Thuthuzela Care Centres.

7 Oct

Gender-based violence has been a crisis in South Africa.
Unfortunately, it will take a tremendous amount of work to dismantle the patriarchal policies, ideologies and practices that enable rapists and abusers. Often our police stations do not assist with survivors in opening cases. The other option is to go to a registered Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC).

A TCC is a designated forensic and medical service available to rape survivors as an emergency service in the 72 hours immediately after a rape. They are at 54 hospitals across South Africa.

How do they work?
At the centre or unit, a counsellor will greet the rape victim and tell them about the services offered. The counsellor will then explain all the procedures that must be followed by doctors, nurses and police. They will give the person emotional support as well as offer the same to any family member or friend that has come along with the rape victim to the centre. The doctor will then ask the rape victim to tell them about what happened, perform a medical examination and collect samples of semen, blood and saliva from the rape victims’ clothes and body.

The nurse will then offer information, perform tests, and offer treatment for potential pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. The rape victim will receive sanitary products, a bath or shower, some refreshments, and a change of underwear. A police detective will take a statement from the rape victim and open a case file. When all procedures are complete, the victim goes home. Transport is arranged either to their home or to a safe house or shelter. If they need additional services, follow-up and referrals are on offer.

Justice for Josina

1 Sep

On 12 June, the 2nd Criminal Appeal Section of the Judicial Court of Maputo’s City overturned the decision that found the aggressor of Women Human Rights Defender, Josina Machel, guilty for the crimes of physical and psychological violence. 

On 5 August, Josina Machel’s appeal against the decision was filed. 

The Supreme Court is now due to rule on the appeal.

PLEASE HELP US TO TAKE ACTION:

  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. To record your letter, go to https://www.amnestyusa.org/report-urgent-actions/ 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Minister Helena Kida

Minister of Justice

Av. Julius Nyerere 33

Maputo, Mozambique

Email: mjcr@mjcr.gov.mz

Ambassador Carlos Dos Santos

Embassy of the Republic of Mozambique

1525 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036

Phone: 202 293 7146 I Fax: 202 835 0245

Email: washington.dc@embamoc.gov.mz

Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Minister Helena Kida,

I am writing to you concerning the case of Josina Ziyaya Machel, a Women’s Human Rights Defender (WHRD) and founder of the Kuhluka Movement, a non-profit initiative working to end gender-based violence (GBV).

On 17 October 2015, Josina Machel was brutally assaulted by her then-partner, Rofino Licuco, which resulted in the loss of sight in her right eye. In February 2017, the Ka-Pfumu Municipal District Court convicted her attacker for the crimes of severe physical and psychological violence, under articles 246(b), 171 (e) and 247(i) of the Mozambican Penal Code. Rofino Licuco sentenced to three years and four months of detention, which was suspended under the condition of damages amounting to 2,800,000 USD. On 12 June 2020, the 2nd Criminal Appeal Section of the Judicial Court of Maputo’s City overturned the guilty verdict because there were no eyewitnesses to corroborate the incidents of physical and psychological aggression and that the medical evidence presented could not exclude the possibility of Josina Machel’s injury to be a result of a ‘simple fall’ or ‘blunt object’. On 5 August 2020, Josina Machel filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision. The Supreme Court is due to rule on the appeal.

In the aftermath of the October 2015 attack, Josina Machel was subject to a campaign of intimidation and harassment aimed at preventing her from bringing a court case against Rofino Licuco for the assault she suffered. She was followed by unidentified men through Maputo and received intimidating calls, including evening calls from Rofino Licuco himself to warn her that he was aware that she was alone at home. In July 2016, the windows of her friend’s car broken while they were in a restaurant in downtown Maputo, and a threatening note left inside the vehicle. On 12 August 2020, Josina Machel received a letter from Rofino Licuco’s lawyers warning her to stop referring to him and using his name in any way.

I urge you to ensure an impartial and independent trial, that meets international standards of fairness, is applied at the appeal stages; provide a safe and supportive environment for Josina Machel so that she can carry out her work and can live without fear of attacks, intimidation and harassment; and take immediate measures to promptly, independently and impartially investigate the threats and intimidation tactics employed against Josina Machel to silence her.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

#JusticeForJosina 

Masingita Masunga.

27 Aug

It is great to write about a beautiful and powerful story, as the year 2020 will be known as a period of uncertainty and readjustments. My three passions in life are womxn, Africa, and the arts and in this blog, I to salute another mighty warrior, Masingita Masunga.

I met Masingita, in around 2002/2003 when I was still on Generations. At that time, she was the chief executive officer of the Miss Confidence Beauty Pageant, the only beauty pageant for people with physical disabilities. She asked me to sit as one of the judges, at her event at the Carlton Centre. From that day, I have been in awe of her brilliance, resilience, and agency. 

Masingita is one of those lights that do not need to exert themselves; their aura represents who they are when they enter the door.

Over the years, Masingita has become a household name through her TV show “Masingita With Confidence”. She is an established motivational and inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, producer, TV director, and philanthropist.

