Archive | October, 2016

Namibia is rising!

25 Oct

Last week I gave the keynote speech at the Old Mutual Women’s summit, held in Windhoek, Namibia.

The last time I had visited Windhoek was in 2004 when I was the face of Namibian fashion week. I remember the visit, as I had been received well and the event was a success. I also noted that there had been a rise in female entrepreneurship and businesswomen but like South Africa at the time, we still had a long way to go. This visit painted an entirely different picture in an incredibly positive way.

On arrival I consumed the beautiful positive energy of the beautiful city. I could feel a definite change in the pride and energy of the people. When I travel I make it a point to engage in conversation with as many different people as possible, so I can get a sense of the country and atmosphere. I make it a habit of speaking to people from different environments, for a number of reasons, firstly we never know what journeys people are on so their present state they may be in transition or preparing themselves for a better life and secondly, the true essence of a country is brought out through the attitudes of its inhabitants. The common thought pattern of all four people was that they love their country and simply adore their president. This sentiment was carried through to all the women that I met the following ay at the summit.

I found this rather interesting and powerful. What had this leader done to gain so much respect from many people? As South Africa is in a rather volatile position and many of us are not happy with our current leadership for a number of reason, I thought that it is quite refreshing that a country spoke only positively of their leadership, I have to say that I was quite envious.

Growing up, we were taught and we knew that Namibia was once under the apartheid regime but after our independence, I personally did not follow their political journey. So I had lost track on how they handled transformation and the eradication of racist ideology.

I then began to dig deeper as to why he was loved so much. The main key points that I found was that he is seen as being transparent, a man who strongly believes in transformation and has made major strides in achieving transformation, not only on a cultural level but on gender equity as well. There is a consensus that he is one with the people by not living an extravagant lifestyle. Himself an the first lady are often seen out amongst the community, whether it be in a rural or up market setting but what is so notable is that often he is seen to be mingling amongst the crowd. The one lady with whom I spoke to on this, said she had met him and the first lady at a restaurant setting and ended up dancing with them, after a few hours later, after hearing somebody refer to him as Your excellency, she asked who he was and was then informed that he’s actually the president.

As I probed even more I discovered that they has implemented effective measure for gender equality which are also spearheaded by the first lady, they also have an effective land transformation policy.

Moving to the function at hand, the room was filled with some of Namibia’s most powerful women. They came from all the sectors from middle to senior level. I was rather overwhelmed that I would be addressing approximately 300 of Namibia’s most revered businesswomen.

The line up included the following dynamic individuals:

  1. Daisry Mathias: Daisry is the Namibia presidential advisor for youth and enterprise. A powerful 30 year old woman who has a solid direction of where she is going and what needs to be done in order to achieve it. She is incredibly passionate, grounded and force to be reckoned with. She spoke about reimagining h Namibian heroine. One of her key question, which she posed, was: How are the youth inspired when they are surrounded by unemployed graduates and rich criminals? This is not an African problem but also a global problem. These are some of the issues that she tackles in her demanding job. I wished to have engaged with her more but unfortunate duty called and she had to return to the president’s office.
  1. Ntsiki Biyela: The master winemaker who is head of Stellekaya wines and businesswoman from South Africa. In being hired, she was South Africa’s fist black female winemaker. She spoke on her personal journey of falling into the wine industry by accident. Driven by the urge to create a better life for herself, she started looking for opportunities outside of her village. Working as a domestic worker before receiving a scholarship to study winemaking, she spoke fondly of her first memories of tasting wine and not understanding its weird bitter taste. Her first red wine won a gold medal at the Michelangelo awards. She now has her own brand, Asina, named after her grandmother.
  2. Liesel Dentlinger: A transformation and HR specialist. Originally from Namibia but has been living in South Africa for almost a decade. Speaking during her three month sabbatical on the philosophies of the themes of the day. She spoke on how we have the responsibility to reclaim our position in society in order to grow to recycle our previous beliefs on what transformation is to what it can be. One of her strong quotes was: Behind every woman is a tribe of women who have her back.
  1. Heidi Burmeester: Clinical psychologist. She spoke on recycling your thoughts and behaviors to reclaim your life. She spoke on the thought-emotion-behaviour link. On how change creates many effects in our body and our chemical composition, often creating a lot of discomfort. These various issue with unpacked. Closing off with ideas on how we can change.
  2. Nangado Kauluma: What’s love got to do wit fit? A fitness and health invigorator. Spoke on the way women’s bodies are perceived in the media and social sites. She gave us insight into her person journey of how she became to understand her body and how to ensure that she leads a health and nutritious lifestyle. She is the founder and director of Pulse Health and wellness, based in Windhoek. She runs the business with two other women and their focus is on Pilates, core training, zumba and nutrition.
  3. I gave the final talk on knowing your destiny. I shared my personal stories of overcoming abuse, using life’s challenges to better my life and to try be the voice for the voiceless, I also touched on my Kilimanjaro journeys and what lessons I took away from those experiences.


The event was hosted by another amazing soul, Natasha Phatela, originally of Caribbean decent but has been residing in Namibia, she brought the days event together is such a beautiful and harmonious manner, with laughter, tears and important facts. Another highlight of the day was the powerful performances by a young guitarist and singer who goes by the name of Heather. Her first performance was her rendition of a Tracy Chapman classic, she began strumming in a deep monotone voice and then surprised us all as she raised the bar and began belting out in a high pitch. Her debut album I to be released in January.

To the women of Namibia, I salute you and I thank you for the sterling hospitality and invigorating experience.

QUEEN OF KATWE: a checkmate to Uganda’s film industry

21 Oct

Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelow…

Source: QUEEN OF KATWE: a checkmate to Uganda’s film industry

Her name is Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo

10 Oct


On Sunday many of us were awakened to the sad news that our warrior sister had passed away.

Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo is her name, not the zuma rape accuser.

She was a phenomenal woman who had the courage and strength of a lion. In a patriarchal society she had the power and strength to stand up for her rights and for those of many women who were made voiceless or simply silenced.

During the rape trial she received unethical victimization, outside the courthouse and throughout most media houses.

Outside the courthouse, police allowed the burning of underwear and images of her, in revolting acts of intimidation and hatred.

As in many rape trials it’s the accuser that is often labeled and made to feel guilty for what had happened to them, this is what rape culture is about. Feminists coined rape Culture in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalised male sexual violence.

After the trial it was decided that she and her mother would be safer outside the country and they then moved to the Netherlands, where she gained political asylum and where she lived up until today.

Her spirit and courage will live forever amongst us. We salute you, brave sister.The women of the African continent deserve better than this. Women’s rights are human rights and should not be violated under any circumstances; religious, political or cultural.

This is a poem that she wrote. It was published and performed in Amsterdam

I am Khanga

I wrap myself around the curvaceous bodies of women all over Africa

I am the perfect nightdress on those hot African nights

The ideal attire for household chores

I secure babies happily on their mother’s backs

Am the perfect gift for new bride and new mother alike

Armed with proverbs, I am vehicle for communication between women

I exist for the comfort and convenience of a woman

But no no no make no mistake …

I am not here to please a man

And I certainly am not a seductress

Please don’t use me as an excuse to rape

Don’t hide behind me when you choose to abuse

You see

That’s what he said my Malume

The man who called himself my daddy’s best friend

Shared a cell with him on [Robben] Island for ten whole years

He said I wanted it

That my khanga said it

That with it I lured him to my bed

That with it I want you is what I said

But what about the NO I uttered with my mouth

Not once but twice

And the please no I said with my body

What about the tear that ran down my face as I lay stiff with shock

In what sick world is that sex

In what sick world is that consent

The same world where the rapist becomes the victim

The same world where I become the bitch that must burn

The same world where I am forced into exile because I spoke out?

This is NOT my world

I reject that world

My world is a world where fathers protect and don’t rape

My world is a world where a woman can speak out

Without fear for her safety

My world is a world where no one , but no one is above the law

My world is a world where sex is pleasurable not painful.


Akuta Continua



The Queen Code

3 Oct

The Queen Code

Objectifying women’s bodies has been an ongoing struggle for centuries. Over the past decades we have seen and noted significant changes within society and media. These changes have moved away from observing women as sexual objects. We should celebrate the changes and strides that have been made, but we need to acknowledge that we still have a long way to go.

Here are a few advertisements taken from magazines from 1970’s to 2000’s.

Women’s bodies are used to sell products and their intelligence and ability are totally undermined.




Fast forward to 2016:

I am out with a group of male friends having fun at restaurant/bar. It was an evening that started with a few drinks that led into us dancing into the night. On return from taking a trip to the bathroom, I notice a group of young ladies standing near our table and I suddenly felt their glaring stare. I was a little confused as I had never seen these ladies before and therefore they had no reason to be giving me such foul looks. I continue with night of laughing, dancing and having fun. Within a few minutes these ladies are now part of our table dancing but still giving me strange looks. I expected them to perhaps smile or even introduce themselves. I’m not too concerned and since the men at the table did not flinch, I assumed that they were friends and welcomed the new friends. I was rather surprised that since these ladies were clearly part of our party, none of my male friends felt the need to introduce us, which would just be the courteous thing to do.

As the night continued the ladies seem to be pushing the agenda by thrusting their bodies, up onto the men in rather suggestive ways, within a few minutes, the males around and entertaining the actions and within seconds a session of dry humping had occurred. As the shenanigans continued, I noticed that the ladies were watching to see what my reaction was. I then realized that they were playing some sort of competitive game, or so they thought. What I still don’t understand is, how was I supposed to react to them?

The silly games even continue when I took another trip to the bathroom and one followed me to inform me that she had had a few sexual encounters with one of my male friends and she knows how to take care of him. I found it amusing at first, but then I felt perturbed as this beautiful women felt that is what her power was, that she ha been sexually involved with a man she believed to be my partner. How did we get to this point in society where we have made so many strides in the emancipation of women, yet these women had relegated themselves to be sexual objects to a group of strangers in a bar. What was more disturbing was that these women felt the need to try and make another women uncomfortable.

So at that point I had a few issues:

  1. Has partying and having fun turned into a competitive sexual game? Were they even attracted to the men at my table? Are they not happy with themselves to simply have fun with each other? Have they misunderstood the meaning of what independent women actually are?
  2. Why did the men at the table feel that it was alright to allow these women to simply join in, ignoring the fact that there was a lady present in their party. Why was it funny and acceptable to disrespect women in such an open manner?
  3. Is this the new way of women getting men to buy them drinks.
  4. The actual dry humping, of bending a woman over and thrusting at her from behind is a rather harsh manner, bragging to your friends. As women, are you really enjoying that action? As men, does this boost your masculinity?


So as we need to still educate men on respecting the ladies who are at the table, we still need to help our sisters on what being a queen is about, on what true independence is.

We need to reinforce the queen codes. Respect your bodies, do things for yourselves and be proud of who you are.

Going out and having fun with the gals is important, meeting new friends, male or female is essential but basing your fun of having to gyrate your bodies for a few shots of tequila and a glass of wine, lacks direction and vision.

There is nothing more powerful than a group of women stepping into a space, having fun and doing so on their own accord.

Ladies, society and men have created this level of completion between us, please let us break that bondage and start to celebrate our brilliance and pride. That is far sexier than lifting up your skirt and allowing a strange man, wearing a wedding ring slap your ass and dry hump you in a public place.