RSS

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Urban Grooving it to Stunner

I am a very proud Zimbabwean and I believe that my country and its people have so much to offer but sometimes I find it difficult to locate that pride when it comes to our young musicians or as we call them in Zimbabwe Urban Groovers. Sometimes I feel that they waste their talents and skills on not only cutting and pasting from American musicians and genres of music but doing such a shoddy job of it it’s hard to take them seriously or to support them. But then, sometimes, sometimes, you get a real gem like this song here by Stunner featuring Roby Gee and Jusa Dementor and that pride just comes bubbling over.

Bearing in mind that music is very fluid and malleable, one cannot completely escape an external influence or inspiration, as it were, on your production but the one thing that determines whether you should be considered an artist or an aspiring entertainer, the one thing that some Urban Groovers seem to miss but Stunner over here has seemed to grasp is to include something that makes it yours (Zimbabwean). This song, outside of it’s catchiness and dance (sele mama)-in-your-chair-in-the-office-inspiring beat and the talents of all three musicians is that, to me, it represents contemporary urban Zimbabwean culture (although it was recorded in the UK) from Stunners’ colloquial rhymes in vernacular to the subject of the song being specifically Zimbabwean -“Zimbabwean girl” with the girls in the video being fashionable, “glamorous” and well, beweaved and of course let’s not forget the ragga/dancehall influence that is (and has been for as long as I can remember) the centre of a night out dancing in most places in Zimbabwe (we do love our reggae and dancehall). Enjoy the video!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Music

 

Tags: , , , ,

Open Letter to the Woman

Dear Sister,

I have been meaning to write to you for a while now, but somehow I always got caught up with everything else that was more important than talking to you. I saw the sorrow in your eyes the other day, the tiredness in your movements and I heard the distress in your forced laughter that did not even have the strength to try and reach your eyes in order to complete the façade and I meant to talk to you then but I got distracted with the more important story of my life to ask you if you were OK.

In my defence we are all grown women here and we each have our own problems to worry about so surely if something is wrong, you shouldn’t need me to tell you to fix it. I hate the way I end up feeling guilty for the way he hurts you as though I am the one that called you “stupid” because you had made a simple mistake. I realise that I have not been in your shoes so you might think that it is easy for me to say but I have been in my shoes long enough to know that I do not like having to tell you time and time again that he is bad for you. To reiterate to you that although it is true that love hurts sometimes, true love does not damage or destroy. Besides, they might be right, maybe all men are like that, short tempered that is, and a woman cannot really afford to be picky, especially at our age. You are lucky to get what you get and also, if I am to be honest, you can really test one’s patience sometimes you know? Perhaps you might want to tone it down a couple of thousand notches and maybe he wouldn’t feel the need to degrade you so much. It’s just a thought.

I have been meaning to write you for some time now dear sister and tell you that I see you labour at staying in love with her. I have seen you battle with the guilt of realising that you have fallen out of love with her, but you feel you owe it to her, to everyone in fact, to stick it out because you feel you have to be a martyr of some sort or worse, that you have something to prove. I have been meaning to write you to tell you that you do not have to sacrifice your own happiness for something that is not real but I got caught up in my own woes that I resented the fact that you needed me to point this out to you. We are all in a search for love as it is portrayed in the movies and the books that we simply can’t take the time out to point out the obvious to a grown woman about her relationship.

I have been meaning to write you some time now dear sister to tell you that I noticed that bruise that you so futilely attempted to hide with concealer, the Bobbi Brown one I think it was, the other day but after my outrage and your subsequent defence of her brutality I decided that I did not want to listen to your problems anymore if you continued to not appreciate my advice and to refuse my help. You are a grown woman now, as I am, and my life is finally taking off. I would rather spend my time helping those who want to be helped in any case. If it is your wish to wait the estimated 35 times before reporting your partner to the authorities then so be it or perhaps you want her to beat you to death before justice is served yes? Whatever it is, I, quite frankly, have more important issues to deal with than your never ending drama. After all, I am not even sure it qualifies as domestic violence anyway. I mean, you are both women so it can’t really be abuse now can it?