I respect her outlook on life and how we handle our circumstances. A few days ago, we shared a speaking platform, hosted by The Vodacom Foundation, and before the event began, we were able to catch up on life. She made laugh as we spoke about the Covai-19, and I shared my story, and in her true fashion, she flipped the narrative and made me see things from a positive perspective. She said, ‘Hau, Rosie, you have survived so much more, climbed Kilimanjaro, and you are worried about a virus that nobody can see, you were not going to go out like that’. I truly needed that belly laugh, and as I wiped my eyes of tears, I was happy to be back in her presence. I was ecstatic when during the event The Vodacom Foundations announced that she would be their new and first brand ambassador. This corporate decision is incredibly powerful and revolutionary. I remembered back in 2004, I had nominated her for a style award, as I was a judge at the time. The organiser had questioned me on her style and could not see the fit. As I explained, her ‘style’ was and is multi-faceted. On the outside, she is elegant, sexy, and sophisticated. Her zest for life speaks for itself, she walks the unimaginable paths but takes so many with her, for me, that is beyond any person who can afford a designer outfit. I knew that back then the world was not ready to acknowledge her brilliance and that one day it would arrive. Here she is standing tall and walking through her power. 

Who is Masingita?

Masingita is a Xitsonga name for babies meaning Miracles. She is the founder of MISS CONFIDENCE SA in 1999, the first beauty pageant for women with physical disabilities. She is currently the Managing Director of MASINGITA MASUNGA Media, a company whose business model focuses on several distinct but complementary businesses, operating in television production, exhibitions-conferencing and publishing, thus creating a synergistic business group. “Masingita with confidence show” is a 30 minutes talk production that flights on Soweto TV on the DSTV cable network weekly. The show, narrated in English, Xitsonga, Tshivenda Sesotho and IsiZuluin. The target audience is all members of the community young and old. The show features guests who undertake different life issues which are evident through people’s behaviours and circumstances. It is an inspirational show that helps South Africans find restoration, vision and purpose.

Her accolades include

  • 2004 the Shoprite/Checkers Woman of the year Arts and Culture category, named one of the top ten women in South Africa by the Star newspaper
  • 2005 Nominated for Cosmopolitan Mover of the year and the winner of the Amstel Salute to Success award
  • 2006 She was one of the recipients of The Cosmopolitan Awesome Women award.
  • 2007 Rapport/City Press prestigious Woman winner
  • 2008 Recipient of the Mapungubwe Arts Award
  • 2011 Conducted a 1 hour Tv interview with Dr Miles Munroe who had intentions of working with her and interviewing her on his show.
  • She is as a case study for Project Management and Masters Degree Leadership class at the University of Witwatersrand Business School.
  • Masingita provides the assistance needed by hardworking high achieving young people to access education and creating opportunities for better lives. She provides a variety of support to current recipients including funding of school fees, accommodation, and youth development programs for youth across South Africa, both with physical disabilities and those affected by the pains of a broken society. Her first recipient of a school bursary, Taryn Deckford, has just been accepted at the University of Cape Town to complete a Commerce degree in Accounting. 

The “Walk In My Shoes” initiative

“Walk In My Shoes” is an initiative by Masingita. The aim is to rally society to unite in helping the less fortunate by donating shoes. When referring to her summit up mount Kilimanjaro, she said “to this African child… no mountain is too high for you!”. 

Oh, and did I mention that she is a person living with Cerebral Palsy,  an abnormality in parts of the brain that control muscle movements and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination, she has been able to beat the odds. Masingita challenged the education system when she failed grade 12 twice because of her handwriting, and from that experience, she became an activist and has dedicated her existence to change the narrative around how we see and don’t see people who live with disabilities. 

Congratulation as she takes on another revolutionary role as the ambassador, and I cannot wait to see the other barriers she breaks and platforms she creates.

Womxn get Sh*t done.

5 Aug

On my platforms, I always share that my passions in life are womxn, Africa and the arts. We know that before COVID-19, we faced a crisis and that’s is of gender-based violence. Under the GBV platform, we also need to understand the level of financial abuse that happens in many forms, from making somebody work and not paying them, controlling somebodies finances, the list is endless. We underestimate the reality that home care is work, in many homes, an aunt or grandmother takes care of the children, home chores, cooks. They too deserve to be paid. When we move into the corporate space, we know that there is a significant difference in what men earn as opposed to what women receive, from entry-level to CEO level. The entertainment industry is no different. Many survivors have lost work and been blocked from future work as they have spoken out on abuse or irregularities that happen in the industry and on sets, they are ostracised. With the loss of events and gigs, artists and entertainers have lost an income altogether, and as we do not fall under SA labour laws, we are not covered or protected, even though we have been paying our taxes.

So as history has dictated, womxn are often left to pick up the scraps and make ends meet. Look at our mothers or grandmothers struggles, and there are endless stories are of how women have put their children through school by selling and doing multiple jobs, such as hawkers or those selling fresh produce. Activism work is not respected, and on many occasions, it is expected of us to provide corporates and government with content regarding the issues that we fight for, this exchange is often likely to be pro bono or as many corporate states it is part of the CSI (corporate social investment). Unfortunately, many of us do not operate from a place of privilege, and therefore the work is still working and is our livelihood, and we should be paid for our intellectual property, time and content.

