you need to and still, we are not happy.

Something is sapping all our energy. Self-doubt and worry make us lie awake at night. Woman. Listen. For once, make it about you.

There is a beautiful saying — Love Lives Here. Let here be wherever you are.

Fellas, if you are listening. She may appear strong. For you. But inside she is falling apart. Especially when children are involved. Be committed. Stay committed. She loves you. Give her that honour.

She needs to know that she is your everything. Tell her that you love her. Often. That you appreciate everything she is doing for you. Do it today. Pick up the phone. Now.

Ladies, go to work every day determined to give it your all. Change your attitude towards your situation. It will never be 100% perfect. But if you go in with a smile, you will get through the day much easier.

Where do you see yourself 6 months from now? Will your situation still be the same? I hope not. We either progress or we stagnate. Start today to lay the foundation for a better future.

Become financially independent. It gives you options. Spend less than you earn. Start saving 10% of your income. Tackle your debt one at a time. Pay off your credit card.

Start taking care of your health. Start exercising. Eat better food. You can’t do anything if you don’t have your health.

Practice kindness. You just have to look around you to see where the need is. It is everywhere. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. That someone else is you.

Give yourself permission to start enjoying your life. Don’t wait for him to organise a date night. Just do it and send him a meeting request. Buy your own flowers.

Be the strong, independent woman that you know you can be. With a soft heart. Many things may have happened to warrant a hard heart. But you are not going to let those things overshadow the good that is still in the world just waiting to be discovered.

Be open. Let the light in. Let Love Live Here.

Make The Tough Decisions Today and You Won’t Regret a Thing

When things are not going well we are quick to come up with every excuse and justification for not taking action or doing the right thing.

Most unpleasant situations are our own doing. We know the right thing to do, but take zero action and then we wonder why nothing is happening.

We blame our past, the present and everything in between. It’s time to face some hard truths. Let’s start by asking yourself some tough questions?

1. Are you healthy?

The other day I had a slight headache because I was fasting for the day. I told the person I was with and immediately came out a whole bag of medication. She had a pill for everything. I was very surprised because overall she seemed healthy.

Don’t feel the need to be dependent on anything. Nothing that some exercise and fresh air won’t fix.

2. Healthy Eating

Are you able to go to the shop and choose exactly what you want to eat tonight? Do you have a choice of getting the healthier, slightly more expensive options? All the fruit and vegetables you need?

For some people, it is pap (South African mielie meal porridge) once a day only. If you’ve never had to go to bed hungry, you have nothing to complain about.

3. Healthy Body

Are you able to, if you wanted to, take a brisk walk around the block? Are you able to get out of your car, or get off at the bus stop before yours and walk the last 20mins?

Some people don’t have that luxury. Are you able to if you wanted to? That’s the answer.

4. Healthy Mind

Are you able to look around you and count all your blessings? Your spouse, your children, your co-workers who make you laugh.

If you wanted to, can you switch off all electronics and noise and just sit all by yourself, with your own thoughts without wishing you were somewhere else?

Can you decide to stay in and work or read a book, without having the feeling that you need to be somewhere or that you are missing out on something?

5. Healthy Spending

Are you able to say no to the impulse of buying another pair of shoes or another kitchen appliance you don’t need?

At the click of a button you can buy anything online and if you pay a little extra it can be home before you. Knowing that this service exists, knowing that you have the money to buy whatever you need, but not doing it — that’s a winner.

You will never regret it. Not making that purchase. This strong resolve will show up in all areas of your life. People will wonder how come you’re so lucky, you have everything going for you.

They don’t know that in the quiet moments when it’s just you and you, you make the tough decisions. It takes nerves of steel, but you’ve gotten better. Practice makes perfect.

6. Healthy Relationships

Are you able to walk out on an unhealthy relationship because it’s toxic and it’s affecting every area of your life? Are you saying no to verbal and emotional abuse even though you will return to an empty house tonight and there is no one to split the bills with?

You don’t need to sell your soul just because the lights are on when you get home and the bed is warm.

We’ve all made mistakes. But when you know better, you have to do better. 

You owe it to yourself.

Good luck with your journey.

Is Your Life Paying Dividends Already?

I am sure you are having an amazing life so far.

