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Dear Girl Child

Sunday 11th October was International Day of the Girl, with this year’s theme being “Girls Get Equal”.

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Dear Girl Child Asante Afrika
12 / 100

Celebrating International Day of the Girl

A Poem by Tarisai Krystal Mhishi

Dear girl child, it’s your day today.

Yes, they finally decided to celebrate you; guess who finally decided to show up to the party?

It’s only a token of appreciation that doesn’t go beyond that though.

Dear girl child, I’d advise you to build your armour, for the world is a war zone that doesn’t stop to give you a break, or cut you some slack; especially for someone in a skirt, because honey, they really weren’t kidding when they said, “It’s a man’s world.”

Man was created equal they say;

But even between two halves, there’s always a better half, a bigger half; for no two things are truly ever the same.

Dear girl child, the very same sons that you bear, are the very same ones that will break your heart.

Dear girl child, yes, it’s your day, but it’s only a day.

What good is milk and honey, if it only comes per annum?

What good is a per diem, if it doesn’t even feed your soul?

How do you carpe diem, when your per diem isn’t even enough to feed your mind?

As if that isn’t even enough to put a pregnant cloud over your head,

They break your heart too, simply because they like the sound.

They like to hear the sound of your ego break and shatter, reduced to nothing, but just another female who needs to bow and kiss their feet, because, it’s a man’s world!

So, hush little one, for the road doesn’t get any smoother than this!

Dear girl child…

Your day or not, they still treat you the same.

Dear girl child…

You needed to hear this, from one sister to another, for it’s a cold world.

And you will need this blanket of wisdom.

In frame : @marievictoirekobo 👗: @dumela.clothing.co Stylist: @_leche.co @leche.welthagen MUA🎨: @leche.welthagen: Zweli Bukhwele Photography

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Careers

Struggles of an African University Student During the Covid-19 Pandemic

For African students in foreign universities, never has it been clearer that they were indeed in foreign lands.

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Struggles of an African University Student During the Covid-19 Pandemic Asante Afrika

Rorisang Moyo

It is no coincidence that systematic inequalities reared their ugly head when our tertiary institutions were put to the test. For less privileged institutions, the Covid-19 pandemic confirmed that the institutions were on crutches and the pandemic basically took those crutches away. They were left with no leg to stand on. For various African students scattered all over the world, life touched them differently. Some encountered nuisances at close proximity with some people protesting a virus. In the same world where others could do this, some were begging to return to contact learning where online learning systems were nonexistent.

The elitism in tertiary education became clearer when universities that were historically privileged/ formally white institutions managed to transition easily from hybrid learning to online learning. This was a result of years of more allocation of resources being directed towards financing more privileged race groups. This is not an incident of history in the South African context, which means that at any given point pre-pandemic, students at historically white institutions had more resources.

When it became clear that students were not going to be having any contact lectures, the more privileged universities managed to loan laptops to students who did not have access to them. For countries that had more money to spare, data was provided for students to enable them to continue with online learning. This model of assisting the student assumed that if the student did not have a gadget for online learning, once they had it, they would be in a place with good network and electricity to power those gadgets. It assumed that a student had a smart phone to be able to use the free data that they received.

For African students in foreign universities, never has it been clearer that they were indeed in foreign lands. In cases where aid was available to them, for example, data allocation, for those who had returned to their home countries, such amenities were no longer available to them. For some students who are doing post-graduate studies, more time at home meant that they managed to think about what they could do with their degrees. It was a time to work on the hobbies that they took for granted that presented financial gain. This was particularly useful in fields like content creation where experience gained from practicing one’s craft is essential. Understand that while African students go to foreign universities for better employment prospects, legislation in those places is set up in a way that jobs prioritise locals. One has to be the best of the best to justify being chosen over a local. This pandemic frustrated students in their path of achieving greatness as many on-campus opportunities were paused, for example, societies that could have been valid work experience for their résumés.

In the haste to move out of university residences where many assumed that they were just leaving for two weeks and returning, many left their academic resources. Learning became difficult when they could not access these resources. Some had to rely on online library resources which had a time limit and some did not have access to online library resources at all.