So as we brave the uncertain future, we have to operate on a different frequency. Myself and many of my warriors have to find additional streams of income. PR and advertising have coined the phrase; we are moving into a new normal, let us prioritise those in need and make it ‘normal’ to support them. I have formulated a brief list of where we can assist a few warriors, myself included.

Poz Candy
Yvette Raphael sells head scarfs and masks, which have been made by retired grandmothers. The collections include a bouquet of table sets all beautifully crafted with African prints.
Pieces of African print are also available for the manufacture of wraps, dress and other items for ware. Whatsapp number +27 76 612 7704

Pictures of their work.

The Ntethelelo foundation.
Thokozani Ndaba is the founder of the Ntetheleo foundation. Due to the lockdown regulations, this community has been significantly affected and is need of many resources from sanitary ware for the ladies, basic household necessities, data for the children to get their homework. Their contacts details are
thokozani@ntethelelofoundation.org.za
More on their work – https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/ntethelelo-mastering-the-art-of-forgiveness/

Dr Bev Ditsie.
Our global icon Dr Bev Ditsie has partnered with Colour Central and have created a limited edition of t-shirts, sweaters.
The proceeds of the sales will go towards Dr Bev doctor’s bills.
https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2020/08/01/dr-bev-palesa-ditsie/

The merchandise.

One Man studios.

Kgomotso Matsunyane is the founder of One Man studios, a studio space to rent for dance and rehearsal, photography and videography, exhibition and co-hosting space. They have also created an area called ‘Die Urban Padstal’. On designated dates, they host a space for entrepreneurs to come and sell their locally made and produced items.
Contact details 8 Rogers Street, Selby.
Lebo@oneman.co.za

Loyiso Saliso
Womxn and human rights activist, HIV, SGBV and SRHR advocate, researcher, intersectional feminist and facilitator. The founder of
Khanyisa Ikamva projects. Their main objective is to empower and assist marginalised womxn and youth with academic, psychological, economic and social development.
Ivs.khanyisaikamva@yahoo.com

Waka Talent Agency
I founded Waka Talent agency in 2011. I have a footprint in 14 African countries that include SA, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC, Angola, Gabon, Lesotho, Botswana, Liberia. Many of our contacts cancelled as productions stopped due to the travel bans. We now focus on our talent working in the digital space. We have a bouquet of elite TV presenters and speakers who can host and moderate webinars. Many of our clients are brand ambassadors and are perfect choices for influencer campaigns as well as digital marketing. Between our clientele of talent, we can produce voice-over work in languages, Swahili, Nigerian pidgin, Ghanaian pidgin, Luganda, Yoruba, Igbo, Se Tswana, English, French and Angolan Portuguese.
http://www.wakaagency.biz

Website address

#WeAreDoneTalking #Sueusall #Tellyourtruth

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa faced a crisis of its own, and that is gender-based violence. Johannesburg is named the rape capital of the world, and we have an alarmingly high rate of femicide.
In 2018, a collective of activists, NGO’s and academics issued our government with #24demands on what should happen about that crisis, they were accepted, but there has been no change. A few months later, the same activists and citizens invited the president to the first Gender summit, on stage, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, openly stated that we as a nation are in a crisis.

Over the decades, Intersectional Wom_n and Queer Bodies held protests, written essays and challenged our courts, yet our legal system does not support or protect those who speak out. When people speak out on their abuse, they are often intimidated, undermined, or publicly gaslighted; this is mainly when the alleged perpetrator is a public figure or wealthy. They then use their male privilege to silence survivors through PR campaigns and influential lawyers, who secure and granted urgent court applications. In many cases, the survivor has to deal with the emotional
trauma, the public scrutiny, and in some cases, even loses their jobs, then they have to face the injustice at the courts.
We have witnessed that these alleged violators have used these tactics of defamation of character and court papers, knowing that the police and judicial system does not support survivors.

The hashtag, #SueUsAll #WeAreDoneTalking is a public statement, confirming solidarity with survivors who have received lawyers letters with the hope of silencing them and causing additional trauma.

They are collating a list of lawyers, counsellors and organisations that can provide psycho-social support. They are open to creating partnerships that could assist in providing funding and support to those in need.
Contact wearedonetalking@gmail.com
Twitter @wearedonetalki1
Facebook: WeAre Donetalking
Instagram: @wearedonetalking

Information

The Cheeky Natives.

Logo

The Cheeky Natives is a literary podcast primarily focused on the review, curatorship and archiving of black literature. They also sell and distribute african literature and have assited in helping many local authors in selling and promoting their work. They offer moderating panels and written intrviews with authors and much much more.

http://www.cheekynatives.co.za

Dr. Bev Palesa Ditsie.

1 Aug

We walk amongst heroes and game-changers; some of us have the privilege of knowing these phenomenal people. Unfortunately, as history has dictated, we only honour and acknowledge their agency, once they have gone. As activists, we not only want to bring about change but also salute these soldiers, who took a stand, especially during a time when society sated that we do not have rights and we certainly do not have the right to be heard. 

Dr Bev Pales Ditsie, is one hero, who for centuries has shifted many perspectives on our agency, voices but more importantly, spoke up for black African lesbians and continues to do phenomenal work for the LGBTQI community as a whole. 

Who is Dr Bev Ditsie?