I have been meaning to write you for a while now dear sister, but I have been swamped with trying to find myself, on my little quasi – Eat Pray Love adventure, that I simply didn’t have the time to tell you that while I was visiting with you a few months ago, I heard you beg your husband to stop and tell him that you would not have sex with him without a condom and yet he forced himself on you anyway. I felt it was hardly my place, as a mere friend and guest, so I did not intercede. Instead I turned off the reading light, switched on my ipod and went to sleep. Besides, you are a grown woman. An educated one at that, so surely you should know that there IS such a thing as marital rape. Not to mention, you know all about his dalliances with all those other women. Lord knows what he picked up along the way and why you didn’t leave his sorry ass a long time ago when you found out about the first affair. Why then should I make it my problem? Were it me in your situation, I’d have kicked him to the curb a long time ago. Instead, you decided to listen to your aunts and the women from your church who told you that a good woman stays with her husband no matter how bad things get. Who told you that men cheat, that’s how they’re programmed and that there is no such thing as marital rape in our culture. In fact that it is your duty as a wife to give it up to him whenever he demands it. Oh and let’s not forgot, you must keep pushing him to come to church with you and maybe one day he’ll stop doing what he’s doing. You chose to ignore the sound advice I gave you, and the story I told you of the woman in a similar situation I’d seen on Oprah who finally, after years of marital rape, left her husband but not without contracting HIV first. I’ll bet that you do not even have the brochure with the helpline number for abused women that I slipped you the other week anymore so really what more do you want from me? I have problems of my own to be busying myself with following up on whether or not you sought help.

I have been meaning to write you for a while now dear sister… to tell you the truth, I have been selfish and I have been afraid and that is why I have not said anything up till now. Afraid that if I keep pushing and sticking my nose in your business it will drive you away and you will cut me out of your life just as she wishes you would. Afraid that everyone will think I am jealous of what you have if I keep insisting that it is ok for you to take the kids and leave. Afraid, dear sister, that if I acknowledge the abuse, I’ll have to acknowledge that my own boss is an abuser. Afraid that if you finally report him to the police, my son will go to jail. Afraid that if I try to empower you, I’ll be robbing my friend of her bright future. You see dear sister, helping you will mean betraying my brother, my uncle/ my father/ my sister/ my friend/ my colleague even though they are an abuser. Not only that, I have also been afraid of the implications of me interceding. How much of my time that would require, how much of a sacrifice of my own relationships with the people I care about I’d have to make for you, not to mention how much of my own resources all this would require (I am really not sure I have that much to spare for you anyway)? I just simply couldn’t risk any of this.

Dear sister, I write this letter to you because I realise now that I have failed you and that it is too late. I had the chance to help you help yourself, to pick you up when you were down and to be your strength when you were forlorn but I let my own needs, which, in retrospect, were minor in comparison to yours, prevent me from being there for you in the way you needed me to be. I realise now that it WAS my job and my place to stand up and fight for you when you couldn’t do it yourself. Dear sister, I see the rage in your son’s eyes when his patience is tested and I recognise it as the look your husband used to get sometimes before we all uncomfortably decided it was time to leave as the atmosphere got tense, knowing that we wouldn’t see you again for a couple of days before you re-emerged with a cut lip or broken arm. We would pretend we didn’t notice or that it was a normal feature on your face because it was just too uncomfortable to talk about it. I fear that if I fail him the way I failed you, he might end up just like his father. I can’t let you down again by letting this cycle continue with your son.

Dear sister, I held your daughter last night and rocked her to sleep when she woke up crying for you again as she does every night. I am trying to be the best mother to her that I can be but I know that will never be quite the same or anywhere near enough. The most I can do for you all now is be the person you needed me to be when you were still here and the person your kids need me to be. I had been meaning to write you this letter for a while dear sister but I never got around to it and now I am afraid that it is too late.

