AND DO YOU BELONG? I DO

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By Solange Knowles

solange

The tone.

It’s the same one that says to your friend, “BOY…. go on over there and hand me my bag” at the airport, assuming he’s a porter.

It’s the same one that tells you, “m’am, go into that other line over there” when you are checking in at the airport at the first class counter before you even open up your mouth.

It’s the same one that yells and screams at you and your mother in your sleep when you’re on the train from Milan to Basel “give me your passport NOW.”You look around to see if anyone else is being requested this same thing only to see a kind Italian woman actually confront the agents on your behalf and ask why you are being treated this way.

It’s the same tone that the officer has when she tells you your neighborhood is blocked for residents only as you and your friends drive home from a Mardi Gras parade, when you have a residents tag on your car. You’ve been in the car line for 10 minutes and watched them let every one else pass without stopping them at all.

It usually does not include “please.” It does not include “will you.” It does not include “would you mind,” for you must not even be worth wasting their mouths forming these respectable words. Although, you usually see them used seconds before or after you.

You don’t feel that most of the people in these incidents do not like black people, but simply are a product of their white supremacy and are exercising it on you without caution, care, or thought.

Many times the tone just simply says, “I do not feel you belong here.”

Imagine.

Telling your son and his friend Rasheed about a band you love and one that played a pivotal role in the history of hip-hop. Something that as a family you all feel very connected to.

Imagine, although the kids are interested, they are still 11, unfamiliar, and would rather be spending their Friday night differently. You and your husband are always talking to your son about expansion and being open to other things and experiences, so you guys make the Kraftwerk concert a family Friday night.

You get there about 10 minutes late, but lucky for you, as soon as you walk to your box seats, the song that you just played for your son in the car is on! It’s a song his uncle sampled, ” The Hall of Mirrors.” You haven’t even sat down yet because you just walked to your seat and you’re so excited to dance to this DANCE MUSIC SONG.

Simultaneously, a much older black venue attendant comes over to your son and his friend and yells “No electronic cigarettes allowed, you need to stop doing that now!”

You are too into the groove and let your husband handle it and tell the attendant that the children are 11 years old, and it’s actually the two grown white men in front of you guys who were smoking them.

You are annoyed and feel it’s extremely problematic that someone would challenge their innocence, but determined to stay positive and your husband has handled this accordingly.

About 20 seconds later, you hear women yell aggressively, “Sit down now, you need to sit down right now” from the box behind you. You want to be considerate, however, they were not at all considerate with their tone, their choice of words, or the fact that you just walked in and seem to be enjoying yourself.

You are also confused as to what show you went to. This is a band that were pioneers of electronic and dance music. Surely the audience is going to expect you to dance at some point.

You were planning on sitting down after this song, as long as it wasn’t one of the four songs that you really connect with and plan on getting down to.

You feel something heavy hit you on the back of your shoulder, but consider that you are imagining things because well….certainly a stranger would not have the audacity.

Moments later, you feel something again, this time smaller, less heavy, and your son and his friend tell you those ladies just hit you with a lime.

You look down only to see the half eaten lime on the ground below you.

You inhale deeply. Your husband calmly asks the group of women did they just throw trash at you. One woman says, “I just want to make it clear, I was not the one who yelled those horrible, nasty, things at you.”

Loud enough for you to hear.

This leads you to believe they were saying things way worse than what you heard, but you are not surprised at that part one bit.

You’re full of passion and shock, so you share this story on Twitter, hands shaking, because you actually want these women to face accountability in some kind of way. You know that you cannot speak to them with out it escalating because they have no respect for you or your son, and this will only end badly for you and feel it’s not worth getting the police involved. So, you are hoping they will hear you this way.

You know when you share this that a part of the population is going to side with the women who threw trash at you. You know that they will come up with every excuse to remove that huge part of the incident and make this about you standing up at a concert “blocking someone’s view.”

You know that a lot of the media will not even mention the trash being thrown at you with your 11 year old son being present.

You feel that the headline would be “XYZ Goes To A Concert And Gets Trash Thrown At Them,” if it were some of your other non-black peers in the industry.

You constantly see the media having a hard time contextualizing black women and men as victims every day, even when it means losing their own lives.

You do not care in that moment because you understand that many of your followers will understand and have been through this same type of thing many a times, and if it means them hearing you say it’s ok, you will rise again through out these moments, then it means something bigger to you.

You realize that you never called these women racists, but people will continuously put those words in your mouth.

What you did indeed say is, “This is why many black people are uncomfortable being in predominately white spaces,” and you still stand true to that.