Born during the apartheid regime, is an advocate for LGBTQI community, activist, artist, and filmmaker. Dr Ditsie, who is one of the founders of the gay rights organisation, Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand (GLOW). South Africa’s first multiracial and political lesbian and gay rights group.

In 2019 Bev was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Claremont Graduate University in California. The honorary doctorate was to acknowledge this dedication and hard work in the fight for LGBTI equality.

The 4th UN World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Dr Bev spoke at the United Nations Conference on Women in 1995 and was the first person to address gay and lesbian rights before at The United Nations. The aim was to convince UN delegates to “adopt resolutions recognising sexual diversity” A revolutionary moment for the African LGBTQI community as a whole. Dr Ditsie made a statement about the importance of including lesbian rights in discussions about the empowerment and upliftment of women. The speech is noted as being incredibly revolutionary as it was the first time an openly Black lesbian person did so. It was also the first time that the United Nations faced a discussion on considering the realities of LGBT people in the protection of human rights. In her address, Dr Ditsie argued that a focus on women’s rights should include the struggles of all women, saying that “if the world conference on women is to address the concerns of all women, it must similarly recognise that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a violation of basic human rights”.

The transcript of Ditsie’s address:

http://www.un.org/esa/gopher-data/conf/fwcw/conf/ngo/13123944.txtDr

The first and original pride.  

Dr Bev is one of the organisers of the first Pride March in South Africa, which took place in Johannesburg in 1990. Dr Bev and her friend and activist, Simon Nkoli, worked together on creating the first South African pride event. It was a pride of importance and a platform to target societal hatred and bigotry. The event received a lot of media attention, and soon Dr Bev became a known figure for speaking out on issues that the then society deemed taboo, this included her having to get added security.  

Career:

A young Dr Bev chose a career in media as a form of expression, which later allowed for the opportunity to merge activism with art. Since 1980, Ditsie has worked as an actress and director in television making her the first black female child star in television. In the late 1990s, with the emergence of reality TV, Dr Bev starred in the reality show, Livewire – Communities. The significant doctor’s credits include productions, having written, directed and consulted in over 20 Documentaries, screened nationally and internationally. The first documentary film, ‘Simon and I’ (2001),won several Audience Awards, including the 2004 Oxfam/Vues d’ Afrique best documentary, Montreal, Canada. 

The story of ‘Simon and I’  is autobiographical, following her “personal and political journey” with Nkoli. The film uses both interviews and archival material. Their story charts the history of the gay and lesbian liberation movement in South Africa and presents a personal account of the devastating AIDS epidemic in Africa. The story unfolds using a mixed format of interviews, archival images and newspaper clips. Dr Ditsie speaks about the problematic issue of sexism within the gay rights movement. 

‘Simon and I’ is a tribute to an enduring friendship and bond between two remarkable leaders and pays homage to Nkoli, whose hard work and unyielding determination moved South Africa to become the only country in the world to include sexual orientation in its constitutional Bill of Rights.

 

#BevbyColourCentral .

The Urban clothing brand that offers unisex ready-to-wear colourful streetwear has partnered with the icon, Dr Bev. 

Order the #BevbyColourCentral sweaters and hoodies to support the medical fund. To place an order, send a direct message on their Facebook page or through a WhatsApp message, to +27 83 611 3818.

The collaboration is to assist in fundraising for her medical fees (surgery). #SupportBev #Supportlocal #SupportColourCentral

Dr Bev, I honour you, I salute you and I thank you.

My Covid-19 Journey

30 Jul

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us started to take the necessary precautions. Before the South African lockdown was announced and changed our lives, I had moved my office to my living room, and began self-distancing. We only went to the shops for the essentials, and then we started using the various shopping apps. I was one of the people who sanitise my feet and shopping bags on entering my apartment; I thought I was doing everything right, or so I thought.

In mid-June, the temperatures in Johannesburg dropped at the onset of a cold front. It was unfortunate as that was also the day that we had a 24-hour blackout in our area and therefore had no access to warmth besides from bedclothes. After that day, my partner and I started to feel a little ill with flu-like symptoms. Nothing serious, so we dosed with the necessary flu medication and stayed indoors. Within a day, my body aches had decreased, but I had developed a chesty cough. I was not too concerned as the information that I had found regarding Covid-19 spoke to a dry cough. A few days later, my partner, who still had minor flu-like symptoms, had a hunch and insisted on going to a doctor. So I accompanied them to our closest GP, instructed through their medical aid. On arrival, The doctor then explained that she was sitting in for the official GP. The GP was staying away from the practice due to Covid-19 regulations as he was over 60 years of age. We were not too concerned until the substitute doctor did not use the medical apparatus and used an ordinary household torch to look at my partner’s throat and ears. We explained the symptoms and the doctor said we do not have the Coronavirus. Fortunately, my partner needed additional blood tests for dietary requirements, and we requested the necessary forms, we proceeded to a lab for testing.  

Our laboratory experiences. 