Love always,

Your sister

© Doreen Victoria Gaura/ Colouredraysofgrey, 2012

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Gender, Human Rights, LGBTQ

 

Tags: , , ,

Patrice and Laygwan Sharkie In Worship of the River

I can not begin to express just how much I am in love with this song and not simply because it is sung by one of my favourite musicians but because it is sung by men who in their tribute to the Goddess, to woman and to Africa exhibit reverence for our roots. From a Zimbabwean perspective, the introduction venerates the Shona Goddess Dzivaguru or Dziva whom, amongst the Shona, is the Goddess of the river, the earth, the rain clouds and the darkness of the night. Patrice personifies her here and therefore, she not only represents our continent but she represents the Woman:

He went down to the river
And this is what she said:
I look simple yet I’m complex
I do not distract
I have the same color 
As the son I was built of
My shape is beautiful

A little further into the song Laygwan alludes to the inspiration for his name and also gives praise to what I assume is the Gwan of the Bambara of Mali. The Gwan are believed to represent fertility and childless mothers are taken to Gwan societies/ associations to help them conceive. In Mali you will find Gwan sculptures which are usually of a mother and a child and a father:

“lay” was born from the soil
that was planted by the “gwan
I am the son of sons of chamnuka and
Nehanda hrere true kwere kwere african

Patrice aka Patrice Bart-Williams is Sierra Leonine-German decent and is based in Europe while Laygwan Sharkie is a Zimbabwean musician, also based in Europe. No matter how far you may be from the Motherland, it is hard to stop loving her and longing for her, if at all your love was pure and true. In fact, sometimes you find that it takes you leaving to realise this love. Enjoy! 

With love,

From Africa x

 

Tags: , , , , ,

What Love Is


Love is not a building you call a house

Love isn’t a band you call a ring

It isn’t the album with pictures and smiling faces

It isn’t the chapel and the white dress

It isn’t the lobola

It isn’t sex at least once a week

Nor is it the new name preceded by the word Mrs

It isn’t expectations

Obligations

Promises

Or any kind of dependence

It is not a formula or a science

It isn’t a contract that binds

And it is not an institution

Or a culture

Or a tradition

Or an act

It is a natural force

Love is a force

It is energy

The energy that drives us

The infinite power present throughout eternity

From the beginning to the end

It is fluid and flows without barriers or limitations

It is intangible and omnipotent

It is steadfast in its quest to infect those it has selected

And it burns through your veins and once it has picked you

You become alight with its force

To try and capture it

Conceptualise it

Possess it

Control it

Tame it

Deny it

Restrict it

Mould it

Or redefine it gives birth to your anguish and possible destruction

It is the epicentre of all other emotions and feelings

It is the mother of all good and all evil

It is both a tool and a weapon

It is both a fortress and a prison

It is both an elixir and a poison

It is both peace and war

Creation and destruction

It is immortal but also fleeting

It is a lesson learnt

A path taken

A destiny fulfilled

It is a life lived

It is not felt by our hearts

Neither can it be rationalised by our minds

It is birthed and nurtured by our souls

Our souls that have loved throughout different life times

And will continue to love through many life times more

All connected by the infinite threads of the life source that is love

They recognise each other when they meet

If they are both ready and mature enough for that connection

They embrace and become one once again

And as they go on they meet more like-souls and the symbiosis continues

If they are not ready and have no real understanding they give way to the negative

We often try to be in control and make the pieces fit

We try to possess and to limit

We are constantly at war with a force much greater than ourselves

We seek to own it

And do not see what we need to see

Or realise that it is a complexity that can only be understood through simplicity

Your soulmates are not always in the form of lovers

Neither are they single individuals

Soulmates also come in the form of family

That of friends

And colleagues

Even pets

In Humanity

In Creation

If one can understand this then they’ll know true love

The love that is a truth spoken by their soul and all its parts

They will know what love really is.

by Doreen Gaura

© Doreen Victoria Gaura/ Colouredraysofgrey, 2012

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Esoteria, Poetry, Reflections

 

Tags: ,

Sick of The Famous Person Deaths Hullabaloo

I was woken at 0430h on Sunday the 12th of February, 2012 by an IM from a friend announcing the death of once world class singer Whitney Houston, who, sadly, as of the last decade or so, due to poor judgement and even poorer choices on her part, was relegated to the much less flattering status of has-been. Sad? Of course, but nowhere near the periphery of the worst news to have ever been brought to my attention so I internalised the news, half-heartedly mulled it over for a split second then went back to sleep.