You and your friends have been called the N word, been approached as prostitutes, and have had your hair touched in a predominately white bar just around the corner from the same venue.

The statement you made makes headlines funny enough just days after it comes to light that Air China warns their flyers not to go into Indian, Pakastani, or Black neighborhoods in order to stay safe, while Texas schools are fighting to have textbooks calling Mexicans “lazy” removed from classrooms, and while Native Americans are doing everything they can possibly to to protect their sacred land from an oil pipeline being built on graves of their descendants. You know that people of colors’ “spaces” are attacked every single day, but many will not be able to see it that way.

This also comes during a time when the Housing Authority of New Orleans has declared a federal mandate plan to assist with helping to protect black neighborhoods, stating that “previously black neighborhoods on higher ground are now majority white or moving in that direction.” And not too long after an announcement is made that a former Klu Klux Klan leader is running for Louisiana senator. You also know where you live.

You are also fully aware, now that you use your platform consistently to speak out on social, racial, and feminist issues, that people who have no awareness of your work outside of gossip sites and magazines, some of which who are most likely voting for Donald Trump, have been starting to engage and/or target you in public and social media in regards to race.

(And yes, having white people constantly call you the n word, or say you and your people are degenerates that need to leave America, or zoo like animals, surely does not help you feel more comfortable in predominately white spaces)

You read headlines that say, “Solange feels uncomfortable with white people,” and want to use the classic “I have many white friends” or “Half of my wedding guests were white” line to prove that you do not dislike white people but dislike the way that many white people are constantly making you feel. Yet you know no amount of explaining will get you through to this type of person in the first place.

You have lived a part of your life in predominately white spaces since you were a kid and even had your 3rd grade teacher tell you “what a nigger is” in front of your entire white class. You watched your parents trying to explain why this was wrong to her and learned then it can be virtuously impossible to get your point across.

After you think it all over, you know that the biggest payback you could have ever had (after, go figure, they then decided they wanted to stand up and dance to songs they liked) was dancing right in front of them with my hair swinging from left to right, my beautiful black son and husband, and our dear friend Rasheed jamming the hell out with the rhythm our ancestors blessed upon us saying….

We belong. We belong. We belong. 

We built this. 

Source: http://saintheron.com/featured/and-do-you-belong-i-do/

Sesethu Gqomo: Development, Wealth & Prosperity

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A day in the life of Khanyi Dhlomo

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I whizzed through lunch time traffic, ran up the infamous Jammie stairs and caught a great sight of the astute and graceful media, manufacturing and property mogul. (I MEAN GIIRRRRRRLLLL). Donning a draped, bottle green dress she exuded confidence and so much poise.

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Khanyi and the InvestSoc.UCT committee

The purpose of her talk was unfolding “A day in the Life of Khanyi.”

She shared her life story from her (hard to believe) tomboy days to being the face of Thandi magazine at the age of 16. Her journey then saw her host the 8pm news and also during that time, she was Fashion and Beauty Assistant for True Love magazine.  Because she is amazing, she became editor of the magazine for eight years before jetting off to the UK to do her MBA at Harvard. (Shine!)

Here are the nine points she nailed down and elaborated on during her talk (all of which were supported by quotes- as she does):

  1. Be clear and specific about what you want.
  2. Take the road less travelled. Look for chances and opportunities. There are no wrong turns.
  3. Shift from “What do I get?” to “What do I give?”
  4. Know the power of focus. Choose one focus, master and give your 100% to it.
  5. Embrace failure. It’s an opportunity to be and do better. We are meant to grow.
  6. Prioritize to find balance. ‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”
  7. Know and embrace your power. Negotiate for what you are worth.
  8. Master yourself, master your thoughts. Autosuggest, affirm yourself with your beliefs.
  9. Choose to be positive. Soldier on, regardless.

She touched on Luminance, Destiny, travel, mentorship, money, intelligent investments and habits. Folks, you just had to be there!

Thanks to the UCT InvestSoc group, I finally had the pleasure of “meeting” my #CareerCrush, Khanyi Dhlomo.

Now, I’m about to SLAY.

#Womandla

He’s a cheap date!

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I used to often laugh when my Pastor spoke about stingy men. He called them “AmaSkorokoro” in jest, advising us to run for our lives when we see snippets of scrooge-like behaviour. The premise was never focused on gold digging, but merely to teach us all how ladies should be treated and how snake-y some men can be.

Lo and behold, some other bloke tried “cute” things I considered paltry. I’d mention a residential area that I liked, he’d say he would want to RETIRE there, I’d mention a career move and he’d brag about an offer he ONCE received. I bought myself 2 pairs of shoes (one for an event and one for…. life) and he said the women he married would have no say in his finances.