We went to our closest lab, and on arrival, we thought since we were there, my partner would get tested. The following day, we called the lab to see when the results would be out, and they could not locate the tests. We soon discovered that they had taken down my partner’s ID number and physical address incorrectly. We were concerned at the laboratory’s inefficacy to record information correctly; we rectified their mistakes and waited. After we remedied that, we received a call and confirmation that my partner had tested positive and the person on the other line stated that since we live together, I should come in immediately and get tested. The following day I went in. On arrival, one of the lab assistants came and asked me why I was there as I was not sick, I informed her of my symptoms and told her that her colleague had instructed me to come in as my partner had tested positive, she said it was not necessary. I ignored her and stayed in the queue. 

That night, my partner and I spoke about the realities of me being positive and if the odd possibility of me being negative, we planned how we would temporarily change our living arrangements. We contacted our medical friends and family, particularly those who had survived after being infected and those who had treated COVID patients. We received lists and suggestions and then made the online order and stocked up the necessary items. 

Two days later, my tests results came back positive, by the way after disocvering that the lab had also messed up my deatils. We now had to try and shift our mindsets into being realistic to our emotions, heal, be there for each other but also plan accordingly. 

I will speak to the emotional rollercoaster, later, but this became our daily routine for two weeks.

  1. Steam twice a day with Vicks and eucalyptus oil. Find a suitable bowl, fill it with boiling water, add a spoon full of Vicks vapour rub and a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Put your head over the bowl and cover yourself with a heavy blanket. At first, it is daunting, but soon we got used to it. The steaming helps with the chest, lungs and coughing. We did this for 15 minutes at a time and twice a day, morning and evening.
  2. Rinse out your mouth 3 to 5 times a day with warm saltwater.
  3. Vitamin D- We could not locate any vitamin D, so we opted for direct sunlight every day for about an hour.
  4. Vitamin C- We took Vitamin C 1000 mg effervescent, twice a day. We ate 3 to 5 oranges a day.
  5. Zinc. We could not locate zinc tablets, so we opted for foods that had a high dosage of Zinc. These included beans, samp, chicken legs oatmeal and various vegetables.
  6. We only ate warm food and drank warm drinks. These varied from ginger tea, while getting our sunlight in the morning to boiling ginger, garlic and lemon and drinking throughout the day. 
  7. Sleeping- I slept on my tummy, over a pillow with a hot water bottle underneath. According to an MD, this assists with the chest and lungs.
  8. Medicines- Acc 2000 for the cough. Linctagon flu caps and sachets. Sinutab for the headache. No antibiotics.
  9. Mobility is important. So we did moderate exercise, this was more difficult for me as I struggled with my breath and chest area. So I gave myself goals and monitor my progress. The day, I was able to make it down the stairs, without losing my breathing and coughing heavily, I rewarded myself with a dance. There were several breathing exercises that we did. 
  10. Rest, rest and rest. Due to the anxiety and pain, we had many restless nights. We would often wake up and check on each others breathing, and heartburn played a significant role. One evening I also vomited. So if we needed to sleep during the day, we allowed for that. 

The emotional rollercoaster.

 As much as we needed the information, we had to detach from social media and news reports. Many days, I prayed and gave gratitude that although the pandemic and cut off an income for myself and my business, I was still living and operating from a place of privilege. I have a loving partner, I live in a safe home, and we had access to resources to provide us with the necessary meds and food, and we had friends and family who assisted with additional drop-offs. As much as I held onto that gratitude, there were a few days and hours that I was angry, that I cursed the deadly virus, I owned the anger and pain and then accepted the next emotions. One day I went into commando mode, checked up on my life policy and will and contacted my cousin, who will handle my estate, to tell her and inform her of my wishes, should it come to that. In 2018, my cousin had passed away and did not leave any instructions of his policies, will etc. During that time, a few family members and I had to look through his documents so to find policy numbers and will. I remember saying to myself that I would not want that to happen to me. 

A week later, we showed signs of improvement; the only worrying factor was my breathing and coughing. We had regained our sense of taste and smell. After the 14 days isolation period, my partner was healed and was cleared for work. My process took a little longer. My body was still weak, I could breathe at approximately 80%, but I still had a bad cough. As my doctor said, the 14-day isolation period is to get one through the worst, but the virus could live in our bodies for months after and that I should still take precaution. That would explain why some times, I am healthy and other days; I have coughing sprees and difficulty breathing. The COVID mushy brain, which inlcuded slight loss of memory and biref moments of cunfusion took some time, but I think its gone.

There are other areas of my body that did still do not feel right. I had dry patches between my toes and fingers. My friend Thokozani stated, she can feel that her organs are now operating differently. It is difficult to explain, but some days are good, and some days a few ailments return. As a doctor put it, we now have to operate with COVID Lungs, which are very unpredictable. Some days, I’m healthy and fit, and other days, the heavy closed feeling covers my chest area. I have set new goals for my ‘COVID lungs. These include getting around the zoo lake without breaks. Before Covid-19, this I did without any difficulty. So this week I embarked on the journey but had many stops as my COVID lungs reminded me to test drive in a different gear. With the pauses, God whispered to me, to take note of the beauty around, the magnificent autumn leaves, sunset and that I am alive to witness it all.

It is now four weeks after my isolation period, I have a minor cough and on the odd occasion a coughing spree and running nose with excessive sneezing. I then sit in the sun and take additional vitamins. 