The first thing I did when I officially woke up a few hours later i.e. when I had my first cup of “fair trade” dark roast coffee and my first cigarette (a habit I’m trying to kick) was to log into facebook. Not because I wanted to post a “heartfelt” eulogy to the late “great” on my wall but because I was very curious to see what those who were so inclined had to say, how distraught they were and how many of them were exhibiting signs of a suicidal inclination as a result of Ms Houston’s death. I am sad to report that there were many. Were it not mildly funny in a dark humour sort of way I do believe I would have cried at the tragedy that is human nature, the evidently escalating levels of apathy towards issues I feel are more deserving as well as the seemingly spreading mutation in humanity that makes an affinity for the asinine and superficial an inherent characteristic within us.

A friend put up a very apt and profound post on his facebook wall which, I admit, inspired this latest blog post and it reads as follows:

“Ok, Whitney had one of the greatest voices of our time and she died (possibly from too many drugs.) What of the THousands (sic) on children with no voice who die because they lack access to essential drugs? Im (sic) sick of this Whitney Hullabaloo!” – Oneas Ndawi

Now, please, don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mourning the death of a fellow human being, even if your entire relationship with this person was mostly one sided whereby to you they were an icon and fantasy friend and lover who belted out heart wrenching ballads of love, love lost and love unrequited just for you as though they knew and understood your pain while you were to them just another of millions of nameless, faceless fans, if you were lucky enough to be humanised, and if not, you were just another sold record, another purchased concert ticket and just another vote on world music charts. I admire the tenacity and capacity of your love, loyalty and dedication towards another human being. I really do (tongue lodged firmly in cheek).

It’s just too bad that this oh so powerful love and commitment that your person can master and contain is only limited to pop culture idols, media and business moguls, religious leaders and icons and sporting heroes. It really is too bad that there is just so much of it for them that there is barely enough leftover for your family and friends and there just simply isn’t any left over for the homeless children in your cities (who really are just a nuisance if you think about it right?), for the women who were raped by soldiers in the DRC, for the starving people in developing countries who live so far below the poverty datum line their chins are scraping the ground, for the thousands of brilliant and talented youth in your communities who cannot afford to further their education and instead have to drop out of school so that they can help support their families or for the robbery of people’s dignity through the “human zoo” that is a showing of the Jarawa, a nomadic protected tribe that lives in the lush, tropical forests of the Andamans in the Indian Ocean who are made to dance for food by tourists purely for their own racist, twisted and lewd entertainment.

I must admit that when one of my favourite musicians, the Barefoot Diva Cesaria Evora, kicked the bucket last year I was indeed saddened by the news but I did not feel the urge to make a public comment about my grief. Mostly because I feel that whatever astral realm she might be in right now, no doubt sipping on some cognac while on stage, barefoot, mid-performance entertaining the celestial beings of our religious and spiritual beliefs, she might be taking some time out to scan my facebook page to find out just how distraught I am. I hardly think it features on her to-do list so what would be the point, other than sharing information that is, which was hardly the case when people posted their anguish at the deaths of Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs or Whitney Houston.

I remember when Steve Jobs died sometime last year, the cyber realm was abuzz with bereft mourners across the globe. I have to admit that I had no idea who Steve Jobs was when the news broke and I say this with no shame whatsoever. I mean what did Steve Jobs give to the world that it needed and that ingeniously averted a cataclysm of some sort? Really, I am dying to know. I can wait. Judging from the anguish exclaimed by Jobs zealots on social networking fora, one would think that without his “I” gismos, Armageddon would surely have been upon us? Actually, come to think of it, poor Whitney. Her send off was nowhere near as elaborate as that of Jobs.