The lights and heat are on and you have a nice little nest egg saved up. If you were to lose your job tomorrow, you are able to cope with the financial pressures. You have enough money saved up to cover at least 6 months of living expenses.

Uhhmm yes…or maybe not.

If you are reading this you are in a fortunate position. For those who can internalise and make sense of it, you are in an even better position. Or best scenario, you don’t need any advice since your pockets are lined already.

Good for you, too.

However, for the rest of us mere mortals, let’s put our heads together and start turning the soil.

There are only two rules.

  1. Spend less than you earn.
  2. Don’t forget rule no 1.
  • The millionaire next door carries a brown paper bag lunch to work.
  • The millionaire next door is driving a 10-year-old Toyota Carolla.
  • He doesn’t have the latest iPhone.
  • He doesn’t party every Friday night.
  • He knows exactly how much he has in his bank account, down to the last cent.
  • You would think he never gets a raise because he always looks the same.

There are so many things we think we need. The Joneses have it all. If you could only send them your cat food bill at the end of the month.

There are two sets of people in life. Those who are living the life right now in terms of enjoyment and consumption. Then there are those people who are investing in themselves and decided to put off ‘enjoying’ until later on.

Have you ever noticed those people whom you see jogging day after day? They are the ones who seem not to need to jog. But that’s why they are fit. Those who are wealthy work at staying financially fit. But those who are not financially fit do little to change their status. — The Millionaire Next Door

Every day you get up and get to work on the groundwork of your life. You don’t take for granted that one day you will retire on a great retirement package and have enough money for all your needs.

We count on tomorrow as if it were guaranteed. There is so much that can happen. Unexpected life changes like retrenchment, falling ill, divorce. Will you be in a position to absorb those financial shocks?

No matter what your financial position is right now. It can always be better. You need a mindset shift, from consumer to investor.

Who and what you are today is directly proportional to the investments you have made earlier on in life. Right now we are in the planting season. It may not be pretty, but it will be worth it.

The harvesting season will come.

With finances, like anything, prevention is better than cure. Don’t think it won’t happen to you. And myth number two. There is no time.

Live life on the offence. Ready for anything. Always. 

I can, I will, I must.

Man, You Are Worthy

Ladies, the man in your life needs you.

(I wrote this post a while ago, but I thought it was worth sharing again)

Photo by josh peterson on Unsplash

We all have men in our lives, whether husband, father, brother or just your friend. When last have you had a deep conversation with them? Not the kind of outburst after an argument with words and plates flying around.

A real heart to heart, how they feel, what bothers them, what do they fear. Most men feel that they obviously need to be the strong one, keeping it all together, making sure the wife and children are provided for and feel secure.

However, when life throws it’s punches, it may become rocky. He gets laid off at work. He is facing a health issue. His friend passed away. He is struggling to keep his business afloat. There are demands. The rent is due. The hospital bills are coming in.

You get the picture. Ladies, at this time he may be pushing you away, he may be saying that everything is under control even though it’s not. Understand that it’s difficult for him to talk about it. He needs your support now more than ever.

Let’s stop thinking about ourselves for a moment. Do just one thing that shows him that you are fully behind him and that everything will be ok. Tell him that he is doing a great job already. Everyone needs that reassurance, that his woman is behind him. Our circumstances are all different, it may be easier said than done.

Once you’ve made a decision to be with someone, you owe it to them and the relationship to build up one another, not tear down each other. We can get so emotional. The relationship can only blossom when there is mutual trust and a commitment to make it work no matter what.

I think part of our problem is that we give up too easily. Your partner may have done something that hurt you. No one is without fault and misunderstandings happen so easily. You have to believe that what you have is worth more than one (or two, or three) misunderstandings. Especially when children are involved. Of course, there are non-negotiables. Nobody needs to stay in an abusive relationship.

Having said that, if you are in a relationship where you are co-parents, respect the other person enough not to talk badly about them in front of the children. Fathers, take the lead role in your children’s lives. Be there for them, physically, emotionally, financially. They, too, will grow up and it will be difficult to try and forge a relationship later if you were absent during their childhood. We cannot turn back the clock, but we can make a decision today to make it right.

Man, reclaim your rightful place as head of the household, and head of your tribe.

You can do it, you are worthy.