We have started to wean ourselves off the vitamins n so our bodies can build up resistance and I have opted to take daily natural tonic, that has been mixed by my healer, Attaqua Ethel Williams Herandien. You can find her on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/ethel.abrahamse

So where to from here? We still live in gratitude, are we free from contracting the virus again, who knows, how long will it be around for, who knows. All I can share is that we approach life, how we spend our time, differently and embrace our emotions.

A special thank you for all the prayers, love, assistance. Thank you for the deliveries, calls and message. Thank you to Nativa products for sending the Linctagon hamper, it was much appreciated. 

Link to my Youtube channel, this was recorded just after our isolation period.

I want to send prayers and wishes to those who are still ill or in bereavement, especially to those who don’t have the privileges as we have had. I pray that our government do what’s right and provide all with the dignity and right to adequate health care. I pray for reliable mental health facilities and an overhaul of our medical institutions.

INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA, INTERPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA.

15 May

image-3-775x494

On Sunday 17 May 2020, we will observe INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA,
BIPHOBIA, INTERPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA – A worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities.

INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA, INTERPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex people,​ and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

It was originally known as International Day Against Homophobia, the founders then established the IDAHO Committee to coordinate grass-roots actions in different countries, to promote the day and to lobby for official recognition on May 17. That date was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990.
For many years, in Germany, May 17 had been unofficially labeled​ as a “Gay Day.” Written in the date format 17.5. This was related to Paragraph 175 of the Penal Code, the rule dealing with homosexuality. Paragraph 175 was a provision of the German Criminal Code from 1871 to 1994. It made homosexual acts between males a crime.

The first International Day Against Homophobia took place on May 17, 2005. The same year, 24,000 individuals, as well as organizations such as the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC- ), the World Congress of LGBT Jews, and the Coalition of African Lesbians, signed an appeal to support the “IDAHO initiative”. Activities for the day took place in many countries, including the first LGBT events ever to take place in the Congo, China, and Bulgaria.

It was in 2009, that transphobia was added to the name of the campaign, and activities that year focused primarily on transphobia (violence and discrimination against transgender people). LBT organisations then launched a new petition in cooperation with it, this was supported by hundreds of NGOs​ from 75 countries, including France. It was that year that France became the first country in the world to officially remove transgender issues from its list of mental illnesses.
IDAHOBIT is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal.

Many African countries are still in the process of achieving equality through the decriminalization​n of LGBTQI. We are aware of many countries where being ourselves to choosing whom we love, is a crime and is punishable by death. This is why IDAHOBIT is so important as it reflects the progress our community has made and shows accurate proof of why such archaic policies should be abolished. It s also a day for activists from other countries who might have more freedom to be, can assist in creating platforms,​ and provide support to the communities living under threat.

In Africa, we will be following @AFROQUEERPODCAST, as they are hosting the AfroQueer IDAHOBIT Festival, via their Instagram page.
The festivities will start at 1 PM East African Time. The festivities will be featuring creative Queer artists from the continent and beyond. Expect music, poetry,​ and talks from various artists including Dope Saint Jude, Alasarah, and many more.
More information on Afriqueerpodcat- https://afroqueerpodcast.com
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Other resources for support and solidarity-

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In South Africa, the Queer Wellness Centre was opened in January-https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/15/queer-wellness-centre/

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Uganda- FARUG- https://rosiemoteneblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/30/farug-freedom-and-roam-uganda/

In solidarity,​ we stand.

Slavery or Exposure?

26 Feb

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I began my career as an entertainer and activist over two decades ago. The journey has been phenomenal with many joys and successes and just as many challenges, downfalls,​ and mistakes. I suppose these are all part of our learnings and time on this earth, sometimes we are faced with situations that we continue to make the same mistakes, as the adage goes- “You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.”

― Steven Denn

I wanted to write about something that affects many artists and activists worldwide but particularly in Africa. When I refer to artists I am including actors, TV & radio personalities, musicians and fine artists. Unfortunately, the entertainment industry has not been given the recognition and respect that it deserves, one can look at the lack of funds allocated to artists, we could unpack how labor laws have excluded us. This then leads to many artists having to do many jobs to make ends meet and often dying as paupers. With this lack of respect for our talent many people, corporates, governments often do not see the need to remunerate us, exhibit our work or help in promoting us on the correct platforms.
A few months ago, a published author under a local publishing label was called to an event only to find that the event organizers, were profiling him but instead of buying his books, they opted to photocopy the whole book and distribute it to the guests. Not only is this disrespectful but is also against the law. Knowing very well, that legal fees cost a lot, they ill probably get away with it.

So I want to focus on the notion of people thinking that we will work for free under the banner of exposure and now since the hashtag #GBV is on everyone tongues, they are approaching activists to come and do work for free. I have spoken about this on many platforms but yesterday I received a request which rubbed me up the wrong way. I received a WhatsApp message from a person, a stranger, stating she received my number from a mutual friend, she as requesting my services at a GBV hackathon, which was to run for two days in conjunction with an embassy. I asked her to send me an email, so I could get a better understanding of the event, so I can quote appropriately as my rate card includes consulting work, speaking, facilitation and emceeing. She immediately replied to say that the client had not allocated a budget for my job description so the job would be pro bono. So firstly, asking a stranger to work for free is rude and constitutes another form of abuse, secondly, if there was a budget for everything else, why were the talent excluded?
Needless to say, she replied with an apology and then quickly tried to change things around stating that she was not getting paid as the company she was working for was hosting it so to strengthen relations with the embassy. So somebody is getting paid, Mmmmm!!!