I very regularly put up posts on my facebook wall on various human rights issues in an attempt to pry an opinion out of people and get them thinking and talking about stuff that really should matter and I must say that I am constantly disappointed by people’s lack of interest but just let me put up a post about Justin Bieber’s talent or lack thereof and suddenly there is a sign of life in my immediate cyber galaxy. People who are always no shows on my wall suddenly crawl out of the woodwork and either like my post or shock horror gasp gasp, go so far as to comment with the now ubiquitous “lol”. I’ll be honest, from an egotistical perspective I am often chuffed that some people find me moderately funny given that I have, for a while now, harboured the ambition to try my hand at stand up comedy if this writing thing doesn’t work out (no, not really) but if I had a choice, I’d rather people commented on the issue of high levels of maternal mortality rates in developing countries where abortion is illegal or how extremely vulnerable street children in any country on the planet are and how citizen involvement is vital for child protection in our countries. To be fair, I get a little more action on my wall, albeit usually of the bigoted sort, but action and interaction nonetheless, when I attempt to coax people into a discussion around gay rights (which usually somewhere in the middle of the filth that is hate language manages to become a religious platform or sermon on how homosexuals are a skid mark on the undergarments of creation and how the great Lord will one day be merciful and show his righteous believers his grace and smite them all into extinction).

All this makes for an interesting analysis of the human psyche because in as much as it is understandable for one to feel a sense of loss when one of their icons passes on in order to make his/her appointment with ferryman Charon over by the river Styx one cant help but wonder if people really do not care about the average person who was not so fortunate as to achieve fame and fortune before their death to make their death or suffering prior to it noteworthy and if this blithe ignorance is as a result of our nature or our conditioning over recent centuries? I have posted news, as have a lot of other people, on how Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of child deaths under the age of 5 years old from preventable diseases in the world and how in spite of a notable decrease in this phenomena it is still nowhere near enough to ensuring that we will meet goal 4 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, news on how the annual number of induced abortion has increased in Africa between 2003 and 2008 mainly in countries where abortion is illegal with research findings showing that of the 6.4 million abortions conducted in 2008, only 3% were under safe conditions therefore implying that continued criminalisation and deprivation of sexual health and reproductive rights of women risks the lives of millions of women and girls as well as posts on how climate change is real and does really affect us all from environmentally to socially to economically to politically and how there is a great need to have continued discussions around adaptation to better prepare ourselves to the inevitable.

I appreciate that our favourite musicians, authors or actors become a part of our lives as we invite them into our homes and into ourselves by identifying with them or rather feeling that they identify with us through their craft when we let it signify or symbolise the most pivotal moments of our existence but is that really more familiar than all those other issues that I have mentioned that really do impact and influence our day to day even when we so incorrectly feel that they have little or naught to do with us? I wonder if the prospect of the seemingly fortunate being just as less fortunate or sometimes more less fortunate than us is a form of escapism or a morbid and sadistic sense of comfort? Whatever it is, I long for the day that people start to notice, acknowledge and become vocal about humanitarian issues and not just when Brangelina adopt another orphaned third world baby or Bono organises another concert for those living with HIV and AIDS or Matt Damon catches another soccer ball on TV for education in South Africa.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Human Rights, Reflections

 

Tags: , ,

Is There Room For Motherhood In Feminism? (Amended)

Is it Possible to be Both?

Whilst doing some research on LGBTI/Q (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Queer) issues for one of our in-house brown bag lunch sessions at a gender equality organisation I used to work at a couple of years back,  I decided to look up two of my favourite bisexual/ lesbian women Tracy Chapman and The Colour Purple author Alice Walker. WARNING: I shall now digress a little from the actual story as I feel that the recounting of the following exchange has some bearing, however minute, to the story and simply because I find it funny if not tragic. This search was prompted by a male colleague’s comment in response to my revelation about Tracy Chapman’s sexual orientation after I had just introduced him to her amazing music. He had finished listening to Chapman’s New Beginning album and had given her a raving review and I was quite pleased with myself (one would think I was her manager the way I was so chuffed with myself). Just seconds after I had casually shared the information and how I thought it was amazing that one of the world’s best African American writers and the most brilliant folk musicians of all time had been romantically involved sometime in the mid-nineties he quickly took back his praises and replaced them with “why are you making me listen to this? Do I look gay to you?” I was gobsmacked to say the least and it took me a few seconds to gather my thoughts and chastise him.