For historically privileged universities where the poorest student would be in close proximity to wealth, they returned home to be reminded of all that they did not have. Back at the university, the access gap could be bridged through the use of on-site resources. However, when they returned home, the future was bleak once again. “No student will be left behind”, it was claimed. The truth is that despite all these efforts to equalise students, it was not easy.

For countries with less to no money at all, learning stopped indefinitely. For countries like Zimbabwe where the rural areas are places where there is no internet connection whatsoever and even where there is access to the internet, one would need to sell an organ to buy data. The online learning model itself being something that was created mid-pandemic, still a work in progress. No one was prepared for it; not the students who had to absorb the information, nor the lecturers who had to learn to teach using online resources. This is a time where tertiary institutions learnt that they were ill equipped for a pandemic. Who can blame them, considering they are located in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs), where a vast majority of the population is living on less than a dollar a day? The situation was hopeless and all they could do was fold their arms and hope that people live through the pandemic to tell the tale.

“Even if it was baking banana bread for 100 days and having a sudden interest in colouring books – if you found something to do with yourself, that was a win.”

Amidst all this stress and confusion as to when the academic calendar would start and end, a lot of people’s mental health was on a downward spiral. The acknowledgement of their mental state and what they are feeling was dependent on their surrounding environments being conducive for them to express their feelings. Amidst financial stresses and the sense of uncertainty that came with not knowing what the future held, while faced with death and Zoom funerals amongst other tragedies, a lot of people felt as if their lives were falling apart. It took awareness to acknowledge how and what they were feeling. For some universities, mental health support was accessible through dialing in to 24-hour hotlines. While this was good in maintaining the functionality of the system virtually, it is sad to note that this wasn’t something that most institutions could provide.

What is the future of prioritising mental health in our institutions? Is mental health treated as urgently as other sicknesses that people can see like a bruise? It might look like institutions are failing students in this regard, but the fact on the ground is that there is still a lot of stigma surrounding the subject of mental health itself. There is a lack of understanding around why taking care of one’s mind is important.

It was not all doom though, many people had time to broaden their horizons in terms of reconnecting with old hobbies and starting new ones. Even if it was baking banana bread for 100 days and having a sudden interest in coloring books – if you found something to do with yourself, that was a win. Even if all you did was manage to get up, take a shower and look out the window, that is still fine. You do not have to change the world every day.

In this phase of our lives where nothing is in our hands, we learnt that tomorrow was not promised. We slowed down – and it might have come at a large financial and emotional cost, but we were lucky to survive it all.

Struggles of an African University Student During the Covid-19 Pandemic Asante Afrika

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Creative Outlet

Killer Sticky Wings

Chef Alex will have you licking your fingers with this easy Sticky Wings recipe.

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Killer Sticky Wings Asante Afrika
9 / 100

Chef Alex Ngulube

INGREDIENTS

  1. 24-hour citrus brined chicken wings

(To make Citrus Brine:- Mixture of any citrus fruit juice and 60:40 percentage sugar to salt)

  1. Sticky BBQ sauce 
  2. Toasted sesame seeds
  3. Panko crumbs
  4. Micro Coriander for garnish

METHOD 

3 Step Crumbing of the wings

  • Flour with garlic powder and salt to taste
  • Fresh milk with one whole egg whisked
  • Panko crumbs mixed with Cayenne pepper for crunchy texture 

How to crumb

  1. In a mixing bowl, toss the chicken wings fully covering in flour. 
  2. Dip the floured wings in milk and egg wash.
  3. For the finish, turn the wet sticky wings in the bread crumbs and then deep fry.

Note: 

Use low heat for the oil. Set at 120 degrees to allow the chicken to fully cook without charring the crumb layer. 

BBQ Sauce

My personal best version of this sauce is a combination of the following:

  1. 200ml Coke 
  2. 20g smoked paprika
  3. 50g chutney
  4. 50ml soy sauce
  5. 50ml Worcestershire sauce
  6. 50ml tomato sauce
  7. 30g brown sugar

Bring all the above ingredients to a boil, whisking until a thick but runny texture is achieved. For the final plating, toss the crumbed wings, coating with BBQ sauce and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds as you toss. Finish off on the plate with micro Coriander as the garnish for some freshness.

 

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