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A simple apology would have been enough but knowing the fact that they were willing to exploit women for their benefit, speaks to the reality that as Black women we still carry the load of other people and are not seen or respected.
This then brings me to another factor of expecting activists to do the work for free. As activists we did not wake up and decide that we would choose this carer, for many of us, it was a calling. It is a job that often requires a lot of hours, unpaid hours, it takes us into dangerous places and often dangerous scenarios as we are dismantling the patriarchy and therefore have to go up against the misogyny and hatred that is attached to that ideology. Then there is the emotional stress that we have to endure for being in the sector, to missing out on family time and often worrying about getting food on the table and paying bills, as our work often takes us away from paying jobs. There are very few of us who can afford psychologists and additional therapy, so we carry a load of others as well as our own, but we continue as this is who we have been called to be. We have studied and have learned life experiences from being in the sector for decades, so when we raise the alarm or our voices, we are speaking from places of authority and agency, we know what we bring to the table, using us to better or promote your platforms can be done in a symbiotic way but we will not tolerate being exploited under the banner of CSI or giving back. We understand that corporates have their CSI projects but our livelihood is our CSI so when you need a speaker, researcher or expert/consultant to come and do your work, we are capable but it is not our duty to operate as slaves on your sinking ships.

This, of course, is different when it comes to NGO work, as we understand the challenges that are faced and we often opt to assist​ where we can.

So in closing understand the dynamics and different levels of abuse. We know the obvious ones of physical and sexual, there is emotional and psychological​ and​ financial​l. Examples of financial abuse are not allowing​ somebody to work, or making them work but not paying them, trying to make them feel bad and coercing them to work for free by saying that they should​ want to give back, is playing on their emotions and then denying them remuneration is financial abuse. Think about the long term effects that this can play on an individual who already does​ the good work but is expected to make your image look good and they go home hungry.

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Respect, to our warriors in Malawi!

11 Feb

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My three passions in life are Women, Africa, and the arts. A few weeks back we stood in solidarity with the warriors in Malawi, who decided to take a stand against gender-based violence. I reached out to the organizers to see how as a Pan African feminists we could show solidarity and try and help create awareness for the amazing work that they are doing.
I was led to a powerful young force, named Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo. Ulemu, meaning ‘Respect’ is a 22-year-old feminist, she is the founder and president of the Young Feminists Network, a network which serves as a platform for young feminists to engage in dialogue and activism for social justice. The Network currently has 66 members with chapters in 3 cities; Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Zomba. With such a powerful name, she can only receive the respect she deserves as she works on being the change that is needed in the world.

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Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo

Through our work as activists, we are all faced with many challenges, regarding our safety, which is governed by policies and laws, that have been set out according to patriarchal principles. In Malawi, the situation is no different, as feminists, particularly the young feminists, one of the major challenges they face is the misconceptions about feminism. As Ulemu stated, ‘a lot of people seem to misunderstand what feminism is and what it seeks to achieve, some because they lack access to information and others because they don’t agree with feminism and deliberately misrepresent it at any given chance. Such misconceptions include the fact that feminism is a movement that seeks to get rid of men or to make women more dominant than men. This ignores the basic premise of feminism which recognizes the oppression women have faced since time immemorial and seeks to deconstruct the patriarchy which upholds this marginalization of women’.

She went on to say that, ‘people believe feminism is unAfrikan. However, this is also a misconception. Although the theories and conceptualizations of feminism may have originated in the West, acts of resistance to the patriarchy have existed in Afrika for centuries. Therefore, it isn’t anything new. ‘

Within the activism space, whether you are based in Africa or the USA, funding is always an issue, and of course in Malawi, it is no different. A lot of funding opportunities apply to registered organizations only, which makes it hard for informal feminist movements to get funding for their operations.

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The Malawi women in March 2020.

On 1st February 2020, the Young Feminists Network in collaboration with PEPETA (an online community of young female SRHR activists from DRC, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) and over 20 other organizations and individuals organized the “Take It To The Streets” march against VAWG (violence against women) in Malawi. When we go up against the patriarchy, we are always met with resistance, in their case they were denied police protection from the relevant authorities and this was a major obstacle because this effectively meant the march couldn’t take place. Like, true warriors, they did not let this minor obstacle stop them from pushing ahead, they could not hold an official march so they were able to mobilize large numbers and in Blantyre they held a rally, in Lilongwe and Mzuzu they managed to march regardless.
Despite all the deliberate hiccups, in the end, they still managed to achieve their goal of raising awareness on the issues and calling for action from various stakeholders.

The PanAfrican warriors from Zambia, Kenya, and SA, showed solidarity with them through social media and various press. This also brought attention to a sexual assault case, in Blantyre. They were able to set up a time and visited a warrior, Vanessa Chilanga. Vanessa is a woman who was sexually assaulted by a gang of men in Blantyre. She was visited and they are currently creating platforms and strategies to help and support her and other survivors.