When I returned to my desk after this exchange and as a result thereof I thought to tackle the issue (LGBTI/Q) from the celebrity angle in our session. “I am pretty sure a lot of people who are against same sex coupling are not aware of how many of their idols are in such relationships whether it’s outside the closet or so deeply in it, it may as well be an underground nuclear bomb bunker” I thought to myself so I looked up Walker. I felt she was a good place to start because I was pretty sure anyone worth their salt (and their uncle) has an inkling of knowledge about her and her Pulitzer winning novel and world acclaimed movie. What I found however, was a little disheartening I must say. Now, at that stage in my life I had refused to call myself a feminist simply because I preferred to think of myself as a humanitarian as I, in essence,  fight for everyone’s rights including those of men but feminist I was, am and always will be, this I know now, in as much as I abhor being limited to a singular cause. That is why Alice’s pitiful relationship with her only daughter Rebecca Walker left me wondering, at the time, if as a feminist I was trading in my ability to be a good mother to the children I wish to one day have/ adopt. Was my apathy towards marriage going to be a huge contributing factor for my children’s disfunctionality (I think that should be made a real word. Memo to self: get in touch with Oxford and Collins dictionaries people)?

Alice Walker and Rebecca Walker

According to the findings that resulted in my digging then, I must admit I haven’t really looked into it since, Rebecca felt that her feminist mother was so concerned with being the heroine to all women, she forgot about being her heroine and that her refusal to subscribe to the world’s patriarchal societal norms subsequently became her refusal to be her mother. She described her mother in her novel Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood after a Lifetime of Ambivalence (funny how the apple really does not fall too far from the proverbial tree. Look at me.) as a dispassionate woman who neglected her. I found myself wondering that although this was true to Alice Walker, was it true of all feminists? Do we forget our obligations to our children the second we set that Victoria’s Secret 34 D bra on fire? Ours is no walk in the park and it most certainly requires a certain amount of dedication, ovaries of steel and a few sacrifices along the way but is that still justification for us turning our backs on our duties as parents, for those of us who make the choice to bring a child into the world? The obligation to be a good parent is one that rests on both parents and is no more the mother’s obligation than it is the father’s but in the same token should feminist mothers relinquish this obligation when they feel that they are not being met halfway by their partners and will therefore be found guilty of playing into a role delegated them by men? I was really perturbed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that women should spend their lives bare foot and pregnant standing at a kitchen sink but your child should never go through primary school and high school with you never having attended a swimming gala, dance recital, rugby match or prize giving night because you are too busy writing a report, or appearing on TV or having dinner with clients. It is great to establish good professional relationships but never at the expense of your relationship with your child. Gender equality is something close and dear to my heart and I pray to Mother Earth that I live to see the day when men start to value women as their equals and like wise women start to value themselves as men’s equals and not view feminists as a bunch of Godless, immoral, self serving and superior women and I will fight for that day for as long as I am still breathing but when I have children that fight will have to make do with coming second to my fight to give my children the very best of me.

I will fight for a child’s rights before the rights of any adult and perhaps that is why I made the shift from fighting for women’s rights (8 to 5) to fighting for children’s rights as my official job. I strongly believe that when a person, man or woman, makes the choice to bring a life into this sometimes harsh and cruel world then their priorities change as a result of that choice. If one can go through life balancing their roles as a parent and as a professional or spouse then that is ideal indeed but if a person ever reaches a cross roads and finds themselves having to pick one or the other then the lot should fall to the child. I have had the opportunity to discuss the issue further since then with fellow “professional” feminists and they have highlighted that it can feel like a mammoth task at times, this balancing act and at times they fall short but they also state that this acknowledgement is “not really a consolation if you feel like the only person in the school whose mother didn’t show up (not counting the girl whose family was banned off school property after stealing cakes at prize giving!!)” says Pat Brickhill, friend, feminist and writer. Rebecca Walker believes that one shouldn’t let feminists tell them that it’s impossible to be a mother and stay sane, active, creative, and productive. “It is possible,” says the younger Walker and I believe this to be true.