I was so confused because the conversations were about my everyday life and preferences, yet he took it personally, as if I’d asked for his permission or help in ANY of these things.

Ebendibona mos ku Instagram? Endibona naku LinkedIN?

I didn’t want anything of his, but he should’ve noticed my lifestyle and do the math. He was looking for love in the wrong place.

“Friends, if you are in the standard grade class- stay and excel there. Leave HIGHER GRADE things to the boffins.”- Democratic African Proverb, 2016

Love is not based on someone’s beauty. Love is not wearing the other down. Love is not selfish or limiting. Love is not reducing someone’s standard. Although love is not about money,  it CERTAINLY is not asking if the bread offered at a restaurant is FREE either.

Boy BYE!

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Ayikho into egqitha ikhaya lakho (There’s no place like home)

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home-sweet-home

Do you know that paradoxical feeling of being full and empty at the same time? Maybe not.

I just came back from a long, overdue trip home. The weekend seemed quick as lightening,  a reflection of the speed of which this year has gone by.

I feel full in my spirit, because of:

  • The picturesque drives along the sea
  • Pop-ins at my former work and seeing my ex-colleagues (now friends)
  • My dad’s bear hugs
  • Mom’s chocolate breakfasts
  • Granny’s magwinyas
  • Ivumba le heater ye paraffin at their place
  • Brunches and lunches with my sister and besties
  • Kisses, hugs and prayers from my old church people
  • Love

Time is so valuable. People are so precious. I value every moment spent with those who route for me, support me and want nothing but the best for me. I draw strength from them.

My vernac expressions just prove how strong the longing was, how far the distance seemed, a kind of reawakening of what matters most!

I’m back  in Cape Town feeling empty, because I miss it all again.

Indebted to my Dreams

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I have been on a blogging hiatus for no apparent reason. I apologize. I find myself sounding like such an adult lately by saying life is just so busy, but honestly it is.

This concerns me (sort of) because, I know God speaks through me the most in this time of reflection and so ignoring it would be limiting His revelation.

But let’s cut to the chase. I am here to talk about dreams and how taxing they are. Physically, emotionally, financially and sometimes even relationally.

Again, I find myself moving to better prospects, therefore leaving my comfortable abode (that took several other moves to find) only to pack up and move again.

I felt like a nomad at some point. I started feeling like I am unstable and somewhat disloyal, but how dare I throw that in the face of my dreams?

Who said that one has to stay at one particular place for x amount of months, years, decades in order for them to conquer their dreams?

My talents and abilities pull me in all sorts of directions and do so at different intervals.

When there is a call on your life which is supported by a vision board that reminds you EVERYDAY of all the things you’d like to do, you live life with achieving those goals in mind notwithstanding societal norms. vision board

For me, my vocational journey has been supported by prayer. Every single year, God accelerates my advancements so far that it supersedes my expectation. I have dreams of cars I want to be driving and property I should be owning, places I should be traveling (as a measure of my success) then something pulls me back.

Matthew 20:16 “Those who come first will be last. Those who are last will come first.”

Chance happens to us all. Life is a journey and anything rushed will flutter by just as quickly. Instead of trying to keep up with the Jones’s by having fancy car debt, credit cards of a certain tier and Great Gatsby Instagram photos, let me grow my investment portfolio, serve the community more and use what I have for God’s glory.  Everything He touches multiplies anyway.

To you it may be moving back to your parents’ home to save, downgrading your car to invest or working two jobs to reach that 10 000 hours of success standing. Whatever it is, be indebted to your dreams first and see how the ‘things’ just avail themselves on the journey!

 

 

You’re gonna be loved

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You’re gonna be loved and
Have no reason not to love
Back how you’re loved good.

You’re gonna be loved and
Fall for yourself in how they
Love the love in you.

You’re gonna be loved and
Not want it harmed. Not even
By you.

You’re gonna be loved
Enough for you to prune
Away your thorns, break away
Your walls, calm away your storms,
Shave away your scorn and do away
With the pain that pierces today from
Your past.

You’re gonna be loved and love won’t
Feel like an everyday war with God.

You’re gonna be won.

A heart priced by heaven for
Choosing itself to love and fill
Before any other.

A mind that loved its own peace
So much peace became its power.

The power and love you gave you
Became the love ten times you
Attracted for yourself to enjoy
As sheer proof that doing you
Was a better play, a great
Choice and the winning
Move.

You will be loved and true
Love can’t wait to know the best
Parts that rose from the worst in
You.

You deserve it too. All because
You’re choosing you.

– Hakeem Anderson-Lesolang