What can we do?
We need solidarity with our warriors from across the world, particularly on our continent. To assist the Young Feminists Network or the feminist movement in Malawi in general, please continue to follow their work and stand in solidarity with them and help amplify their voices by sharing what is happening.
As we know International women’s day is approaching so strategic collaboration would also be great and essential. Do you have any platforms, events or stages that we could collaborate on?
Let us get the conversation started. We can start small, with our feminists in the SADC region, we are all in the same time zones, so what is stopping us?

How to get in contact with The Young Feminist Network in Malawi-
Instagram @yfn265
Twitter @yfn265

Ulemu Hannah Kanyongolo- @ulemuhk

Rosie Motene @rosiemotene

In solidarity,​ we stand!!!!

Serepudi-A Queer Photography and Experimental Art Exhibition

3 Feb

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On 11 June 2019, Botswana announced that they will decriminalize the same-sex act, through a unanimous ruling by the High Court of Botswana.
During the month of February, the first queer exhibition will be held in Gaborone.
The exhibition titled, Serepudi is a new pre-Valentine’s Day queer photography exhibition and be hosted by Queer Pride BW on February 13, 2020. The exhibition will showcase Queer Photography by experimental artist Sade Shoalane and photographer Raymond Geofrey. It will also debut the trailer of actor Donald Molosi’s new critically-acclaimed British queer film called 2064.

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The Serepudi exhibition will run from February 13 to February 15, 2020. It will be held at the Culture Art Café in Molapo Crossing, Gaborone. The exhibition co-organizer Letlhogonolo Moremi says of Serepudi, “As Queer Pride BW we wanted to have an exhibition that includes photography, 3D items, and a film trailer, an exhibition is across media. That is to capture the breadth of possibilities in telling stories about ourselves as Queer bodies.”
One of the special features at the February 13 opening will be the artist-talks with both Shoalane and Geofrey about their work. The artist talks will be moderated by PR and Branding Strategist and LGBTQ Activist EminentGrey. Poet Phodiso Modirwa will also recite her spell-binding poetry.

Speaking about the new exhibition, Co-Founder of Queer Pride BW, actor, and writer Donald Molosi says, “Serepudi is Setswana for a stoop that one stands on in front of the house. It is a platform, and this exhibition wants to be that platform for inclusivity in Botswana arts. We are the generation that wants everyone to be represented in daily life and that is why we are standing on the serepudi of our shared dignity as human beings and queering Valentine’s Day this year through this exhibition. Serepudi is necessary decolonization of our ideas about sexuality. You don’t have to be queer to believe inequality. You just have to have an understanding.”

According to co-organizer Letlhogonolo Moremi, “a harrowing onslaught of homophobia has been meted to the Botswana Queer community in response to the June 11, 2019 decriminalization of same-sex relationships by the Botswana High Court. With this fresh wave of continued relegation of queer humanity to political talking points and spectacularization dressed as “social discourse,” it is obvious that the non-queer community does not intend on seeing queer people as fully human beings who are not defined by made-up “deviation.” Our collective house, as Batswana, is on fire! Who shall stand at the serepudi and announce that this is our home, too? What images shall stand on the serepudi and remind us of the full humanity of Queer People?”

Queer Pride BW believes that the most transformative way to stand on the proverbial serepudi and counter-violence is to highlight our shared humanity and to make a bold statement by queer bodies directly confronting queerphobia and its guardians. Therefore, in Serepudi, both Raymond Geofrey and Sade Shoalane explore queerness in ways that are not policed and not apologetic social convention. It is upon these images that Queer Pride BW seeks to stand and speak to a house on fire, confronting prejudice with boldness to embarrass patriarchy and hatred.

Sade Shoalane is an experimental artist who will be exhibiting her art at Serepudi. She says, “My work in Serepudi is very specific to the queer Afrikan narrative. I will even say the narrative of the black, queer womxn –much dismissed narrative even in supposed ‘safe queer black spaces’… it is this dismissal that I seek to turn on its head so that I may return the favor of poking, prodding, and questioning. I will mostly use the medium of fabric to conduct this interrogation.” She, laments the lack of art exhibitions in Gaborone. In her words, “there are very few regular and substantial art exhibitions in Gaborone. I think it is due to the usual culprits – the gatekeepers. Often the people who have been entrusted to run these art and culture institutions are quite clueless about the sector they represent. They tend to suppress art that redefines the culture of the country. I am deeply grateful for private institutions like Culture Art café that continue to support more radical art and artists alike.”
Serepudi comes the day before Valentine’s Day and co-organizer actor Donald Molosi says that this is deliberate. “Valentine’s Day is usually yet another celebration of heteronormativity, of being heterosexual. What about the queer people? Can they also participate visibly in these festivities of love? Serepudi is here to say that, yes they can and yes, they shall. We humanists are tired of such calendar days being triggers for the queer community because it reminds them that they are excluded. With Serepudi, a new generation of Batswana is unapologetically and fearlessly putting queerness at the center of Valentine’s Day 2020. We want to embarrass patriarchy.” Molosi asserts.

The exhibition will run from February 13 to February 15, 2020. It will be held at the Culture Art Café in Molapo Crossing, Gaborone. The opening reception will be on February 13 only and tickets can be pre-booked by calling +267 73410039.

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