Photo: MAURO FERMARIELLO Caption: Mother looking after her child while she works in a sewing school in the Gulu region of Uganda.

Women like Alice Walker give me hope as a feminist, through her writing (as an aspiring writer myself) and her work with Women for Women International (a non-profit organisation that supports women survivors of war) in how much a woman can do in the fight for the rights of women the world over but her less than desirable relationship with Rebecca presented a scarier side of feminism to me in that moment. I am glad to say that I have learnt a few things since. I have learnt first and foremost, that all women are feminists by virtue of being born women and to quote a good friend of mine, Ottilia Maunganidze, “try as many might, our XX is so inextricably linked with feminism… of course, some of us suffer from patriarchal society induced Stockholm Syndrome and fail to let the fact that we are inherently feminists out… but that’s not to say we aren’t”. The woman in the rural areas who’s in a polygamous and abusive marriage but still gets up every morning to fight till she sheds blood, sweat and tears to ensure that her children and even said husband and extended family have food and shelter by labouring in harsh conditions in the fields, walking for kilometres and kilometres to the nearest market to sell whatever she has managed to harvest is both a feminist and a mother. Feminism is not limited to standing on soap-boxes and calling for the castration of all men, nor is it limited to possessing a post graduate degree in Gender Studies and it is most certainly not limited to writing articles or blogging on women’s rights. It is instead, your agency and subsequent daily fight for your survival as a woman and claiming whatever spot YOU choose in this world as your own. I also learnt that there most certainly is room in feminism for motherhood. More than enough and the failure to see, acknowledge and celebrate this is as a result of a personal character flaw and not a collective one.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Gender, Reflections

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Hymn to Isis, 3rd or 4th century BC, discovered in Nag Hammadi

Isis: Goddess of Love, Magic, Fertility and Healing

For I am the first and the last,
I am the venerated and despised,
I am the wife and the virgin,
I am the mother and the daughter
I am the arms of my mother,
I am barren and my children are many,
I am the married woman and the spinster,
I am the woman who gives birth and she who never procreated,
I am the consolation for the pain of birth,
I am the wife and the husband,
And it was my man who created me,
I am the mother of my father,
I am the sister of my husband,
And he is my rejected son,
Always respect me,
For I am the shameful and the magnificent one

This hymn was written at a time when the Goddess was not only acknowledged but was loved and venerated. At a time when the women in Egypt and most parts of Africa were the heads of the household, the mother’s name was passed on to her daughter and her daughter’s name to hers. Women courted men and were in charge of their property. It was at a time when patriarchy was a foreign concept brought about my the foreigners from the North. At a time when sex and love were not vilified as human weaknesses and a time when the worship of the Goddess and a woman’s strength were not equated to devil worship. You do not have to subscribe to my spiritual beliefs to appreciate this hymn and its message. I am sharing this with you so you can find some sort of inspiration to be strong and magnificent. To not fear your passion but to embrace it. To not despise your strength or individuality but to own them. To not be ashamed of your sensuality but to bask in its pleasure. A lot of us think we know all this but we only know what we have been taught. What society deems to be strengths. The same society that has made passion the tool of a wanton and it dictates what is sensual and what is not. No one can tell any woman what all these things mean to her as an individual. Not your father, not your aunt, not your friend, not the TV or fashion magazines, not your priest/ pastor and not even me. Only you, the you buried deep inside can tell you. The you that is protected or even supressed by layers of flesh, bone, clothes and societal constructs and ideologies. Only you can release that inner self that only you can hear. Only you can understand Her language and so it is up to you to find Her. To learn from Her and to become One with Her so that you will one day be the “magnificent one” you were born to be.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Esoteria, Reflections, Spirituality

 

Tags: ,